Do It Yourself With Divi

Do It Yourself With Divi

Do it yourself with Divi is a series of blog posts and tutorials to show you how you can have a website and do it yourself. This isn’t for every website. The kind of website depends on the specific purpose of the site. The way we can build a site has changed. If you’re using WordPress for your website you will find many options available when choosing a Theme. There isn’t one theme that is better than another, all of the Themes have been designed with a topic.

The opportunity to build a website yourself with a flexible framework has only recently emerged. This may be why you might not have heard about the Divi Theme. It is the designer and the developer’s best kept secret. They don’t want you to know how they do their outstanding work. The website is a vital presence on the web. What kind of website? The answer to this question depends on what kind of website you want.

It takes a special kind of person who wants to do it themselves

There is something different about learning how to use the software from the ground up. Just like you would start with an entry level position to learn how something operates. The people who reached the top of their profession often started in the mail room of the business they wanted to operate. The knowledge base of how a website operates will set the foundation for the future of your online presence.

Is it possible to do it yourself?

Yes, it is. I say this because this is how I built all my websites, without knowing how to code. The process depends on the kind of theme used. The theme is the Divi Theme produced by Elegant Themes. At first glance the websites built by this theme looks simple and easy. This is not true. A website crafted for a specific purpose requires a team of designers and developers to build out a website.

You might be asking why then would you want to do it yourself? The end result of the Divi Theme is a theme operating system, a framework, and this lets you build the site yourself. You’re using the Divi Framework with all the built in features. Everything you need is contained within the theme, the tutorials and short videos will take you inside the Divi Theme and show you how it works.

As someone who is a DIY (do it yourself) person, I found the Divi Theme an exciting challenge. The presentation of the modules and how they work makes sense. Divi was designed by a designer, someone who uses the theme each day and  knows how repetitive some tasks can be when you’re working on a website. A website is something you can’t set it and leace it.  Technology changes rapidly and a website needs maintenance.

The maintenance you want is a one click update for the Divi theme and WordPress core software. All these things are possible if you know how to do it yourself, and most important, you want to do it yourself.

Why does the Divi Framework work so well?

Because it’s designed by people who undertand how the software works and want to pass on this understanding to the unique experience of having a publishing a platformm, a website. A website is a relatively new tool we have come to know and use. We’re having to catch up with technology because it moves faster than human nature.

The Do It Yourself With Divi Series is to help you achieve what you want, a website. No bells and whistles or complex design. Just the plain and simple. The thing does what was intended for it to do, and does not over extended itself into a technical entanglement which takes too much money to untangle.

When it’s that simple no one believes it’s possible

This only means that someone has explained the complex with simplicity. Breaking down the components gives you the control, not someone else. It’s a problem to have to upgrade or pay someone to change something in your website.

Integrated Learning While You Work in Divi

Unheard of. Impossible. It’s never been done. Now it has. As you use the modules you’ll find a technology partner right next to you in the instructional video. There is a human being behind the creation of any software you might use, even though we are now introduced to artificial intelligence as an “assistant.”

The reality of this is, there will never be an end to the need of one human being helping another. No matter how sophisticated artificual intelligence becomes, it cannot replace human interaction.

The DIY instruction, the video tutorial is going to be made by a human with a presonality, otherwise we will loose interest. You can already listen to an electronic voice instructional video on YouTube. I’ve fallen asleep during those kinds of videos and don’t waste time watching them.

The DIY series of articles and tutorials are done by a human being, yours truly.

 

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The one click update is possible. To get to the point of being able to click the update button and wait for the updates to implement successfully means following some good practices for the wellbeing of the website. The one click update is user savvy. No one wants to spend so much time trying to figure out why the best software for a website, WordPress, is so difficult to operate.

It’s a simple solution and it depends on whose advice you follow and how many plugins are installed in the site. How much is too much? This depends on what extra functions you want your site to have. No matter how simple your website is, there’s going to be problems of one sort or another.

There’s an endless division in the world of websites. The tech savvy and the non-tech savvy person. Obviously, the developer who crafts the core WordPress code, or a Theme knows more than the person who doesn’t.

The non-tech savvy person is the user, the one on the receiving end of the work of the tech savvy person. The user is the operator of the website. Technology should simplify the process for the user, instead a website can be bloated with too many plugins.

A Plugin Extends Website Function

When a major version of WordPress is updated some plugins may not work the way they used to. Keep these things in mind if you start to have problems with updates:

Make sure the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress

The WordPress software is the core that runs the website and isn’t the WordPress Theme

The Theme overlays the core software and doesn’t modify the core of WordPress

Sometimes your theme updates and the plugin you thought was compatible stops working

Plugins are packages of code that extend the core functionality of WordPress. The code is PHP, a scripting language used in open source software. This is what the developer uses when they “write” the code. The PHP files have “text,” HTML (hypertext markup language), CSS (cascading style sheets) and JavaScript, a specific code that is separate from the PHP scripting language.

