CREATIVA (feminine singular of creative in Spanish), was born in 2014, co-founded by graphic designers and friends Maribel Aburto and Vera Padilha. Maribel started learning web design by herself a few years after graduating as a graphic designer, using Dreamweaver and playing with HTML and CSS. She even confesses today that it wasn’t love at first sight, but everything changed when she discovered WordPress, more than ten years ago!
Since then she started using different themes and hosting companies, in both personal and freelance projects, learning the different ways she could translate her designs from mockups to the screens. She eventually found Flywheel and Divi, and CREATIVA has been growing ever since.
We decided to ask Maribel a few questions about her experience with Divi and Flywheel. Here’s what she had to say:
Why did you choose Divi as your theme of choice?
When we founded CREATIVA in 2014, I was looking around for a nice theme for WordPress to set up our new website. I didn’t have a clear design in mind yet, but I knew I wanted something flexible to give me the liberty to control my own designs. It was just accidental that I found the Elegant Themes website with a great theme library! While they all seemed great, I noticed that one of them was quite different: you could actually build your theme module by module with this new thing called a page builder. I’m not sure how new it was at the time, but it was new to me!
I was very impressed with it so I decided to give it a go and sign up for a one-year membership. I was happy that I also had all these other themes available, and I did try a couple of them for some clients, but just after a few months I realised that Divi was the perfect blank canvas where I could build any design I wanted. It didn’t make sense then using other pre-designed themes to build my websites, or spending time learning different theme back-ends, it was obvious to me that if I could specialise in one theme, it would be of great value for me, my process, and for my agency services.
Since then, Divi is the only theme I use to build websites. No exceptions. I love using it and I became kind of a Divi expert, plus my clients find it super easy to use after I train them, and they love to make their own content updates.
Why did you choose Flywheel as your hosting partner?
After a few of my clients asked me if I offered hosting services I realised that offering additional services would allow me to build a recurring revenue stream, however I knew that solving technical issues with different hosting support teams was just not my cup of tea. I just wanted to design and build the websites and not become a hosting provider/support.
So I started looking around for a solution and I found Flywheel, it was like someone was listening to what I needed and set it up for me. I just wanted to design and build my websites, and if I could find an easy way to provide hosting to my clients without the support burden it would make a big impact to my business. And it did.
I compared a few different managed WordPress hosts and Flywheel looked like the best fit for me, as it was actually designed for designers and agencies. I signed up soon after for the Agency Plan and crossed my fingers I could get my clients to sign up for my new hosting service.
I was amazed how many of them didn’t even doubt it. The majority of them were happy to leave their site in my hands and pay a monthly fee. (I also have to mention that most of my clients are women in business and they love that it’s actually a woman looking after their sites and that I can explain in their own language any technical term they can’t understand; a lot of them dealt with rude and insensitive developers or hosting companies before, that made them feel ‘stupid’ for asking basic questions.)
So, as I decided to stick with Divi as my theme of choice, I decided that any client that signs up for my website care plan is hosted with me and Flywheel. This way, I have one point of contact with any hosting related issues I might have, which is also very rare as everything runs so smoothly with Flywheel!
What does your workflow look like when you’re spinning up a new site?
My first step is to dig deep into the business needs and goals, as well as knowing about my clients design style and what they are really looking for. To do this we start with an online questionnaire they can fill out on our website where we ask things from their current brand assets, their main goals for the new site, their business values and hopes, etc. We also make sure to meet with them personally or online to make sure we are a good fit for each other. We believe that this is more than just a business transaction, it’s the start of a business relationship.
Then we set up a moodboard on Pinterest, which we share with the client. In this moodboard, we place images, fonts, layouts, photographs, that we believe can be a good inspiration for the new design. We share this moodboard with the client and they can comment on the pins and give us their feedback. This step is crucial for us to see exactly what they like and need. Plus they usually love being part of this fun brainstorming experience.
Once the feedback is collected, we start designing the new website using Illustrator. Then, we create a couple of styles for the homepage and inside pages, plus a digital branding board whether is based on their current brand or a new brand we might be designing as well. At this stage we also set up a site map and get our copywriter started on writing content for the new website.
Only when the design is approved we start building the site using the Flywheel Blueprint. These are so useful to our workflow because we have a basic WordPress installation with our favourite plugins and Divi (of course) already installed. Just after one click, we’re all ready to go and we start building the approved design. It’s a huge time saver!
Once we are ready to share the new site with the client, we share with them the link to the temporary address provided by Flywheel using Privacy Mode, so only the person with the link and the credentials can access and see the website. Once the client gives their permission, we go live on their domain using the incredibly easy “Go Live” process provided by Flywheel.
The last thing after that is to install the SSL certificate that comes for free with Flywheel (again, just a click)!
Which Flywheel and Divi features do you use most often?
With Flywheel, it would be Blueprints to speed up the WordPress setup process, as well as the SSL certificate, which is installed in every website we host. I also love their support, it’s amazingly quick to respond to our emails. I also started using their live chat recently, where I can get almost instant assistance!
With Divi, I love using the Visual Builder. Since they added this feature, I started building my sites on the frontend, seeing exactly what I am building live without going to the page backend; it’s a huge time saver as well. The Design Tab is usually my go-to place, as I have full control on how the design will look like; I am a designer after all, and I’m very picky with every pixel!
Why are Flywheel and Divi products worth investing your money in?
Divi allows me to build websites that are beautiful and effective without having to touch the code and tweak WordPress files. The Divi community is also huge and there is always a number of people willing to help you if you are stuck with anything or need any ideas.
Flywheel allows me to offer Website Care Plans to my client by looking after the hosting and the technical stuff for me, and providing me with excellent support when I need anything.
From my experience, Divi and Flywheel are the main tools that have allowed me to build a successful business around what I love to do, without compromising on those aspects that are out of my expertise. They both help me do my best work by optimising my process and allowing me to provide premium services to my clients.
So, was it worth the investment? Hell yes! 🙂
Based in Wellington, New Zealand, CREATIVA works with brands around the world to create beautiful, effective designs. Learn more about them here.
Flywheel + Divi: The most delightfully designed way to build a WordPress site
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