If you’re looking for a new WordPress theme, one name you’ll almost certainly come across (if you haven’t already that is) 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 deserves 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, properly informed decision.
Elegant Themes have been in operation for eight years and have served almost 400,000 customers to date — and have grown to a workforce of over forty employees, working from multiple countries around the world: a far cry from their humble beginnings working out of the founder’s (i.e. Nick Roach’s) college apartment.
Elegant Themes currently offers 87 WordPress themes and 5 relatively specific plugins in their portfolio. Access to all their themes (including their flagship ‘Divi’ theme — more on this below) will set you back $69 per year ($89/year for access to both themes and plugins), making them competitively-priced products. Despite its higher price tag however, it’s actually their ‘Lifetime Access’ plan that’s probably the best value option (provided of course that you know you’ll be using their products for at least a few years!), 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 own particular project? Let’s find out…
To start off, let’s take 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 might pay for just one theme elsewhere. However, when it comes to the themes, 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 available today. Extra followed shortly thereafter, and together they’ve become the highlights of the Elegant Themes portfolio.
Divi is the flagship theme from Elegant Themes. It’s a true multi-purpose theme that can be used to create just about any type of website.
From blogs and business homepages to eCommerce stores and everything in between, Divi is undoubtedly a really very versatile website building tool.
It’s also ideal for new WordPress users looking to create custom websites without the need to ever have 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. Then, 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, before sitting back and waiting for the results. If you need to create websites that convert against their goals – whether for yourself or your clients – something like Divi Leads will be an invaluable addition to your toolkit.
The only real drawback to Divi compared to Avada and the other best-selling multi-purpose themes is the lack of complete website demos. Divi might provide you with a library of templates for the individual pages of your site. However, 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.
The Extra theme (view live demo) was launched after Divi and includes many of its best features. While Divi is a multi-purpose 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.
While Divi, and to a lesser extent Extra, are multi-purpose themes that can be used to create any type of website, the other themes are more focused towards a specific type of project. It’s possible you might 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 — just 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.
As mentioned earlier in this Elegant Themes review, the team behind Divi and Extra has 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 at those plugins in this section of our Elegant Themes review.
The Divi Builder plugin is based on the page builder tool that’s incorporated into the Divi and Extra themes. Although the Divi Builder found in the latest version of the Divi and Extra themes features a front-end user interface, this update hasn’t been applied to the Divi Builder plugin – although it will be added at some point 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 like those produced by StudioPress rather than Divi, but you still want the ability to create custom designs for your content, then 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.
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 opt in 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 which requires your visitors to enter their email address and subscribe to your list in order to gain access to a particular piece of content.
Bloom also includes a good selection of email opt in 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. 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, plus 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, plus 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 where they’re displayed.
Bloom also includes a split testing tool that makes it easy to compare two forms against each other to find out which one works best with your audience. Thanks to these features, Bloom compares well to the other leading email opt in form plugins like 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.
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 might also help your content rank more prominently in search engines like Google.
Once Monarch is live, you can display a range of social sharing buttons on your website. Over 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.
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.
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 seems to have resolved any issues there might’ve once been.
Their flagship products are regularly updated and improved. 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.
With such a sizable user base, 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 $69, or $89 with a handful of useful plugins, signing up with Elegant Themes represents great value for the 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, you might find having so much creative freedom 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. However, 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?