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#65 – Bob Dunn on Building a WooCommerce Community – WP Tavern

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#65 – Bob Dunn on Building a WooCommerce Community – WP Tavern
[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley.

Jukebox has a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case building a WooCommerce community.

If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or by going to WPTavern.com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcast players.

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the show, I’m very keen to hear from you, and hopefully get you all your idea on as soon as possible. Head over to WPTavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox, and use the form there.

So on the podcast today, we have Bob Dunn. If you’ve been using WordPress for any length of time, and you’ve been consuming content in the ecosystem, it’s highly likely that you’ve come across Bob before. He’s been using WordPress since 2006, WooCommerce since 2011, and has been podcasting since 2014. In another life before he discovered WordPress, Bob ran a marketing company, but now his endeavors are all about WordPress.

We talk about how Bob found WordPress back in the day, when he was creating websites with HTML and Flash. Bob branded himself as BobWP, and has never looked back. After several years of running an agency alongside his content creation, in 2014 Bob decided to go all in on his content and building a community around it.

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As you’ll hear, he tried a variety of different formats, some of which worked, and others which fell by the wayside. But it was all a journey to where he is now.

Given the size of the WordPress community, Bob was able to discover his niche within the greater whole and concentrate upon WoCommerce. His popular Do the Woo podcast was born, and he’s been working on it ever since.

We talk about how Bob has managed to keep the momentum going, and what he thinks are unique about his podcast and community. It’s not about growing a group or worrying about the number of listeners. For Bob, it’s about creating meaningful connections and working to make his community a worthwhile place to be for himself, his cohosts and consumers of his content.

We talk about how growing a community such as this can be financed, as well as the ways that Bob is trying to innovate in the near future to give value back to the WordPress project more generally.

It’s an interesting conversation about how content creators can find a place in the WordPress ecosystem, and what impact they can have.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all the links in the show notes by heading to WPTavern.com forward slash podcast. Where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.

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And so, without further delay, I bring you Bob Dunn.

I am joined on the podcast today by Bob Dunn. Hello, Bob. [00:04:05] Bob Dunn: Hey Nathan, thanks for having me on. I’m pretty excited to be here. [00:04:08] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, you’re very welcome. Thank you. Bob is known to me because we’ve met in the real world, and I’ve been following his podcast for many, many years. But if you don’t know Bob, let’s give you the opportunity to introduce yourself. So it’s a fairly bland question. I’m sorry about that. But it’s the one that we usually start with. Just give us a bit of background, tell us who you are, what your relationship is with WordPress and so on. [00:04:32] Bob Dunn: Okay. Before WordPress, before I even got into WordPress, I ran a marketing company. My wife and I ran a marketing company, and these were the days of print design. So that’s kind of was my background for, for many, many years. And eventually moved into WordPress, which is another little story in itself, but was just looking for something simple and easy to segue into the web as far as our business.

And in 2006, I started playing with WordPress. Got into it more and more. My wife was blogging on Typepad, I believe, at the time. So I was thinking, well, maybe we should check out this blogging thing on WordPress. Got into that. That was what appealed to me first off.

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And then secondly was the fact that I had spent, in my other business doing these horrible HTML websites with Flash, and they were just atrociously, they were a horror. And I thought, I’ve got to find something simpler that I can make a nice, clean website for clients. I don’t need anything fancy, and I found that with WordPress and actually did in, I think, 2018, my first WordPress site for our business. And from there it was history. In 2010, I branded BobWP. I’ve been training, I’ve done just about everything in WordPress, or at least tried everything except development. And I’m, where I’m at today with, Do The Woo, which is a WooCommerce builder community site. But yeah, it’s been an interesting and fun journey. [00:06:06] Nathan Wrigley: How did you decide that you were going to turn your attention to what it is that you now do mostly, which is community building and podcasting? Was there a moment in time where you thought, I no longer wish to actually build sites and deal with clients? I want to concentrate on the content creation and the community building. [00:06:25] Bob Dunn: Yeah, around 2014 was when I stopped doing service work, designing sites specifically. I just was burned out. It was to the point where I would almost dread if somebody contacted me to put a site together, and I think it’s just because I’d been doing, at that point, between that and our other business, I’ve been doing client services for a good, probably 23 years or 24 years.

And I thought, man, this isn’t the way to work with clients. I’m not giving them what they deserve. If I have that kind of attitude and I’m just dreading the next project. Ever since the beginning of my involvement with WordPress, the community always played a part. That was a part that really, was always there and always moved me forward.

Back in 2007, 2008, I was on another online community, and it was very unique. I’m not going to get into the explanation of it, take a little bit too long, but that got me more involved in community, online and both in person. And that stuck with me, the community all the way through.

And now the podcasting came along. I was a content maker. In 2007 I went to a workshop with some colleagues of mine, and it was on podcasting and they really wanted me to start a podcast. And I thought, well, this is very intriguing. I was looking at what I was doing. Uh, I don’t have the bandwidth for this. So I told them maybe someday, and that someday came like, I don’t know how many years later. 2014 is when I started the first podcast, and Matt Madeiros, which many of your listeners know from Matt Report and WP Minute. He was doing podcasting way back then too, and he kept poking at me.

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And we had a pretty good relationship, we talked a lot. And again, since we were both content makers, he said, come on Bob, you got to try podcasting. So he was never like, down my throat, but every once in a while we’d be talking and he’d go, oh, when you going to start that podcast? So between his less than annoying poking at me, and then having waited, I thought this is prime time.

So in 2014, I said, I got to try this podcasting thing. And I did one for about a year and I called it WP Breakdown. And I thought it was very clever because I was essentially repeating what I did with tutorials and stuff. I was writing, breaking down WordPress. But then I also thought of the frustration of WordPress, somebody having a breakdown with WordPress. So I thought it was clever. I don’t know if anybody ever really got that from the title.

