17 March 2014
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Elegant Themes review 2014

Just like how product marketers would design their packaging to best attract potential buyers, a website’s design too can help attract new visitors and motivate the existing ones to return. We all know how much, or rather, how little attention Internet users pay to each website. Without a good first impression, visitors may skip your website without reading anything. Your contents may not even get a chance to be read, regardless of how good they are. Therefore, it’s necessary to have a website design that grabs your readers’ or visitors’ attention.

Website design has become one of the most important elements in website creation. No good website is complete without a good theme, a theme that not only looks awesome but also represents the website. But with so many theme providers around, it can be confusing, especially for beginners, to find a provider who is able to supply beautiful themes at affordable prices.

Elegant Themes

Elegant Themes was established in 2008. They are based in San Francisco. Within 6 years, the company had grown to become a significant WordPress themes provider which offers tons of beautifully designed themes to over 233,000 satisfied customers!

At the time of writing, Elegant Themes is offering a total of 87 professional themes. These themes are suitable for many purposes, for example, a simple blog, e-Commerce site, business site, showcasing multimedia presentations and many more. All these themes are available for download for only $69 per year, making them one of the most affordable themes providers in the world today. For comparison, this is about the same price some providers charge for a single theme!

There are many reasons why Elegant Themes is a favorite themes provider for both personal users as well as website developers.

  1. Affordable Pricing

    There are 3 types of packages offered by Elegant Themes, i.e. Personal Plan, Developer Plan and Lifetime Access.

    Elegant Themes pricing

    The Personal plan costs $69 per year and is the cheapest plan among all three. It allows you complete access to all themes including future ones too. You will also receive theme updates (when available) and technical support. All these features are available to you as long as you are still a member. Should you decide not to renew your membership, you will have no access to the themes, updates and support anymore. However, you are still allowed to keep all the themes that you have downloaded before.

    The Developer plan is the most popular among all users. It costs $89 per year. On top of receiving the same access and privileges as the Personal Plan users, Developer Plan users also have complete access to all plugins and Layered Photoshop Files (PSD files). The latter makes customization work easier and thus, this plan is a hit among website developers.

    The last plan is called the Lifetime Access plan. It costs a pricey $249 but it’s a one-off payment. This plan gives you all the benefits and support as what you will get with the Developer plan.

    Note:
    Honestly, I think the Personal plan is more than adequate for beginners or non-developers. You can upgrade later when you require the plugins and PSD files.

    Another thing to note is that Elegant Themes offer a 30-day money back guarantee policy where you have the right to request for full refund of your subscription should you decide so. It goes to show just how much confidence they have over their products.
  2. Clean and Simple-to-Use Designs

    Simple design

    Elegant Themes is known for its clean and ease of use, even for a new user. You have lots of control over how you want your website to look and feel, from changing font size to choosing color schemes to modifying your thumbnails. You can easily do all these and more with the many options being provided.

    On top of that, the themes are designed to be compatible with major Internet browsers such as the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. You don’t have to worry about having to stick to just one browser when editing your theme or whether your visitors are able to view your website or not.

  3. Regular Updates

    Theme updates

    WordPress is continuously being updated, which is good. However, if your theme is not updated accordingly, it may not work as well as it had been because of the chances made in WordPress.

    The one thing good about Elegant Themes is that they are always actively updating their themes. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about a favorite theme being outdated… unless, of course, you decide to let your membership lapse and thus, not receive any updates from the developer anymore.

  4. Support

    Support forum

    If you are not a designer or you are not familiar with web programming, then you most probably will need support now and then with your themes. Elegant Themes provides support via a members-only forum.

    I frequent their support forum and I have to say that they have a very active and helpful community. Most of my questions were answered almost immediately and I find the ideas and solutions shared very helpful.

    There is a search option and over the years, the forum had collected so many Q&As that chances are your issue has already been addressed before. All you need to do is do a search and you’ll get an answer and recommendation of the best way to overcome your problem.

    Note:
    Support is often taken for granted. Users expect it to be provided and don’t normally question it when purchasing a theme. However, it is recommended that you take support into consideration when evaluating a theme provider.

2013 In Review

2013 has been a great year for Elegant Themes and for their users. With a growing customer base and lots of new themes, things were really getting busy at their headquarters. In fact, they were so busy that they have hired more designers, developers and support specialists to cater to all the demands and challenges. Not bad for a company that is only 6 years old.

Let’s take a look at some significant milestones in 2013.

  • New Themes

    2013 saw many new themes created e.g. the popular StyleShop (an e-commerce theme with WooCommerce integration), Explorable (a location-based theme), Foxy (a business theme), Origin (portfolio or showcase theme), and Dixi (the smartest and most powerful theme thus far).

    The Style theme

    There were many firsts too including the first theme to be released on the WordPress.com platform i.e. TheStyle!

  • Survey

    In 2013, Elegant Themes also conducted their first survey to find out what users wanted from their premium WordPress themes. The results showed that flexibility was very high on their list of what is important when searching for a new theme. Many have indicated in the survey that they want the option and control to customize their themes.

