Build Your First Digital Product



Get Started With Thrive Suite: Master the Entire Toolkit with These Short Lessons


You've made it to Module 2!

The next few lessons will show you how to level up your website into a thriving online business. 

Starting with Lesson 6: Build Your First Digital Product.

Quick question: What does every online business around the world have to offer its visitors?

Digital Products.

Today, you’ll create your first by learning how to build and launch an online course using Thrive Apprentice.

Thrive Apprentice helps you create, protect and sell any kind of WordPress content, including professional online courses you can offer as free, subscriber-only, or premium products.

This means you can host all your info-product content on your WordPress website, without:

❌ Using a bunch of janky membership or course plugins

❌ Subscribing to expensive SaaS course platforms

❌ Struggling to compete on cheap course marketplace platforms

We’ve provided resources in the lesson notes for beginner to advanced course creators, so you won’t get lost along the way. 

By the end of Lesson 6, you’ll know how to:

✅ Create a members-only hub for your paid users

✅ Deliver timely course content using advanced drip features

✅ Set an unlimited number of unique drip schedules with a simple tool

✅ Personalize every visitor’s experience based on their course progress

✅ Display content only when visitors meet a specific set of conditions

This is a very detailed lesson, and every step is clearly mapped out to help you stay on track.


Let's Get Started

What you'll need to prepare before building your course:

  • Course material (text, audio hosted on Soundcloud, and video hosted on Vimeo or Wistia)
  • A thumbnail for your courses page
  • A logo for your online school
  • One main brand color

Let's Start Building!

Before creating your course, there are a few tasks you'll need to prioritize:

  1. Selecting a course listing page
  2. Choosing designs for your Thrive Apprentice templates
  3. Configuring the Thrive Apprentice settings

Your Course Listing Page

Begin by choosing your course listing page.

Your course listing page provides an overview and brief summaries of all your online courses - it is mostly used by course creators who have multiple courses available.

Go Through the School Wizard

Once you've secured a page and named the design of your online school, you'll need to set up your School Wizard and select the designs for your course pages:

  • A light and dark version of your logo
  • One main brand color for your school (can be shared with Thrive Theme Builder)
  • Choose a header and footer design
  • Select a school homepage
  • Choose a course overview page
  • Select your premade header and footer menu (optionally create these in Thrive Apprentice later)
  • Pick your design for your course content templates

Keep in mind … 

If you share your Thrive Apprentice brand color with Thrive Theme Builder, then changes made to your brand color in Thrive Apprentice or Thrive Theme Builder will reflect on everything, from your main website to your online school. 

If you've not yet familiarized yourself with Thrive Apprentice 4.0 - our most recently updated version of the Thrive Suite tool - click play and watch the tutorial below:

For more information about how to start building an online course, read our blog post or sign up to our premium step-by-step course, Course Craft.

Important settings to keep in mind (inside the Settings Tab):

  • General Settings / Course Listing Page
    Enable or disable to "skip courses homepage when only one course is published".
    Enable or disable to automatically log in customers if they have already created a WordPress account.
    Enable or disable comments on your course.
  • Email Templates
    Customize the email that gets sent out when a person signs up for a course. 
  • Labels and Translations
    Edit your course labels as well as the translations.
  • Login and Access Restriction
    Create a registration and login page for your students - craft it from scratch or choose a pre-built landing page and customize it in Thrive Architect.
    Specify what happens when students are not logged in; try to access a course they have not purchased; and attempt to access locked content.
  • Logs
    Track transactions related to Thrive Apprentice.
  • API Key
    Create your API key when integrating with Thrive Cart or others.

Login and Access Restriction settings are global, which means they will apply to all of your courses and products. However, you can configure individual settings for individual courses once you start building your course.

Create Your Course

It's time to create your course, so have a look at the following:

  • Course Details Tab
    Fill out the course summary, upload your cover image and save your work to continue.
  • Content Tab
    Add and organize your course into Lessons, Chapters and Modules.
    Choose the type of lesson you'd like to create inside your module (text, audio or video).
    Add content to your lesson via Thrive Apprentice and customize your template according to your needs.
    Add necessary Resources (for example: links, PDFs, etc).

In case you'd like another step-by-step guide on how to start building your course, read our article How to Create and Publish a Thrive Apprentice Lesson.

  • Access Restrictions Tab
    Create a digital product in Thrive Apprentice and give it a name.
    It's important to set access restrictions in order for your course to be available only for paying customers or email subscribers.

Once you've created your sign-up page using Thrive Architect, it's time to connect your form to WordPress with account access given to subscribers with a password. You'll also need to connect your form to an Email Marketing Service of your choice and round it all off by (optionally) making some custom aesthetic changes.

Interested in setting up a premium (paid-for) online course? If so, you'll need to integrate with a payment service, such as ThriveCart, WooCommerce or Sendowl.

Read David Lindop's blog post on How to Streamline your WooCommerce Online Sales Funnel to Boost Conversions to learn more.

Consider dripping out your course content strategically, with the help of a Drip Schedule that lets you slow-release your course content at intervals, boosting engagement amongst students. Another great Thrive Apprentice feature is the Decoupled Drip, which allows you to create Multiple Drip Schedules. Simplify the way in which you make your course content available, by customizing your drip campaign and enhancing the user-experience for your students.

Want to know more? Read our Knowledge Base article on Drip Campaign Templates here.

Set up your Access Restriction Rules to dictate what happens when (for example):

  • A user is not logged in
  • Content is locked
  • Content has not been purchased yet

Hot Tip:

Set up a landing page that invites non-subscribers to view the sales page for your course or have them sign up for your email list so that they can be notified when your course is open for enrollment. Take advantage of that (no-access-allowed) traffic and keep them moving through your marketing funnels.

If you feel like customizing your online school templates, click on the Design Tab followed by editing the Active Design via the Template Editor. Here you'll see all templates available to you / associated with your online school, such as Default Lessons, Default Course Overview and Default Restricted Site Content template to name a few.

Remember …

Making edits to linked sections (header and footer) will reflect on all templates as well. However, if you "Choose a ready-made design", this edit will solely apply to the template you're currently customizing.

In terms of your Course List Element design, feel free to choose a new one entirely or customize it to suit your overall styling (through simple edits or filtering your courses).

That's it, you're ready to publish your first online course.

In case you aren't done, that's okay. Try to finish your first course by the end of today. I know that’s an intimidating challenge, but it’ll come in handy for tomorrow’s lesson.

For any technical questions, email Thrive Theme's support team: [email protected] 

Show us your first lesson inside our Official Thrive Facebook Group so we can give you some feedback and cheer you on!

Click Next to move on to Module 2, Lesson 7.


Thrive Apprentice

Thrive Apprentice lets you build membership sites, structure and sell online courses while offering a customized student experience.

Thrive Theme Builder

Thrive Theme Builder is a fully-fledged WordPress theme and site builder — with drag and drop, front-end customization power.

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect is a visual WordPress page builder, created for business websites that focus on conversion optimization.

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