Elegant Themes Review 2020 – What do They Offer and is it Worth Joining?
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If you’re looking for a new WordPress theme, one name you’ll almost certainly come across is Elegant Themes. With its hugely popular Divi Theme, a few powerful plugins and an active user community, Elegant Themes is one of the biggest names in the WordPress ecosystem.
On paper, Elegant Themes certainly deserve a place on your shortlist when it comes to theme and plugin shopping. But are its products the right choice for your website? Should you sign up with this WordPress mainstay or continue your search? By the end of this post, you’ll hopefully have everything you need to make a well-thought-out, informed decision.
Let’s get started.
About Elegant Themes
Elegant Themes has been in operation for 11 years, and has served more than 600,000 customers to date. In the process, it’s grown a workforce of more than 80 employees covering several countries — a far cry from its humble beginnings working out of founder Nick Roach’s college apartment.
Elegant Themes has released about 87 WordPress themes over the years, as well as a number of plugins. However, it’s recently refocused its efforts on just its two latest themes, Divi and Extra, as well as its Bloom email optin form and Monarch social media plugins. The WordPress page builder that helped to make the Divi theme so popular is now also available as a standalone plugin in the form of Divi Builder.
As well as its high-quality products, another reason why Elegant Themes has been so popular is its pricing plans. For just $89 a year, you get access to all of its themes (including the flagship ‘Divi‘ theme — more on this below) and plugins, making it very competitively priced. If you’re planning on using its products for several years, though, the slightly pricier ‘Lifetime Access’ plan is actually the best value, giving you access to all existing and future products for a one-time fee of $249. There’s also a no-questions-asked, 30-day money-back guarantee on all purchases, so you can try the themes and plugins risk-free.
While Elegant Themes’ focus is now on its two main themes, Divi and Extra, for the time being, you do still get access to its older themes. However, these themes now look pretty outdated and are reportedly being retired, so it’s best to ignore them when deciding whether or not to join.
While getting access to everything for $89 looks like a good deal, is Elegant Themes the right choice for your project? Let’s find out.
Let’s start with a look at the WordPress themes before moving on to the plugins.
As mentioned, signing up with Elegant Themes does give you access to 87 WordPress themes for the price you could pay for just one theme elsewhere. However, there are really only two themes to consider. Since the arrival of Divi in 2013, the focus of Elegant Themes has been on making this the single best WordPress theme available. Extra followed shortly after, and together they’ve become the highlights of the Elegant Themes portfolio. In fact, as mentioned, the older themes are going to be retired.
Divi Multipurpose WordPress Theme
Divi is the flagship theme and is truly multipurpose, offering the ability to create just about any type of website.
From blogs and business sites to ecommerce stores and everything in between, Divi is undoubtedly a versatile website-building tool.
It’s also ideal for new WordPress users hoping to create custom websites without ever having to look at a single line of code. However, this powerful theme has also become a popular choice with professional web designers looking for a tool that can make building sites for their clients more efficient.
Some of the reasons experienced and inexperienced web designers alike choose Divi are its useful set of high-quality templates, and the powerful drag-and-drop page builder tool. Importing one of the Divi website packs gives you a quick way to start your project, and the new-and-improved Divi Builder can be used to customize the templates through an intuitive WYSIWYG drag-and-drop user interface. Creating your custom designs from scratch isn’t a problem either.
No matter your skill level, Divi does a good job of democratizing web design. Those who are new to WordPress can use the Divi layouts combined with the builder’s point-and-click interface to create custom page designs. More experienced designers can do what they’ve always done — only much faster.
Another feature of this theme that’s worth mentioning is the Divi Leads tool. Divi Leads lets you split test to optimize your site’s design and content. If you’ve ever wondered which headline or color scheme your visitors will respond to best, Divi Leads removes the guesswork.
Divi Leads makes it easy to display multiple variations of your website and its content, while you sit back and wait for the results. If you need to create websites that convert against their goals –- whether for yourself or for your clients –- Divi Leads will be an invaluable addition to your toolkit.
One area where Divi has been improved since its launch is the library of pre-built website packs that are now available for this theme. At the time of writing, there were more than a hundred complete website packs that you could import into WordPress, and then edit through the visual builder to create your own unique site. Not only can you import a complete website pack that includes one or more homepage layouts and templates for the inner pages of your site, but you can also pick and choose from the library of more than 800 individual page templates.
These website packs cover a wide range of projects — from agency sites and health blogs to corporate homepages and ecommerce stores, to name but a few. To make creating a website with Divi even easier than before, these packs and templates can be browsed and imported from inside your WordPress dashboard.
In the past, it wasn’t easy to hide or customize the header areas of websites using Divi. Because of this, it was easy to spot a site built with Divi, as most of them had the same top navigation bars. That’s a thing of the past now, as you can easily hide the header area using the full-width template, or create your own custom design using the header module or theme customizer settings.
