How I got started as a freelance Divi web developer.
When I first ventured into the tech world way back in 2017, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do or where it would take me. At that point, I had already been traveling full time for 3 years. That whole time, I was working on my teaching resources store. I knew I wanted something that would allow me to work remotely and continue to travel full time. And I knew I wanted to do something in tech, probably something with code. I was already using my more creative side in creating teaching resources. Now, I wanted to use my more logical and analytic side in a new career. But, I just really didn’t know what that meant at the time!
But how did I become a Divi web developer?
This took a little more time, honestly. In the bootcamp course, we learned about themes and child themes and how to build our own custom themes for our clients. Of course, using a child theme is just best practice and is something we web developers need to do anyway. But building custom themes was just impractical for me when I was getting started as a freelance web developer.
In the beginning, I was taking on clients at $18/ hour, so it wasn’t very realistic for me to be building entire custom themes. Plus, I felt like my clients didn’t really need all of that anyway. And I didn’t want to be charging people for hours and hours of work that didn’t really need to be done. I know what it’s like to be a small business owner, and I know that there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel if there’s a better (and cheaper) option out there!
I started researching themes. Of course the big three names came up in Google: Divi, WP Bakery, and Elementor. I did a ton of research and learned to use all three. I’ve built websites in all three themes over the years. But, for me, the clear favorite is Divi. It’s just so much more intuitive and easy to use.
Why I’m glad I chose to focus on being a Divi developer:
Looking back, I think choosing to focus on working with WordPress, and specifically the Divi theme was one of the best decisions of my career. The theme is so easy to learn and use! Honestly, I had no trouble getting started with it. But, it’s also super flexible and has tons of options. So my creativity and growth as a web developer and designer were truly unlimited. Of course, I loved learning and coming up with different design techniques. I learned a ton from reading the Elegant Themes blog. And, I was even selected for the Divi design showcase back in April of 2019!
Becoming a Divi developer was not only a great idea for me as a freelance web developer, but it genuinely is the best option for my clients. Most of my clients have little to no tech skills (because they are focused on being artists, teachers, writers, etc.!). So using Divi gave them the ability to edit and maintain their own websites. Now they don’t have to come running to a web developer (and pay a ton of money) every time they wanted to change a date or add a picture.
Why Divi is often better than a custom theme:
Remember all of those custom themes that I decided not to build? Other web developers did build them for clients. And now, I get a lot of those clients coming to me asking to have their site rebuilt in the Divi theme instead. Unfortunately, a lot of those developers aren’t able to maintain and update those custom themes. And so they become out of sync and difficult to use. Sometimes, people’s sites even break completely from old custom themes that are no longer maintained.
And now, I get soooooo many clients coming to me asking me to replace their custom theme with Divi. I’m so glad that I started building websites for my clients with the Divi theme from the beginning. The Divi developers, Elegant Themes, are a huge company and regularly update their theme. They are finding and fixing bugs and adding new features almost every week. I love being able to give my clients a WordPress theme that they can trust and can use forever! And no worrying about whether or not it will become outdated in the future.
Why I finally bought the Divi developer license:
One of the best things about Divi is that they have unlimited licenses. So, you can buy the theme and use it on one site, or use it on 100 sites, and it’s the same price. Plus, it’s a lifetime license, so you don’t need to keep paying for it forever. I realized very early on as a freelance web developer that I could offer the Divi theme to my clients for free and provide them with an extra service and premium theme at no extra cost. That not only helped my small business owner clients save a ton of money, but having a Divi developer license gave me a leg up on the competition. I found I could offer a premium theme for free, when other web developers were charging hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars for custom themes.