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Lesson 2 – Prepare Your Site for the Switch - Thrive Themes

Lesson 2 – Prepare Your Site for the Switch



How to Switch Your Site to Thrive Theme Builder

In this lesson we'll cover what to do before considering switching over to Thrive Theme Builder.

Step 1: Make an inventory of what's currently on your site. The goal is to know what everything looks like and how to minimize possible issues.

- Headers: Super easy to recreate in Thrive Theme Builder thanks to the many pre-designed templates

- Footers: Super easy to recreate in Thrive Theme Builder thanks to the many pre-designed templates.

- Single Post

First you want to have a look at your current single post template (the one that shows on all of your standard blog posts) and decide whether you will need to keep a similar layout in order to avoid blurry featured images, problems with content size etc.

Secondly, you want to know whether or not you're using different post formats.
The available post formats will depend on your theme.

In order to easily see what formats were used, you can use the free plugin WP All Export. This will give you a list of all your posts with their post types. 

- Single Page

Depending on the theme you are using you might have different page templates available. Before switching, you'll want to know if you were using different page templates so that you'll be able to recreate them.

Use the same plugin, WP All Export, to get a list of all your pages and the template used on each one of them.

You'll also want to look at the layout of your pages (do they have a sidebar, are you using featured images, are they showing the title, etc.) because those are things you might want to keep in mind when selecting which design you want to use for your default page on your new site.

- Blog Page: Nothing special to be aware off.

- Archive pages: Usually nothing special unless you have a redirect set up for your category pages (we'll cover that in the next step)

- 404 page: You probably couldn't customize this very much.

Step 2: Find out what the theme related elements are on your site (because these will disapear)

- Shortcodes and theme generated pages (such as homepages, landing pages,...) that were using short codes.
In order to discover whether or not you used theme related shortcodes, intall the free plugin Shortcodes Finder and checkout the following document to discover the theme related shortcodes:

Shortcodes used in our legacy themes

- Focusareas: Won't render anymore but you won't need these anymore! Thrive Theme Builder will replace the areas and will give you much more design freedom.

- Theme specific widgets such as the follow me widget etc.. You'll have plenty of options in Thrive Theme Builder to improve and replace these!

- Social media and analytics code: You'll want to put this in the Thrive Dashboard scripts instead of in your theme header. 

- Category Redirects: Build page in Thrive Theme Builder or use the Redirection plugin to redirect to the landing page

- Other theme related features such as ads manager: will disappear with the new theme in Thrive Theme Builder.

- Apprentice theme feature: switch over to the Apprentice plugin.

Step 3: Watch out for rogue code added in theme templates directly

Step 4: Set up your staging environment

Click here for the tutorial on how to set up a staging environment

Ask Your Questions!

We're more than happy to answer your questions in the comments, but if you run into any technical issues, opening a support ticket is the fastest way to get help. Our technical team is ready to look at your site and fix your problems. 

  • Hi Hanne,

    First of all: I am very impressed by the new TTB! Congratulations with this new Thrive product.

    Ans thanks for this course. This is really helpful.

    One question: what about the css? I used Ignition and also have some css that style other plugins like Ninja Forms.

    I noticed the new TTB does not have a place to put css in. Should I use the css area in the WordPress customizer? Or put it in a child theme? Or did I miss the option in TTB or the general Thrive settings?


  • So I installed Shortcodes Finder and I have 400 or so shortcodes for Easyazon links and images that insert Amazon products links inside my posts. The posts were created using Thrive Architect and I’m using Squared theme.
    Will these shortcodes transfer?

    • Hi Barbara,

      Those shortcodes are related to Easyazon and not the Squared theme. This means that as long as you keep the plugin on your site. It will render the shortcodes (of course you want to check this on staging, but it’s nothing that’s theme related).

  • My current homepage was made using TA – Squared theme. If I select to use that existing page as my homepage, will I be able to modify all sections of the page with all the new templates or are the new templates only available if you start making a page from scratch?

    • Hi Barabara,
      If you created your homepage as a landing page with Thrive Architect, it overwrites any theme related stuff (including page sections) you will see the homepage exactly as you see it now (it won’t add the header or footer or sidebar etc.)
      If you used a page template (default, narrow, landing page,…) from the Squared theme and then you added content within your homepage with Thrive Architect, you will see the default page template around that content. Which means the header, footer and other sections that are on the default page template will show.

    • Hi Rodney,

      What files are you talking about? The files exported with WP all export? Those do not have to be uploaded to your staging site. It’s simply a list of your articles.
      Your new staging site should have all your original content on there. If not, you can use a plugin such as all-in-one WP migration to get all your original content on the staging site.

  • Hi Hanne.

    Thank you. Always love to watch your tutorials.