But they were 10, 15 minute monologue podcasts that I did. And I wasn’t really thrilled with it. I think it was a format I had. So after a little over a year I said, I got to quit this. This is just me rambling, regurgitating what I’m writing down somewhere else. I need to wait till something hits me and then I’ll start up again. [00:09:38] Nathan Wrigley: That’s nice. I confess that I don’t think in all the years that I’ve been podcasting, I don’t think I’ve had the courage to do any monologue kind of thing. It’s always been an interview. So either with one person or multiple people. I don’t quite know why that is, but I’ve always found it much more easy to get conversation going, than to persuade myself to sit there and write something that I assume people would want to listen to. [00:10:05] Bob Dunn: Yeah, and I’d always been told, even in the early days of my other career, people always told me, you got to do something Bob. You either need to go into being a DJ or a minister, because of your voice. And I thought, well, you know, you don’t go into something just because of your voice. And that’s where a few people started poking me at podcasting.

Oh, you have a voice for podcasting. I said, well, that’s nice, but it would be better if I had the time and the resources and everything else that comes along with it. The voice alone isn’t going to do it. And I’ve had a, I’ve had a few monologue ones. I’ve had a few interview. I’ve actually done seven podcasts since 2014.

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[00:10:44] Nathan Wrigley: That’s really rather a lot. It always amazes me that the community surrounding the WordPress project is big enough that it can have so many little niches. So, you know, if you’ve got a plugin that does one particular thing, that may well afford you a lifestyle, if you can sell it and upsell it and shift some licenses, then you can have a lifestyle there.

But also that extends to things like you and I both do. It’s amazing to me that there are enough people out there who are into WordPress that it can support multiple different podcast channels and YouTube channels and all sorts of content creation, tutorials, but also podcasts like you’re listening to now. I find that extraordinary. [00:11:29] Bob Dunn: Yeah, it is amazing. And I think when I was doing it by myself, I realized that no, this isn’t right. This isn’t meant to be me just being here by myself doing some monologue. I’m not really enjoying it. And I think that was a community part of it, nagging at me, because when I started Do the Woo, I think I did one or two episodes and I said basically, screw this, I’ve got to get a co-host at least.

And I reached out to Brad Williams from WebDevStudios. He said, would love to do it. We did a few by ourselves and then I thought even two people week after week or whatever the cadence was back then. Is it really what I want to do? Is it really what the listeners want to hear? The two of us talking week after week. So shortly after that we started bringing in guests. [00:12:26] Nathan Wrigley: I’ve tried my hand at community building with things like Facebook groups and so on. Various different ways of getting the community going, but that feels like an area where you are really concentrating. So it’s not true to say that you do the podcast. You do the podcast plus you have these endeavors to build community. You’ve got a variety of different people helping you create the podcast, but also you are trying to create a community around the podcast. How’s that going and what’s the intention there? [00:13:00] Bob Dunn: I think that, I started with building community around BobWP. So the brand in 2010 that I started, that helped make the way for building other communities, because it’s real hard to build, have these other grandeur ideas and not have built your own community yourself. So I did that, and when I really sat down and started looking at building community and I read books and I listened to the people that were experts in building community and I saw a lot of things and I thought, this just doesn’t, there’s something that doesn’t jive with what I want to do.

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And what I discovered was two things that I was looking at building a community. I call it without the noise and without the metrics. And what I mean by that is without the noise, when I first started the idea of Do the Woo and building a community for the WooCommerce builder. Everybody would ask me the question, so are you doing a Slack channel? Are you doing a Facebook group? Is this like a Discord? Where are you building this community? I said, I’m not doing any of those. And they were just kind of pause.

My idea was that, and as painful as it sounds, that I would need to build community, basically one person at a time. That I didn’t need to prove that I have a community of thousands of people, or I have this group that has 10,000 people in it. Because the impact was more important to me than the number. Because as all of us know, you can have 20,000 followers on Twitter, and you engage with maybe 2% of them if you’re lucky.

So there’s that metric that doesn’t mean that your community’s successful or not, I really feel that way. The metric is the communication you’re having with individuals. How you’re connecting people. And that tied into less noise.

I didn’t need a bunch of people in a group on Discord and have them all talking away to each other. We have plenty of opportunities to do that, and I didn’t need to add something to that pile. So taking that in mind and moving ahead with those two, I call them my goals or my mantras, I guess. It’s gone very well because, what I see is, when I have people on the podcast, I have a certain amount of hosts, and our podcast is a little unique to the space because I have like, I believe, nine or 10 co-hosts now that do the different shows.

I kind of mix them up. They all have their different personalities. They bring in a different perspective. And the connections that have been made between hosts and guests and guests and guests and hosts and hosts has been amazing. And it’s not this, like I said, huge number that I’m going to just worry about achieving and saying, join this community of 10,000 people, 20,000. Whatever I want it. Join this community where people are connecting with each other in different ways. And that’s what I think the podcasting has really brought to it.

And you, you have your weekly Monday podcast where you bring in three different people. With you, I’m sure that same thing is happening. You’re building the WP Builds community that way because they’re all connecting. You have the people that come in and listen to the chat. You have guests that maybe have listened to other guests, who knows, they may have reached out to each other. Sometimes we hear about those stories, sometimes we don’t.

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And those are the things that are impactful to me. And I think that’s a way to really build community versus these steps that people go through. And there’s nothing wrong with having Facebook groups. There’s nothing wrong with having Discord groups. They all have their place. But personally for me, I knew the direction I needed to go. [00:17:05] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. In order to allow yourself the time to put into this project. Whatever it is given the time that this podcast is released, wherever you’ve got to. But in order to give yourself the time, you obviously need to finance that. And I’m wondering how that works for you. Do you have relationships with companies? Are you sponsored in certain ways? How do you deal with paying the bills essentially? [00:17:34] Bob Dunn: Yeah, it’s old sponsorships and it’s a tough row. You can get sponsors, no problem. You can get sponsors if you don’t have listeners. They put out all these things that maybe have worked for them. A lot of it is who you know. A lot of it is your own community build up. And a lot of it is luck, I think. So yes, I have currently 12 pod friends that are my major sponsors, and then I have some spots for smaller sponsors.

When I started my first podcast or one of my first, it was, Do the Woo actually, in the early years, changed to a podcast called WPeCommerce. When I started that podcast, out of the gate, I started with sponsors and I was able to get some people to come in and support me. Now, easier said than done. I had a lot of, as you mentioned, a lot of connections in the space. I had already built up a lot of relationships. I built up a brand, whatever that brand may convey, but it obviously was something that sponsors found value in.

