Sometimes it’s hard to recall or understand the scope of what you’ve done in a year unless you document it. I know in the past when I’ve written year in review posts (mostly focused on the content side of things and Divi releases) that it always surprised me just how much we were able to accomplish. That’s why this year, myself and the other team leaders here at Elegant Themes–Mitch Skolnik, Kenny Sing, and Josh Ronk–thought it would be a good idea to share a broader picture of what this last year was like for our entire company. Something that would serve as a welcome bit of internal encouragement and a fun retrospective for company and community alike. So here it is, the Elegant Themes 2017 year in review. Enjoy!
2017 Was Another Big Year for Divi
This year our team was able to release a staggering 21 Divi Feature Updates! That’s more than we’ve ever done in a single year. In fact, it’s more than we’ve done in all previous years combined! As a result, Divi is more powerful and versatile than ever before.
Here is a full list of Divi’s 21 Feature Updates from 2017:
- 1. Divi Builder Sync, Auto-Saves, Browser Backups, Failed Save Detection & Improved Saving Performance
The Most Popular Divi Updates This Year
The list above is pretty massive, so in the sections below I’ve highlighted some of 2017’s most popular and impactful updates to Divi. What was your favorite Divi release of the year? Tell us in the comments section below!
Options Organization & Options Search
“Divi has had a long journey and with each evolution the builder has become more robust and rich with features. Every time we added new module option, however, the options tabs became just a bit more cluttered. For those just starting out with Divi, finding a desired module setting could take some time. It was often unclear if the setting existed, and if it did, under which tab the option could be found. Within each tab, the long list of unorganized options were difficult to sift through.”
New Contact Form Module
“Today is a big day for the Divi contact form module! This new update takes what was a simple form builder and transforms it into something much more advanced and full of possibilities. We have added more input types, more customizability, field validation rules and conditional logic. It’s a big update that really takes the module to the next level.”
Advanced Animations Options
“Today we are introducing an entirely new animation system for Divi and extending these advanced animation options to every Divi module, row and section! These new options have been consolidated into a slick new interface that is incredibly easy to use while still allowing you to customize every aspect of your animation. We know that you are going to have a lot of fun creating animations that bring your pages to life and engage with your visitors in new and exciting ways.”
1,000 New Foundational Options
“This is a big, important update that adds 1,000 much-needed Divi options and makes those options easier to use and easier to understand. Divi has gone through quite a few innovations and evolutions. We have added new modules, new options and continually updated the interface to make managing those options easier. With each leap forward, however, disharmony began to exist between modules and their unique sets of options. This update harmonizes the Divi Builder options by adding tons of basic settings to every single Divi element and ensures that these options are easy to understand and that they are using the latest and most relevant Divi interface element.”
Huge Font Options Overhaul
“We have an amazing Divi update for you today, filled with so many of the features you have been requesting, and so much more too. Today we are launching our brand new font options interface, filled with 600 new fonts, improved font management, custom font uploading, new font styles, better font weight controls, fine tuned heading style management, heading level selection and dozens of new design options for the text module.”
Introducing Color Filters, Effects And Blend Modes
“We want to provide designers the tools they need to be creative on the web, and that means giving you the power to make visual adjustments of any kind with the click of the mouse, right from inside your browser. We want people to be able to jump inside of Divi and start their ideation process, to take a blank canvas and mold and massage it into something wonderful. That’s why we are excited to announce a full range of color filters, effects and blend modes for the Divi Builder that can be applied to any image and all Divi modules, rows and sections.”
It Was Also a Year of Stellar Sales and Support
Our overall sales for 2017 were up 20% compared to 2016 thanks to the collaborative effort across all teams here at ET. 2017 was a big year with the focus on making Divi even better and it’s only going to get even more exciting in 2018!
One update that went under the radar was the release of our new Documentation System and updated Divi tutorials. This was a much needed addition to assist with the onboarding of new Divi users, and thanks to our Content team, all these new Divi tutorials have been updated with brand new video tutorials.
