How Phil Simon Fishes for Himself with Divi

Posted on March 12, 2015 by in Customer Spotlight | 25 comments

How Phil Simon Fishes for Himself with Divi

This post is part of our Customer Spotlight series. If you have an interesting story to tell and would like to share your experience with WordPress and Elegant Themes on our blog, please contact us!

As a public speaker and the author of seven books, my website is key to my livelihood. It’s my virtual storefront to the world. A professional web presence isn’t just desired; it’s imperative.

But I have to confess something: When I’m not writing and speaking, I’m tweaking.

No, not the meth kind, although Breaking Bad is my favorite show. (I was even on a commercial for the show and interviewed Jonathan Banks for Huffington Post. I even own a copy of Season 1 signed by Anna Gunn and Vince Gilligan.)

But I digress…

No, I mean the website kind of tweaker. I’m talking about the type who likes experimenting with different plugins, themes, code, and other doohickeys. I’ll be happy with my site and then, maybe a week later, I’ll see something cool on another site and wonder if I can implement it.

The Limits of Tweaking

If tweaking means that I break a few things in the process, so be it. WPEngine provides great backup and recovery tools, not to mention first-class support. I’ve used WordPress for nearly five years now and I know enough to be dangerous.

Still, I’m not a full-time developer. Some website changes I just couldn’t make on my own. (WordPress might be open source, but there’s a world of difference between free speech and free beer.) “The community” wasn’t going to fix my website or make major changes for me.

In the past, of course, major and even some relatively minor changes to my site involved contacting my web developer. I have nothing but good things to say about him; he is a friend of mine. He responded to every one of my queries and his turnaround time was stellar. Still, I was far from his only client. Absent an emergency, he couldn’t just drop everything that he was doing because I wanted to change something on my site. Do unto others…

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The previous incarnation of site ran on Twitter Bootstrap. At the end of last year, though, I had reached a tipping point. First, I wanted a fresh web presence before the release of my new book, Message Not Received. Second, I was tired of cobbling together a bunch of kludges to make my site do what I wanted it to do. (The effect on site speed was noticeable).

In short, I wanted a theme that “shipped” with a great deal of native functionality. Specifically, I’m talking about tabs, new page layouts, toggles, sliders, and the like. I wanted a visually compelling website that was relatively easy for an intermediate WordPress guy to maintain. Beyond that, I didn’t want to depend on anyone else to make fairly significant changes for me. For instance, with Bootstrap, I could not easily switch to from a two-column layout to three. I very much wanted to be able to easily tweak page layouts without calling a developer or learning PHP and CSS.

I started search for a theme that would let me accomplish all of these goals.

As I said, I’m a tweaker.

Why Divi?

Drag-and-drop themes seem to have come a long way in the last few years. After reading Chris Lema’s post on the subject, I experimented with several options over a one-month period before I met a Divi developer on Twitter. We started talking. She let me kick Divi’s tires in a sandbox. (This is never a bad thing when making such an important decision. You can do research on themes all day long; there’s nothing like being able to create pages yourself. I can’t recommend this highly enough.)

It took a little practice, but within an hour I got the hang of the Divi visual builder. I was able to replicate most of my old pages and improve upon ones that didn’t flow properly. In addition, Divi obviated the need many separate plugins I had used to piece together the old site. The theme ships with tabs, accordions, mega menus, toggles, custom sidebars, and much more. Divi lets me do just that—and more.

Babs (my developer) tweaked the CSS to my specifications. I pushed my staging site live and, voila!, I was live.

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The Results

Almost immediately, I saw an increase in site traffic. People started complimented me on my website, and the mobile experience is fantastic. When I speak to potential clients, the conversation these days almost always starts with, “I love your site.”

Does your site do the same for your organization?

Article thumbnail image by Rabbizy / shutterstock.com

25 Comments

  1. Thanks Phil! It was a fun project to work on and I’m glad that the new site has paid Divi-dends

  2. Nice site. Great job Babs Hobbs!!!

  3. Great job Babbs. Your work is great and you have been such a great contribution to the Divi community. Your help on the Divi Users Facebook group is awesome. It is such a pleasure to have you as part of this wonderful community.

  4. Very cool site. I love seeing these.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Great News for Babs and a well written post – Nice to see a Jock(ess) get some Kudos – Bravo!

  6. I enjoyed reading your story and I have to say, I love the color scheme of your site.

    • Thanks, man. It matches my third book and my tennis sneakers.

  7. What a fun post – so well written it kept me intrigued from start to finish. I then clicked to see your site and I think it looks great too! Beautifully designed and a very good first photo. Thanks for the article and thanks for sharing your site.

    • Thanks, Sheri. I write good. 🙂

  8. Great story and great site. Nice work Babs!

  9. Many congrats to both Phil and Babs on a great looking website.

    Love Phil’s image on the homepage and that font is crystal clear – did you increase the default font size a tad?

    Orange black and green are a perfect combination of striking colours and that maybe an idea that I’ll steal.

    • Steal away. I’m using Google fonts and, yes, Babs made some CSS tweaks.

  10. Thank you for your blogs because I was on my last decision and now it’s totally clear about DIVI.

  11. The website looks great and thanks for sharing your story! I particularly like the use of the slider

  12. Thank you for sharing your story, great looking site.

  13. Great job! I would love to see how they styled the site, especially that drop-down navigation, and the icons in the header

  14. I recently suggested DIVI to a client who rejected it on the basis of its size. This is for a large site with literally hundreds of pages and posts. Does anyone have any experience using DIVI in that instance, and if so, how is it working? (I love it on a couple of my own sites, but they are considerably smaller.)

  15. great story and a gorgeous website, congrats to you both, thanks for sharing.

  16. I live two blocks from Walt White’s house. *thought you’d enjoy knowing that*

  17. Phil, great job!

  18. Thanks for sharing your challenge, and your successful experience with Divi and our friend Babs! A winning combination!

  19. I’m so thrilled with my site, which I’m still working on that I keep going to it just to get the thrill of checking it out 🙂

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