Now, you can only carry that so far. You have to really start delivering and you have to, you have to be honest with your sponsors. And how I do it is, a lot of times you will, how do I want to say this? Sponsors will have expectations, and those expectations might be metrics. How many listeners do you have? How many click-throughs am I going to have?

Now, if you don’t have that or that isn’t your main goal, as I said before, with my community, I’m not looking at so much the metrics. I’m looking at the impact it has. Then you’ve got to turn around, sell that. And that’s what I do is I sell the impact of what my sponsors are doing for the community.

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And that’s not an easy sell, let me tell you. And not everybody has a budget to spend the money on that. So I’m fortunate. It’s something that when time comes around to get sponsors, it’s not like I just sit back and send out 12 emails and I get 12 yeses. It does take work and it’s not something I recommend for everyone.

You know, there’s a lot of other ways you can fund your efforts. But if you really are able to do it full-time and put into it all your blood, sweat, and tears. And also decide what else you can provide through those sponsorships. Let me kinda step back. I’m kind of going off on a weird tangent.

One of the biggest things I can ask anybody if you’re going to do a sponsorship, whether it’s for a podcast for a community, is two things. Be creative and be flexible. If you send out and you say, hey, this is what you get, case closed, we’re done. Great. If that’s it, and it works, fine. But the only way you can grow a sponsorship, grow trust from sponsors is to throw in some creativity to really basically give them a little bit more of an open book than saying this is what we deliver during this period of time, and that’s it.

And that is what’s going to help you. And it helps them to understand more of what you’re actually doing with the podcast or the community, whatever it may be. Versus just saying, you get this and that’s it. If that makes sense. I kind of went off on a little tangent there and kind of got a little away from community, but the sponsorship is a real, I wish it was cut and dry is what I wish it was.

And I could say, hey, you know, just do this and you’ll be happy, and life will go on and you can go out and smell the roses and live your life. But it can be frustrating, can be challenging, but if you work on it hard enough, you’ll find that sweet spot. [00:21:31] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, you only have to go to events like WordCamps to see that WordPress has this giant commercial bit to it. There’s hundreds of companies at those events vying for your attention, and they may have booths, they may have great big areas of the exhibition hall if you like, devoted to their product or service. Or it may just be that they turn up and walk the halls and try to meet new people and forge relationships, set up meetings and what have you. So there’s a very large proportion of people in the WordPress space who want to sell into that space. And then along comes somebody like you who is directly talking to those people.

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And so I can see that the match is really good. You are essentially a conduit. You’re a short circuit between people who’ve got a product that they wish to sell, and trying to find that audience and it’s hard to build that audience. And I would imagine in many cases, those companies, they really don’t have the resources to build their own independent audience.

So the idea of piggybacking of the hard work that you’ve done over many years must seem very appealing. But also, yeah, I guess they’ve got their constraints in terms of whether they’ve got the budget, what their success criteria are and so on. But do you see yourself as that middle man, if you like? The person that sits between the community who want to listen to authentic people talking in authentic ways, and the companies who want to get their product and service to that audience, but possibly don’t know quite how to do it. [00:23:08] Bob Dunn: That’s exactly how I sell my sponsorships. I’m there to be an advisor. I’m there to be somebody that a sponsor can throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. I can give them my impressions of what’s going on in the community. For our new year with our sponsors, a big part of that is me being a conduit. I mean it’s like, I tell my sponsors it’s, it’s a horrible way to say this, but use and abuse me. I’m here to help you make connections. If you want to talk to somebody, if you want to meet somebody. If I see a potential conversation that I feel would be valuable to whoever and the sponsor, and neither one of them have had any inclination about this may be happening.

I’ll come right to them and say, hey, I’ve talked to so-and-so and I really think you should connect with this person. And at the same time, connecting with the different guests we have, I’ve had some sponsors that have actually connected with guests. In the next 12 months, as a group, what our sponsors are doing as part of their sponsorships now, and this kind of brings a other piece of the community back in, certain percentage of their sponsorship will go right back in to fund some of the things that we’re seeing and doing in the space right now as far as sending people to WordCamps, sending contributors to contributor days.

Helping contributors basically finance all the hours and efforts they’re putting into things. So I thought, what better way, especially for sponsors that may not know where to put that money, where they’ll get the most value for it, putting it back into the community. I want to be that conduit. [00:25:04] Nathan Wrigley: So some of the sponsorship money that you’re receiving in this particular year, you are turning that round and recycling it back to people in your community to help them, as you described, get to WordCamp events. But also I would imagine there’s other things. But that’s the intention is to siphon off a certain proportion of your sponsorship revenue and repurpose it to help community members.

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[00:25:28] Bob Dunn: Right. And that’s one of the things, I did it as, I increased my sponsorship and as a added benefit that yes, let’s put this pocket of money together. Again, you may not know where to put it. But I can find the best places. I can talk to the right people. I can make sure that I’m not reinventing the wheel because there’s several organizations being put together, the WP Community Collective, all these other ones that will be able to help with this, and I can partner with them.

So I’m real big with partnerships, finding the right place to put the money. I’m just not going to put some form on my site and say, okay, apply to be sent here, or to fund your project or whatever. I want to strategically make sure the sponsors monies are going to the right place. [00:26:19] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. That’s really interesting. So there’s that as part of your community, but I know you’ve got quite a few irons in the fire and ideas circulating around. Depending on the time that this podcast is released, maybe those ideas will have changed. But right now, as of when we’re recording this, what are the goals, if you like for Bob and Do the Woo and the community around that for this coming year. [00:26:43] Bob Dunn: I really want to get even more people involved, reach more of the underrepresented globally. One big thing is that we want to reach out a lot more global and some of the pockets, especially in the Woo Builder. And it’ll be WooCommerce, I mean WordPress as well. But, it’s getting into those communities and elevating their voices.

Essentially that is what my whole podcast is about. No matter how I do it. I’ve got several different ideas aside from having somebody come in as a guest, I’m going to be doing some panels, some live feeds, and I’d like to define it as a podcast for the community by the community.

