Over the past year we have seen some fantastic growth and some huge changes in the world of WordPress.
WordPress and Divi Development Changes in 2018
With the new Front End and React libraries the Divi Builder itself has seen its biggest year of changes. This is fantastic news for most of the users.
Yes, I will personally mourn the loss of the back-end editor. The block style of editing is simply evolutionary and I think it was a big inspiration for block editing and the big changes that have come to WordPress. The front end editor is now going to be the default so that means a lot of work for us at Divi Framework making all our plugins work really well in this new world.
With WordPress 5.0 we have Gutenberg. Some of us love it, some hate it and the rest are in between.
What our Members Told Us
As many of you know, as you become a free member on Divi Framework you end up filling out a form where we ask what is the most important to you as a user.
Do you want Plugins, Themes or Learning?
We did some statistics on the feedback and the results are very interesting:
97% want plugins
97% of those that made the choice to enter data in that part of our form said they were interested in Plugins. This means Plugins will remain our focus at Divi Framework.
56% want learning materials
56% of you indicated you would like more learning materials. As many of you would have seen our learning materials are continuing to improve and we hope to be the best free and paid resource for Divi WordPress users and Developers by the end of 2019.
49% want Themes.
49% of you are interested in Themes. We are going to spend less time on Child Themes than other areas however what we will be doing is creating child theme examples with plugin and learning combined. This should help all of us become better users of Divi and WordPress.
Our focus in 2019
At Divi Framework our focus is 3 things.
Plugins – we want all our plugins to be first class citizens with Divi Builder Frontend.
Learning – Lots of Videos and New learning materials are to be released.
We will of course continue to be agile but the main thing for us is continuing to help WordPress users see Divi Builder as a framework of tools to make great websites.
We have our standard installation protocols and setups that help us maintain and grow our WordPress clients year on year.
We want to help every member, Free and Paid do the same thing in 2019. The internet is huge and growing faster every year. I think that we can change the internet one website at a time and help every organisation look fantastic using WordPress and Divi.
A new year brings new Hope
As the New year arrives we all set goals to grow and do more. As a result of that I thought how can I help our members best at this time of year.
I realised that was simple, make it easier to join Divi Framework.
So for the first 7 days of the year we have a sale on for all of you.
Enter the code my2019deal on checkout to save 70% on any plan.
Happy New Year and we look forward to an amazing year for Divi Framework and WordPress in 2019.
The switch to Devil Box for Local WordPress Development
As some of you may know, WordPress developers often use a local environment to test and build a WordPress site.
Not only does this save time, it also saves money because you don’t need a hosting account.
This does however bring with it a few problems.
The move from Mac to Windows
I recently migrated from Mac to Windows. The main reason, I just don’t feel like I get value from Apple anymore. The Macbook Pro with 32gb ram and decent storage is an ridiculous amount for what it is. With more PCs having a nice form factor and good battery life, I made the switch.
This came with a couple of problems. My beloved Screenflow doesn’t work and Terminal, the place all real coders like to live, was taken from me.
Terminal is that black screen with green text you see hackers using in the movies. Its my happy place and with the move to windows I no longer had this wonderful tool.
Windows has alternatives, but its still took a bit of getting used to.
I also had been using Laravel Valet for my Laravel projects and often used local development directly on my MAC using MAMP. With MAMP working in sync with my terminal in Mac I was able to use Composer, GIT and one of my favourite tools, WP CLI.
With the installation of Local from Flywheel I got a fair few of my issue resolved for WordPress development, for Laravel however it was not that great.
I missed Redis and the ability to install Maria DB or Postgres in Local from Flywheel.
Installing it on windows was tricky. It was not that clear I was missing things when I started.
If you want to install Devil Box on Windows make sure you have the following installed before starting,
1. Windows Professional. You need the Hyper V tools that come with Windows for Docker to work its magic. 2. A Docker Installation – its free so that was no problem. 3. I also need GIT Bash – Again its free and I already had it setup.
After that, a simple setup of Devilbox now has me with a fantastic environment for developing WordPress extensions and Laravel in the one place.