Overall, Divi is a great choice for creatives who’d like to build a custom WordPress website regardless of their technical abilities. Although with so many pre-built website packs and individual templates, Divi should also work well for anyone looking for an off-the-shelf design that’s ready to go.
Extra Magazine WordPress Theme
The Extra theme (view live demo), launched after Divi, includes many of its best features. While Divi is a multipurpose theme, Extra has been designed for blogs, online magazines and other content-rich websites.
The default homepage layout is perfect for creating a news or magazine website, and using this design gives you the ability to display your best or most recent content in a stylish grid format. You can use post carousels, tabbed areas, mini-article sliders and custom widgets to display previews of your content.
Extra also includes an image-focused homepage layout that uses the featured images from your articles to draw attention to your content. The design of this theme is focused on enticing your visitors to click through to more of your articles.
As Extra includes the powerful Divi Builder tool, you can customize any of the theme’s templates through a front-end drag-and-drop user interface. Not only that, but you can use the builder and its library of modules to create custom designs for each article you publish on your site. If you want your blog or online magazine to match the presentation quality of leading news media websites, you now have a powerful tool that can help.
With Extra and the Divi Builder, you can design custom page layouts that overlay images with text, include photo collages, use pull quotes, feature multiple columns, and include other tried-and-tested content elements to upgrade your website from a basic blog to a professional-looking online publication. You can also import any of the website packs and individual page templates that are available to users of the Divi theme.
One impressive feature of Extra that’s not found in Divi is the category builder and its associated modules. Using this feature enables you to design custom category pages that define how lists of blog posts and other content, such as portfolio items and ecommerce products, are displayed on your site.
As well as being able to create multiple layouts, you can also easily assign them to different types of content on your site, such as specific blog categories. If you want to take control of how lists of content are displayed, this feature lets you get really creative.
Even if you don’t want to use the integrated Divi Builder, Extra is still a good choice for bloggers and online magazine sites. The library of templates makes it easy to add important pages to your site with very little effort. With author, timeline, portfolio and contact page templates included, you can save yourself a lot of time when setting up a new website.
Extra can also be used to create an ecommerce store with WordPress, thanks to its full support for the WooCommerce plugin. If you want to build an online shop or simply add physical or digital products to your blog or magazine, Extra is more than up to the task.
While Elegant Themes created Divi with the goal of making it the best theme for any WordPress website, Extra was created to be the best theme for bloggers and online publications — and it definitely does a good job. Extra is a competitive theme that any blogger or magazine-style site owner should consider.
The Other Themes
As mentioned, Elegant Themes has produced multiple themes over the years. While these older themes are still available as part of the $89-a-year or $249 lifetime packages, they’re starting to look their age, and, as they’re going to be retired at some point, it’s best to ignore them and just focus on Divi and Extra.
The Elegant Themes WordPress Plugins
The Elegant Themes team have also created a number of high-quality WordPress plugins that are available on both pricing plans.
Let’s take a look.
Divi Builder WordPress Page Builder Plugin
The Divi Builder plugin is the standalone version of the page builder tool that’s incorporated into the Divi and Extra themes. The latest version of the Divi Builder features a front-end user interface, so, whether you choose the Divi or Extra theme, or install the plugin on a site using another theme, you’ll be able to create custom pages using a drag-and-drop visual editor.
The front-end Divi Builder interface lets you drag and drop modules into place, change the size of page elements and customize your content in many different ways. With more than 40 customizable content modules to work with, you can add lots of useful elements to your pages.
Other useful features of the Divi Builder plugin include the ability to quickly duplicate any page element, copying and pasting within the builder, unlimited undos and redos, and an easy way to add custom CSS to your pages.
The Divi Builder plugin now makes it easy to save any layout, section or module to your library for reuse elsewhere on your site. If you update any of the library items, you can selectively apply those changes to each instance of the item throughout your site.
Even if you’re not using a theme from Elegant Themes, you should be able to use Divi Builder to customize your WordPress website. Therefore, if you’d rather use a more minimal theme (such as those produced by StudioPress rather than Divi), but you still want the ability to create custom designs for your content, then the Divi Builder plugin could be a good choice.
Divi Builder compares favorably with the other drag-and-drop page builder plugins for WordPress, so, whether you plan to use a theme from Elegant Themes or from somewhere else, this plugin is a great choice for adding a visual editor to your website.
You can find out more about this plugin in our hands-on Divi Builder review.
Bloom Email Optin Form WordPress Plugin
Being able to email your audience each time you publish a new article, launch a product or have some other important announcement to make has many benefits. Unfortunately, building a list of email subscribers isn’t easy. Thankfully, Bloom is a plugin that can help to encourage your visitors to sign up and hand over their email addresses.
After activating Bloom, you can begin adding a number of email optin or sign-up forms to your website. Form options include pop-up, fly-in, below post, inline and widget forms. There’s also a locked content form that requires your visitors to enter their email address and subscribe to your list to gain access to a particular piece of content.
