The WordPress community is a special thing, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter who you are, what role you play in it or where you come from. Once you’re inside, people welcome you with open arms and provide guidance and insights you wouldn’t otherwise be able to glean on your own (at least, not easily).
And that’s exactly why Ivica Delic decided to leave his 20-year banking career to become a WordPress freelancer and to spend more time with his 20+ Facebook groups.
You may not know Ivica Delic by name, but I bet you’ve encountered one of his WordPress Facebook groups at some point. Or maybe you’ve seen one of his WordPress tool roundups on FreelancersTools.com.
With a scheduled end to his banking career on July 9, you’re likely to hear a whole lot more from Ivica in the months and years to come as he charges full-speed ahead as a WordPress freelancer.
Back in 2011, an acquaintance asked Ivica for help creating a Facebook page for his family business. Happy with the results, he asked if Ivica could also build him a website.
What you’ll quickly learn in this episode is that Ivica is obsessed with using tools — but not just any tools. Which is why he does extensive research to find the perfect ones to fill his toolbox with. That’s how he discovered WordPress and the close-knit community within it.
“This open source spirit is simply amazing and it’s so inspiring to all of us working in WordPress.”
It was actually his experience with WordPress Facebook groups that helped him get his start in the space. When he had an issue he couldn’t sort out on his own, they were always there to help. And, so, he decided to give back by creating his own Facebook groups dedicated to specific areas freelancers and agencies seek help with.
The WordPress community and introductions made there helped Ivica establish a good foundation for his own work with WordPress. For instance, he got to know SiteGround hosting very well and now does testing for them, recently trying out their proprietary control panel.
He’s also extra passionate about WordPress performance, something he became interested in as he explored ways to speed up his own website. That ended up being the catalyst for the WordPress Speed Up group he started, too.
And while it’s easy to get caught up in shiny object syndrome when looking for new WordPress tools, Ivica helps bring it all into focus. He doesn’t test and adopt new tools for the sake of trying something new. He wants to help others simplify their processes and cut costs with the right tools.
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If you’ve ever thought about creating your own WordPress community, Ivica expresses caution with all the freedom Facebook has given you to do so. As he explains:
“The problem with having Facebook groups without firm rules is that you end up with a spam festival.”
In other words, free rein in Facebook groups leads to a stream of self-promotional and sales posts, which drives away the people who genuinely want help from the community as well as those who want to lend their support to it. Which is why Ivica’s groups have very strict rules, summarised by over 3,000 words.
Each group also has a very specific focus. WordPress Speed Up, of course, is all about performance issues. But there are groups about SEO, security, and more.
He’s also strict about what kinds of questions can be asked. If something can easily be found by Googling it, then it has no place in his groups. These are places for people to learn how to become better WordPress users; not force others to do their job for them.
When Troy asks, “What’s your favourite tool?”, it’s usually an easy answer to provide.
However, as you might suspect from someone who runs a website with over 4,000 tools in its database, Ivica had a hard time answering this question. So, this is how he narrowed it down:
Ivica has roughly 40 tools in his WordPress toolbox. About 90% of those tools came from splurging on Lifetime Deals over the last couple of years.
While that might seem like an easy way to increase overhead costs, Ivica actually said it worked out in his favour. He now has a set of stable tools from trusted providers that he never has to make a payment on again.
Considering how much time he spends testing and using SiteGround’s hosting platform and control panel, it’s no surprise he’d call this his main foundational tool.
What’s great about Ivica’s story is that he isn’t just talking the talk. When it comes to building websites, he actually uses tools the kinds of tools he recommends. Namely, ones that help him work quickly and create high-performance websites.
After the show, Ivica also told us how important is to have high-quality security for all websites. He uses some of the best security tools on the market: MalCare in combination with BlogVault as a reliable backup system.
If you’ve ever had any doubts about reaching out to the WordPress community or lending your own voice to it, this just goes to show you how beneficial it is to get involved. Not only will you get answers and solutions to your issues, but you’ll also have a platform in which you can make a name for yourself as a WordPress specialist.
You can reach out to congratulate Ivica Delic on the start of his WordPress freelance career on the FreelancersTools Facebook page.