Elegant Themes Review 2019 – 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 a large portfolio of attractive themes, a selection of 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 their 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 have been in operation for eight years, and have served over 500,000 customers to date. In the process, they’ve grown to a workforce of more than 50 employees working in several countries — a far cry from their humble beginnings working out of founder Nick Roach’s college apartment.
Elegant Themes currently offer 87 WordPress themes and five plugins. Access to all their themes (including their flagship ‘Divi‘ theme — more on this below) and plugins will set you back $89 a year, making them very competitively priced. If you’re planning on using their products for several years, though, it’s actually their slightly pricier ‘Lifetime Access’ plan that’s the best value option, giving you access to all existing and future products for a one-time fee of $249.
But is Elegant Themes the right choice for your project? Let’s find out.
Let’s start with a look at the various themes on offer, before moving on to the plugins.
As mentioned, signing up with Elegant Themes gives you access to 87 WordPress themes for the price of what you could pay for just one theme elsewhere. However, there are really only two options 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.
Divi Multipurpose WordPress Theme
Divi is Elegant’s flagship theme, and is truly multipurpose, with the ability to create just about any type of website.
From blogs and business homepages to ecommerce stores and everything in between, Divi is undoubtedly a versatile website building tool.
It’s also ideal for new WordPress users looking 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 to 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. Loading up one of the Divi layouts gives you a quick way to start your website, and the new-and-improved Divi Builder can be used to customize these layouts through an intuitive front-end drag-and-drop user interface. Creating your custom designs from scratch isn’t a problem either with Divi.
No matter what your skill level, Divi does a good job of democratizing web design. Those 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 run split testing experiments on your site’s design and content. If you’ve ever wondered which headline or color scheme your visitors will best respond to, Divi Leads removes the guesswork.
Divi Leads makes it easy to display multiple variations of your website and its content, so you can just 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.
The only real drawback to Divi when compared with Avada and the other best-selling multipurpose themes is the lack of complete website demos. Divi may provide you with a library of templates for the individual pages of your site, but, unlike Avada or Enfold, there’s no one-click importer tool that will populate an entire site with demo content.
New layouts and templates for Divi are being made available all the time via the Elegant Themes blog. Therefore, despite not being able to import an entire site into your WordPress installation, you won’t be lacking new designs for your site’s pages.
Overall, Divi is a great choice for creatives who’d like to build a custom WordPress website regardless of their technical abilities.
Extra Magazine WordPress Theme
The Extra theme (view live demo) was launched after Divi, and 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. Using this homepage layout 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.
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 your 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. They’ve definitely done a good job, and Extra is a competitive theme that any blogger or magazine-style site owner should consider.
The Other Themes
While Divi, and, to a lesser extent, Extra, are multipurpose themes that can be used to create any type of website, the other themes are more focused on a specific type of project. It’s possible you may find a theme from the Elegant Themes back catalog that’s right for your site. However, if you really want to take advantage of everything Elegant Themes has to offer and has been working on for the past few years, you should only consider the Divi and Extra themes from their collection.
While signing up with Elegant Themes gets you access to Divi, one of the best WordPress themes around, and the impressive Extra magazine theme, don’t get too excited about the other 85 options. However, as we’ll see in the next section of this Elegant Themes review, there are more reasons to choose this company than just their flagship WordPress themes.
The Elegant Themes WordPress Plugins
As mentioned earlier in this review, the team behind Divi and Extra have also produced a number of high-quality WordPress plugins. By joining Elegant Themes on either the mid-level $89 Developer plan or the top tier $249 Lifetime Access plan, you get access to all of these plugins.
Let’s take a look.
Divi Builder WordPress Page Builder Plugin
The Divi Builder plugin is based on the page builder tool that’s incorporated into the Divi and Extra themes. The Divi Builder that’s found in the latest version of the Divi and Extra themes features a front-end user interface. However, this update hasn’t been applied to the Divi Builder plugin yet (it will be added in the future). As this is a standalone plugin, you can use this version of the Divi Builder with any WordPress theme.
The Divi Builder plugin can still be used to create custom page designs, albeit through a back-end builder interface. Through this interface, you can create advanced page layouts featuring multiple rows and columns. Any of the 46 customizable content modules can be added to your layouts, with the ability to drag and drop them into position.
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 to the other drag-and-drop page builder plugins for WordPress. However, until the live front-end editor is added to the plugin, there are more user-friendly WordPress page builder plugins out there.
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 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.
As well as 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 the design and content of your forms to match the articles on which they’re displayed.
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 to the 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 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 has been created to help you increase the number of times your content is shared on social media. Social shares not only help 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 different 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. Timed 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 to ensure 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 their customers. After looking into this and being a happy customer for a while now, I’m pleased to report that Elegant Themes seem to have resolved any issues there may have been.
Their flagship products are regularly updated and improved, and the online documentation for their themes and plugins is extensive, including walkthrough videos and text. Those with an active Elegant Themes account can open a support ticket by posting a question in the support forums.
As well as a General Questions sub-forum, each Elegant Themes product has its own active sub-forum. The Elegant Themes support forums are staffed by a team of tech support agents, who, in my experience, respond to questions quickly and helpfully.
The Elegant Themes Community
With such a sizable userbase, it’s no surprise that a large community and ecosystem has built up around Elegant Themes and its products. There are now a number of active Facebook groups, marketplaces selling child themes, and blogs devoted to Divi.
The Elegant Themes blog is 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. There’s also the Divi Nation Podcast for news and interviews with Divi users.
Divi is undoubtedly one of the best and most popular multi-purpose WordPress themes around. As you can purchase Divi and Extra, along with 85 (admittedly increasingly outdated) other themes for just $89 (along with a handful of very useful plugins), 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.
However, Divi, Extra, and Elegant Themes aren’t for everyone. As they’re such flexible themes, there’s a lot of creative freedom, which could be overwhelming — especially if you don’t have a clear vision for your site. The library of page templates has been created to a high standard, but there aren’t any complete website demos that you can import into your site in just a few clicks.
If you’d rather have a theme built for a specific focus, such as a business website or an online portfolio perhaps, you may actually be better off looking at themes offered by some of the other, more focused theme shops.
However, if you’re looking for a WordPress theme that can be used to create any type of website, then Divi and Extra and their countless customization tools and settings are hard to beat. Throw in the rest of the benefits of signing up with Elegant Themes and you should have everything you need to make your WordPress website a success.
Joined Elegant Themes? Used/using any of their products? Thoughts?