The Domain management is easy enough and I have to recommend it as the best solution I have found thus far.
I will make a few more in depth tutorials in 2019 for the whole Divi Community and I’m sure you guys will enjoy this solution. Its flexible and allows you to do more than the other solutions I have found.
If your interested in Local WordPress Development be sure to become a free member and enjoy the new tutorials.
We have heaps of sites using Divi custom post types. We have all sorts of single post pages and css that helps us do that and the thought of less custom code made me happy.
The update meant, in theory at least, we can dump a bunch of custom code and depend on Default Divi for solutions with custom post types. The theory is unfortunately not that practical.
A Flaw in the implementation of Divi Custom Post Type CSS
Unfortunately, when we updated to version 3.11.1 we found a minor disaster had occurred. The team at elegant themes had generated a gem of a style sheet filled with important statements and other wonderful gifts of poor css. This is injected by default on all of our custom post type pages. I was far from impressed and started to hunt around on what to do.
I looked at first trying to find out why I had so much funk in my pages. All new css rules and weird padding was making my head spin and then I identified a simple solution. Either role back or remove this style sheet.
The good thing is this style sheet is linked to a single action and that can be easily updated.
The new Action for Divi Custom Post Type CSS
In the Divi Theme a new custom post type hook was added with an action to link some css. This is a completely new style sheet taking the best and worst of the existing Divi Stylesheet with some additional sugar to “help” with your custom post types.
Unfortunately for me, it turned my pages into spaced our weird padding items so I had one simple solution, remove that style sheet.
Fortunately that is not to hard.
I placed the following gist in my child theme function file and everything was well in the world again.
If you are finding issues with this new Divi custom post type support, give this code a whirl and see if it helps you get some normal back into your sites.
How does this reflect on Elegant Themes?
The team at Elegant Themes are racing ahead on changes, and that is fantastic most of the time. However they don’t have a beta developer group. They also don’t have a way of testing new functions before the roll out of major updates. This means you need to keep a close eye on your updates and have a testing process. This was a critical step for the Divi Custom Post Type support feature.
We found that overall we need to be careful on all Divi updates. Often things break in a catastrophic way so be sure to get yourself a good support team on your commercial sites.
It would be great if Elegant Themes had a beta plugin that allowed new features to be enabled or disabled before being merged into the Divi Theme.
How did your site go with these updates? let us know in the comments.
WP Rocket is a premium cache tool and is one of my only choices for cache.
This is due to me using Kinsta as a host provider. They limit what I can and cant use for my cache.
Kinsta have a good cache tool already built in so that has never been a problem.
Recently Kinsta and WP Rocket worked together to bring the magic of using these two amazing services together for my Divi powered WordPress site.
It took me a while to configure the plugin so in this article I thought I would go over what I did and why I did it so you too can get some amazing results with your WP Rocket for Divi configuration.
The Installation of WP Rocket for Divi
To get start simply upload the plugin as you would any other. Once installed you active it and are taken to a configuration page.
Once you are on the dash board all I turned on was the sharing of analytics. I only turn this on for my personal sites that I own and am director for. If it is a client site I would suggest you get your clients permission before sharing this data.
On the left side of the WP Rocket panel is a menu and I simply worked my way down this menu from top to bottom.
In the cache area I have a very simple interface, which I like.
I’m not sure if this is more simple because of the integration with Kinsta Cache so if you get something else, it may be because you aren’t on Kinsta.
The first question is around having a separate cache for mobile devices. This is for those users who have a mobile specific theme. I don’t as I am using Divi which is responsive out of the box , so all I did was select that I want a mobile cache.
I then enable the cache for logged in users. We have a membership on this site so slowing down our logged in experience is a bad idea. If you don’t have a membership site you don’t need to turn this on.
The Cache lifespan is set to 10 hours, I left mine as that default. I may increase it in the future but we do updates regularly on our site and that means most days someone from the team edits content or code. If you are doing the same its probably a good idea to stick to the default.
This is also a good idea if you are doing daily plugin updates.
On any item you can go to the help section to get more information.