So there’s some real interesting pieces we’re looking at. We’re looking at bringing in a few podcasts that will be in native languages, because a lot of my guests, English is not their first language. I feel they struggle a little bit with really expressing themselves, like they would want to express themselves. And I can’t do this a lot, but I thought how great would that be to have, let’s say I’m just going to pick out a country in Europe, France.

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I get a couple guests, host. We get a couple guests for them and I basically give them a little bit of direction of what they want to talk about. Probably something WooCommerce, and let them do it in French, and go at it. And this is something that I want to do to give back to those little communities in all these different countries. At least saying, hey, you’re at least special enough and you’re part of this community that we want to at least give you this almost as a gift, and give you the opportunity to raise your voice, but in your own language.

I’m doing a Friday show that I call WooBits, and I’m going to open it up and have a guest co-host come in with me each week and I’ll pick out a topic or two and we’ll just have a conversation. Again, this will be very open. It’s just somebody that wants the opportunity to kind of talk on the level as a co-host, but not have the commitment of doing this on a regular basis or starting their own podcast.

And again, all around elevating their voices. Yeah, there’s several things I’m trying to think of what else is coming to mind, but I’m somebody that likes to think I have these things in place and these ideas in place, but I’m sure organically over the next however many months, other ideas will come and in other great possibilities. And a lot of those do come through the sponsors too. I constantly talk to them and say, do you have some unique idea you wanted to do with the community? Let’s see if we can do something under the guise that Do the Woo and make it happen. [00:29:42] Nathan Wrigley: Given that you are now doing the Do the Woo podcast, and you’ve gone down the rabbit hole of WooCommerce exclusively really. Why did you decide to do that and not focus on WordPress as a whole? Because, obviously WordPress as a whole is much bigger. So why the fascination with Woo was it that you were just more interested in that when you began this journey, or did it just seem like a nice niche to be involved in? What was the thinking there? [00:30:12] Bob Dunn: Boy, that’s a, that’s a good question. I wish I could say it’s as easy as I was drinking one night and decided to do it. But that would be too simple. The whole journey to Woo, I mean, I’ve been involved with WooCommerce since the beginning. I used to use their themes in their early days when their were WooThemes, so I knew them as a company.

I knew, I’ve known a lot of the people there. It was a product that just always impressed me from the time it was released. During my sprint of doing more tutorials and stuff on bobwp.com, a few years back, I decided to focus on WooCommerce only because I knew there was a market, because I was into affiliate marketing at that time. And I knew there was a need.

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So that was just general topics, writing about plugins, extensions, things like that. But then the more I got into it, and the more I talked to people at WooCommerce, and the more I talked to people involved with WooCommerce, I felt like the community was of builders who were a little fragmented. And I took upon myself, I thought, what if I was able to actually start bringing them together? Start raising their voices.

And, I realized that the Woo Builder community was very fragmented and they were all doing their own thing. And I, I just thought, okay, with as much experience that I’ve put into WooCommerce, and it just was a natural segue for me. Something just told me along the way to get into it more and more. I felt here’s an opportunity to do something more than just a podcast. Do something community wise. So I, I actually talked to a lot of people over a period of about seven or eight months before I even kicked off Do the Woo, to really get a feel of if this is something that is viable. And everything led me that way.

So, there was that initial interest always using WooCommerce, and it just built on it over the years. And the interesting thing about it is that as much as we talk about WooCommerce, I’m finding I talk just as much about WordPress, in conversations on the podcast and stuff, because obviously WooCommerce is built on top of WordPress. So it’s a slash, you know, Do the Woo, do the WordPress type of thing. Except that that’d be really cumbersome to call it that.

But the two overlap so much that the love and the interests I’ve had in WordPress for so many years fits in. And WooCommerce is a large, large piece of software. A lot of sites out there. And I was hoping by talking especially to people in other countries and their challenges and how they have built these little Woo communities, other places that none of us know about.

I thought, well, it was sure it’d be nice to get them a little bit more noticed and hopefully active and do that in any way I can through the site. I’m kind of going back into community, but something that just grew over time and I just decided to run with it because I really knew that, I just saw the potential for that community. And just a side fact, when I started Do the Woo, I did several episodes of it and I actually flipped over then to a podcast called WPeCommerce Show. And I did that for almost two years, four years I think. And there was probably well over 2, 300 episodes. And that was a more generalized WordPress and e-commerce.

And towards the end of it, I was having this nagging feeling. I wanted to kick Do the Woo back into things. So I actually started to Do the Woo up again. Did both of them at the same time, and eventually decided to end the WPeCommerce and focus on WooCommerce.

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[00:34:17] Nathan Wrigley: Do you, given that you are really keen on e-commerce and WooCommerce in particular, and probably keep your eye very closely on how it’s being developed. What’s your feelings for 2023, or indeed the last year? What have you enjoyed in the space? So I’m thinking particularly not about the community there, but some of the bits and pieces that have rolled out into WooCommerce. What’s been exciting, what’s been interesting? What products or services have you seen which you thought, ah, that’s one to watch, or that’s been good to see? [00:34:49] Bob Dunn: You know, I hate to admit this, but I’ve gotten to a point in the last two, three years that I keep on top of WooCommerce by proxy. Because I feel like I’ve been put in a position to put all these other people on, a lot smarter than me, and get the people that really know what they’re talking about to talk about WooCommerce.

I think what I’ve noticed most about WooCommerce, and this is maybe, I’m not a developer, I don’t build sites anymore, so sometimes my attention kind of weighs away from some of that stuff, and I get too maybe focused on the people. But I like the growth they’ve been doing. I feel like they’re not just going, you know, crazy. They’re not this like bam, bam, bam. Tons of features, tons of features, flipping this, flipping that. Adding stuff all the time. They, they are taking their time and they’re doing it right, even with blocks.

How long that they’ve taken to bring in Woo Blocks and the discussion around the product page and will the product page stay as it is, or will it become entirely block based? They don’t rush into anything. And sometimes I know maybe for some people that’s frustrating, but for myself as a business person and somebody that’s been in tech for a while, and just having talked to a lot of people. I think the thing that I’ve noticed. Even though the progress is moving fast in a lot of ways, they keep up with the right things, but they don’t push the envelope so much that they overdo it.