    Like so many people who turn to use WordPress, many are not designers and need a little more visual help in actually using the functions that you are providing.

    I would really benefit from seeing a tutorial on how to create a blog post template (for reuse) using the similar sections/charts/star ratings etc. that you see under the heading ‘Breed Characteristics’ in these examples:-

    • Hi Jonah,

      It’s important here not to mix content and templates…
      The pieces of content you’re showing and the star rating you’re referring to are part of the content, not of the template.
      For this, I would create a blog post with the layout you want and then save it as a content template that you can reuse on other blog posts (
      The actual Blog Post Template is extremly simple: Header – No top section – Content section with Social buttons, title underneath it and the post content (where you will use the blog content template to create those “vital stats” boxed and star ratings etc.), tags, social share buttons, related posts – A very simple sidebar (with only one call to action) – no bottom section – Footer.

      Hope that helps 🙂

      • Hi Hanne,

        Thank you for your reply.

        I don’t want to re-create an exact copy of those page/post examples…….but I do want to know how Thrive can help me replicate some of those very visual ‘vital stats’ boxes and ‘star ratings’ and ‘drop down sections’ etc.

        How and what tools do I use, that Thrive Themes provides, to help me create a similar format used in those posts/pages………but also using Thrive tools to visually present that information in a much better way?

        Example of use:-

        There are currently over 50 cat breeds.

        I want to produce an in depth ‘Profile’ for each cat breed.

        I’d therefore like to create one template that follows the exact same visual format and can be used again and again for each breed……….and then simply swap out the relevant images and content per breed.

        Each breed page/post would also pull in related posts, content and products that are specific to that breed etc.

        A real ‘over the shoulder’ tutorial on creating such a visual page/post with content template using those blocks/elements/sections etc would therefore be beneficial.

        Does such a tutorial currently exist within your knowledge base or are such tutorials on the road map?

      • Hi Jonah,
        The short answer is: Thrive Architect.

        Step 1: Create a blog post using Thrive Architect. You can use any of the elements to make it visually more appealing. If you don’t want to build all the elements from scratch, have a look at the content blocks that you can simply drop into the content and

        Step 2: Once you are happy with the way the post looks, save it as a template (screenshot in my answer above) so that you can use it again and again on all the different “cat breed” posts.

        Hope that helps, I also sent your request for a full over the shoulder tutorial for this to the team.

  • Hi Hanne,
    If you have only thrive architect plugin you can’t use thrive, theme builder, because when I go to install it it shows me I have to upgrade?

    • Hi,

      You can use Thrive Theme Builder without using Thrive Architect (but it’s much more powerful when used together).

      I’m not sure what you’re seeing but it might be saying that Thrive Architect is not compatible (in which case you need to update the plugin) or you might not have Thrive Architect installed in which case you can simply install it (because as a member you have access to all of our tools)

      You can use Thrive Product Manager to install it.

      • Sorry, I did not purchase the membership, I have purchased only Thrive Architect plugin that’s why I can’t use Thrive theme builder.

      • Yes at the moment Thrive Theme Builder is exclusively available for members.

  • Hi, If I have A/B split testing with Thrive Optimize on a Thrive Architect page, and my goal CTA button is besides the menu bar, I wonder how can I refer to it since this CTA is located on the header?

    • Hmm are you referring to changing to Thrive Theme Builder? Or is this an unrelated question.
      If the page is build in Thrive Architect completely, then it won’t change when you switch to TTB.

  • Hanne, If my entire site was built using a Thrive Theme and Architect is there a pressing need to convert using a staging site? The reason I ask is I use Hostgator and they do not provide a staging service. So I would need to add subdomains, install WP, etc to create a staging site…

    • Hi Ron, I do REALLY recommend it… If the website you’re trying to convert is the then it looks like you used the focus theme homepage (which means that you will have to redo that homepage or choose one of the nicely looking new homepages, but they you’ll need to fill out the content)…
      How about using They have a 2 day free trial and are $12/mo that gives you 2 days to create your site or $12 if you need a little more time… I feel like that’s worth the little investment to calmly work on your site 🙂

  • Wow… so much to learn and absorb.

    1) Your description makes it seem like all things created in Thrive Architect using a Thrive Theme will render correctly without any tinkering of modifications. Is this correct?

    2) Regarding the ‘Redirect’ issue you spoke about for categories… I did set one of these up for a Silo I constructed after taking Shane’s course on SEO. I am not a tech person so I have no idea what all this is really about. So, will I have to do anything about this, per the video explanation you gave? Or, is this something I won’t have to worry about because I created all this in Thrive Themes?

    After watching this, I am left with many more questions and I have to wonder if making this change is really needed and the best thing for me to do.