With the addition of so many new team members came the need for implementing more hierarchy and responsibilities within our teams.
On the Sales front, we managed to get live chat enabled on almost our entire website, and not only answer questions for potential customers but for current customers as well. Thanks to the awesomeness that is our Sales team, they managed to maintain a great response time while still helping current customers with questions.
On the Support front, we promoted 7 Support team members to the new position of Support Lead, which has helped take our Support team to the next level. In addition to their Support responsibilities our Support Leads are also part of our QA (Quality Assurance) testing working directly with our Development team to make sure Divi is as stable as possible.
We Had Another Year of Impressive Growth for the Elegant Themes Blog and Content Channels
It’s become a fun (and useful) habit for me over the years to calculate, compare, and analyze our annual content statistics to gauge our growth, areas that need improvement, and areas of opportunity. This year is, of course, no different.
We had a great year last year. We completed our most ambitious and popular content initiatives ever–the Divi 100 Marathon. 100 days in a row of Divi focused content chock full of new freebies, resources, and tutorials. In large part to the success of that campaign and our past content’s continued good performance, here is what our previous year looked like.
Blog Stats for 2016:
- We published 407 posts
- Approved 22,750 comments
- Garnered 19.5 million blog pageviews
- Saw our total post count rise to 1,336 published posts
- Saw our total comments count rise to 81,054 approved comments
- And our total lifetime pageviews rose to 47.3 million blog pageviews
- We also saw our email list grow from 173,000 to 219,907 email subscribers
Facebook and YouTube stats for 2016:
- Our Facebook page grew from ~47,000 likes last year to 81,000 likes with 79,000 follows this year.
- On YouTube we saw a massive increase in our subscribers, gaining 13,245 new subscribers resulting in a total of 19,880 subscribers today.
To beat those kinds of numbers, we knew we needed to pull out all the stops in 2017. So we took everything we learned from Divi 100 and made it our objective to provide the very best of what that series provided our community with–every. single. day.
It’s been very close to 365 days of two posts per day. One post about general WordPress and web design topics. And one post per day just about Divi. And the results have been great!
Blog Stats for 2017:
- We published 685 posts
- Approved 17,359 comments
- Garnered 20.1 million blog pageviews
- Saw our total post count rise to 2,021 published posts
- Saw our total comments count rise to 98,413 approved comments
- And our total lifetime pageviews rose to 67.4 million blog pageviews
- We also saw our email list grow from 219,907 to 261,551 email subscribers
Facebook and YouTube Stats for 2017:
- Our Facebook page grew from ~81,000 likes last year to
106,315 likes with 105,486 follows this year.
- On YouTube we saw a massive increase in our subscribers, gaining 20,037 new subscribers resulting in a total of 39,917 subscribers today.
There is still a lot of work to be done in order to draw significant insights from this year’s data, but you can rest assured that we’ll approach 2018 with the same level of ambition in our quest to empower the Divi and wider WordPress community.
We Established The Divi Design Team and Launched The Divi Design Initiative
In years past our design “department” was almost non-existent. Not because we didn’t focus on design, far from it. But because our size and focus was manageable for a team of 1-2 really talented designers to handle. But we’re quickly leaving those days in the past and with a much larger demand on our design resources a properly set up department became necessary. Which is why this year we were extremely excited to bring back our first design hire, Kenny Sing, to build out and lead the Divi Design Team. The handy-work of which you are no doubt familiar with. We’ve been calling it The Divi Design Initiative and it’s our never-ending, weekly cycle of FREE professionally designed Divi Layouts and High Quality Photos.
Here is a quick rundown of all the FREE Divi Design Initiative Layout Packs (and Photo Packs!) we’ve released so far.
The Elegant Themes Team is Bigger, Stronger, and Ready for Anything!
