Introduction

Elegant Themes is the company that’s best known for creating our favorite WordPress theme, Divi.

While Divi is certainly their most famous product, it’s only one of several other awesome themes and plugins that you get as an Elegant Themes member.

But how does Elegant Themes stack up as a company…?

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When you purchase an app or sign up for an online software service—e.g. your email provider or shopping cart, or your hosting company—you’re not simply buying a disembodied piece of software; you are entering into a business relationship with the company that provides that software—and, by extension—all of the people who work in that organization, their vision, their customer service, and so forth.

This is a professional concept I didn’t fully appreciate or take seriously until recent years, when the interdependency of my business with all of the other businesses we work with became increasingly, and sometimes painfully clear.

So in this article you’ll learn about my experience working with Elegant Themes for the last several years. They’ve become a vital partner in our business. And you can think of this post as a sort of glorified scorecard and review of Elegant Themes. 🙂

Elegant Themes Community

Let’s start by looking at the community that Elegant Themes has been able to inspire.

Why is this point even relevant?

It’s relevant because the size and enthusiasm of the community that revolves around a company (or app) is a strong indicator of whether or not you’ll be able to find solutions to complex problems and get help when you need it.

In the case of Divi, for example, there’s a mammoth community of enthusiastic Divi fans who serve various useful roles in the Elegant Themes ecosystem:

Contractors

These are people who specialize in Divi, work with it regularly, known how to modify it, and can help you configure it exactly as you like. In fact, we here at MemberFix are Divi experts!

One of our strategic partners—Lesly from DiviDesignService.com—is one such contractor, who helps us with all of our Divi design needs!

Divi Users

These are typically somewhat tech-competent Divi users who are simply satisfied and supportive Divi users and come to the community to get help for problems they can mostly solve on their own (with a bit of help from the brain trust).

Developers

In addition to contractors who help you with actual work, there are also many developers who have built various useful extensions and add-ons for the Elegant Themes community to make it a bit more “magical”.

Staff

Sometimes you’ll see Elegant Themes staff popping into help with various issues, field complaints, and direct Elegant Themes users to the right place.

Ambassadors

These are people who simply love Divi and want others to know about it, even if they receive no direct benefit from their evangelizing.

Industry Lookers-on

these are people who may not necessarily be using Divi on a daily basis but find it important to keep their finger on the pulse of the WordPress themes industry to make sure they’re aware of any significant developments that could affect them or their customers.

One of the amazing features of the Divi community is that various developers have built add-ons for Divi that extend its functionality to do various, highly useful things that aren’t available out of the box. This indicates that the themes put out by the Elegant Themes folks are what’s called “extensible”—meaning they’re easy to build upon in a development context (at least that’s the case with Divi).

This is critical because by no means are all themes and plugins equally extensible!

The fact that Elegant Themes in general—and Divi and particular—have spawned so much creation of various add-ons to their products indicates that their codebase is relatively easy for developers work with.

There are also countless Facebook groups dedicated to Divi (and to a lesser extent, Extra) where you can go to ask questions, get help, get recommendations, read tutorials, etc.

Tutorials, How To’s, etc.

Speaking of tutorials, there are oodles of blog posts and videos on the web that cover virtually any Divi topic you can fathom.

This is in addition to, and separate from Elegant Themes’ official blog and documentation—which are already incredibly extensive and sometimes surprisingly creative. (For example, Elegant Themes has a fantastic pillar article documenting how to use Divi in conjunction with the WPComplete plugin to build your own LMS!)

It may seem redundant to have so many 3rd party tutorials and explanations when Elegant Themes provides their own rather excellent docs. I assure you, however, it isn’t. You’d be shocked (or maybe you wouldn’t be) at how poorly, incompletely, or even non-existently documented some very well known apps and themes are. And Divi is really more of a framework than a theme, so you can’t cover everything by yourself!

Imagine experiencing an issue with your tech, Googling around to try to find even a HINT at possible solutions, and finding absolutely nothing.

This can put you in the position of having to engage developers to decipher your problem (and thus, spend money you otherwise wouldn’t spend). And often times, the contractor or agency you hire to assist you will in fact run into the very same problem, since they rely on documentation as well!

(Obviously, a good dev can usually still figure it out even if documentation is lacking.)

