Feature Requests & the Future of Thrive Themes – an Open Letter

Author 
Shane Melaugh   433

If you take a look around this blog and at the emails we send to subscribers and customers, you'll notice that we keep asking for your feedback. Be it in comments on our posts, discussions in the support forum, or surveys, polls and more.

In today's letter, I want to give you an inside look at what we do with all this feedback and give you a glimpse at our development plans for future products and features.​

Like the previous open letter, this is an open and raw exchange from me to you. Think of it as sitting across the table from me, having a conversation about Thrive Themes.​

More...

Anyone Listening?

The first thing I want to address is a problem that comes with inviting feedback: as much as we'd like to, we can't fulfill every request we get.

Even if we do decide to take on a suggestion, weeks or even months can pass between the time a request is first made and the time we release the new feature.

My concern here, and the reason I'm bringing this up, is that you may feel like you're being ignored. It may seem that you keep asking us for stuff, we keep saying that we're listening, but nothing happens.

For example, we've been asked to add A/B testing to Thrive Landing Pages countless times and many readers have been suggesting we should build a membership plugin for a long time.​

We've released neither an A/B testing feature for landing pages nor a membership plugin. And yet in the meantime, we've released various new features for our products as well as new products like Thrive Ultimatum and Thrive Headline Optimizer.​

You may be wondering: what's up with that? Are we actually listening to your feedback or just pretending to?​

A Grander Plan

First of all let me assure you that yes, we are listening. We pay very close attention to every comment, every support request and every survey response.​

It is from this feedback and from countless interviews with customers that a grand plan started to form. We saw that there were some problems that we could try to solve in a unique way and we set about our most ambitious project so far.

Without boring you with technical details, much of the work we've been doing in the past month has been foundation building. We're laying the groundwork that​ will make this big plan of ours possible.

What is this big plan? To explain, let's look at a big, ugly monster of a problem that plagues WordPress users today.​

The Frankenstein Problem

One of the great things about WordPress is how extensible it is. As a user, you can choose from a seemingly unlimited number of plugins and themes to customize your site to your desire... but there's also a huge downside to this.

Log into the dashboard of the typical online marketer's website and you'll find a massive list of plugins installed. And among all these plugins that manage SEO, caching, social sharing, design elements, shortcodes, testing, analytics and so on, you'll often also find some custom code. As a WordPress user, you're probably not unfamiliar with the idea of hiring a freelancer to apply some customization or fix some issue on your site.

Unfortunately, all these different plugins and customizations don't play nice with each other. There will be plugin conflicts, the site will slow down due to code bloat, an update of one plugin will break several others...

The whole thing is a mess. I know many site owners who are afraid to update their plugins because they know it could break their whole site. Many WordPress sites are a total mess, barely hanging together by some threads.

This, in short, is what I call the Frankenstein problem.

As we build our sites and add more functionality that we need, we unwittingly create a monster.​

Our Vision: A Complete Suite of Marketing Tools

The Frankenstein problem is what we want to solve for our users, once and for all. We want to provide you all of the marketing tools that most directly affect your website's usefulness out of one hand.

Our goal is to not only make these tools work together conflict free, but to go several steps further. To build a smart, high converting, next-generation website, these tools need to talk to each other.

What does this mean?

An example can be found in our Thrive Ultimatum plugin: you can start a countdown campaign for someone when they sign up to your mailing list via Thrive Leads.​

How? By checking a box.

One click. That's it.

That may not seem like a big deal until you realize that without the integration between these two plugins, making this happen would require copying and editing HTML form codes, inserting script snippets and pasting them into your WordPress content in the "Text" mode of the editor... and then never switching back to the "Visual" mode, because that would break the code.​

As cool as this is, the example above is just the tip of the iceberg. Our vision is for you to have a complete set of tools and total control over what is happening on your website and how your website reacts to what your visitors are doing (another example of this is the SmartLinks feature).​

So, What About that Feature Request?

What does all this have to do with feature requests and our development strategy?

A request like "add A/B testing to landing pages" may seem simple enough. And it would be, for most companies. We could easily ship a functioning testing feature within a few weeks.

But this is Thrive Themes and we don't settle for lukewarm solutions. Our grand plan of a marketing suite means that for each feature and product, we have to consider how it will fit in with all of the other products and features. And then we have to look at our roadmap and think of how it will fit in with all of the future products and features that we haven't even built yet.​

As a result, priorities can change and it generally takes more resource to create a new product or feature. I believe that what we are building is worth investing this extra time and resource into.

What's Coming Next

​In the coming months, you'll start to see all the foundational work we've been doing pay off in new features and products we release. At Thrive Themes, we're all very excited to bring you these new releases and we can't wait to show you what we've been working on.

​And while we're working on these big changes and products, we're also making sure that we're still releasing new stuff on a regular basis. This is another priority for us: even if we spend a lot of resource on a huge project, we don't want to leave you waiting for long periods of time, so we always spend some resource on smaller projects as well.

To get an overview of what we've been working on, you can check our development timeline page here.​

Over to You

Of course we'd love to hear your thoughts about our grand plan for a total WordPress marketing suite. What are some tools that you think absolutely need to be part of this? What are your worst experiences with the Frankenstein effect on your site? Let us know by leaving a comment!​

Shane

P.S.: While I'm writing an open letter like this, let me also use the opportunity to thank you. Whoever you are, if you're reading this, you're taking part in making all this possible. Building Thrive Themes is a huge and exciting challenge. It's a privilege to be able to do the work we do for you.

by Shane Melaugh  July 26, 2016

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  • Excellent. You and your team are constantly raising the bar, Shane. I am sooooo impressed with ThriveThemes and am very excited to see what the future holds.

  • Whenever I get an email from you every thing takes a pause and I read it. You guys are one of a kind.

  • This is good news indeed. I’ve had my frustrations with Thrive products or features – mainly to do with the conflicts between plugins – and if you can provide me with all the necessary plugins that work seamlessly, then I’ll wait for it. You guys do good work. I love your themes and plugins. Keep it up.

