“What theme should I use for my new blog?”
That is one of the most common questions I get.
If you’re a beginner looking for a great-looking theme for your website, Elegant Themes is tough to beat.
They offer almost 100 templates, a few handy plugins and a very reasonable price.
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Elegant theme’s pricing is very competitive, which is why they are one of the leading premium WordPress theme developers. They offer a yearly pricing model, or a one time payment for lifetime access.
The personal plan is Elegant’s cheapest package. It will cost you $69, and gives you access to all of their themes, updates and access to the support forum.
This plan is well worth the extra twenty bucks. It will cost you $89 per year and comes with access to all themes, updates and the plugins that elegant offers. More on the plugins in a minute.
For $249 you gain lifetime access to everything Elegant themes has to offer, or will ever have to offer. If you have the money to do it, this is definitely the prefered way to go.
So just to review,
- The “personal plan” gives you access to all elegant’s themes, updates and support for one year.
- The “Developer Plan” gives you access to all the themes and updates plus all the plugins too.
- The “Lifetime Access” plan gives you everything for a one time payment.
What Makes Elegant Themes Great?
Aside from the fact that you get 80+ WordPress themes for less than what you might pay for one somewhere else, elegant themes offers great support, constant updates, easy customization and great looking designs.
Elegant offers four plugins that you can upload to your website to create an even more unique experience for your readers.
- The shortcodes plugin is probably my favorite plugin from Elegant. With it you can do all kinds of things like add buttons, password protect parts of a webpage, create pricing tables, make colorful list items, add image galleries and a lot more. Buttons are awesome! Plus, it means if you change to a non-Elegant theme later, you can keep your buttons alive!
- The Handheld plugin makes it easy to create a mobile-friendly website. Using this plugin you create an entirely different look and feel for visitors who visit your website on a mobile device. You can change colors, fonts and menu items. Most of the themes I've used from theme are in fact mobile friendly, but this plugin allows you to customize the look of the mobile version.
- If you want to work on your site without visitors noticing anything, the “Maintenance mode plugin” is great. It allows you to setup a page that tells visitors changes are being made and that they should come back soon. Personally, I don't use this, but I know that some people hate to work on their site live.
- The Elegant Page Builder plugin allows you to create individual custom pages using a drag-n-drop feature. With this plugin you make any page of your website have a completely different layout than the others. It's handy for things like landing pages and things like that. I've always wanted to mess with this, but never found an opportunity to ‘need' it for one of my sites. I'd love to use it to customize landing pages for PPC campaigns. This is a HUGE request I get from newbies: “How do I make one page look different than the others?” This is an easy way to do it.
Updates are very important to any website built on WordPress, (or any website for that matter). WordPress is constantly improving, making changes, reducing security risks and increasing performance. Your site’s theme has to update with it.
The problem with some themes, especially free ones, is that the developers often abandon them. If you’re using a theme from a developer that has moved on to other things you are taking a huge risk. Your site could easily crash or be hacked, at any second, not to mention the numerous other conflicts that can happen when a theme isn’t updated.
With Elegant themes you don’t have to worry about that. Updates come often and they are getting easier to implement thanks to Elegant’s new “Updater plugin”. This plugin, once installed, automatically updates your Elegant theme everytime an update is available. So you never have to even think about updating again.
The only pain in the butt with this is that you have to uninstall and delete the old theme (temporarily switch to a different one), then re-upload the new one. There is a better way to do this (update automatically bro), but it's not bad once you get used to it.
The approach that elegant Themes takes to customer support is truly admirable. If you need to contact the directly they have a contact page on their website but this isn’t where the real support is offered.
Elegant uses a forum to offer support to their users. Usually I’m firmly against any product or service that relies on a forum to manage its support requests but Elegant does it right.
Elegant’s support forum is broken up into individual sections for each theme they offer. This allows for individualized support for your specific problems. When you have a problem, you go to the forum designated for the specific theme you’re using and make a post about your problem.
The best part is, the forums are very active, which means that you can probably find an answer to your problem by searching through other posts in the forum. When you make a new post, answers typically come within 24 hours, sometimes less. They always warn you that the forum is not for customization request (only for troubleshooting), but in practice, most people use it for customization requests, lol. They have been super helpful to me over the years because I know nothing about CSS or custom code.
I honestly don't know if those guys get paid or if they are just bored developers, but they are very friendly and accommodating!
Elegant themes are great looking. But sometimes you want to add a bit of your own personality. Again, elegant makes this an easy process, even if you don’t know how to write code. In every Elegant them there’s a feature called “Custom CSS Panel”.
CSS is a programing language used by WordPress that’s similar to HTML.
In your custom CSS panel you can enter your CSS codes to make any changes to your theme you want. No need to dig into your theme’s files and try to find a string of code to alter or replace. The custom CSS panel handles all this for you.
When you want to make a change to your theme’s design, just go to the support forum and let them know what you want to do. They will then give you the specific code you need. From there, you just pop it in the custom CSS panel, click save and your changes have been made.