We’ve been saying for years that you can do virtually anything with Divi. You can make Divi look like anything you want. Divi this, Divi that. Divi, Divi, Divi! And if you’re not sick of hearing it yet, you simply haven’t spend enough time on our blog and YouTube channel. 😉

But it’s true all the same. And it’s in large part thanks to the amazing community which has produced some of the most useful extensions like:

– DiviBooster
– WooCommerce Builder for Divi
– Divi LearnDash Kit
– AC Shortcakes
– Anything slider

…and several other extensions that make an already-great theme superb.

Elegant Themes pricing and products

Elegant Themes doesn’t sell any of their products á la carte.. Instead, they offer unlimited access for only $89 per year, or $249 for a lifetime pass.

This includes access to all themes and plugins, the official Elegant Themes support community, and unlimited installs of any product on as many websites as you want.

I have to say that the price-to-quality ratio that Elegant Themes offers is stunning.

Since I joined them over 3 years ago they’ve raised their price exactly once, by $9. And as a business owner who is very wary of creeping operating expenses, I find $89 per year to be a refreshing bargain (we pay that amount on a monthly basis for some apps!)

Considering the fact that Divi is the most widely-used WordPress theme in the world, I suppose they don’t NEED to charge their users extortionate prices.

But even if that weren’t the case, I somehow don’t see Nick Roach (EG’s founder) taking a mercenary position with respect to his customer base. That just isn’t his style. He strikes me as a VISION based entrepreneur, as opposed to an OPPORTUNITY based entrepreneur. And his company’s actions reflect that over the years.

In any case, if you compare Elegant Themes to competing companies in the page builder / WP Themes niche, I reckon they provide the best value overall.

Elegant ThemesElementorBeaver BuilderOptimizePressThrive Themes
Price (1 year)$89$199$199$197$588
Renewal discount?$025%40%56%$0
Price (3 years)$267$500$440$397$1764
# of installs allowedunlimitedunlimitedunlimited30unlimited
Access to other themes / plugins?Yes; full accessn/an/aYes; full accessYes; full access

*Note: This is not meant to be a true apples-to-apples comparison. A subscription with ThriveThemes, for example, gives you access to ALL of the plugins and themes they’ve ever made (which is a lot of stuff and a great value). Same is the case with Elegant Themes. Whereas with Elementor and Beaver Builder you’re just getting the main app and no other goodies. With OptimizePress you get access to a few additional goodies on top of the main theme / plugin but I wouldn’t call it a full suite.

Elegant Themes Support

Elegant Themes’ support comes in several flavors:

– Live Chat
– Email support
– Support forums
– Blog comments

And of course, in addition to the official support you get directly from Elegant Themes, there is also a plethora of unofficial support channels available out there on the interwebs from various sources like blogs (like this one!), YouTube videos, and Facebook groups.

Live chat and email support

I guess I’m what you’d call a Divi power user, but certainly to nowhere near the extent as say, Lesly—my strategic design partner and podcast co-host in our little Divi series:

And yet, I’ve never really had a problem I couldn’t figure out by Googling it. So I’ve never needed to reach out to Elegant Themes support via live chat or email and can’t speak to the quality of these two channels.

The only major roadblock that I recall Lesly mentioning was the inability to have more than 5 columns in a row in Divi, which he found limiting from a design perspective.

Apparently this was a highly upvoted feature request that the Divi community was clamoring to have added, and Elegant Themes finally implemented it natively.

Support Forum

In addition to live chat, email support, and all of the unofficial groups, articles, and videos out there to help you with any of your Elegant Themes products, there is also a support forum that allows you to post questions, feature requests, report bugs, etc.

I would say the support forum is most appropriate for complex problems and feature requests, while live chat and email are best for smaller issues.

In my 3+ years of using all of Elegant Themes’ products, I’ve only had to put it one support ticket to their support forum.

It was in 2017, asking how to wrap Divi modules in shortcodes (e.g. if you’re using a membership plugin and want to conditionally show / hide content):

At the time, I even put in a feature request to be able to do this natively in modules (like OptimizePress 2 allows you to do per the screenshot below) but then figured out how to do it using text modules before and after a particular module (or, by using the AC Shortcodes plugin).

I posted on the support forum instead of sending an email or using the live chat because I figured it might invite other Divi users to comment on possible solutions and workarounds, and would also leave a (hopefully) useful thread on the forums for other people attempting to address the same problem.

Support via blog comments

This is more of an opportunistic support channel than the others and it’s generally specific to the topic of the blog post you’re reading.

As I mentioned earlier, Elegant Themes is a very content-heavy company. They post a lot of meaty content to their blog which inspires lots of comments from their users. And the article authors and Elegant Themes team generally do a good job of combing through comments and replying where it adds value to other readers.