    • Thanks for your comment, Curtis. We’re still quite a ways from this big goal of ours, but I think it will be worth getting there. 🙂

    • I am happy that Thrive Themes is around because it helped me “finally” take the jump to learning, using and trusting word press. However, in the past 3 months and specifically, your theme vs plug-in conflicts have created the Frankenstein effect (result) for me. I had to delete one of my sites in Feb to fix, so lost lots of time and content. On july 7th, while on a 3-month vacation in Greece, your Ultimatum plug-in and TCB seemed to have a conflict so now my main business site is non viewable or accesible by me, your team (submitted ticket and login info) or anyone else. Once I get back to states in Oct, I must delete this site and start over with content. Finally got a backup plug in last week and backed up content on my other site but will not be updating TCB or Thrive Leads until I am stateside. I also deleted the other thrive plug-ins from my site. Again, please continue with your vision but understand how some of it could impact the user.

      • Sorry to hear that you had a negative experience with one of our plugins, Nate.

  • This is so awesome! I am all in! As a person starting out, I have already purchased Pressive Theme, Thrive Leads, Thrive Content and Landing Page Builder. I am getting ready to purchase Thrive Ultimatum in September.
    The next request for me to complete my site wishlist would be an easy to use membership tying into Thrive Apprentice. I think this would be awesome since Ultimatum has come out.
    So to end, having Thrive Membership Portal, would be fantastic!

  • Hi Shane,
    I like the Thrive Content Builder. But I’m still missing the Gateway-Feature from the Launch Suite inside of OptimizePress. I want to create an Evergreen Launch. The Thrive Ultimatum is great, but the Gateway-Feature is still missing. I hope you will integrate this soon inside your Marketing Tool-Set.

  • Thanks, Shane! I really appreciate how I was able to buy your suite of tools and have virtually everything I need for building a great website starting from scratch. All your videos and tutorials are super helpful. And, I was delighted to see you kept coming out with new plug-ins after I bought it. I always star emails from you because I know you’ll give me useful information. And, I’d been wishing for an A/B testing feature, so I’m looking forward to what you create. I recommended you to an older friend because I knew you’d save her money on a web designer who might design something pretty and worthless because I knew everything she needed was here.
    Cheers,
    Chad

  • All I know is that I love Thrive and it’s made my life as a WordPress blogger a million times easier. Thank you. I’m going to look at your development timeline, right now. Love you guys, and I love what you do for my business!

    (If I see a membership option, I am going to cry. lol)

  • Hey Shane, thanks for this letter. I (and I’m sure many others) appreciate your regular updates and your transparency. Thrive Themes has become a integral part of my websites – a invaluable framework and toolkit that I rely on and regularly recommend to others. I just submitted a support request earlier today about a conflict with the WP ConvertKit plugin when used with Thrive Themes and Wishlist Member – exactly the Frankenstein problem you mention. I look forward to your bigger plan and your future releases. Thank you and your team for the amazing work that you do.

  • Shane, each time I open an email from you and it’s titled: Feature Update, I say to myself “Damn, another one (LOL).” I say this because I’m blown away at all of the new features you and your team are adding. As a marketer with limited coding skills (mostly by choice), I took for granted what you guys were doing behind the scenes since I’ve become a member (i.e. the headline analyzer, the countdown timer and on and on). There are companies that are charging monthly for just a few of the many tools you offer as part of your entire membership and you keep on adding. As the last few months have passed by, you’ve got my attention and I’m building my brand new site completely on the Thrive platform. The WP Frankenstein analogy is exactly right. Just wanted to say thanks for your continued commitment to developing fantastic, all inclusive tools that work together and for keeping the entire suite extremely affordable.

    • Thank you very much, Darrell! I know there are places where you see a monthly fee attached to just a fraction of what we offer at Thrive Themes and it’s one of our goals to have a higher “value density” in our offer than what is seen in most places.

  • Love that you are taking the time to build some anticipation. When there is an annual cost for the membership, it is important for you to give me a reason to renew, something to look forward to.

    Love the new page to show what you have done and what you are doing. https://thrivethemes.com/development-timeline/

    This will really help me in sharing about Thrive with all my viewers and subscribers over on wpcrafter.com

  • Great job – I barely use all the features but what I do use is easy, helpful and effective – so thank you for all the work you do.

  • Awesome, your company provides so much value to my business, love to see you have those great plans! 🙂
    The one tool I would love to see is a quiz tool, something like viralquizbuilder was. Something to create quizzes that let me engage and segment my readers, and that could be connected to Thrive Leads.

    • Hi Julius,

      Thanks for your comment! We took Viral Quiz Builder off the market because it was getting outdated, but we do have a plan of replacing it with a new product.

  • Thank you for taking the time to write this Shane! It’s great to know what’s happening and where you’re heading. It’s also very reassuring that you guys take the time to do things properly, and concern yourself with the big picture.

    A complete marketing suite sounds wonderful! Is it feasible to include email marketing in that? Having a signup trigger not just an ultimatum campaign but also an autoresponder series, would be wonderful. I think there would be a huge amount of small business owners who would be extremely grateful, and relieved, to have everything they need under one roof.

    • Hi James,

      Email marketing is not something we’d include within WordPress, no. There are too many intricacies with email delivery and a proper email marketing/marketing automation tool would be too “heavy” to be running self-hosted on anything but a high-end hosting account. The way I see it, if you want a really good email marketing solution, you’ll either pay a few hundred dollars a month for a hosted service or you’ll pay a few hundred dollars a month for a server, email delivery and maintenance. I think a hosted service is the way to go.

  • The idea of having just one set of plugins/tools which can talk to each other is appealing, but do you think it is actually possible in the long run?

    Don’t get me wrong, the Thrive team continues to impress me with speed at which they launch new features and products without compromising on quality, and I am sure split testing and membership features are coming soon too.

    But the day when I won’t even need to use Yoast for SEO, or Social Warfare for social media for example, and I can just rely on Thrive for everything a marketer needs, seems to good to be true 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Hitesh!