There’s almost nothing you can’t do to your design with the help of the support forum and the CSS panel. This little panel here also means you don't have to install a custom child theme to keep your customizations even after updating the theme.
Great Looking Designs
Because Elegant gives you access to all their themes for one price it’s easy to find one that suits your needs. They have templates to match any type of website. Their theme’s categories include: Business, multimedia, ecommerce, personal, portfolio, magazine, app, blog and more.
Different themes will have different features. For example, some themes come with an adjustable homepage-slider. Others come with ‘shortcodes’ which are used to make things like buttons, slideshows, and pricing tables.
No matter which theme you choose, you’ll notice that elegant places a lot of importance on the visual aspects of the design, as well as the ability to add your own visually appealing content like buttons, images, videos and lots more.
As of now, August 2014, they have 87 different themes and more are added often. Recently they released their newest theme called “Divi”. More on this below.
Check Out Elegant Themes With Your Own Eyes! (affiliate link)
Themes I've Personally Used
I’ve used several of the themes offered by Elegant. Some of them were great. Others, just weren’t for me. Here, I’m going to tell you about the individual themes I’ve personally used, and what I think about them.
When Elegant released the Divi theme it seemed like everyone who was already an Elegant user immediately switched. Divi is a beautiful ‘drag-n-drop’ theme that makes it easy for anyone, no matter the skill level, to create a beautiful, engaging website with parallax scrolling, video backgrounds and complete customization.
Divi uses ‘modules’ that you drag into place and adjust accordingly.
With Divi you have the ability to create a website that is not limited by a template. Lots of drag-n-drop themes make this same claim but with Divi it’s true. There’s practically nothing you can’t do.
The Lucid theme is a great looking theme if you like the ‘magazine look'. It’s focus on images and video is outstanding and with a pure-white background the theme creates a look that’s very similar to a magazine.
However, I didn’t like it because it uses so many images.
When you create a post in Lucid you can choose a “featured image” that shows up in various places throughout your website. Well, that image is shown in different sizes, depending on where it’s at. And for some reason, this only displays images/video at their max width for the page, so I have to be very particular about which images I use and what size they are. I also don't like the spacing of the text and the size of the htags right out of the box. However, with a few tweaks, I was able to get it to the way I like it. It's a very clean looking theme with bright menus, so I use it on one of my main affiliate sites.
This is a fun theme for anyone making a site with star reviews. You can even have other users rate things on your site. I had a buddy of mine that created a membership site where people could write reviews of things and post it to his site. They would get to put their affiliate link on the site, so he got free content, and they got a way to promote their stuff!
This is a pretty simple theme, but it's great for ‘text' based blogs. It's got two top menus, and a very busy home page. The thing I didn't like is that the default text was tiny, and I used the theme at a time when I didn't know you could change the font size!
No, not Leon The Professional..the other kind. Actually, One More Cup of Coffee was originally created using The Professional! I wanted to use something clean, simple, and not use a lot of extra menus/widgets. Boy, have things changed since then. This theme certainly did that well, but I soon found that the single top menu, and no footer made it difficult to add links to other pages on my blog. Also, because the top menu is 'rounded', you can't exceed the menu width without it looking funky. Also, everything is so grey and the font is thin, that I had to opt for something else eventually.
Still, the home page is nice with featured pages and slider.
I am currently using this one on my niche site about beer. It's one of the ecommerce style themes that Elegant offers. You do have to use a plugin in combination with this theme called “Woocommerce” to get it to do the ecommerce stuff like prices and checkout. Because I use it strictly for affiliate marketing, I had to pay someone to remove the code for the shopping card and custom code a few other things. I'm happy with the theme so far
I've actually used a ton of other themes from Elegant Themes, including Explorable, TheStyle, Trim, Event, Nova, Askit, and others. These were just a few that stuck in my mind because I use them on sites that lasted longer. I've had quite a few sites over the years, and tried to use a unique theme for each one.
This is probably the biggest reason to get Elegant themes. I've had over 60 websites in the past 4 years, and for 3 of those years, it didn't cost me a dime extra to swap themes on an existing site or use a new theme on a new site. I now use a Studiopress theme on One More Cup of Coffee. That cost me $100 (framework + child theme), and will cost me about $40 for each additional theme I buy. I actually prefer their themes now (still haven't done a review yet), but I still recommend Elegant to some people.
Who Should Use Elegant Themes?
If you are just starting out and think you might build more than 1 or 2 websites in your first year, ET is a great way to get professional themes for all your sites, and save money at the same time. Also, I find that the learning curve on these WordPress themes is much smaller than with others (easier to learn for newbies). Also, if you think you might get some use out of the support forum for customizations, these guys would be a good choice as well (the forum is also a great place to find a professional to do paid customizations).
Does that sound like you? Sign up for Elegant Themes Here! (affiliate link)