And I think that’s the thing I’ve seen the most. And when I have people talk about WooCommerce, I’ve recognized the most is that they’re doing it at a pace that’s good and they’re doing it right, and that’s, my takeaway is. And even when I listen to them talk about what they have in the future, it’s not like this, we have dozens of things we want to do. It’s more of a logical, step by step versus just piling it on. So I think that’s probably my biggest takeaway. And, it is from a bigger, maybe a more bird’s eye view. [00:37:10] Nathan Wrigley: Given that you’ve changed your career several times, you’ve flipped between different jobs. If we cast your eye into the crystal ball over the next few years, do you see yourself still doing this? Do you have as much energy and passion for it now as you did, and do you intend to keep doing Do the Woo? Or do you suspect that the future might offer something else?

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[00:37:37] Bob Dunn: Well, if anybody wants to buy Do the Woo, I’m always. No, I’m just kidding. We’re in the, age of acquisitions, no. Seriously, I’m at an age, I started WordPress at the age of, right before my 50th birthday, I started diving into WordPress. So I’m at an age where I’m not looking to come up with the next big and new thing for myself.

I’m really content with what I’m doing right now. So I’m think I’m in it for the long haul, because I think it’s going to be around. I don’t know how it will mold itself over the years. But my pivots that I’ve had over the years, and I’ve had several of them. They will be smaller pivots, but they’d still probably be within the realm of what I’m doing, versus just doing another whole swing. Now, I’m also somebody that says never say never, and you don’t know what the future holds. So don’t hold me to it. But I don’t have any, I have too many ideas for this still, and I think there’s still so much potential. I think I’m locked in for a while. [00:38:48] Nathan Wrigley: If anybody’s listening to this Bob, and they’re keen on e-commerce and WooCommerce in particular, and they never knew that you were trying to grow communities and connect people and all of that. Whether they’re from a company that might like to be on the one hand or the community member on the other. Where do they find you? Where’s the best places to get in touch with you and what you do? [00:39:09] Bob Dunn: Best place of course, you can always visit site, dothewoo.io. I do have a bobwp.com site. It’s a little bit lean right now. I’m kind of rebranding that. But dothewoo.io. And then on Twitter, I’m still hanging on Twitter. I mean, I’ll be there till they throw me off or something. You can find me @dothewoo, @bobwp. But basically look for BobWP on Mastodon, LinkedIn, all that stuff. You’ll find me there and that’ll connect you with Do the Woo. [00:39:43] Nathan Wrigley: Bob Dunn, thank you for chatting to me on the podcast today. I really appreciate it. [00:39:47] Bob Dunn: Thank you, Nathan. It was a true pleasure.

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Turkish startup ikas attracts $20M for its e-commerce platform designed for small businesses

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Turkish startup ikas attracts $20M for its e-commerce platform designed for small businesses

It’s easy to assume the e-commerce ship has sailed when you consider we have giant outfits like Shopify, WooCommerce and Wix dominating the sector. But the opportunity for e-commerce platforms that cater to brands remain vast and fertile, since so many smaller businesses continue foraying into the internet in the wake of the pandemic.

Further evidence of this has surfaced in the form of one of the largest fundraises by a startup in Turkey, given that the average Series A usually comes in at below $15 million. E-commerce platform ikas has raised $20 million in a Series A funding round as it seeks to expand its operations into new markets in Europe. The company currently operates in Turkey and Germany, and says its platform simplifies store management for companies that want to have a digital presence.

The investment was led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) fund, a venture arm of the World Bank Group.

ikas’ co-founder and CEO Mustafa Namoğlu told TechCrunch that the company would be using the new funding for international expansion in Eastern Europe and the DaCH region.

“Most of Europe is predominantly neglected or underserved by those U.S.-based giants,” he said. “The global platforms lack customer service in local languages. It looks easy to start with, for example, a Shopify. But once you start, you need to add other plugins, and you may even need an agency to run it.”

Namoğlu said ikas can win customers against other platforms because it’s more of a “fire and forget” platform. “The first reason our merchants pick us over others is storefront speed, which gives them higher conversion rates. You get this out of the box, even if you pay us €30 per month. The second reason is customer service. Thirdly, we bundle the payments and the shipping labels into our core product, which means you don’t need to go and negotiate with payment providers or shipping labels. You’re immediately ready to go,” he said.

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Namoğlu previously founded MUGO, a fashion distribution and retail company, and launched ikas in 2017 with co-founders Tugay Karaçay, Ömercan Çelikler and Umut Ozan Yildirim.

The IFC invests directly in companies as well as through PE and VC funds.

Also investing in ikas is Re-Pie Asset Management, which has grocery delivery startup Getir in its portfolio. The round saw participation from ikas’ existing investor Revo Capital, best known as the first institutional investor in Getir, Param, Midas and Roamless.

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Introducing the Public Pattern Library  – WordPress.com News

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Introducing the Public Pattern Library  – WordPress.com News

When it comes to website-building, WordPress themes set your site up for success by providing stylish, preselected options for fonts, colors, and layouts. Even though themes provide the overall aesthetic, you still need to build out the posts, pages, and templates on your site. That’s where block patterns come in!

The WordPress.com Pattern Library is your new go-to resource for finding any kind of pattern for your beautiful WordPress website. With hundreds of pre-built patterns to choose from across over a dozen categories, you’ll be covered no matter your website’s specific needs. 

What are patterns?

Block patterns are collections of blocks made to work seamlessly with our modern themes. Need an “About” page? Check. A gallery? Check. A testimonial? Check. How about a newsletter? Check. We have just about anything you’ll need. 

Best of all: for each pattern, the fonts, colors, and spacing will adapt to your theme’s settings, making for a cohesive look. Still, patterns aren’t locked or static either—after you’ve added the pattern to your post, page, or template, you can tweak it however you like. 

A tour of the Pattern Library 

This new public Pattern Library allows you to browse, preview, and easily share or implement whichever design speaks your tastes. Let’s take a look around. 

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Browse all categories 

If you want to explore the Pattern Library and don’t have anything in particular that you’re looking for, click through each category to spark some ideas. 

Search for what you need 

At the top, you’ll find a fast and easy-to-use search box, allowing you to find exactly what you need. This is a great option if you don’t feel like browsing and want to jump right into a solution for your specific needs. 