      That’s a good point and there’s something I want to clarify here: we are aiming to provide a complete suite of tools in the narrow area of conversion optimization and marketing. We don’t plan to provide tools for everything.

      You mention Yoast SEO: this is an example of a very solid, well developed and free plugin. I don’t see any reason to spend Thrive Themes resources on creating a competing solution, as we could make it only marginally better anyway. Instead, we’ll focus our efforts on tools that are much more directly tied to your business’ bottom line and tools that fulfill a marketing need that nothing else meets yet.

  • Hi Shane. You nailed it when you described “the Frankenstein problem”. We build and manage dozens of sites for clients and I have to admit I get sweaty palms every time there’s a new WP release or a new version of a plugin. As in, “Is this going to partially (or fully) crash one or more of our clients’ sites?” I’m looking forward to what you have coming next.

    • Absolutely, yeah. It’s the same for us. We only update our sites to a new WP version when it’s early in the day and we have at least one developer on stand-by in case everything goes to hell. Although as we’ve been replacing more and more 3rd party plugins with Thrive plugins, this problem has lessened, so I see this as a proof of concept for what we’re trying to do.

  • I have a feature request that would be really easy to implement.

    Increase the contrast between text and background on your blog posts!!

    I am rapidly approaching the point where I will not be able to read your posts and that would be a serious loss.

    Thanks.
    Paul

  • For me the most obvious plugin/feature would be a membership solution because with the apprentice feature you already have the groundwork. Also the whole lead generation thing is often used together with memberships or ebook/digital product sales.

    The next thing I would love to see from you is more themes or theme skins (I mentioned that in a comment 2 posts ago), so that I don’t have to buy any other theme. The landingpage templates are nice, but you cant really build a whole website with those.

    Then I think you should do some SEO stuff within your existing features. For example speaking URLs for table of contents (not bla.html#tab-con-1 but bla.html#blubb), support for schema.org in star ratings and all those basics.

    Keep up the awesome work!

  • Love Thrive Content builder Shane. Only thing right now I feel could be improved upon is more animations that make sense for actions like “mouse over” such as “shake” “wobble” or “grow” effects

    Also, more elements that can support animations such as text areas.

    Video backgrounds would be cool as well.

    Keep up the great work Shane, you’re an inspiration to me as an entrepreneur 🙂

  • Personally, I absolutely love the idea of an integrated solution – a one stop shop that will allow us to focus more on our businesses and less on worrying about if and how the logistics will work together. In my eyes, that will be money well spent because it will return on the investment many times over.

    If you have been tracking the statistics for page view on your site, you may have seen an anomaly on the Squared theme page. I think I’ve accessed the demo site so many times over the past week, just looking for that little nudge to push me over the edge and begin the transition to a website that is more cohesive and conversion focused.

    This letter and idea is just that nudge I needed. I sincerely appreciate your candid conversations, helpful tips, and continual push of that metaphorical envelope to make your product offerings what I consider to be the most efficient, beneficial – and lest I forget, most beautiful – on the market.

    Thank you for all the hard work you do, and thank you also for being so transparent in your communication. From one CEO to another (even though my company comprises a single entity), well done and I look forward to the exciting developments for Thrive Themes in the future.

    • Thank you very much, David!

      I can understand your hesitation about the themes. Our themes are good, but they are our “oldest” products and they pale in comparison to the more recent plugins we’ve released. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that we’ve been working on an all-new theme framework in the background. 🙂

  • Shane, mit der “Marketing Suite” für WP rennst Du bei mir offene Türen ein! 🙂 Ich würde ein System lieben, das alles an einem Ort hat. Nicht nur Split-Testing, sondern vielleicht auch so Sachen wie vernüftige Analytics.

    Ihr könntet dann ja auch so ganz wilde Sachen machen und Euch dann aus Google Analytics, Klick-Tipp, Infusionsoft, Aweber etc. ziehen (ihr macht ja ohnehin API-Programmierung) und dann eine Übersicht für alles anbieten. 😉

    Also ja: Ein großes Go für die Marketing Suite und auch ansonsten ein fettes Daumen hoch für Dich und Dein Team für das beste und userfreundlichste Landingpage-System, was es da draussen gibt! 🙂

    Viele Grüße aus Deutschland

    André

    • Vielen Dank, André.

      Die Analytcs-Sache ist mir sehr wichtig, da es für uns extrem schwierig ist eine vernünftige Lösung zu finden. Wie viel sich da im Rahmen von WordPress machen lässt, weiss ich noch nicht, aber wir arbeiten daran. 🙂

  • Hello Shane,
    Thanks for the open and honest letter. Like you said in your e-mail some CEOs only come out for the press or on special occasions but one of the reasons I personally love Thrive Themes is that you are front and center and super involved in everything.

    Yes, it is quite annoying when I have to deactivate several other plugins on my site in order to create a landing page with Thrive BUT so far I can confidently say that it has been one of my top business investments this year.

    I look forward to all the other tools you and the team will be building for us ! Keep up the great work.

  • I love the idea of a total WP marketing suite from you guys. I couldn’t do what I do if you hadn’t made Thrive Themes so brain-dead simple to use.

  • Thank you so much for all your great work! being a Thrive member makes my life easier! As for the grand vision: a new plug in that creates quizzes to capture leads would be wonderful.

  • Training, Shane…
    Premier training, sound practical training on how to succeed, to win in our marketing with the blogging themes and marketing suites!

    I know that there’s a ton of good even excellent teaching/training out here but even so, it’s not coming through you and your team, not from starting (a newbie like myself) to our first successful, say $1000,000 using all things “Thrive Themes”!

    Well, I’m old and slow but I truly believe the market is waiting for a “How To Succeed at Building Your Business Online”, the Thrive Themes way”!

    I’m just saying!

    • Thank you for your comment, James!

      We’re in agreement with you, because one of the things we’ve been working on is a way to bring more “how to” informational content to our members. Just like you say, we want to make sure that people get the most out of our products, not just hand over some software and then let them figure it out themselves.

