CoActive Design

Helping stories fly. One website at a time.

Guidance on managing & presenting your story online using WordPress and Divi; while additionally promoting a friendly community through “Story Builders”

Story Builders

a free online collaboration designed for “beginner” webdesign and story presenters. Let’s learn together.
Click to open. Space limited to 20 active Story Builders.

Story snatching from the Web oligarchy. One website at a time.


Dana Hoffman

Web Disruptor

I picture the web d&m as more like the wild west. We’re sold “easy”, “free” and “no-cost”, instead what we get is target ads telling us what to buy, what to think and who we need in our “circle”. The actual cost is hard to quantify but undoubtedly too high; besides, it was really never free, to begin with.

Now; I’m not really a total control freak, but I like the idea of presenting what I want to the world; the way I want to it presented and have at least some control of who see my story. Own your own website is the first small step.

There are numerous decisions to make in setting up a site — it going through it can feel debilitating. What if you make a wrong decision? Well — you will — but most will be good and you’ll recover.

(Unless) the wrong decision allows the outlaw hackers in?

My first lesson of web design; assume you’re going to be hacked. Plan for it. Having your site hacked feels very personnel. It’s not. Both good and bad bots (small programs) scan the web daily; kind of just looking around. Bad Bots will take advantage i.e Bad Bot. My fault. Your fault. Nobody’s fault. Plan to get hacked. It’s a risk of living in the Wild West. That is where the systematic plan comes in, The foundation of the Story builders plan is designing and maintaining your site on your computer — off-line (not on the internet) and upload (dump) the complete site to your online host as required. Not unique, nor original but a smart way to do business. If your site is hacked, delete and upload. Problem solved. Plus it also allows for some more robust security measures which we can get into later.

Having a website will be frustrating and hard at times, but also fun and a cool accomplishment. Additionally, there is an accomplishment in presenting your story to the world. The story could be of a business, a family, or yourself — to name a few. As long as it doesn’t deal hate or intolerance this could be a good place to learn and explore.

I’m not an expert web designer nor a security guru. Not even a great storyteller. If anything, I’m a generalist and a tinker. I use a system (which I’m happy to share) to design and maintain sites. As I learn and explore (and with your help) the system will get better. My sharing and learning together in a friendly collaboration.

Currently, I’m using WordPress (the most commonly used site “language”) coupled with Divi themes (a design software which has a unique pricing scheme and great learning resources to sort through effectively helping control costs).  I also use a limited and select group of plugins to help with functionality and security.

I’m specializing in small jobs and projects; personnel portfolios, startups, small business and a little web design tutoring.


Current Learning

I’m currently learning Solidity. The Solidity language is used in Ethereum.

“Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.

These apps run on a custom-built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property.”*

*from the Ethereum site


The story of “you” is probably told through your online presence by an “oligarchy” of business such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube/Google, Amazon, Apple. They monitor your data – spending habits, browsing habits, likes, dislikes; through a series of algorithms. While useful-ish, Algorithms don’t tell personal stories well. The algorithms try to tell the stories of who you are today in a canned format and who you will be in the future by whichever group you’re lumped into. Eroding and marginalizing who you are. A “story” presented by the oligarchy to employers, businesses, acquaintances, friends, and family.

  CoActive Design beliefs; we need to take back our story and control our data!


We mostly use WordPress as the underlining foundation for websites. WordPress is widely used throughout the internet because it provides flexibility. WordPress is free but you do have other choices. WordPress only comes with three basic web designs with limited functionality leading us to Divi.

We use Divi as our basic design starter; modifying to your vision. “Divi Takes WordPress To A Whole New Level With Its Incredibly Advanced Visual Builder Technology
You’ve never built a WordPress website like this before. Divi is more than just a WordPress theme, it’s a completely new website building platform that replaces the standard WordPress post editor with a vastly superior visual editor. It can be enjoyed by design professionals and newcomers alike, giving you the power to create spectacular designs with surprising ease and efficiency.”*


CoActive Guided Approach

A method to create the most flexibility while limiting “personnel data leakage”.

Story Builders is a community designed to help with best practices focusing on;

  • Learning
  • Design
  • Security
  • Privacy

The first step using your computer’s hard drive to set up and design a website offline. Moving the site online when you’re ready.

  • No cost but your time and learning. It’s a little complicated.
  • Join “Story builders” for guided instruction, or message me and I can walk you through the process.

Story Builders

Whether personal, family or business; a website is the best way to tell a story to the world — the way you want it told, changed and corrected as life happens. Website design and maintenance is a little like life. It’s a learning and growing process. It’s not always easy but it can be fun and rewarding. Let’s grow together. (I’m currently looking for a small number of people to join a website building, learning and story building community — i.e. early bata.)

Achieving this by the following principles.

  • Make it Fun
  • Facilitate learning and growing.
    • Have a Learning Community of people designing their stories.
      • Tutorials and useful links.
      • Community story review (as requested)
      • Restricted to website story builders only.
      • Stong community standards (friendly)
      • Review of thought-provoking futurist thinking ideas for personnel growth.
  • Maximize design possibilities for the story.
    • WordPress
    • Divi
  • Minimize entry costs to create a site.
    • Learn to create and maintain a site on your computer — before (or while) you put it online — important for site maintenance and security.
    • Explore how todo site security yourself (cutting cost and increasing knowledge).
    • Explore web hosting options.
  • Maximizing ownership of your own data.
    • Increase knowledge of who takes what data and why.
    • Cost/reward analysis for anyone you’re willing to let have your data.
    • WordPress plug-in usage.
  • Resume/portfolio (with or without sign-in security).

Story Builders

Proposed Story Builders Community Organizational structure and rules.

All this is a work in process (bata) which means I maintain total control – not my goal. As (and yes if) this community of web designers, storytellers, maintainers progresses. The community needs to self-control. Self fund (I have a few ideas) and have it’s own web hosting and address away form CoActive)

Goal for the “Story Builders Community”

Friendly (possibility online skype type meetup)

Helpful (Buddy program)

No upselling in fact no selling.

Evaluate ways  (mostly free) to gain functionality and security in wordpress.

Basic training materials.

Community maintained library of useful links.

If you have a question.

Request to join the free Story Builders Community. The community is meant exclusively for people who want to learn and grow knowledge in websites and story building together. All request require approval. Expect it to take 24 hours.