Explore page layouts 

1712811362 362 Introducing the Public Pattern Library – WordPresscom News

Sometimes you just need the components of a post, page, or template: a header, a “Subscribe” box, a store module, etc. Other times, you want to be able to copy and paste an entire page into existence. Scroll down past the categories and you’ll find our full-page patterns for whole pages: About, Blog, Contact, Store, and more. 

Test the mobile responsiveness for each pattern

When looking through the library on a desktop or laptop device, you’ll see a gray vertical bar next to each pattern. That’s a nifty little slider that we’ve built into the library which allows you to see how each pattern responds to different screen sizes. Using your cursor to move the bar to the left, you’ll see what that design looks like on a mobile device; in the middle is where most tablets fall; and scroll back all the way to the right for the desktop/laptop version. 

Copy and paste to your website 

Like what you see? Simply click the blue “Copy pattern” button, open the WordPress.com editor to the post, page, or template you’re working on, and paste the design. It’s that easy. Once inserted, you can customize each block as needed using the right sidebar. 

Your new favorite page-building tool

The Pattern Library is especially useful if you build websites for clients. Each pattern is built to work with any theme that follows our technical standards, speeding up page-building not just for you but also for your clients—all while maintaining the overall style of your theme. 

In concrete terms, this means that our patterns take font, color, and spacing settings from the theme itself rather than using standard presets. This makes it far less likely for a site to break (or just look off) when you—or a client—experiment and make updates. 

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Our goal is always to make your life both easier and more beautiful. This new resource does just that. Check out the WordPress.com Pattern Library today to enhance your website-building experience! 


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Thrive Architect vs Divi vs Elementor

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Thrive Architect vs Divi vs Elementor

Are you looking for a landing page builder for your WordPress site but are not sure whether to choose Thrive Architect, Divi, or Elementor?

Choosing the right page builder will allow you to customize your website and landing pages for better user experience and flexibility. This can help generate leads, increase conversions, and boost your site’s SEO.

In this article, we will compare Thrive Architect vs. Divi vs. Elementor and show you which page builder is best for your needs.

Which Is Better: Thrive Architect vs Divi vs Elementor

Brief Overview of Our Contenders

Thrive Architect, Divi, and Elementor are some of the best WordPress page builders on the market that come with drag-and-drop editors. They let you create attractive pages for your website without using a single line of code.

Thrive Architect is a powerful and beginner-friendly page builder that comes with 352+ pre-designed layouts and conversion-focused elements like buttons, countdown timers, and lead generation forms.

It also offers built-in SEO features, dynamic text, and A/B testing.

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Thrive ArchitectThrive Architect

Plus, the tool is part of the Thrive Themes Suite and can easily integrate with their other plugins like Thrive Optimize, Thrive Theme Builder, Thrive Leads, and more.

Divi is a visual page and theme builder that has an extensive library of over 2000 premade layouts.

It is part of the Elegant Themes family and offers amazing features like split testing, lead capture forms, mobile responsive design, and fast loading times.

Divi websiteDivi website

Finally, Elementor is also a popular website builder that was launched in 2016.

It has 100+ premade templates, form builders, and dynamic content, and comes with SEO tools to optimize your pages for search engines.

Elementor websiteElementor website

Having said that, let’s compare these WordPress page builders to see which one is better. We’ve broken down our comparison into the following sections:

Thrive Architect vs. Divi vs. Elementor – Ease of Use

When choosing a page builder, it is important to pick one that is beginner-friendly and super easy to use. The plugin should be designed in a way that even non-technical users can easily get the hang of it.

These tools must allow you to customize and create your landing pages without writing any code.

Let’s see how these three page builders compare to each other in terms of ease of use.

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Divi – Ease of Use

Divi offers a drag-and-drop builder that allows you to create or edit your WordPress theme and landing pages.

It has more than 100 premade layouts and lets you edit your WordPress site on the front end. This means that you can see different elements as they are added to your website in real time and make changes accordingly to them.

Divi website builderDivi website builder

However, a major downside of Divi is that it does not show you a menu with different blocks including text, image, or video like the other page builders in this article.

Instead, the builder lets you choose a layout for the section you want to add and then lets you pick an element.

Overall, Divi is fairly easy to use, but it will take some time for beginners to learn its landing page customization and editing process.

Elementor – Ease of Use

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Elementor has a powerful drag-and-drop builder that displays different block elements in the left column of the screen with a landing page preview on the right.

It also allows you to design mobile responsive pages by switching to mobile, desktop, and tablet views for the landing page.

Elementor drag and drop builderElementor drag and drop builder

Additionally, the builder lets you view your revision history by clicking the ‘History’ button at the bottom left corner of the screen.

However, the only downside of the tool is that it does not offer an easy way to undo or redo the changes you made to the page, except for going through the revision history and reverting your changes.

Elementor can be a bit overwhelming for beginners due to so many features and elements, which can cause choice paralysis. But once you get the hang of it, the tool is reasonably easy to use.

Thrive Architect – Ease of Use

Thrive Architect’s drag-and-drop Architect is super easy to use. It lets you design your pages from scratch and even allows you to edit and customize the pages already published on your website.

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You can add different elements to your page by clicking on the ‘+’ icon in the right corner of the screen. After that, you can edit the block’s position and layout in the column on the left.

You can also determine the scrolling behavior of the page and add animations and shadows to different elements on the screen from here.

Thrive Architect BuilderThrive Architect Builder

With Thrive Architect, you can also design your pages for different devices by expanding the ‘Responsive’ tab to configure the element’s visibility on mobile, desktop, or tablet.

You can also import/export your page content, set conditional logic, view the revision history, and revert previous changes by clicking the clock icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.

Plus, the tool lets you group related landing pages together and manage them as a unit, which can help if you want to share design elements or track conversions across multiple pages at the same time.

The page builder is also super fast and designed with speed in mind. This means that Thrive Architect won’t affect your website performance.

Winner – Thrive Architect

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All three plugins offer a drag-and-drop builder and were built with beginners in mind. These page builders make it super easy to create landing pages without using any code.

However, Thrive Architect is the winner in this category due to its easy revision history and ability to revert changes in seconds.