Plugins are specifically coded and written by developers who integrate the code to work within the existing core. Plugins add specific functions to the website.

The WordPress Plugin Repository

There are 44,000+ Plugins in the WordPress Repository. Ideally, plugins should work because they’re all WordPress plugins. The developer built an excellent plugin, but it may not be compatible with your Theme. Why? The plugin wasn’t developed by the same developer that developed the theme. 

Using the Divi Theme as an example with this site, I found some plugins didn’t work well with the Divi Theme. This is not the fault of the plugin or the theme, it’s a fact of human nature. Across the board everyone has this problem. Think about the World Wide Web for a moment and the vast numbers of people interacting with code, there are different developers working on different teams.

Fierce competition exists, and you’ll find one plugin developer criticizing another one. Just because a plugin isn’t in the WordPress Repository doesn’t mean it’s no good. As a front-end user, I cannot fathom the eternal conflict with technology. We’re all using the same software, WordPress.

WordPress Core Updates

WordPress is a good software to use. You can tell by the number of people using it. 28% of websites worldwide run on WordPress. The core software is updated with security fixes regularly. You have to click the update button, it’s not done automatically for you.

In the Dashboard in the Updates section you will see when there is an update needed. If you have the latest version of WordPress you’ll see this message.

This site updates with one click. The customizations and changes made in the Divi Theme are inside the modules and don’t affect the Divi core code or WordPress core code. The one click update will depend on how much modification exists in the site.

The Divi Child Theme

A Divi Child Theme is built from the Divi Framework, specifically styled by a developer and a designer. This is an alternative if you want a ready made website designed with the Divi Theme. Take a look at these gorgeous Child Themes built in the Divi Theme.

You want a Theme built by a reputable developer. It doesn’t take much to find the reputable developers. They’re the ones in business, and they’re good at what they do.

This website is not using a Child Theme, it’s built with the Divi Theme Framework by me, the user.

The Divi Theme has grown in popularity and there are plugins specifically for Divi. Naturally, I’m using those plugins. The social sharing plugin is Monarch, and the Newsletter sign up is Bloom. The most recent plugin installed is the Divi Blog Extended plugin. The blog plugin has a selection of layout designs pre-formatted for the blog page.

So yes, I operate within the Divi ecosphere for now. But I know the developers of the Divi Theme work with developers from all over the world, just as WordPress does.

There will always be updates, revisions, and code collisions. It’s the nature of technology. Once you figure out WordPress, plugins, and themes on the front end, the non-tech user isn’t so non-tech after all. When the update notices arrive, you can smile inwardly  and do the one click update.

And then there is Divi

And then there is Divi

In the beginning… there was a stillness on the horizon, the modules were an idea in the designer’s mind, the ideal placeholder for the information. A text, an image, a blurb, a full width slider, and the family of modules was born into the house of Divi.

The designer went to the developer and said write the code for this please. The developer nodded thoughtfully and the string of code poured from the keyboard. The logic phrases of code, fetched and styled integrating perfectly with WordPress. This is the story of the dawning of the Divi Theme.

Okay, so I’m hopelessly in love with the Divi Theme since it came out in 2013. I switched my website to the Divi theme. I can’t get enough of it and love using it, thanks to the designers and developers of the Elegant Themes team who created the master framework upon which to build a website.

The Divi Theme Changes Everything

I don’t know how to code.  All the effects you see in this website are made through the module. Each module gives you the option to style it. All the code is already built into the module.

The way the website looks and the way it is built isn’t only for the designer and the developer, it’s also for the user.

WordPress is the go-to software for websites today. The software has the flexibility to add in desired features and it has a robust core structure. Everything about building a website with Divi is pleasurable as it should be.

Of course not everyone wants to take the time to figure out how the Divi theme works, they leave that to people of my nature, I will work with the module to see what it does and figure out how to make it shorter, longer, and fit in better with the layout.

Divi has an on page visual builder. You can write directly into the webpage, this helps you put the content into the website in the right place. As you type into the module you can see the changes you make as you are making them.

Clutter

Some websites look cluttered and are a chore to look at. Popups, moving pictures, slide in text boxes distracts the reader.

Clean Interface

If you put the right information in the module it makes for easier reading. Too much content on the page promotes eye fatigue.

The Content

Includes the words, the images and the white space. When these elements are harmonious, the website works.

The Divi frame gives you the opportunity to use it for what you’re sutied for. Now that is service.

The do it yourself has an appeal all of it’s own.

The design for the creative and the visual.

The code brought to perfection to render the exact right look.

The code is built in and you don’t need to know how to code.

