I first started designing websites using Dreamweaver. I was self taught and all the sites were built using tables back then. Planning a website was very time consuming. I used to go into Photoshop, create the site, and then start chopping the site into tables. Then, when I wanted some animation, I taught myself Flash.
My sites looked really cool, but then again, Flash was terrible for SEO since web crawlers couldn’t get to the content.
As I continued using these tools, I started hearing more and more about WordPress. When WordPress first started, it was mainly used as a blogging platform. And as WordPress became more sophisticated, people began using it for building entire sites.
That’s when I really began paying attention to this new web design platform.
I had spent so much time learning Dreamweaver and Flash, that it was a tough thing to let go. Also, not everyone knew how to use these tools. And you could really customize your sites exactly how you wanted. But as I saw more and more of the advantages that WordPress had to offer, I decided to leave my original web tools behind and jump onto the WordPress band wagon.
And I’m glad I did.
WordPress has a lot of free templates to start off with. When I began creating websites in this medium, I used the free ones.
However, there was a notable difference between the free themes and the paid themes. Even as a web designer, it was very time consuming. My main reason for moving to WordPress in the first place, was to save time. So I began to search for premium WordPress themes.
I actually purchased a few premium themes and eventually landed on Elegant Themes. I couldn’t believe all the choices they offered for the price of 1 theme. As a skeptic, I thought there had to be a catch to this.
Why were they offering so many different themes for the same price as one theme from someone else? The price was low enough for me to find out on my own. If I was going to get scammed, it wouldn’t be by much.
So I purchased a subscription, and I was pleasantly surprised.
For the price of 1 theme, I was able to create several websites for several different clients.
And the reason I continued to just use Elegant Themes, was because I wanted to be consistent with how the backend area operated. Each different theme provider has different ways of using their shortcodes, different areas where you can go in and put in your Google Analytics, different places where you place your logo, etc. etc.
I didn’t want to have to have to waste time learning each theme provider’s WordPress Admin area. I loved having dozens and dozens of sites, with the exact same admin area and setting.
Below I’ll go over my Elegant Themes review. Also, the links to Elegant Themes are affiliate links. Yes, I will make a few bucks if you decided to try out this theme through one of my links, but I wouldn’t link you to a product I don’t use.
DIVI 2.0 THEME REVIEW
Elegant Theme offers plenty of great looking sites. However, the beast of website builders is their DIVI theme. This theme lets you customize WordPress to a whole new level. It really is drag and drop. Now, this may seem great, but if you don’t have an eye for design, it will also let you create a really crappy site. For web designers, this is good news. Because other themes, were basically just plug and play and would look great no matter what. But with DIVI, you really do have to have a sense of some design.
DIVI THEME MENU
The current version of Divi has a very weak menu. This is probably one of the biggest design issues I have with the theme. The reason is because you can spot a Divi Theme a mile away by looking at the menu.
I’m not sure why Elegant Themes doesn’t let you fully customize this menu. It would be nice to be able to change the fonts, size, have a hover effect, or even put the logo in between the menu. For now, you really need to know CSS to accomplish this. Even then, when I just tried changing the fonts for some of my sites, it was a big headache as for some fonts it didn’t work.
DIVI THEME POSTS
So this is my second biggest problem with this theme. Sure, you can fully customize PAGES in this theme, but you CAN’T customize POSTS.
This is a letdown, because most people use posts to update their websites. Pages are mainly made for content that you don’t plan on changing very often.
Even though the posts are NOT fully customizable, you do get a good variety of shortcodes to use on these posts that do let you accomplish cool effects, such as image sliders, tables, and a few more options.
DIVI THEME PAGES
This is their pride and joy. It really is a drag and drop interface. As you create a page, you can select several modules. Anything from adding cool counters, to blurbs with icons.
What’s great about DIVI, is that it lets you select how you want your page displayed. Meaning, you can choose to have 2 big columns and 1 small one, or 3 equally sized columns. The theme really lets you select exactly what you want.
Even though, the theme is drag and drop, you actually don’t get to see the page as you are writing your content. Meaning it’s not a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get).
As you write your content, you do have to click save and THEN open up the page to see what it’s looking like.
On the backend, all your content and modules are stored in little boxes. You do get to label them for clarification, but you don’t get to see what’s inside of them until you save your work and view the actual webpage.
This may not seem like a big deal right away. But what if you haven’t touched the site in several weeks and can’t remember what’s inside each module? Then you have to click on every little box and look.
Or what if you decided to sell a site? Then the next owner will not really know what’s inside the box either until they click in.
It’s not ideal, but it does get the job done, and does it very well.
OTHER GREAT ELEGANT THEMES FEATURES
Websites today is much more than just design. You have to learn some internet marketing. Unfortunately, I got into the internet marketing game a little late and I’m still learning a lot. Luckily, Elegant Themes has great plugins which are really great. There are some companies that sell these similar types of plugins individually. These plugins are included in your subscription which is fantastic.
They have a plugin called MONARCH which is a social sharing site. This is a beautifully designed plugin that lets you share posts, pages, media in different ways. You can have this plugin pop up, come from the side, or even places within a post.
They also have BLOOM which is an email capture plugin. They have created several opt-in forms for you to use on your website and it integrates with many of the major email software programs. If you are serious about marketing your site, then email marketing is considered by many as the best thing to do.
So as many of you know, Google is now requiring websites to have a mobile friendly site. This will affect your rankings for mobile users. This is very important as most of the searches will (and maybe already have) be doing mostly on mobile devices. What’s great about Elegant Themes, is that the majority of their themes work on mobile.
A few of their sites don’t, such as their eStore theme. However, something many don’t know, is that you don’t have to completely redesign your sites and move themes. Elegant Themes has a great plugin called the Handheld Plugin that will turn any WordPress website (it doesn’t even have to be an Elegant Themes website) into a mobile friendly site.
Your site will look the same on desktop, but when users search on their handheld devices, this plugin will kick in and turn your site into a mobile friendly site.
If you are new to WordPress and are looking for a premium theme to get started with, I highly recommend getting Elegant Themes. Their one price for everything they include is probably one of the best deals in WordPress Theme design that is out there.
What premium theme do you like?
UPDATE: Elegant Themes released DIVI 2.4 which has amazing new features that probably address many of my concerns on this post. I will be testing out the new theme and posting an update very soon.