For example, in the epic pillar post on Elegant Themes’ blog about creating your own LMS, the author of the article responds to nearly every comment. Very helpful!

Community Resources

Elegant Themes put out a staggering amount of free resources to their community.

Primarily these take the form of:

– Layout packs
– Entire website designs
– Icon packs
– Plugins

…etc.

In particular, ET proactively designs stunning, responsive industry-specific templates for their audience. Many of these are available for download directly inside of the Divi Library so you never have to leave WordPress. Others need to be downloaded and placed into the Divi Library manually.

In addition to these freebies, there are entire dev shops dedicated solely to creating plugins and layouts for Divi that you can browse and purchase as your needs require.

If, like myself, you’re not a designer (or anything remotely resembling a designer), I’ve found that you can save a significant amount of time by starting with a pre-designed layout and simplify modifying it to match your brand.

This approach is appealing because the layouts are already optimized for all devices, have their paddings and spacings configured ‘just so’, and all you have to do is come in and change the content.

Failing that, you can always hire one of the legion Divi designers available on Upwork, or reach out to our design partner Lesly at DiviDesignService.com.

Elegant Themes also published “highlight” style blog posts where they feature useful resources that work in concert with their themes but that you may not be aware of.

For example, thanks to ET’s blog post on building your own LMS, I discovered the excellent WPComplete plugin (although we figured out how to replicate virtually the same functionality and then some with ActiveMember360).

And thanks to ET’s post on creating stylized modules for displaying code snippets in blog posts, we were able to spice up a previously-drab aspect of our more technical, code-oriented articles, like so:

sql

DELETE FROM Customers 
WHERE CustomerName='John Joe';

php

<?php
$t = date("H");

if ($t < "20") {
echo "Have a good day!";
}
?>

html

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<title>HTML Tutorial</title>
<body>
<h1>This is a heading</h1>
<p>This is a paragraph.</p>
 
</body>
</html>

js

function toCelsius(fahrenheit) {
  return (5/9) * (fahrenheit-32);
}
document.getElementById("demo").innerHTML = toCelsius(77); 

css

a:link, a:visited, a:hover, a:active {
     background-color: green;
     color: white;
     padding: 10px 25px;
     text-align: center;
     text-decoration: none;
     display: inline-block;
}

Elegant Themes Affiliate Program

Elegant Themes has a pretty standard affiliate program.

You get 50% of any sales you refer (initial sale only). So if you refer a friend and he signs up for the yearly Elegant Themes plan, you’ll get a $44.50 commission. If they sign up for the Lifetime plan, you’ll get a $124.50 commission.

As you can probably tell, I’m also using my affiliate link in this post. So if you buy sign up for Elegant Themes after clicking through my link I’ll earn a commission from the sale. Of course, you’re under absolutely no obligation to use my link. But if you do and you wind up having an issue with any Elegant Themes product, just come back to this blog post and leave a comment and I’ll come around to personally help you. 🙂

I put this section into this article for thoroughness because some Divi users are also bloggers or contractors, and it’s good to know that you can earn a little pocket cash by referring people you work with or your audience to a company whose products you use and like.

Elegant Themes Development Roadmap

Almost every time that I login to WordPress there’s at least a small update to Divi available.

In fact, I just checked my WordPress—which I update very regularly—and looky what we have here…an update!

These frequent updates are mostly ongoing bug fixes, compatibility improvements and other mundane but important changes.

What really astounds me is not that Elegant Themes keeps their products up to date—which is an obvious and fundamental obligation of any software company to its customers—but more so the rapid rate at which Elegant Themes improves upon their tech (especially Divi) by releasing substantial, game-changing new features that makes the app faster, easier to use, more powerful and more valuable to the members of their community.

For example, these are some of the huge features that Elegant Themes put out just for Divi in the last few quarters alone:

– Draggable sizing and spacing controls (4/12/19)
– Transformation controls (3/14/19)
– Support center with safe mode, system status, remote access (3/7/19)
– Divi “quick actions” (12/20/18)
– New Divi Builder experience (12/6/18)
– Dynamic content (10/11/18)
– Divi hover options (10/4/18)
– Bulk editing & multiselect (9/13/18)
– Extend style (9/6/18)

You can browse the blog posts that accompany all of the major feature releases HERE.

Most of the updates I detailed above were seriously valuable improvements that made Divi noticeably more excellent.