    • Hi,
      First things first, if you’re happy with your site, there’s no actual need to change 🙂

      Secondly to answer your questions:
      1) Yes all things created in Thrive Architect will look exactly the same as they do now.

      2) You would have to redirect the category page to that page, which is simple to do and I’m fairly certain Shane actually shows how to do it in the course.

  • Aloha Hanne,

    Many thanks for all the detailed information in Lesson 2.

    After seeing and heraring all what has to be done to have a smooth transition from an existing theme to TTB — I was wondering whether it would not be much simpler and faster to just start anew with TTB.

    Question: Does TTB work with WPML?


    • Hi HansPeter,
      To be fair, yes it is 😀 Much easier (but not everyone has that option) and to answer your other question, no for the moment there is no integration with WPML.

      • Aloha Hanne,
        Thanks ever so much for clarifying.

        Any idea when integration with WPML will be available?
        Once WPML is available — will it be a smooth ride to install and use it?

      • Aloha Hanne,

        Funny !

        Considering that Shane grew up in Switzerland with four (4) official languages — and Thrive Theme is only able to make one (1) language websites?

      • The number of our users that need a multi lingual web site in comparison to something like WooCommerce compatibility is too small. Not saying that we’ll never do it, but we have to prioritise.

        It wouldn’t be a problem if it was a quick and easy implementation, but it’s actually a really tricky implementation to get right and not very heavily requested.

      • Hey Hanne,

        If I were to start a new website from scratch using TTB instead of switching themes to TTB, do I create the new one in the staging site and then merge to the live site?

        Thanks again for your help!

      • O no,no need to do that 🙂 You can simply start your new website on the real domain.

  • Hello Hanne, 2 quick questions. I learned about you from Affilorama and they promote you. Is this going to make it easier to make that change? And should I get all my FTP info from them?

  • Hi Hanne,

    About a year ago I created a subdomain for my WooCommerce shopping cart to keep from inadvertently “messing it up” while making changes to my main site.

    I redirected all “shop” buttons to the new url for the subdomain ( It works fine, just doesn’t look quite the way I’d like it to.

    Every once in a while a long time customer will place an order, but it comes via the “old” shopping cart that’s still attached to the main website (even though, as I said, the “shop” links are directed to

    I don’t know how a few customers can still access the “old” shopping cart.

    So here’s my question: If I switch to Thrive Theme Builder, do you think everyone clicking the “shop” button will go to the subdomain (

    I have a coffee roasting business, and website related stuff does not come naturally to me.

    I appreciate everything you guys do to simplify my business (and my life)!!!!

    • Hi Bert,

      Please do not switch to TTB when using WooCommerce. The two are not compatible at the moment 🙁

  • Hi Hanne,
    I sell digital products. Is Easy Digital Downloads compatible with Thrive Theme Builder and Shapeshifter?
    Thanks, ~Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      I did a quick test and as far as I can see EDD uses shortcodes and custom post types which both are supported by Thrive Theme Builder. You won’t be able to visually edit any of the EDD elements but you can design everything around it.
      Let me know your findings!

  • Hi Hanne,

    Thank you for all your help with this. If we were to create the staging site and then, after trying to make the transition, decide we want to keep our current Thrive theme (I’m using Minus now), could we just scrap the project in the staging site?

    Will Thrive eventually discontinue the legacy themes?

    • Hi Eddie,

      As long as you don’t merge the staging site back with your live site, your live site won’t change (so it will keep your old theme).
      And yes, we will discontinue the legacy themes. This doesn’t mean that your website will stop working, but it means that we will not develop the theme anymore.

  • Hello Hanna
    Congratulations to all your exlanations- Great as usual
    One question mybe dum… but I got a knot in my brain:

    At the moment I´m using a child theme of ignition
    Do I need a Child theme again using (Shapeshift Theme) Theme Builder in future (I assume there will come update of theme builder in future.

    Thank you

    • Hi Michael,

      No you don’t need a child theme for Theme Builder because Shapeshift (and the customizations you’re making) are independent from the actual Theme Builder (that you will update)

  • Hi Hanna, great info!

    I paid a web designer (2 years ago) to build our new site and she recommended Thrive Themes and Thrive Architect. She took a new full time job with a Digital Marketing agency and never fully finished the project. The site is live, but not knowing fully what she did, I’ve only put a few posts and pages and have never fully added to the site on a regular basis. Instead I’ve just focused on adding content to our Youtube channel, and Facebook groups.

    I think making the move makes a lot of sense for us, and based on what I’ve seen so far would probably be adding content to the site on a more regular basis with the new theme builder.

    My question is this, since I’m not sure what she did is there someone I can hire to do an audit, or should I just scrap what I paid her for, and start over?