      • This is the whole enchilada! Your videos about marketing techniques and all that is awesome – I’ve been playing with WP for a long time, but still don’t have my site running on it as I keep feeling I need to learn more or want my header the way my html/css site is etc – Thrive and you and your team are a huge resource and knowledge bank!
        For the new things – I use a time tracking thing (used to use intervals and recently switched over to toggl) – this is something that I’ve been trying to find that runs in WP – there are various task management plug-ins, but still haven’t found a solution. For this to be intergrated with a customer manager and track all the back and forth between client and me would be great.
        And of course my big wish is also for your Content Builder to also be able to do the same thing as in the main content area but with headers, footers and sidebars as needed – I suppose that’s kind of what the Landing Pages are – I’ll work with those a bit with the custom menu and see if that will fill the bill.
        Thanks for all your class!

      • We do plan to bring a more intuitive level of customization to other areas of the WordPress themes, apart from the content area. But I can’t say too much about those plans yet.

      • Great to hear that Shane. One other thing I would like to see is a bit more discussion of how the themes are structured eg go through the code of the header and give brief explanation of some of the sections; also similar with the SASS stuff and some basic tricks for global modifications – I know most of this is probably on the WP site, but yor explanations and videos are so good I think it would be a great addition (when are you and your team going to sleep with all that you are doing??) Keep up the awesome service!

  • Thank you for the update and roadmap. You won me over with your plugins back with Hybrid Connect and your tools have saved me thousands of hours. Here’s one loyal user wishing you continued success in the future.

    • Thank you very much, Zack. It’s an honor to have people with us for such a long time. I really appreciate that.

  • Okay, got one.
    (Frankenstein effect that is)
    There is this one website that I have which should accept user reviews and also my own reviews as well. (schema.org: aggregate rating and review)
    I wanted to have a solid solution and bought a plugin suite that cost me 299,- (lifetime at that time). It was kind of ‘the big dog’ in that space. Have to say, though, that none of the available review plugins so far have met my expectations (#hint #request).
    This one site in particular was unbelievably slow. The frontend was okay (thanks to caching) but the backend was slow as…. imagine something slow, will ya?
    Anyways while reworking the site I thought ‘maybe get rid of the review plugin and its extensions’ and guess what… site suddenly had normal speed. Everything loaded nearly instantly. Because of one plugin that I paid way to much money for for what it does.
    I’d still love to use that plugin but as it stands now it will only bring my site down. I was in constant fear of updates because I was praying everything will work afterwards. I almost lost all interest in that one website, which is a site I really care about. So… yeah that monster almost brought my sites life to an end. Quite the metaphor you have there.

    • Hi Sebastian,

      That’s a good Frankenstein story. Reminds me of a competing visual editor we once tested. It had a decent set of features, but it dumped so much code onto every page that you’d grow old before the page would load… combine that with some other poorly optimized plugins and you might as well shut down your site. 😀

  • I greatly appreciate your development plans and vision for the future. Just knowing you’re constantly thinking about these things and releasing updates gives me confidence in my decision to use ThriveThemes.

    As an author, one feature I’d love is a simple Event post feature. Just like we have quote posts or picture posts, I’d like an Event post where I can post an event I’ll be speaking at, the time, place, price, sign up info, a Google map, etc. Then I’d like the contents of that post also show up in a sidebar widget of all my upcoming events. Don’t need a calendar or anything, just a nice list.
    Thanks again for the stellar products!

  • I can only applaud your vision. To me, it’s the solution I have been looking for, since I started designing websites, 20 years ago. Thanks to your total package, and especially the content builder, I am at last able to create the website I always wanted to create. Keep going guys. You do a tremendous job.

    One thing that I would greatly appreciate is: more options to customize a theme. I am using RISE now and I have been working with your (amazing) support them to solve several issues, and two friends who know css very well, to get the results I wanted.

    It would be awesome if there were far more options to customize colors, fonts, and different elements.

    • Thank you for your feedback, David!

      When we release our next theme, I’ll be interested to hear how it fits with your expectations, as I think we’ll be able to make some significant improvements there.

  • For a moment I thought your grand plan was to create a new CMS lol. I love thrive, it would be cool to have some more themes though. Especially one for Amazon affiliate sites.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Steve!

      We’re not looking to build a new CMS. WordPress is solid as a backbone for any kind of website. It only starts suffering when you pile a lot of badly optimized plugins onto it. 🙂

  • Yes, let’s turn Frankenstein into the hottest woman (or man) in the world. I know you guys can do it. I get frustrated with the lack of continuity across plugins but am always impressed even more with the direction you’re clearly going. Let’s put ClickFunnels out of business already!

  • As always, you astound me with the value you provide to the Thrive Agency license holder!

    Two requests I have please. A way to create customized sales pages. Example, the client gives Name/Email on an opt in. At the Thank you page I’d like to merge info. Thank You (name) for joining my list.

    I use Thrive for my magic/balloon business so a merge would be great and seem more personal.

    2. Since Thrive is a complete system, I’d like a photo album feature in Thrive, not a 3rd party plug in. One that expands the photo for clients.

    As always, keep up the great work. And thanks for keeping us updated.

    • A site management tool like MainWP isn’t part of our plans. Especially considering the existence of the official solution (Calypso by Automattic). Caching I’m not sure yet. There are good solutions available, but we might end up building something dedicated, just for the sake of compatibility. It’s not a high priority for us, though.

  • I would suggest one thing.

    Move your support to a proper ticket desk.

    The way you currently have it is in a forum where we have to “bare all” about our issues.

    I find the support process at Thrivethemes rather confusing and slightly tedious, when it’s bunched up with a bunch of other threads.

    Thesis utilized forums for support back in 2010 and completely abandoned that idea in about 2012 and moved to a regular ticket desk, which is so much better for us as customers and feels more personal too.

    Second thing…

    The thing that would make thrive content builder better is to get rid of all the grids in the builder..it looks messy.

    Third and final thing..perhaps the biggest nuisance of the lot, is the sheer amount of tabs that get opened when creating and editing pages.

    It’s almost impossible to get back to the WP admin dashboard sometimes.