Of course all of these feature releases, freebies, content, support, and pre-sales help don’t simply materialize out of the ether. The Elegant Themes team has continued to rapidly grow to meet the needs of our new, faster development cycle, increased free resources, expanding community, and aggressive marketing strategy.
Here is a quick breakdown of all the additions we’ve made to the Elegant Themes staff in 2017.
The Development Team
This year we added 5 new members to the Development team. This means the dev team has practically doubled as we have taken on a ferocious pace churning out new features for the Divi Builder and continuing to innovate as well as cleaning up TONS of bugs along the way.
3,156 to be exact!
- 2,634 in Divi
- 134 in Extra
- 189 in the Divi Builder
- 34 in Monarch
- 168 in Bloom
The Design Team
In July of this year we set out on a mission to build a design team within that would not only design products, but also create world-class design resources that help our users take our products to the next level. This began with Kenny Sing returning to Elegant Themes after a 2 year hiatus, and proceeded to three amazingly talented visual designers, Sayeed Ahmad, Zaib Ali, and Ali Sayed, who’s focus has been creating stunning, FREE Divi layout packs for our community. And last, but absolutely not least, Joy Boseva joined the fun as our solo in-house photographer, enabling the inclusion of fully open source, FREE photography in every resource that we produce.
Simply put, this is a 400% increase in design effort from past years.
The Content Team
This year we added three new members to the Elegant Themes Content Team. It’s been an awesome experience to see this team go from a small group of freelancers, to one dedicated staff member, to two staff members, and then all of a sudden five dedicated staff members in 2017!
And we’re still looking for more talented content creators to join up with us in 2018!
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let me (re)introduce you to all of this year’s new hires:
If you haven’t yet, be sure to welcome them all in the comments section 🙂
The Sales Team
Our Sales team has grown to 7 and are now answering questions in all timezones 24 hours a day 5 days a week. Over 200,000 Sales conversations have been answered and all with an average time of 2 minutes!
The Support Team
Our Support ticket count increased by 25% this year, and we have worked hard to make sure we are getting to all tickets even during the busiest of times. In order to increase quality and response times, we created a new Support role called “Support Lead” to handle the most difficult of tickets.
We now have 7 employees serving in this new Support Lead role. We also hired 4 brand new Support team members and created a new Community Manager Position to be available in our awesome Divi Facebook Groups.
It Always Comes Back to One Thing: Community.
I’m happy to report that the Divi Nation is growing faster than ever before, but most importantly, those new community members are finding more than just a group of people who share an interest in WordPress and web design. They’re finding something more akin to a global family. A family committed to the mutual success of everyone involved.
This last year we had a physical presence at 1 or 2 fewer events (WordCamps) than we did the year before. But because of what we saw and experienced in 2016, we made the goal of 2017 to focus on deepening those community connections rather than simply being present at a lot of places. That’s why we put more time and effort into two of our biggest community events of the year: WordCamp Orange County and WordCamp US. You can follow those links to read (and watch) how those events went this year. Spoiler, they were a blast!
In the past (prior to 2015 when we started sending folks out to WordCamps) we focused our community building efforts almost entirely online. And our focus is still probably 90+% there. However, in the years to come I look forward to continuing to grow our presence and impact at physical events. Including, or perhaps especially, at events we either put on ourselves or that you (the community) organize. Because if there is one thing I’ve learned over the last two years in this community it’s that good things happen when the Divi Nation comes together.
What to Expect in 2018
This past year, like every year in an industry as fluid as the tech and web industry, was one of change. But if anything, 2018 is shaping up to be even more transformative than usual. With the introduction of Gutenberg into WordPress core and all the changes and challenges that will come with that, we know we have an exciting year ahead of us. But thankfully we’ve been busy–constantly improving, constantly growing, constantly looking ahead–and we feel confident that we can meet these challenges head-on and continue our tradition of elegant design, great community, and unparalleled empowerment well into the future. We hope you’ll join us!
Featured image By Callahan / Shutterstock.com