Thrive Architect vs. Divi vs. Elementor – Customization Features

Another important factor to remember when choosing a page builder is the customization features offered by these different plugins.

You should choose a page builder that offers complete flexibility and creative freedom over the appearance of your pages.

Let’s take a look at the customization features offered by Divi, Elementor, and Thrive Architect.

Divi – Customization Features

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Divi has around 2000 layouts and 200+ elements that you can use to create landing pages and themes.

It even comes with a full website pack for WordPress sites that includes templates for the homepage, contact page, and sales pages.

Divi templates and layout packsDivi templates and layout packs

Additionally, the tool has the Global Colors feature and lets you structure your content with unlimited sections and rows.

Other than that, Divi lets you add an accordion, CTA, contact form, filterable portfolio, testimonials, maps, post navigation, and social follow. It even comes with special elements for WooCommerce stores like breadcrumbs, cart totals, checkout information, and shipping.

The builder provides you complete control over each element by letting you change the font color, add hover styling, use filters and effects to enhance the appearance of any element, or use custom CSS.

Elementor – Customization Features

Elementor has over 300 premade templates for different niches and purposes, including eCommerce, coming soon, education, events, products, thank you pages, and more.

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Additionally, it lets you create custom headers and footers and add advanced effects like parallax scrolling, transitions, and animations.

Elementor templatesElementor templates

Elementor also offers over 100 widgets, including share buttons, countdown timers, post titles, and WooCommerce widgets. Other than that, you can use custom CSS to further style different page areas.

It also has some advanced customization features like conditional logic, global styles, adding custom code, or importing your fonts and icons.

Thrive Architect – Customization Features

Thrive Architect offers 352+ conversion-optimized templates for your landing pages. It also comes with smart color technology that lets you change the color scheme of your entire page in just one click.

It has premade templates for product launches, webinars, email capture pages, personal branding, coming soon pages, and home pages.

Thrive Architect templatesThrive Architect templates

Additionally, the plugin has global site options where you can centrally manage all your important data and links such as contact information, social links, and logos.

Thrive Architect ships with numerous blocks that you can use to customize your website, including pricing tables, lead generation forms, progress bars, post list filters, audio, image gallery, Google Maps, Facebook comments, and so much more.

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Thrive Architect also offers a vast library of Google Fonts from where you can select custom icons and fonts that are unique to your page.

Plus, the tool has special WooCommerce elements to help you build an online store, including product grids, single product pages, category pages, scarcity triggers, and social proof displays.

It also lets you add parallax scrolling, hover effects, and precise element spacing to create attractive landing pages. Other than that, the plugin allows you to add HTML attributes and custom CSS to different blocks easily.

Winner – Tie

Thrive Architect, Divi, and Elementor all provide a lot of different customization options that give you complete creative freedom over your landing page design.

You can select from any of the premade templates and further edit the appearance of each block by clicking on it. Additionally, you can perform advanced customization with custom CSS and code snippets.

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Thrive Architect vs. Divi vs. Elementor – Performance

Your website’s speed and performance have a crucial role in boosting your SEO rankings.

If it takes a long time for your page to load, then most users will leave your site frustrated, increasing the bounce rate.

To test the performance of each page builder, we created a simple landing page with a headline, an image, and a button using Divi, Elementor, and Thrive Architect. After that, we used Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to test the loading time for each landing page.

That being said, we will focus on the mobile page speed scores for this review because Google typically uses your site’s mobile version for indexing content.

Let’s see how the page builders perform.

Divi – Performance

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Once we had created a landing page with Divi, we tested it using the PageSpeed Insights tool, and it displayed an overall score of 90 for mobile.

This is an excellent score showing that your landing page loads quickly and users will not be leaving your site frustrated.

Divi landing page performance scoreDivi landing page performance score

Elementor – Performance

The landing page that we created using Elementor had an overall mobile score of 81, which is also good.

However, compared to the other two page builders, Elementor’s performance is slower. This means that your page may face slight delays in load time.

Elementor landing page performance score Elementor landing page performance score

Thrive Architect – Performance

Upon testing our landing page created by Thrive Architect, the PageSpeed Insights tool showed an overall score of 91 for mobile. It is an amazing score that confirms that your site won’t be slowing down when using this builder.

Thrive Architect landing page performance scoreThrive Architect landing page performance score

Winner – Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect performed slightly better than Divi and Elementor, scoring 91. The page builder avoids bloated code, which leads to faster speed and page load times.

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Thrive Architect vs. Divi vs. Elementor – Integrations

Integrating your landing pages with third-party tools can enhance your website’s functionality and add more features.

For instance, you can connect with live chat software to provide live chat support to your customers, connect with email marketing services to capture leads, or accept payments directly by integrating the page builder with Stripe or PayPal.

That said, let’s take a look at the plugins and tools supported by Divi, Elementor, and Thrive Architect.

Divi – Integrations

Divi can easily integrate with numerous email marketing services like Constant Contact, AWeber, and Brevo (formerly Sendinblue).

It also connects with WooCommerce and offers built-in WooCommerce blocks like add-to-cart buttons, cart notices, product ratings, and more.

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Divi integrationsDivi integrations

Other than that, the page builder integrates with Facebook, Google Fonts, HubSpot, FunnelKit, Twitter, and Google Maps.

Overall, it offers many integrations with all kinds of platforms, including social media, email services, and contact forms, making Divi a great choice.

Elementor – Integrations

Elementor offers a vast collection of third-party tools that you can integrate, including Constant Contact, Drip, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and AWeber. It also connects with WooCommerce and LearnDash if you have an LMS system.

However, a major downside with the page builder is that to choose an integration, you must first enter the API key for your preferred service in the Elementor plugin settings.

Elementor integrationsElementor integrations

Apart from that, Elementor can also integrate with WPForms, YouTube, Vimeo, Google Maps, SoundCloud, and Slack.

Thrive Architect – Integrations

Thrive Architect offers third-party integrations with a huge number of email marketing tools, including ActiveCampaign, Contant Contact, Drip, and ConvertKit.

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Other than that, you can easily connect with Slack, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, reCaptcha, SendOwl, HubSpot, Mailchimp, and many other tools.

Thrive Architect can also integrate with Zapier, which can be used to connect your landing page with over 5000 tools and automate your workflow.