    The workflow needs to be much more streamlined.

    Just a few thoughts….

      • Great job with listening, Shane. You have to be the developer that has the most updates, tweaks and new features coming on a regular basis. I can see my “frankenstein” WordPress mess getting easier. I started with Thrive Leads and now am a full user simply because of everything on offer, and the support.

        I replied here as, while a “ticket scenario” might be preferred by some, I hate them. Impersonal; not searchable (in case someone has already solved that issue) and I don’t trust the level of response in most ticket systems, where a Tier One contractor pastes a standard reply that doesn’t answer my issue and there is no other visibility other my inbox.

      • Thank you, Robert!

        Personally, I’m a bit conflicted about having a support ticketing system vs. having the current forum solution. There are definitely pros and cons on each side.

  • First off, thank you for making my professional life SO much easier – and making client tasks that used to be irritating actually enjoyable… 😉 And second, this is great news – can’t wait to see what your team comes up with!

  • Hi shane, this sounds really cool! Exciting, and awesome to observe how you and your team have been growing over the years. A couple of brainstorm questions and ideas. A complete wordpress marketing set would be really cool, but doesn’t this make the use of WordPress obselete? Why not immediatelly developing your own Thrive Platform, instead of aways having to update everything with Wordress update? Maybe because i is exacly WordPress giving you access to a big market of potential Thrive Members?

    Another question, concern, is the question how all these changes will affect the price for an annual thive member?

    My best regards,
    Steven

    • Hello Steven,

      We’re going to continue building on WordPress because this allows us to focus on the most important products. We can put all of our efforts into building tools that increase your conversions and we have to spend 0 resource on taking care of all kinds of basic stuff like making sure you can create posts, pages, page structures etc.

      In terms of pricing, nothing will change in the near future. As we build more and more advanced features, it’s possible that we’ll need to introduce a higher pricing tier in the future. However, as an existing member, I can guarantee that you’ll always get a ridiculous amount of value for the price you’re paying. 🙂

  • Shane, I really love what you guys do at Thrive. As the owner of a marketing agency, I can tell you we deal with the Frankenstein Problem daily. And even though we have a team of developers who can basically code anything and thus fix any conflicts, it’s still a massive misuse of our valuable time. What I love about your products is that while they’re great for end users who don’t know anything about coding, they are also ridiculously powerful for teams like ours who need to implement a lot of customization for our clients. A million thanks for all that you guys are doing!

  • Are you going to Pivot to a SAAS like LeadPages, or are you planning on creating a more extensive suite of WordPress Plugins? Or something more along the line of Clickfunnels? I’ve been a member since your Hybrid Connect days and love the progress that you and the team have been making thus far, cheers! 😀

    • Hello Mike,

      We’re planning to stay with WordPress, as that allows us to focus on high-leverage products instead of needing to take care of the basics. 🙂

  • Hi Shane
    Very nice ! Congratulations ! I love TT !
    I still have some Frankenstein effect with some chess plugins.
    The plugins were: PGNViewer, RPB Chessboard and Embed Chessboard.
    Thanks !

  • Shane, whatever you have planned will, I know, be exactly what not only marketers but developers need to make their lives easier.

    Every release, every upgrade is well thought out and integrated and ALWAYS has a sound reason for releasing. Not the “it’ll look nice and we can hype it up to make a load of money” junk seen most everywhere else.

    I’m really looking forward to these developments.

    For my part I’d love full integration with woo commerce (or some form of Thrive commerce, fully customisable of course) and a membership platform

    • Thank you very much, Mark!

      The WooCommerce integration will get an update once our new theme is ready, for sure.

  • Yes, you are definitely on the right track by building a complete marketing suite. I’m having plugin conflicts with my site right now and can’t find a suitable solution to solve the problem.

  • Great news Shane. As one of your biggest fanboys, I find it reassuring that I can continue to promote ThriveThemes as an affiliate with ‘not just’ a clear conscience, but with raving enthusiasm! Thank you for keeping us up-to-date!

  • Would be interesting to have some sort of “App Store” for TCB where people can sell “blocks” or “pages”.

    For example, rather than struggling to build a good looking Amazon affiliate page, i could buy a page template that another TCB user created, for $0.99.

    It would also be cool to open up TCB for 3rd parties to add components to it.

    • Thank you for your comment, Tai. We are thinking of opening up Thrive Landing Pages and possibly other components to a marketplace. But it’s not something that’s going to happen in the immediate future.

  • I’m excited about your plans, Shane. My dream is to have nothing installed except Thrive plugins inside Thrive themes.

    In fact, the only thing I actually “need,” other than your products, are plugins that fire retargeting based on user action – time on a page, percent of video watched, and etc. Once you guys incorporate that stuff, my site will not be contaminated with other plugins.

    I haven’t looked at another theme for a couple of years now…

    • Thank you, Michael!

      Can I ask what plugin you use for the retargeting? It’s one of the things I’d really like to build as well. 🙂

      • I could go on and on about lousy plugins, but here are a few that have worked, though sometimes broke a thrive plugin:

        retargetingpro plugin will have Facebook build a targeted audience when someone clicks a link on my site.

        tracking code manager is a great way to manage multiple retargeting codes.

        Retargeting Wiz will wait a specified amount of time before it “fires” the retargeting pixel.

        For behavioral response, I’m now using connectretarget, which is saas.

        I’m happy with connectretarget so far, but it would be nice to keep everything in the suite that you are keen to develop.

      • Thanks!

        We’re working on a better way to manage different tracking codes (for Landing Pages at first, and later for themes) and I believe we’ll be extending this part of the product suite to include retargeting options and such in the future.

  • Hello Shane. Your explanation makes sense. Thank you for the update.

    I don’t know if others are wondering about this but I would like to hear you compare and contrast Thrive Themes with some of the website, page and funnel builders that are coming online. For instance, recently there was a lunch of Revamply. Just this morning was the release of a funnel builder called Convertli. I have nothing to do with these products…hope I’m not breaching any rules by mentioning them here but I wanted to give you an example of what I was talking about.