In the basic settings I turned everything on. I Minify my HTML, Combine my Google Fonts and remove query strings from resources. I would recommend to anyone that is using this to use the same settings.
When you minify your HTML to are basically reducing white space and not having all that space downloaded as file size. Yes, empty space in a file is not empty space.
Combine of Google fonts is another handy option as quite often you downloading a google font takes multiple requests and can be one of the biggest issues to slow down your site.
In the CSS files area I only select to minify the files. When using Kinsta hosting you have HTTP2. HTTP2 has all my files download at the same time so combining files is actually slower than having them separate. It wont help your page speed score but it will help your download speed.
I then turn on the option to optimise my CSS Delivery. At this point my site was running pretty fast. I have minified 2 big reasons for a slow site after your images. That is the HTML size and the CSS file size.
I turned everything on at first an my site broke. all my forms disappeared and my blog stopped working. That was a BIG problem.
What was the issue?
Basically the defer flag on loading was the problem as that was the last setting I had used.
Finally I disable WordPress embeds – I don’t use them so it was OK for me to turn this off. Keep in mind that if you use an embed, you may want to either reconsider why or not turn this on.
I do want to point out here that I use WP Smush for my image optimisation. If you want image optimisation on your site you wont get it from WP Rocket. You will need another tool. More than half of the page speed issues I help clients with is due to image optimisation so make sure you have that sorted to get the best results.
The preload interface for WP Rocket is really very technical. I was very interested in what it can do and how it could work.
After looking over it, i realised it was not really going to help me that much but it did have DNS Prefetch. DNS Prefetch is a really important way to get your pages loading faster.
I added my Google Tag Manager domain, and Google Font Domains. You can see the items in the below GIST.
At this point I was completed in my setup. I currently use WP Rocket for Divi and its giving us consistent load times under 1.4 seconds for the first page load.
The Advanced rules section was not required and the Database and CDN tools were also not required. I use WP CLI for my database management and cleaning out duties. These are managed by Cron Jobs so these are simply not needed on my site.
We are thinking of reviewing the CDN in the future but we have other areas of concern on the site right now that are more important than a CDN.
However, making a website from WordPress isn’t as easy as people make it seem. You have to pour in hours of effort and a lot of money to get the most out of it.
That is, until the advent of Elegant Themes and their newest WordPress theme, Divi. It’s now the most popular theme in history, with over 1.2 million websites utilizing it.
But is it the optimal choice for you and your business? Are its features worth the price?
Learn more about its features, advantages, and disadvantages right here in this in-depth Divi review.
Divi Review: Features and Basics
Divi’s main point of separation is the fact that it is a multi-purpose theme.
Instead of offering only one design that you can tweak around, it gives you a full array of customization options to style any website the way you want. It’s like giving you a bunch of LEGO blocks and the freedom to build whatever you desire.
At the same time, it offers a graphical user interface that lets anyone design a site even if they have no coding experience. If you want to tweak things even further and you know how to use CSS, Divi allows you to do that too.
If there’s anything you should pick up from this Divi review, it’s that the theme is easy and flexible to craft any kind of website.
What Kind of Websites Can You Make?
There’s been a lot of talk about how the Divi theme gives site builders the options to create any kind of site. Here are some great examples of sites you can craft using this theme and its built-in tools:
Small business site
Affiliate and eCommerce sites
Pretty much anything – it is WordPress after all!
Whether you want to build a personal site or a business site, Divi is a perfect theme for all your needs. Unlike other themes, which force you to build or buy child themes for specific needs, Divi is well made and has layouts and design tools all included.
Look up any Divi review and they’ll push the pros and cons at the bottom of the page. We’re putting these elements up top so you can get a quick glance at the advantages you get from using this theme.
The main advantages of Divi include:
100% customization options
No CSS and PHP needed
A/B conversion testing
Weekly layouts with easy import
Responsive website design
Other WordPress themes don’t offer all of these aspects together. They might force you to buy separate, third-party plug-ins but Divi offers these right from the get-go.
Nothing is perfect, and this Divi review isn’t going to pretend that Divi is any different. There are a few disadvantages but they aren’t too significant in the long run. These issues include:
Shortcode lock-in – Divi depends heavily on Shortcodes and this is seen as a negative by some people.