Bloom also includes a good selection of email optin form templates that can be customized through the plugin’s editor.
In addition to the ability to customize the appearance of forms, you also get a good amount of control over how they work. You can select an intro animation that determines how the form appears, and you can also set a time delay that controls when the form appears. Custom triggers can also be used to control the form’s visibility and more.
Through the Bloom form display settings, you can define where on your site each form will be active. These options include activating the form for your entire site, the home page, individual posts and pages, and much more. As you can create multiple forms and then display them on specific parts of your site, you can really tailor their design and content to match the articles they’re displayed on.
Bloom also includes a split-testing tool that makes it easy to compare two forms to find out which one works best with your audience. Thanks to these features, Bloom compares well with other leading email optin form plugins, such as OptinMonster and Thrive Leads.
Nearly every type of website can benefit from having a list of email subscribers, and Bloom is a capable tool that can help you to grow your list.
You can find out more about this tool in our Bloom WordPress plugin review.
Monarch Social Sharing WordPress Plugin
The Monarch plugin helps you to increase the number of times your content is shared on social media. Social shares not only help to drive more traffic to your site, but they may also help your content to rank more prominently in search engines such as Google.
Once Monarch is live, you can display a range of social sharing buttons on your website. More than 20 social networks are supported, and you can display the buttons in five locations — including on images and videos.
As well as displaying floating, always-visible sharing buttons, Monarch enables you to choose from a range of trigger-activated buttons. Time delays, page scroll position, after commenting or purchasing, and after a period of inactivity can all be used as triggers to control when a pop-up or slide-in set of social sharing buttons is presented to your visitors.
You can also use Monarch to display links to your social media profiles, complete with follower counts. This feature gives you a quick way to add social proof to your website.
Like the rest of the Elegant Themes tools, Monarch gives you a lot of control over how your social media buttons and links are displayed. The customization work takes place through a user-friendly interface with many options and settings, ensuring this plugin works exactly how you want it to.
Monarch is one of the best social media plugins for WordPress, so it’s great to get access to it as part of your Elegant Themes membership.
Elegant Themes Support
Some years ago, Elegant Themes had a bit of a reputation for delivering less-than-stellar support to its customers. After looking into this and being a happy customer for a while now, I’m pleased to report that Elegant Themes seems to have resolved any issues there may have been.
Its flagship products are regularly updated and improved, and the online documentation for its themes and plugins is extensive, including walkthrough videos and text.
In the past, the only way to get support was to post a message in the community forums. Now, though, there’s a live chat support channel that’s open 24/7. While writing this review, chat messages were responded to quickly. However, the chat window often displays a message stating that the support team typically replies in a few hours.
As well as chatting in real time with the Elegant Themes support staff, you can also send support emails via the live chat channel, and then check back for a response at your convenience. The forums mentioned earlier are now no longer monitored by the Elegant Themes staff, but they’re still up and running, and can be a great place to ask questions of the community and interact with other Elegant Themes users.
The Elegant Themes Community
With such a sizeable user base, it’s no surprise that a large community and ecosystem has grown up around Elegant Themes and its products. As well as an official Divi Users Facebook group with more than 40,000 members, there are also a number of unofficial groups and third-party marketplaces selling child themes, and blogs devoted to Divi. As well the chance to connect with other Divi and Elegant Themes users online, there are also in-person Divi Meetups taking place around the world.
Elegant Themes also runs one of the busiest WordPress blogs. As well as publishing advice and tips for web designers and WordPress users, the blog often shares new page layouts and other extras for Divi users.
Divi is undoubtedly one of the best and most popular multipurpose WordPress themes around. As you can purchase Divi, Extra and a few genuinely useful plugins for $89, signing up with Elegant Themes represents great value for money.
The updated Divi Builder that’s a core part of the Divi theme is also one of the best WordPress page builders available today. Everyone, from those new to creating websites to seasoned web designers, can benefit from the power of the Divi Builder.
In the past, Divi and Extra could be a bit overwhelming, because of the amount of creative control they provided and the inability to import complete website packs or demos into your site. However, now that ready-made website packs and individual templates can be imported straight into your WordPress dashboard in just a few clicks, launching a new site with these themes is much easier. That being said, the Divi Builder interface is a large departure from the WordPress editor, so you’ll need to invest some time in learning the new system. When you do get to grips with it, though, there won’t be much — if anything — you can’t customize on your WordPress website.
Whether you’re looking for a WordPress theme that can be used to create any type of website, or you need a plugin that can help you to transform your existing site, signing up with Elegant Themes to get access to Divi, Extra and the Divi Builder plugin definitely makes sense. The other plugins — Bloom and Monarch — are very useful tools, too.
Joined Elegant Themes? Used/using any of their products? Thoughts?