    It seems like these platforms have a lot to offer. Why should I stick with WordPress with the inherent flaws some of which you stated above?

    Thank you,

    Anton

    • Hello Anton,

      For me personally, a big reason to use WordPress and self-hosted solution lies in ownership. I don’t like solutions where I lose all of my stuff once I stop paying a monthly fee.

      Both the tools you mention are technically very different from what we build and while it may seem that you have more design freedom and that’s a good thing, I can tell you that I’d never use this kind of tech. A hosted landing page solution is certainly never going to replace the integrated site building capabilities you have in WordPress. Here’s a post with some more on this topic.

  • For me, there were always 2 big attraction in using Thrive Themes: the ease of use and that I did not need anyone else’s products. I so appreciate that you have a bigger vision.

  • Thanks Shane for being a transparent CEO. It would be great to see monthly case studies by webinar, especially before and after website makeover/improvement webinars. You could also publish “plugins we like” even though you may replace them one day. What’s happened to your podcast episodes (last one in May)?

    • Hi Jamie,

      Thank you for the suggestions. You’ll be glad to know that we have at least one person on the marketing team who’s very eager to bring back regular webinars as well. 🙂

      Podcast: I got busy. I do plan to resume it, though.

  • Hey Shane. I´m following you and I´m buying your stuff ever since Backlink Battleplan – it´s been a long ride. Now, the quality of your products has always amazed me. But it´s not only the extraordinary quality of your products. What always inspires me, is the authentic presence you show in your communication regardless of the media. It´s been a fun ride. You, Paul and your growing team of excellent people will most certainly come up with something special – here again! – I´m really looking forward to what´s coming next at Thrive Themes. Have a good one! M.

    • Hey Mirko,

      Man, what can I say? You’ve been with us pretty much from the beginning and I think you were one of the first regular commenters on imimpact as well. I really appreciate having you along for this ride and your feedback over the years has been invaluable. Thank you, Mirko!

  • Replacing all my other plugins would be totally AWESOME. And especially if it meant I wouldn’t need a third party membership protection system, so I could also tie in Stripe and great converting cart pages etc. We’re being bombarded with new systems all the time, but Thrive Themes is different to these in so many ways – and not least is that you are still here over 2 years later serving me and my customers consistently and brilliantly. Thank you.

  • So glad I found Thrive! Just enrolled. The support is amazing! The online course system was the deciding point for me, and, of course, the page templates and ease of use. I’d so love to see a membership piece to this – even a membership lite piece just to get some pages protected. Any solopreneur of any level has experienced the Frankenstein issue, and that is another reason I said yes to Thrives. TY!

  • If I were to get a tattoo it would say – I love Thrive.
    Many of the previous mentions would suit me just fine e.g. membership, caching program, SEO, analytics. But one thing I would love to have is a process to create upsells similar to clickfunnels.

  • The Frankenstein effect is a legit problem and I love the idea of an integrated marketing suite built on top of WP.

    My only hope is that it isn’t a closed ecosystem like Rainmaker. Despite the problems that come with multiple third party plugins, there are some which will always be necessary for certain sites.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks for your comment, Ethan!

      While I can see a total package – including hosting – to be part of our offer at some point in the future, I wouldn’t want it to be a closed system either.

  • Strange. I sent 2 previous emails to you Shane and I never heard back. If you can read the previous email I sent to your personal email and get back to me I would appreciate it.

    • Hello Cesar,

      I’m afraid that sending email to me directly is not a great way to get in touch with me, simply because of the amount of email I receive. If I do come across your messages I will reply, though.

  • I’m excited about your vision of Thrive Themes, Shane!

    Right now, I’m in the process of putting one of my big blogs onto Performag. It’s a fantastic theme!

    At the same time, setting up Performag correctly is a steep learning curve.

    I’m documenting all the questions I’ve had and the solutions I’ve found. I’m hoping to create a tutorial which shows, step by step, exactly how to replicate the look and feel of the wonderful Perfomag demo – which is something so many people try to do but fail to achieve.

    I enjoy your videos, Shane. At the same time, it’s quite hard to find all the information people need because bits of crucial info are scattered throughout many videos.

    I think good, in-depth tutorials would lighten the load of the support crew in the forum.

    I’m hoping to start a trend by creating a tutorial for Performag. 🙂

    This is my vision for Thrive: if we all contribute our expertise in some way, it will be a richer experience for all.

    • Thank you, Mary!

      Sorry about the less-than-stellar experience with the theme. This is something we will remedy in the future.

  • Shane as always I’m very impressed about the way you give conscious consideration to, well …, nearly everything! This should of course always result in high quality products as Thrive Themes obviously is! What I really would like is more freedom within Thrive to use shortcodes as well as make shortcodes myself. For example: suppose I would design a nice object, like a divider line, or a box with a quote or a table which I would like to use more often in various posts, than it would be great if I would have the possibility to “program” this myself in the form of a shortcode, which I then can use whenever it suits me.

      • Thanks for pointing out Shane! And yes as a Thrive member I also use the Content Builder. My question/request is to be able to save an element as a Content Template and then later be able to reuse this Content Template via the use of a shortcode, like : [divider style=’centered’], but then for example: [fivestarrating style=’centered’] if “fivestarrating” was the name you gave the Content Template.

      • Converting TCB elements to shortcode elements would be very involved and since I’ve never seen another request for that, I can’t say this is something we’re likely ever going to build.

  • I am very happy with your products as is, and this is due to your consistent and careful approach to designing them. I believe we all look forward to Thrive 2017 and beyond, but for now we are happy little campers in the Thrive Themes Camp. At least I know I am! Keep up the great work sir!

  • That’s brilliant and then some Shane & crew, you’re really taking a proper chess player approach here. You’re also taking on a problem which all of us have encountered without even entertaining the thought that it could be eradicated. Count me in for the journey 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment! I like the term “chess player approach”. 🙂

      (I suck at actual chess, though)

  • Very interesting information. My question is: you are building something similar to the Rainmaker platform, in terms of features? Brian Clark idea looks good, but it’s way beyond my budget..

