A Year in Review: 2021
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time…
Jokes aside, that's how 2021 felt but rather than just 1 elephant we feasted on 3.
And every 3 weeks, we released features and improvements to support these 3 big goals and incrementally improve our existing tools.
In 2021, we published/released:
Videos on youtube
And took A LOT of bites! Let’s have a look.
Perfect Speed Scores Without Compromising Flexibility
Giving our customers full visual editing flexibility while keeping the code output lean and optimized seemed like an almost impossible mission when we first started working on Project Lightspeed. However, we knew this was becoming indispensable for our customers and it was our job to deliver. And we did!
Release of Kwik Theme
The final cherry on top was the release of KWIK, a brand new Theme Builder companion theme using all the code improvements we’ve added to Thrive Suite over the course of the year and implementing design choices that make for perfect speed scores.
However, releasing this companion theme in November and obtaining those near perfect scores has been a work of incremental improvements over several months.
In June, we released V1 of Project Lightspeed
Project Lightspeed is a one-click, code optimization tool that ensures your website — built with any Thrive Themes plugins — will output leaner, cleaner code.
This optimization tool lives inside the Thrive Dashboard and optimizes the code for ALL of our plugins and for Thrive Theme Builder.
Video covers, lazy loading and video speed improvements were added to our products in September.
By default, when embedding a video from Youtube or any other video hosting platform, a lot of code is loaded and this can drastically slow down the performance of a page.
The improvements added to our video element remove this hurdle.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) was the next thing we tackled. When loading certain elements on a page (like an embedded opt-in form or a ribbon) content will automatically “shift” place after loading. Google considers this a no-no for passing the Core Web Vitals assessment so we adapted Thrive Leads and Thrive Quiz Builder accordingly.
Gutenberg, Google Font and WooCommerce optimization
At this point, our own code was about as optimized as possible, but we knew we could help our customers even more…
That’s why we went one step further and added Gutenberg, Google Fonts and WooCommerce optimization inside Project Lightspeed.
This means that with the click of a button, no Gutenberg code or WooCommerce code will be loaded on pages that are not using these tools. And you can choose to disable or asynchronously load Google Fonts to optimize speed score even more.
As you can see, we’ve put A LOT of resources and effort into allowing our customers to have a FAST website with the click of a button!
A Big Step Towards an Open Ecosystem
This was probably one of the best held secrets of 2021… And in August we released the public BETA with a bang!
Some tech-savvy customers might have seen the writing on the wall when we released the developer documentation in early March of this year but for most of our customers this wasn’t very exciting (yet).
At that point, our team had already spent months reconfiguring the code of our plugins and making them API driven.
Up until then, it was incredibly hard for other developers to create integrations with our tools because that was not how our tools were originally built.
But the more diverse our customer base grew, the stronger we felt the limitations of these restrictions and it was time for a BIG change.
Step 1 was the reconfiguration of our code.
Step 2 was making this useful, not just for other developers, but for our entire customer base.
Enter Thrive Automator
Thrive Automator gives a simple interface allowing our customers to create “Triggers” and “Actions”.
This opened the door for use cases like:
Adding a Customer to Your Mailing List After They Purchase One or More WooCommerce Products
When someone buys my WooCommerce Product -> Add them to my “customer” list in my email marketing service.
Sending an encouragement email to someone who finishes a module in your course
If someone finishes Module 3 of my course -> Tag them in my email marketing service so that they receive an encouragement email.
Starting an evergreen Thrive Ultimatum countdown campaign for a limited time offer
If someone finishes the free online course -> Start a Thrive Ultimatum countdown campaign that gives them a discount for my paid course.
Today, Thrive Automator is already a very useful tool to extend the functionality of your Thrive Tools but it’s still very much in its infancy compared to the grand vision we have for it.
Keep an eye on Thrive Automator in 2022!
Create an Expertise Based Online Business With the Most Flexible LMS for WordPress
At the beginning of the year we developed a vision for Thrive Apprentice and we’ve been relentlessly adding features to make that vision a reality.
WooCommerce Integration to Allow ANYONE to Sell Courses Without Paying for a Checkout Solution
Removing the barrier to entry for new course creators was the ultimate goal for this milestone.
We worked hard on making it super easy and straightforward to sell online courses created in Thrive Apprentice through WooCommerce. This removes the need for our customers to pay extra for a checkout plugin, they can keep everything on their own domain and use one of the many payment systems supported by WooCommerce.
[Check out this course... ]
Full Visual Editing for Your Course Environment
Ever since we released Thrive Theme Builder, we knew we wanted to use the same technology to allow our customers to create an online course environment that matches their vision.
We hit this milestone in June but left many bread crumbs along the way, some very obvious and some a bit less…
The new Apprentice Lesson List Element
While behind the scenes we knew we needed this element for the full visual editing capabilities of Thrive Apprentice, we also realized that this lesson list element as a stand-alone element would be very beneficial on sales pages.
That’s why in January, this brand new element was added to our visual editor.
Off-Screen Sidebars & Vertical Menus
This might be a bit less obvious, but the off-screen sidebar and vertical menus were released specifically with Thrive Apprentice visual editing in mind, however we also knew this would be a great addition to Thrive Theme Builder and Thrive Architect so both features were added in January.
Check out this video to learn how to use the off-screen sidebar on your website.
Improved Progress Bar Element
Oh yes… This one too was part of the big masterplan! Thrive Architect has had a progress bar element since the beginning but this element needed a serious update to be able to showcase progress in online courses…
Check out this tutorial to learn how to use the progress bar on landing pages to improve conversions.
The User Profile Element
This new element allows your logged-in users to edit their personal information, change their name or email address, edit their bio, and create a new password.
It became available in Thrive Apprentice and Thrive Theme Builder in February.
Thrive Apprentice Course List
Just like with the lesson list, we needed an element that could showcase all the courses and filter the courses accordingly.
This element became available in March and with it the infinite possibilities to display courses exactly how’s best for (future) students.
You can have pages that list your courses per topic, all your free courses, only your premium courses, add related courses to confirmation pages and SO MUCH MORE.
This element alone, when used right, will boost online course sales.
Thrive Apprentice Resources
Our customers asked for an easy way to attach resources for students (such as additional PDF documents, links, ...) to lessons which is why we added the “resource” feature in Thrive Apprentice.
This feature allows you to upload any resource and display it on the lesson page in a well organized way.
Of course, behind the scenes we were already preparing this element to be visually editable...
Logged in / Logged Out Menus
Doesn’t make much sense to display a “member dashboard” button for people who haven’t signed up yet, does it? Nope.
That’s why this feature allows you to display menu items based on the logged in or logged out status of people on your website. Check out this video tutorial to see the feature in action.
This allows you to show specific menu items ONLY when relevant to your visitors. Combine this with the dynamic user image feature we’ve added and you get a super powerful solution to build a “User Profile” page.
Complete Freedom Over How, What and When to Deliver Your Product
The cat is out of the bag.
On December 22nd we announced the exact features that will be included in Thrive Apprentice 4.0.
And we’re proud to announce
Thrive Apprentice 4.0 will be released the 25th of January.
2021 has been a rollercoaster of a year. And we’re not planning on slowing down!
Thank you to every single person who choses Thrive Themes to power their online business. We’re grateful for your trust!
See you in 2022!
See you in 2022!
See you in 2022!