For example, the ability to extend styles can save you literally hours of work by allowing you to apply a style from one module or row to some or ALL of the modules or rows on the page. The Dynamic Content update lets you connect Divi to your WordPress database by pulling database values and custom field values directly into Divi modules. This is hugely useful for developers and designers but it’s also a timesaver for eComm websites and membership site owners, among others.

Naturally, members of the community disagree about which items on the development roadmap should be prioritized. For example, I’d really like to see some speed improvements to the Divi Visual Editor. While it isn’t slow, the loading of various elements and response when you interact with a module could be more seamless.

All in all, the ambitious development pace is a strong indication of Elegant Themes’ commitment to leveling up their software at each opportunity. They’re clearly not content to rest on their previous accomplishments. And they clearly aren’t in the insulting habit of releasing superficial but ultimately puny features under an overhyped guise of “major new improvements”, as some companies are wont to do.

Is Divi all there is…?

Not at all!

While the Divi Theme is undoubtedly Elegant Themes’ best known product, they offer many other excellent themes, and several particularly awesome plugins. You get unlimited access to ALL of these products when you sign up as an Elegant Themes customer.

 

While I can’t possibly cover every theme and plugin that Elegant Themes has created, I’ll touch on their best items. Note that I’ve actually used all of the items below myself.

Divi Builder

First and foremost it’s important to mention that while Divi comes as a standalone WordPress theme and functions best in that role, you can also use the Divi Builder in conjunction with a different WordPress theme because the Divi Builder comes in a plugin version as well.

You can do virtually everything with the Divi Builder plugin that you can do with the theme version. The only caveat is that sometimes the Divi Builder will conflict with your theme of choice.

But to be fair, this isn’t an issue unique to the Divi Builder. We’ve found in working with our MemberFix customers that page builders and themes sometimes don’t get along (to say nothing of page builders and other page builders!)

This is one of the reason why I prefer to simply use the theme version of Divi. It reduces the surface area for potential conflicts and lightens the performance burden.

Extra Theme

The Extra theme is Elegant Themes’ second best theme after Divi.

In fairness, you can’t even really rank the two in terms of “best” and “second best” because Divi is a theme with universal applications while Extra is meant specifically as a magazine / media blog theme.

So if your intention is to set up a media-heavy, magazine style site—which is particularly popular among site owners who rely on advertising revenue—you’ll want to go with Extra over Divi.

Like Divi, the Extra theme comes coupled with the Divi Builder. But Extra’s Divi builder is a bit unique in that it contains several modules that are only available in Extra. And it also lacks some of the modules that Divi contains.

Magazine themes rely heavily on the ability to configure various categories of posts and pages, and arrange them on the homepage like Lego blocks in order to achieve the exact layout you want, to test clickthrough rates (Divi has built in A/B testing!), and achieve the perfect ‘look’.

The homepage on a magazine style blog is usually rich with images, headlines, posts, excerpts, sidebars, additional widgets, etc. And Extra is specially geared towards allowing you to set this kind of site up easily but with the familiar and flexible Divi Builder experience that has made Elegant Themes so well known.

>> VISIT THE EXTRA DEMO SITE <<

I could see Extra being used to great effect on a travel blog or professional review blog.

In Review Theme

I actually signed up to Elegant Themes about 7 years ago when I first purchased their In Review theme for a niche site I was creating.

The site did well and was earning me a few hundred bucks each month on autopilot. I was officially a member of the digital nomaderati.

Unfortunately, I got Google spanked and my traffic plummeted to almost zero, along with my income. This was one of a series of painful wake up calls that got me to stop chasing petty cash opportunities and to create a real vision-based, long-term, value adding business!

In any case, the theme I used to set up my little cash cowcito is the In Review theme from Elegant Themes.

Back then, Divi wasn’t anywhere near as powerful as it is now. If it had been, I would have likely used it instead. But all things considered, the In Review theme did its job admirably, although it wasn’t as flexible as I would have liked in the way it displayed posts and excerpts (that might be fixed by now).

While In Review wasn’t particularly impressive in its breadth of functionality and flexibility as say, Divi, it did exactly what I needed at the time. And Elegant Themes has a huge repository of various useful “niche” themes like In Review that are perfect for less demanding sites with more finicky requirements.

>> VISIT THE IN REVIEW DEMO SITE <<

Bloom

Bloom is Elegant Themes’ answer to ThriveLeads which I personally use and like.

It’s an excellent optin plugin that rivals the best offers in the market (ThriveLeads, Optin Monster, AppSumo, etc.) This fact is telling because rather than treat Bloom as a lukewarm addition to their main star (Divi), Elegant Themes has developed Bloom into a formidable plugin.