    Keep up the good work guys!

    • Hello Lica,

      We may offer a total package that includes hosting, at some point. But for the near future, our focus is to continue building products and features that you use on your own self-hosted site.

  • It’s a never ending battle trying plugins only to find later they have somehow affected the sites speed or start to do funny things, all of which is time consuming and frustrating. So yes if you succeed in your plans it will be fantastic for all of us. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hey Shane, many thx for your time and big up to the team. Keep focusing on quality over quantityn thats what we need as entrepreneurs. Here’s the things i would love to see in the thrive marketing suite :

    -A/B testing
    -Membership plugin
    -Ultra light payment solution for digital products integrating stripe and paypal. Something really simple to sell digital products and memberships, thrive connected (events for ultimatum etc).
    -Your own simple and thrive connected autoresponder.
    -A plugin doing the job of kickofflabs
    -Really simple SEO plugin thrive connected
    -Enhancing the apprentice feature
    -Analytics plugin thrive connected, or a way to simplify and display the GA analytics.
    -Definitely an affiliate plugin thrive connected

    Hope this helps 🙂

  • Love that this is where you’re going with Thrive Themes. I think that whatever you create will be exactly what marketers need ;). I love how all your plugins integrate with each other, and how spectacular the themes are. Now can I have more than 10 focus areas so I can segment and niche even more 😉

  • LOL, you actually have a category named “Why we’re the best”? That is quite alpha 🙂

    If no one has coined the term “Thrivegasm” yet, I’ll claim authorship.

    If you truly manage to solve the Frankenelephant in the WordPress Room problem, you will have marked a huge turning point in the history of the platform. I mean the Thrive system is already by far the best system I’ve worked with, but being able to work with ONE software, and one software alone…that’s another level, man.

    I am one of the people who have often bugged you with “soooo, when is X coming? when is Y coming? why haven’t you fixed Z yet?” – but I was really hoping you were working towards something like this. If you manage to pull this off, it will be totally worth the wait.

    My worst experience with the Frankenstein problem? Well, I’m using one of your ultralight superfast themes, and my website is still SLLLLLOOOWW, most likely because of some plugin that I had to add along the way before I even knew Thrive, and I have tried to deactivate, eliminate, replace, but to no avail so far.
    And of course, every time I need a new functionality, I have to go and spend lots of valuable time learning another software for maybe one or two functions. For example, I will have to ask a friend to teach me Digital Access Pass now…but I’m pretty sure I will have to replace that too in the future (hopefully with your upcoming awesomeness).

    What are some tools that I want to be part of this?

    – Membership suite with member monitoring (statistics a la Thrive Leads) and automated invoicing. Since you asked, it should have an affiliate system built right in, unlike others like Wishlist Member. And ideally be centralized for multiple website/projects.

    – Post cycling functionality. I want to be able to repeat the blog posts in a loop to simulate an “active” blog for new readers even when I post only one new article every two months, or have completed the project and want to fully automate the marketing and sale process.

    – Um, I know it doesn’t belong with the big things, but hey, you asked, and it bugs me. I’d like to have more themes, AND more customization ability for the existing ones. No, not the chamaleon thing…I mean just give us the ability to customize the navigation fonts like we can customize the main body and the headlines, and also the other little snippets that look completely out of place now since they retain the original fonts while everything else changes. And more COLOR SCHEMES or even better fully customizable color schemes, with the usual color picker. Ok, I know you don’t like it, but I know I’m not alone here…

    – A social network marketing optimizer, a place were I can go to set up my campaigns without dealing with the notoriously cluttered and counter-intuitive facebook UI and the like

    – Analytics tool. Google analytics is too complicated for me, I want something simple and straightforward, and yet powerful, exactly like Thrive Leads. It should be connected to the membership plugin and the social optimizer to calculate and optimize ROI.

    – Now if you REALLY wanted to clean up, I think you know you should also have your own Thrive Marketing Automation tool along the lines of Active Campaign. Add the Thrive magic to THAT, and watch 50% of the competitors crash and burn…

    Some minor but still important things:

    – the Thrive version of Hotjar

    – built-in comment spam filter

    – read next suggestion slide in

    Did I mention you are awesome? Keep being awesome, I will keep paying you and promoting you 🙂

    • Thank you very much for your feedback, Lorenzo!

      Even though we can’t build everything everyone requests (and certainly not as fast as we’d like to), please know that people like you “bugging us” with requests and questions is extremely valuable. It’s one of the best ways for us to know where the priorities lie and whether we’re on the right track. So please keep it going. 🙂

  • Sounds Great. My biggest wish though is to have custom theme colors. The 8-9 standard colors are not enough.

    • We’re working on a solution for that. If we can build the thing I have in mind, it will have been well worth the wait. 🙂

  • Hey, Shane, thanks for the open letter.

    Just a couple things. You’ve got a good thing going with Thrive Themes–products focused on conversions. That’s it. And that’s all we really need. Any effort to improve conversions through product integration would probably be welcomed by the TT community. Just a couple of caveats:

    1. Please don’t skimp on training. Thrive Theme products are only as effective as our ability to deploy them.

    2. There’s a potentially dangerous flip-side to product suites. When features of the suite are less effective than third-party plugins, the website and business suffers. This might not be a problem, however, if the suite’s features are focused and optimized for a very particular purpose–such as conversions. A suite cannot hope to be the be-all, end-all for online marketers; but for something as specific as conversions, perhaps.

    • Absolutely agree with you, Hans. We’re not trying to be everything to everyone. Our goal is to stay focused on tools and features that revolve around conversion optimization and directly marketing related tasks.

    • Hello Stefano,

      I’m afraid we can’t help you with that. Trying to cover additional CMS with our products would simply be too time consuming and distract us from our main goal.

  • Whenever I tried a new plugin or had a great idea and it didn’t work because of WP or theme limitations, I got frustrated. The plugin developer blamed the theme developer and vice versa.