    Elegant Themes survey

    True to what they preach, the designers decide to work on a theme that gives the user more control in their ability to do customizations. At the same time, there are also ready-made templates for those who prefer to use them.

  • WPML Compatible

    In April 2013, Elegant Themes announced that their entire collection of themes has been updated to become WPML compatible. WPML stands for WordPress Multilingual and it helps you build and manage multilingual sites.

    WPML themes

    This is great news for those whose website need to cater to various demographics and for those whose language is other than English thus requiring them to create websites in various languages.

What to Expect In 2014

Personally, I think 2014 is going to be another exciting year for Elegant Themes and their users. As the collection of themes grows and the community expands, the team will be kept on their toes satisfying these growing demands. Tough decisions would need to be made, new themes to be delivered, issues solved as quickly as possible, reputation to be maintained, etc.

Automatic updates

Towards the end of 2013, Elegant Themes had taken time out from producing new themes to focus on a few issues which had bothered users for quite a while. The first was the creation of the automatic products updater plugin called Elegant Updater Plugin. This will help save time and reduce the chances of missing out on an update. The second was fixing login problems to the members-only forum. This issue has bothered us for awhile now so it’s nice to hear that it’s fixed now.

Based on the above actions and also the survey that was done earlier, it goes to show that the company is focusing on customer satisfaction and is looking into understanding and delivering good customer support. Now, that’s great news!

Best WordPress Themes

The following are my favorite themes for each of the popular categories e.g. for blogs, business and magazines.

  • Fable (Best Blog Theme)

    Fable theme

    This is a popular blog theme because it is built for storytelling. Fable facilitates story telling visually through post variation. Its spacious design coupled with full-width and long-format style makes reading a joy, without feeling overcrowded.

    Being responsive helps too because the theme is able to identify and fit your website into the different browsers being used to view your website. So it doesn’t matter what type of devices your visitors are using, the theme is able to automatically detect and resize according to the browser!

  • Divi (Best Business Theme)

    Divi theme

    This is Elegant Theme’s latest entry into the themes market. Deemed as “the smartest and most flexible theme” in their collection, Divi is set to push the boundaries of what a theme should be!

    Design wise, it is stunning. Besides boasting the usual features of being responsive and being easy to use, Divi gives you total control over the design and lets you create unique layouts yourself. And the great thing is that you can do all these without needing to touch any coding. Of course, if you prefer ready-made payouts, there are 18 pre-made layouts that are available for customizations.

    Those who are concern about security will be pleased to hear that Divi has gone through a full code audit and vulnerability assessment by a third party. The results were that “no significant problem was found”. This means that the theme was designed with security in mind besides being elegant and user-friendly!

    Though essentially a business theme, this theme is highly customizable that you can practically use it for almost any type of websites. If you would like a flexible yet smart theme, do check out Divi.

  • Chameleon (Great Business Theme)

    Flexible theme - Elegant themes

    With a name like Chameleon, you know for sure that this is a very versatile theme. If you like to customize your themes very much and prefer to have lots of options, then Chameleon is the right theme for you. You can easily change the layout, color schemes, fonts, page templates and even the homepage slider styles.

    You can play around with the homepage layout where there are 4 areas that you can customize on, i.e. header, slider, content area and footer. Find the combination that suits your website the best and you won’t have to worry about having the same business site as others.

    Having a wide range of color scheme is important to a business as you would want to find a color that fits your brand’s color.

    The sliders are pretty interesting where you get to choose from 3 different styles, i.e. rotating where images become larger when they rotate to the middle position, Cycle which combines changing images and text and the ever popular Nivo slider.

  • Nexus (Recommended Magazine Theme)

    Nexus WordPress theme

    This is one of Elegant Themes’ latest offering and it is receiving very good response from users. The best part of this WordPress theme is that it gives you a great deal of control over the homepage content and image display. It is so flexible that chances are that your website will come out totally different from what how the demo version is!

    This is a very easy to use theme, from custom menus to widgets to sliders. The homepage body allows for easy customization also where you can add recent posts, popular posts, recent reviews and recent posts from several categories.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a theme that is beautifully designed and easy to use, then I would recommend that you check out Elegant Themes. Not only will your visitors be taken in by your site’s design, they will appreciate the ease of navigating around your website.

The other great thing about Elegant Themes is that you won’t have to worry about burning a hole in your wallet. For a small investment of only $69 per year, you get to download all the themes and use them in unlimited websites. That’s less than $0.50 per theme because they have 87 themes now. You can download and use all the 87 themes as soon as you join them!

Anyway, if you are not interested in using all the themes, Elegant Themes is still considerably cheap. You are essentially paying only $3.25 per month for full access to 87 (and counting) themes, their future updates as well as solid support!

So, regardless of whether you are a blogger or an online store owner or a website developer, Elegant Themes provides you with the foundation and support you need to make the best of your WordPress websites! Check them out!

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