Thrive Architect integrationsThrive Architect integrations

You can easily integrate the page builder with any third-party tool by visiting the Thrive Dashboard page. From here, select the ‘Active Connections’ section.

You can then choose a tool to integrate with from the dropdown menu and add its API key to connect it with Thrive Architect.

Connect a tool in Thrive ArchitectConnect a tool in Thrive Architect

Winner – Tie

When it comes to integrations, all three page builders offer a lot of variety and also make it super easy to connect your landing pages with other third-party tools.

Plus, you can also connect any of these plugins with Zapier to access a huge number of other tools for integration.

Thrive Architect vs. Divi vs. Elementor – Customer Support

When creating a landing page, you may come across an issue or get stuck and need help.

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This is where customer support comes in. You might need to chat with a support team member, access documentation, or watch tutorials to easily fix your issue and move forward with the page creation process.

Here’s how Divi, Elementor, and Thrive Architect stack up when offering support to users.

Divi – Customer Support

Divi offers support with a detailed knowledge base including FAQs, troubleshooting guides, hosting, and billing issues.

It also allows you to submit a contact form directly to Divi’s support team or use the live chat feature on their website.

Divi documentationDivi documentation

For complex issues, Divi also has a remote access feature where their support team can access your website and troubleshoot the problem for you.

Elementor – Customer Support

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Elementor offers great customer support to its users by providing detailed documentation on different topics like installation, billing, hosting, Elementor editor, glossary, and known issues.

Its help center is also super organized, making it easier for users to browse through it.

Elementor help centerElementor help center

Additionally, you can join the Elementor Academy to access video collections, webinars, and tutorials that will help you master the page and website builder.

If you currently use the Elementor Pro plan, you will also get 24/7 premium support. All you have to do is submit a support ticket, and a support representative will respond to your query.

Thrive Architect – Customer Support

Thrive Architect offers amazing customer support and has a knowledge base containing comprehensive articles, tutorials, and FAQs about the plugin.

Other than that, it also has Thrive University, where you can sign up to access online courses. It also offers other videos on how-to tutorials, tips, and product news.

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Thrive Architect documentationThrive Architect documentation

You can also visit the Thrive Help Center to get advice and answers for your plugin issues directly from the Thrive Themes team.

However, if you don’t find your answers in the documentation, then you can easily open a support ticket, access live chat support, and get phone support from the team during limited hours.

Winner – Thrive Architect

Overall, all three plugins offer excellent customer support. However, Thrive Architect is slightly ahead of others with its detailed documentation, video tutorials, courses, live chat support, tickets, and phone support.

Thrive Architect vs. Divi vs. Elementor – Pricing

When selecting a page builder, a crucial point to consider is pricing. LetLet’ske a look at the different pricing plans offered by Divi, Elementor, and Thrive Architect.

Divi – Pricing

You can buy a subscription for Divi for $89/year. However, to upgrade to the pro plan, you can buy Divi Pro for $287/year. This plan has advanced features like Divi AI, unlimited cloud storage, and 24/7 premium support.

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Alternatively, you can buy a lifetime plan for Divi for $249 and Divi Pro for $729. This will be a one-time fee that will give you lifetime access to Divi.

Divi pricing planDivi pricing plan

Elementor – Pricing

Elementor offers four pricing plans, starting with the ‘Essential’ plan for $59/year.

However, if you want to use the page builder on more than 1 website, then you can upgrade to the Advanced plan for $99/year. It allows you to add Elementor on three sites, offers 84+ widgets, and has a popup builder.

Elementor pricingElementor pricing

Similarly, you can opt for the Expert plan for $199/year to activate Elementor on about 25 websites or choose the Agency plan for $399 per year, which offers 1000 website activations.

Elementor also comes with a free plan that you can use to test the plugin before buying a subscription.

Thrive Architect – Pricing

You can get Thrive Architect for $99/year, and this plan comes with Thrive Automator, which is an amazing WordPress automation plugin.

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Alternatively, you can buy the Thrive Architect & Thrive Optimize plan for $199/year. You can then use Thrive Optimize to A/B test different variations of your landing pages to see which one performs better.

Thrive Architect pricing plansThrive Architect pricing plans

You can also buy the Thrive Suite for $299/year. It has 9 different plugins to help build a website, manage testimonials, configure comments, add quizzes, build an email list, sell online courses, and more.

Winner – Tie

In terms of pricing, all three page builders offer affordable pricing plans that show excellent value for money.

Thrive Architect vs. Divi vs. Elementor: Which One Is Better?

Thrive Architect, Divi, and Elementor are some of the best WordPress page builders on the market.

However, we believe that Thrive Architect is the better plugin for building custom landing pages that are optimized for conversions.

It comes with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder, numerous premade templates, amazing customer support, various integrations, and amazing pricing plans.

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Plus, the plugin is also a part of Thrive Suite, which contains plugins like Thrive Leads, Thrive Theme Builder, Thrive Ovation, and Thrive Quizzes. You can use all these plugins together to create an amazing website.

For more information, see our complete Thrive Architect review.

Bonus: Choose the Right Form Builder for Your Site

Once you have chosen the right page builder for your site, it is time to decide on a form builder. You will need a form plugin to add different kinds of forms to your landing pages.

For example, if you have a membership site, then you will need to add a registration form. Alternatively, if you run a restaurant, then you must embed an online order form.

Even if you have a simple WordPress blog, you will still need to add a contact form so users can reach out to you.

We recommend choosing WPForms because it is the best WordPress contact form plugin on the market. It comes with a drag-and-drop builder, over 1500 premade templates, and complete spam protection, allowing you to create amazing forms for your website in just a few clicks.

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For more information, see our complete WPForms review.

WPFormsWPForms

However, if you need an advanced builder to create complex forms, then Formidable Forms is an ideal choice. You can use it to create solution-focused forms like mortgage calculators, directories, or listing forms.

For more information on this, you may want to see our comparison between WPForms vs. Gravity Forms vs. Formidable Forms.

We hope this comparison between Thrive Architect, Divi, and Elementor helped you pick the right page builder for your website. You may also want to see our comparison between Elementor, Divi, and SeedProd for the best website builder and our expert picks for the must-have WordPress plugins.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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