    And I always banged my head on the keyboard and whined:
    “Why can I not have one product that has everything? Why can I not have just one contact for support, instead of dealing with three different?? And why do all of them with a tiny package of useful themes and plugins think I’ll pay them more than what I pay for my mortgage??”

    Shane, you guys have solved all of this for me! Thanks! Looking forward to seeing the developments over the next months and help out in the alpha squad team!

  • Amazing! I just love this stuff, keep ’em coming. I used to use Thesis Theme, but after learning how to use Content Builder, I couldn’t resist. I switched to your themes. I also had a year conscription with LeadPages, but once your Leads plugin come out, I didn’t renew my subscription. Everything works well together, is easy to integrate with each other, and comes with insanely detailed videos on how to use. Great work, you got me hooked.

  • I feel like a kid in a candy store with my Thrive Membership! I love the fact that there’s so many features under one roof. I can’t wait to optimize how I use each of the plugins. I’m saving so much time not having to research other tools – cause they’re already here.

    Shane, I also appreciate how well you balance marketing and the user experience with the tips that you share with us in your instructional videos. (Maybe one day you’d consider a coaching or mastermind group 🙂 I also like the fact that progress is steady. Yes, it’d be nice to have split testing or a membership site but I’d much prefer that these work well with the other Thrive “playmates” before they’re introduced – if indeed they will be. (BTW, I’ve heard of one WP membership plugin that doesn’t actually have to updated when WP updates – that’s a very cool feature. To be a little less entangled with WP would be a very appealing benefit to me.) Finally, I have Center (a new offering from LeadPages) and I’m hoping Thrive will play nice with them too.

    Please thank the whole Thrive team – they’re doing an awesome job!

    • Thank you very much, Susan! I’m not sure about coaching, but we do want to bring more teaching material to our members. A big update on that is coming soon as well. 🙂

  • Thrive emails are always read. I know there’s something worthwhile in them, something that will be meaningful. I’m glad for your progress and hope this company is around for as long as I’m in the marketing business.

    One thing, though. The name. You’re no longer building new themes as the landing page and conversion side of the business has been your focus for a long time. Why not just go with “Thrive”?

    • Hi Jerry,

      Thanks for your comment! “Thrive” as a standalone name is already taken by various other companies in various niches. But more importantly: we haven’t been making themes lately, but themes are definitely coming back in a big way…

  • First of all, Thank you for your tireless pursuit to make this platform always better. I’ve been pro drummer, teacher full-time, >20 years. I’ve started this online journey- so tediously slow and piecemeal, the last year and a half; gearing towards having it be MUCH more in my business and life to be still self-supporting; as now single dad with a 3yr old daughter. Many less gigs, lifestyle, etc.

    Seeing some things from Focus&action etc. Essentially, I’m a fan of you- your work and essentially, I believe, your “mission statement”. Which although I haven’t read it – sounds like you’re in it to help people and so am I. (To help discover things that took me years to find out); Thrive Themes is worthy of success= great product. I personally am RELIEVED that (as for time being) you’re staying and improving Thrive Themes.

    I’m starting to rely on Thrive Themes-in spirit and product.

  • Thank you so much Shane. The ONE thing I’ve been wanting for a very long time now, and have requested a few times, is better mobile optimization.

    I don’t know if I’m the only one here experiencing this, but the mobile optimization on my site isn’t great. Pictures are not resized well, buttons get really fat, fonts do not stay at the size I want them to stay at. My ribbons on mobile look.. well.. let’s say I disable them on mobile.

    My landing page is wayyy too long to be on mobile. I would love the option of taking away elements from my desktop version so that my mobile version will look sleek.

    I would gladly PAY for this feature rather than get a developer in to set the media queries. This has gotten to be so much of a problem to the point where I have stopped recommending Thrive Themes to anyone.. only the plugins.

    • I’m right there with you, Cherlyn! Mobile optimization has been nagging me for a long time as well and it’s one of the things we are working on improving in a big way.

      • Thank you SO much Shane. Like I said, I’ll be super happy to pay for such a feature/upgrade and be your loyal customer forever.. it will save me so much technical pain. Thank you again.

  • For me, it’s not so much the Frankenstein site problem. It is finding a whole set of marketing apps. Each time I need the next tool I need to start evaluation. This is time consuming and sometimes I get it wrong. To have one of my two most trusted development businesses offer a complete set is great news. I applaud your audacity, Shane, and look forward to growing my suite of Thrive assets.

  • I too love Thrive Themes products and am very impressed with the dedication to building better products. I truly appreciate the regular emails from you Shane (and the other team members). In fact, Thrive emails are the only ones that I consistently open when I get them!

    The feature that I really want is a funnel feature – where I can create high converting ‘funnels’with Upsells and Downsells and connect the pages in the funnel so that after a person buys the main product, they are then sent to upsell 1 page automatically. They either buy or click the “no thank you” link and then are sent to the next upsell/downsell page in the funnel.

    Obviously, adding some templates for the upsell/downsell pages would be nice as well. 😉

    I hope this feature is already on your list and I look forward to you rolling it out!

    Thanks again.

    • Thank you for your comment, Melodye. The funnels feature is one we have on our to do list as well.

  • That’s sound great Shane and congratulation for you excellent work. I’m waiting your WordPress marketing suite.

  • You know, out of the hundreds of emails I get every month, I have to agree with Juan. I always stop what I’m doing to read emails from you, Shane. Now, back to work.

  • Shane,
    My problem is Thrive overload. I don’t have enough time to learn the ins and outs of every different feature that you introduce! 🙁
    Not made any easier by the fact that I have always complained that you have never properly laid out the training and knowledgebase to make it possible to find everything.

    So as you expand even more, give a thought for those who are running to stand still and perhaps revamp the site building process and knowledge required and how you make it available.

    I recognised the Frankenstein effect some time ago and have tried to minimise the number of plugins that I use and standardise on the same plugins that I know to be reliable across all my sites.

    As you make a more comprehensive suite how will this compare with Jetpack? I understand this is written by the same team who actually manage WP and therefore comes with a high degree of credibility and the expectation that it will all work well together.

    I usually work on the basis that if I need some functi