Updating the Divi Theme happens with one click of the Update button. Some say this is not possible. I say it is. I do it all the time whenever the Divi Theme is updated. When I press the update button there isn’t a code collision. A code collision happens when there are too many plugins competing against each other.

In truth, the elegance of design is, less is more. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Trends come and go, material design, minimalist design, flat design, three dimensional design, all will in due time live for a while then expire. What doesn’t expire is your style and that is unique to you.

For me the ordinary user, the ability to place the modules, adjust the headings, widen the space, add colors, images, is an avenue of expression on the web.  And now there is Divi…

About the About Page

About the About Page

So, what’s this all about? People want to know.

It’s the page on your website that gives people information about you or the business. We know this. We also know first impressions count as the visitor lands on the Homepage.

Which is more important the Homepage or the About page?

There’s no easy answer it depends on which “expert” you speak to. The answer is common sense. What would you like to know about someone when they are a total stranger? I’m always reminded of the truth of the statement, “Anyone can say anything on the Web.” How do we know it is true? We don’t, we have to find out, if we can get past the popup, the push notification, the cookie policy, or the objection to the use of Adblocker.

Using the Web should be fun and informative. Now it’s an obstacle course to get to where you want to go. The information is buried somewhere within a minimalist opt in to a free signup. This is the new business model, for a while, until the next one comes along.

There’s a good book you should read if you want to get your content read; Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. How usable is your Website? Technology and Design move fast, style’s change, and new trends develop all the time. What doesn’t change is the way a human being wants to be treated, yes, even on a website.

Endless meetings and discussions go on about what is inside the person’s head as they come to your website. It’s a guessing game. Instead of spending so much time trying to figure out what the visitor is thinking, think about the information you’re presenting to the visitor.

Do they want to sign up for your newsletter before they know what you’re about? Are they comfortable paying you money before they know you are who you say you are?

Online Interaction Overload

Before I can get to the About page I have to land on the Homepage. Unless, the Homepage has everything on it:

  • About
  • Testimonials
  • Portfolio links
  • Newsletter signup
  • Latest workshop signup
  • Book offer

This is interaction overload. The Homepage makes the visitor think too much. One glowing paragraph about you and what you do isn’t enough to build a relationship with a total stranger being introduced to you for the first time.

The About page is where I should find extensive information about you. I am most interested in this because this page introduces you to me. I can start to get to know you.

What do you put on the About Page?

Remember, you must offer your specific, unique services so as not to overstep the boundary and then infringe on someone else’s territory. If you copy then you’re plagiarizing. If you emulate, you adapt the content to fit your style. Your own style.

Return to the simple and find the definition of the context. The word “about” means with reference to, relevant to, and on the subject of. You’re the subject of your website. Even if you have a team of people you still have to tell people what you’re about.

About is the story of the business and how it originated. This story starts to build the relationship with people who might be interested in what you do. The context should clearly explain what you are about, but without selling.

Keep the context related to: who, what, and why.

The About page is the spotlight. Stand firmly in the center. The Internet is the marketplace, the public square. Everyone who gathers in this place can speak to those who want to listen.

Use a current picture. No matter how old or young you look if your picture isn’t what you look like in real time, people will not trust you. In a time when we have megapixel cameras there’s no excuse not to have a current picture of you. If you hide behind an image it’s worse. If there’s a blank avatar image and no photo of you, there’s no connection.

If you put pictures of your family instead of you, the visitor knows it’s family first and they’re second. Of course your family comes first, but you’re still conveying a message that’s not about you.

Don’t use a character picture without your real picture nearby. The icon graphics although they’re cartoonish, they don’t promote realism. When you’re looking for the person behind the website you want the real person.

Your kitty isn’t you…

 

The Visitor

The visitor uses the web and they’re well up on information. Any exaggeration or sales context sets up a barrier between you and the visitor. You don’t know the visitor. If you set up analytics and tracking you know about their use of the site. What you should be concerned about is the context of the information and communicating to the visitor.

When you respect the visitor, this is your chance to build a relationship. When you meet a person face-to-face, there’s nowhere to hide. Online there’s the opportunity to hide, exaggerate, or be untruthful.

Have you ever visited an About page on a website that’s just too good to be true? The person has one too many celebrity pictures or endorsements. They’re so over-the-top, that while they might be well-known, how well do you know them. Instead, you’re shown their value based on the celebrities not on them.

Your About page is the most revealing page in your entire website. Never underestimate the user of the web, they’re smart.

Your Story

The story of how you started what you do is what the visitor is looking for. It is the capture point. Every child listens to the story and continues listening. Your story is the identifying element and brings the context about who you are, what you do, and why you’re doing it. If the visitor identifies with your story they will connect with you.

Every interaction online is person to person. There is a human being on the other end of the keyboard reading what you wrote. I never tire of thinking about that as I write online. I am communicating to someone who wants to know about the About page.