If you’re creating a website or blog today, there is a good chance you’ll be using WordPress to power your website. WordPress is free to use, extremely powerful, user friendly (for the most part), and easy to install on just about any web hosting account.
In my article How to Start a Blog I go over the easy step-by-step process to sign up for hosting with Bluehost and get your WordPress-powered blog set up in just a few minutes, with no need for technical knowledge.
One of the biggest decisions you’ll make if you’re using WordPress is which theme to use on your site. There are literally thousands of different themes to choose from. There are some that are available for free, and others that must be purchased.
My personal preference is to avoid free themes for a few key reasons:
- Free themes are often poorly coded, which can cause problems with your site.
- The support you will get for a free theme will be very limited. One of the most convincing reasons to pay for a theme is the customer service that you’ll be able to get when you have a question or a problem.
- Free themes may not be updated to remain compatible with future versions of WordPress. In the future you may upgrade to the latest version of WordPress only to find your free theme broken and non-functional.
Review of Elegant Themes
If you’re turning your focus to premium themes, there are still a lot of choices and many different websites that sell WordPress themes. One of the leading WordPress theme developers is Elegant Themes. They’ve been around for years and have earned a reputation for quality themes and affordable prices.
I’ve been an Elegant Themes customer since 2014, and since that time I’ve used their themes on most of my websites and blogs, including here at Vital Dollar.
Since I’ve been using Elegant Themes for a few years, and because I recommend them to others, I thought it would be helpful to write a full review of Elegant Themes to help you decide if it is the right choice for you.
Key Details of Elegant Themes
When you’re first looking at Elegant Themes there are a few key things to notice:
- Membership Model. You can’t purchase an individual theme from Elegant Themes. The only way to get access to their themes and plugins is by purchasing a membership. The good news is the membership is very reasonably priced (more details on that later). A membership gives you access to all of their themes and plugins, and you can use them on unlimited websites.
- 87 Themes to Choose From. As a member you’ll have access to all of their 87 themes. While this is true, I should point out that most users are using either the Divi or Extra theme. Elegant Themes stopped cranking out a lot of new themes a few years ago and now focuses on making these two themes as flexible and powerful as possible.
- 3 Plugins. As a member you’ll be able to use the Divi Builder plugin (a drag and drop page builder), Bloom (for building an email list), and Monarch (for social media sharing buttons).
- 500,000+ Customers. Elegant Themes has served more than half a million customers over the years!
Elegant Themes Pricing
There are two different plans, and you can choose the one that works best for you:
$89 per year, which gives you the right to use any of the themes and plugins on unlimited websites, as well as updates and support for one year. If you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel.
$249 for lifetime access. The lifetime account gives you all the same access and rights, but for a one-time payment. With this plan you’ll never need to pay again to use Elegant Themes, and you’ll have lifetime access to updates and support.
When I joined Elegant Themes in 2014 I purchased a one-year membership to try it out. After that first year I upgraded to the lifetime plan instead of renewing just for another year. Since 2015 I’ve been using the themes from Elegant Themes on many of my sites, and I haven’t had to pay for it again. I’ll continue to have access going forward with no need to pay again.
I consider my purchase of a lifetime membership at Elegant Themes to be a great value. For comparisons sake, a lifetime membership at Elegant Themes is only $21 more than a yearly membership at Thrive Themes (another one of my favorites). Simply put, the pricing of Elegant Themes is a bargain.
My recommendation is to sign up for the annual plan and try it for a year if you haven’t used their themes or plugins in the past. Then upgrade to the lifetime plan if you think you’ll continue to use it.
Elegant Themes also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. So if you’d like, you can sign up for the lifetime plan right away and then take 30 days to evaluate it (I think you’ll decide to keep it).
The Themes from Elegant Themes
Although Elegant Themes does offer some useful plugins, their themes are easily the main selling point, in my opinion. As I mentioned earlier, they currently offer 87 different themes that you can use for your websites and blogs. However, in the past few years the only new themes are Divi and Extra. Many of the older themes are looking a bit dated.
Divi and Extra are both extremely versatile themes that can be customized easily, so they can meet the needs of just about any blog or small business website. Elegant Themes has invested almost all of its resources into making Divi and Extra truly great themes, and I think it has been a good decision. From a user’s perspective, I like using the same two themes on most of my websites because I’m very familiar with how the themes work. Thanks to the customization options you can give your sites an original look pretty easily, so there’s no need to worry about all of your sites looking the same.