    • Hi Sherman,

      Sorry we have no recommended freelancers for this. But I know you can find them on Upwork or other platforms

  • Hello Hanne,

    I have 2 questions:

    1) I have Genesis as a parent theme. I have no child theme because all the design of my website ( I did with Thrive architect.

    > Is it really necessary to do all this preparation?

    2) I like the design of my website that I did with Thrive architect. Now I will start with the blog.

    > Why isn’t the option to “change template” in the posts as they appear on the pages?

    When creating a post, there is a default Genesis pre-design that covers it with the pages with the option to “change template”. With a post I don’t know how to do it.

    Thank you very much for the help.

    • Hi Alexis,

      Seems like for you, because you used Thrive Architect to create your site, switching from Genesis to Thrive Theme Builder should be really easy and won’t affect the pages you have on your site now.

      Couple of things though:
      If the pages are NOT landing pages, you might have to create a “blank” page in Thrive Theme Builder and assign that to the pages you have on your site now (so that you won’t see any different top sections or bottom sections etc. show up.

      Because your site is still on Genesis, it’s normal that you won’t see the change template because that is a Thrive Theme Builder functionality…

      On the pages, when you use the “change template” button (the cloud with the arrow) from Thrive Architect, you are actually overriding your theme by a landing page. You can’t do that with posts which is why Thrive Theme Builder is so powerful… It allows you to design those templates from scratch.

      • Thank you very much for your answer Hanne.

        One last thing…

        If I buy Thrive Theme Builder I will no longer need a parent theme like genesis?

        I understand that Thrive Theme Builder acts as both a parent theme and a child theme.

        It is right?

      • Exactly, Thrive Theme Builder (the theme tech) and Shapeshift (the design) will replace your current theme: Genesis (and whatever child theme you have running)

    • Ken we didn’t consciously build a full integration with Ad Inserter but I’ve just tested it on one of my test sites and it seems to work fine with Theme Builder and Architect content.

      There are quite a lot of options in the plugin, so I haven’t tested them all, but I managed to place an ad after 2 paragraphs in the content on all posts without any issues. This leads me to believe that Ad Inserter can read the content and that most settings should work.

  • Hi 🙂

    Thanks for a great video.

    Could you please help regarding step 4? I´ve installed the all-in-one WP migration plug-in, but what to do then? How do I create the staging enviroment?

    Kind regards,

  • I just used Shortcodes Finder for my list of shortcodes.

    1. Most seem to start with ‘tcb’ – I guess from Thrive Content Builder days. Does that mean I will lose all these too? eg. I have 32 pages using tcb_the_id and 32 pages using tcb_featured_image_url etc. The only one that is different is thrive_global_fields.

    2. I also insert a shortcode in the content area of each blog to show the Easy Social Share Buttons (a social share plugin). Am I right in assuming that I wont lose these as they are not theme related shortcodes?

    • Hi Lisa,

      2. Yes indeed you wouldn’t loose those as long as you keep the plugin
      1. Can you show a page that’s using this shotcode? I don’t wanna make any false promises. TCB is indeed Thrive Content Builder, but if they are still working today (and I’m guessing you do not have TCB installed anymore but switched to Thrive Architect then it might still work. But like I said, I’m not 100% sure about this.

  • Dear Hanne, many thanks for the step by step instructions.
    I intend to start a new website from scratch using TTB instead of switching themes to TTB, but unlike the similar comment by someone else here I plan to do this in the staging site first because the main site has too many pages.

    Now, I have several pages in my current site which contain a booking form linked to a credit card payment portal, creatd by a web developer using the Contact Form 7 plugin. Would I be able to use the shortcodes generated by this plugin? And if yes, how do I do this?

    I tried copying the codes over to a new page created with Thrive Architect but I couldn’t to get it to work.

    Thanks again for your help!

    • Hi Euchai,

      If you still have Contact form 7 installed, the shortcodes should still work.
      You might have to ask your developer if they added code to your theme for this to work.

      • Thanks Hanne. My query was written some time back and since then a friend has helped solved the problem with new scripts in functions.php. Thanks again for taking the time to read it and reply!

  • My site is pretty dead. I have content on it but have not worked on it & want to do a total redo of it. I’m not really getting visitors ( at least I don’t think so) & have mainly been using it for opt in landing pages. Nothing will happen if it’s not available for a few days. Do I still need it staged?

    • Probably not really… But I would do a backup of your site with a tool like backupbuddy. This will make a copy of your database so that you can always restore if something goes wrong (which is rare but still…)

  • Dear Hanne,

    my current website is created with elegantthems and divi.

    Is it possible to switch to thrivethemes?

    Thank you!

    • Hi David,

      Yes it is 🙂 however you’ll want to make sure you have a staging environment and Divi is big fan of shortcodes so you might have to spend some time finding and replacing those!

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}