Overwhelming options – Sometimes finding exactly how to do something can be difficult.
At the end of the day, the downsides to using Divi are insignificant. Having too many options can be overwhelming at first but even newbie bloggers will adjust in no time.
The lock-in means your site will become a jumbled mess the moment you decide to stop using Divi. Elegant Themes have recently introduced a workaround for this and allow users to continue using the Divi Builder even after they switch to a different WordPress theme.
No Coding Required
One of the main selling points of Divi is its drag-and-drop site builder.
You can create a whole website and all its fancy features without knowing a single line of coding. You can add everything, from creating comment boxes to adding shopping cart options, with nothing but a mouse and a few clicks.
This means that anyone can make a decent website. You can customize every little detail like adjusting inner shadows, font colors, animations, and more. If you want to use CSS codes to tweak things further, Divi gives you the freedom to do so.
You can also implement additional content made by third-party developers. You can add modules that integrate Facebook video embedding, for example, and it doesn’t require coding knowledge or skills.
Another reason why people give Divi a positive review is the fact that you can test different designs at the same time. Allowing you see which of your designs will lead to higher conversions.
Called Divi Leads, you can now try out different Call-to-Actions or product images to see which ones lead to better results. You can try out different layouts or animations and see which ones drive customers to buy something.
Now you no longer have to rely on blind luck. You can test and measure results to get solid information to help improve your online business.
Most WordPress themes offer a back-end editing dashboard. You can make changes to your site’s layout and presentation but you don’t get to see these changes until you click a preview button.
Some themes offer a front-end editing option. This gives you the freedom to see changes implemented right as you make them.
Divi gives you both of these editing options and this means you get real-time previews of changes without having to open a different page.
Free Weekly Modules
Not sure if you have the skills to design a site from scratch?
Worry no further because Divi allows you to implement layouts made by others. Called modules, you can get these ready-made layouts for free each week if you sign up for full access.
You can then take these modules to make adjustments and customization choices to turn them into something personal and unique.
This means you will get an endless supply of new layouts. Not every Divi review points this out which is a shame seeing as beginner bloggers could make a lot of use out of these modules.
Do you aim to make an Amazon affiliate site? How about selling your own products and turn your blog into an eCommerce website? You can do all these and more with Divi because it offers WooCommerce compatibility.
WooCommerce isn’t the only online shopping plug-in but without a doubt, it’s the most popular. It allows you turn any WordPress site into a store that can sell anything, anywhere.
Divi allows for quick and easy integration with this tool and you won’t need any third-party adjustment tools. With a few clicks, you can implement account registration, a shopping cart, affiliate marketing tools, and more.
By the year 2020, there will be an approximate 2.87 billion smartphone users. Various mobile devices have different screen sizes and you still have to consider people logging into your site using laptops and desktop monitors.
One advantage that this Divi review will point out is that the theme has an automatic responsive setting. Responsive sites adjust to a device’s screen, making sure it optimizes for any size.
This is important since it ensures anyone on any device can access your site without dealing with missing features or a cluttered design.
This Divi review isn’t going to hide the one factor that many bloggers and online businesses will debate about, the price. It can look a little steep for one-person bloggers but for a small business, the price tag isn’t too high with all things considered.
Elegant Themes, the developers of the Divi theme, offer an all-in subscription package that costs $89 per year, as of the time of writing. This means for that one year of membership you get unlimited access to the weekly modules, all of Elegant Themes WordPress themes which includes Divi, and all their plug-ins.
There is also the one-time fee of $249 and this guarantees lifetime access to all of the aforementioned tools.
Comparing these prices to other themes can make it sound expensive but $249 is a lot cheaper compared to the $5,000 to $10,000 you’d pay for a professional website designer to do it all from scratch.
Built-In SEO Features
Most themes require you to add third-party SEO plug-ins to monitor basic things like click rates, bounce rates, and your link profile. That’s no longer the case with Divi because it comes with its own built-in SEO features.
The best part is that you can still use third-party content too.