Divi is a theme that is ideal for corporate websites, portfolios, non-profits, and more. You can certainly use Divi for a blog (and I use it on one of my blogs), but in general Extra is a better theme for blogs.
Divi features the Divi Builder, which allows you to easily create very customized layouts for your pages and blog posts without the need to code anything. There are a bunch of pre-built templates that you can use as a starting point for your pages, or you can start from scratch. There are more than 40 different content elements (like text, images, galleries, pricing tables, countdown timers, testimonials, and much more) that you can easily arrange wherever you want them. And your layout will be responsive, so it works nicely on a desktop, tablet, or phone.
There is no limit to how many different designs or styles your could create with Divi. You could use Divi for a bunch of different sites and they might each look totally different.
Extra is my favorite WordPress theme of all! I use Extra on several different sites (including Vital Dollar), and it is generally my go-to theme for blogs. With Extra you can design a great looking blog whether you’re a single author publishing content occasionally, or a big multi-author blog that publishes several new posts every day.
Extra was created to be the ultimate magazine theme, and I think they succeeded. You can use the Divi Builder to create post and page layouts to suit your needs, just like you can with the Divi theme. Extra also has a very powerful category builder that you can use to totally customize the category indexes on your blog. There is no other theme that does this as well as Extra.
You can also totally customize the front page of your blog. This is why the theme works well for small blogs that don’t publish a lot of content, or bigger blogs that publish huge amounts of content. Just like Divi, everything is easy to customize with Extra.
There is a big selection of other themes available as well, but most Elegant Themes customers find that Divi and Extra give them everything they need. I haven’t used any of their themes aside from Divi and Extra in several years, so I can’t really speak too much on them.
The Plugins from Elegant Themes
In addition to the themes, members also get access to a few plugins.
The Divi Builder
The Divi Builder is actually a plugin that you can use with other themes. It works best with Divi or Extra, but you can also use it with other themes to create customized layouts.
Bloom will allow you to add email optin forms to your website or blog. It integrates with 16 different email service providers, so subscribers will be automatically added to your list. You can create a variety of different types of forms including popups, fly-ins, in-post forms, sidebar widgets, and below-post forms. You can also control when the forms are displayed.
Honestly, I don’t have any experience with Bloom. I use OptinMonster and Thrive Leads because they have more features than Bloom. That being said, Bloom can get the job done.
Monarch will add social sharing buttons to your posts. You can choose between several different styles and locations. Plus, you can also choose which social networks to include. I’ve used Monarch on several of my blogs and I find it to be pretty good, although there are other social media plugins that have more features.
My Experience with Elegant Themes
As someone who has been an Elegant Themes member for several years, I’ve always been very happy with the membership. The themes are very well designed, very flexible, and easy to customize. In my opinion they are as good as any themes on the market. And to top it off, the pricing is outstanding, especially if you have multiple websites.
Customer service is provided via a forum or email. There are forums for each theme and plugin, so you may be able to find an answer to your questions simply by searching the forums. Of course, you can also post your question and someone from Elegant Themes will respond. From my experience, the customer support is pretty good. It’s on par or better than the support you’ll get from most WordPress theme developers.
Pros of Elegant Themes:
- High-quality, beautiful themes
- Very flexible themes (Divi and Extra) that can be used for many different purposes
- Outstanding pricing
- Lifetime membership available
- Helpful customer service
Cons of Elegant Themes:
- No option to buy an individual theme or plugin
- The Monarch and Bloom plugins are fine, but not as robust or feature-rich as some of their competitors
Conclusion: Highly Recommended
If you are looking for a great WordPress theme, I highly recommend a membership to Elegant Themes. I use Divi on one of my sites and Extra on several others. As I mentioned earlier, Extra is my favorite WordPress theme.
I think you’ll find an Elegant Themes membership to be a great value even if you only have one website or blog. If you have multiple websites or blogs you’ll find it to be an unbeatable value. I also think the lifetime membership is an excellent value if you plan to use one of their themes for a while. Since they constantly update their themes I don’t see any reason to look for a new theme any time soon.
If you are interested in joining Elegant Themes or seeing more, please visit their site.