While I’ve been using ThriveLeads for years, I also use Bloom and actually prefer it! (Although, for super advanced situations PopupMaker Pro + GravityForms is a pretty amazing custom combo).

Bloom has everything you would expect from a top shelf optin plugin:

– Integrations with most major email providers
– Stats galore
– Form designer with many conversion-optimized prebuilt styles
– Different optin form types (popup, slide in, shortcode-based, etc.) with multiple trigger and display options
– Lock content that gets unlocked upon optin
– Intuitive dashboard
– Built in A/B testing!
– Easy import / export
– Mobile and tablet responsive

…and more!

>> Check the Bloom Demo page here <<

Building an email list is obviously crucial in any online business endeavor you start. So it’s wonderful that you don’t have to pay extra for a separate optin plugin, as you get Bloom bundled in with your Elegant Themes membership.

Monarch

Monarch is Elegant Themes’ social sharing plugin.

It’s EG’s answer to popular social sharing plugins such as Social Warfare. And it’s quite excellent! It’s fast, flexible, connects with over 35 social networks, and gives you control and extensive stats in the intuitive dashboard.

I was previously using Social Warfare (which is a great plugin) but since Monarch does such a good job and doesn’t cost us anything extra, we switched to it. ThriveLeads also tends to impact performance negatively.

Speaking of performance. While Monarch is a fast plugin (“lightning fast” is the claim on their landing page), that doesn’t mean that social scripts won’t drag down your site speed down somewhat. And to be fair, this isn’t really something that a social sharing plugin can control. Facebook’s javascript scripts, for instance, can really add a nice bit of load time to a page.

However, I think “lightning fast” is a relative term. My team and I have found that it does in fact slow down our page load times. It does so less than other social sharing plugins, but it still does so. Our security and performance expert Cristian weighs in on the issue:

Additionally, one of the problems with social sharing plugins in general is that they add 3rd party social scripts to your site that can negatively impact your page load times. You can’t host those scripts yourself since they come from the social networks’ servers, which means you can’t optimize the delivery of those assets.

Since you can’t really do much about it and social sharing is an intimate part of virtually all blog-oriented websites, you’ll just have to optimize your site’s speed and performance in other areas (we can help!)

Conclusion

My experience working with Elegant Themes over the years has been overwhelmingly and consistently positive.

As a startup founder or solopreneur, every time you partner with a company you’re taking a risk. You’re hoping that the company will continue improving their product and service in a way that aligns with your own needs over time.

For instance, when we partnered with our hosting provider CloudWays several years ago, they were a small, relatively unknown hosting company with a unique vision. They wanted to bring enterprise class hosting “down to earth” and make it both cheap and accessible to non-techy types.

We signed up with them somewhat nervously, as we were essentially betting our entire boutique hosting business, SpeedKills.io, on CloudWays.

We couldn’t know whether or not they would continue in such a positive direction but we had some indications based on their behavior, our interactions with their support, etc. I even met one of the affiliate managers at a conference in Bangkok and he gave me a wallet with my name etched into it.

We know that most startups fail. But thankfully, CloudWays has continued to innovate and improve their product and is the hosting company we endorse most.

Likewise, when we partnered with Elegant Themes and switched our sites from OptimizePress to Divi, it was mostly on the recommendation of our design partner Lesly Garreau.

Lesly is a good friend and a brilliant guy, so I’ve come to respect his opinion highly. He’d been working with Divi for years and had personally seen the impressive evolution of the company and its product line. After extensive discussions with Lesly, we decided to make the leap of faith to Divi.

Lesly designing some Divi whilst I study Japanese.

I’m thrilled we made the decision (and relieved that Elegant Themes has continued to innovate and improve!) In fact, over the years since we switched to Divi I’ve seen many page builders and themes come and go. They come on the scene, they get hyped up by various influencers and affiliates, a bunch of people switch to them, and then they wind up trading a set of problems they had with their original app to a new set of problems with the new app.

We’ve made Divi our rock and it has kept us grounded as shiny objects fly past. While there are plenty of great themes and page builders out there like Thrive Architect, BeaverBuilder, Elementor, Astra, and others, we’ve simply had no need to business with any other company in this particular area.

And while we help our customers with all sorts of themes, plugins and page builders and work with all of them competently, for OUR business we partner with Elegant Themes. And so far, it’s been a good ride. 🙂

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