Wow Bob, that sounds great! So what’s her name?
Her name is Divi 😀 Yup, my new love is a WordPress theme. Not just any old theme though, Divi is being used on almost a million websites worldwide and that makes her one of the most popular WordPress themes even. I know, our relationship isn’t exactly exclusive, but I can date other themes as well so that’s a good thing!
So what makes Divi so great?
What makes Divi so great is mainly the page builder, which offers a lot of possibilities but is still really user friendly. And that’s not the only reason I became a Divi fan; some other reasons are:
- As I said, Divi is being used on nearly a million websites according to BuiltWith.com. That’s twice as much as Avada and almost 4 times as much as Enfold.
- Divi has a very active development theme. In only 6 months time, a lot of new features have been introduced, such as animations, shape dividers, shadow effects, border options, color filters and more than 200 standard designs you can install with one click (with a new design added twice a week – every week).
- The Divi pagebuilder can be used backend as well as frontend. So you can adjust everything in the WordPress backend, but also live on the frontend of your site so you immediately see the effect of the changes you make. Personally, I like to use the backend builder to build the basic grid layout of the site, and then style everything in the frontend editor (adjust things like colors, borders, background images, margin / padding, animations etc.). Also, when editing text in the frontend editor you can just click and type.
- The Divi page builder is also available as a stand alone plugin. That way, you can use the power of the Divi builder in almost every WordPress theme.
- Setting theme options is done more and more in the standard WordPress customizer. That way, you can see the effect of your adjusments in real time.
- Most page builders let you choose if something should be shown or hidden on certain devices. E.g. you can set that text block #1 is shown on desktop and hidden on mobile, and text block #2 is shown on mobile but hidden on desktop. Divi takes this a little further though; instead of just choosing if you want to show or hide something, you can also style more and more parts separately for each device. E.g. you can set a H2 header to be 26px on desktop, 22px on tablet and 18px on smartphones. You can also set margins and paddings for every device, and Divi has a built-in simulator so you can quickly see how your page looks on a tablet or smartphone.
- Another great feature is the Divi library. This is similar to the standard media gallery, but for Divi parts instead of images. You can store every part – from a button to a text block and from a row to a complete page layout, incl. all of its content, in the Divi library. From there, you can import the part you want on any other page on your website, and even export it to use it in another Divi website
- Next to your own saved design, you’ll also find tens of layout packs in the Divi library. Layout packs are professionally designed templates which you can import to your website with 1 click. So a layout pack has a home page template, a contact page template, a product template etc. All those templates have the same design style so you can build your website really fast; you just have to edit the texts, and the images and colors if you want (you can use the default ones too) and you’re done. There are 2 brand new designs added every single week, so when you buy Divi, you don’t buy just 1 theme, you buy tens (and eventually hunderds) of themes in 1.
- If you’re into conversion optimization – which every commercial website owner should be – Divi leads is a really valuable and unique feature. E.g. with Divi leads, I can test the button below in multiple variants to see which variant performs best. I could make a button with a yellow background and a button with a green background, and Divi will show half my visitors the yellow button and the other half the green button. Divi leads will measure how many percent of my visitors click on the yellow button, and how many percent click on the green button, so I can choose the variant that gets the most clicks.
- Divi also has a built-in role editor, witch allows you to set what users with a certain user role can and can’t do. So e.g. if you want an editor to be able to adjust background colors, but not the column layout, the Divi role editor lets you set it just like that.
- Next to the Divi theme and the stand alone Divi builder plugin, your Elegant Themes membership also gives you access to all their other themes (most of which are very outdated but still) and a few cool plugins from which the Monarch social sharing plugin and the Bloom e-mail opt-in plugin are certainly worth the effort.
- Divi is supported very well. There’s an extensive help function with video tutorials, on the website but also within the builder itself, en they publish a lot of tutorials about all sorts of subjects on their blog. Also, the support team isn’t afraid to provide a custom code snippet to achieve something that can’t be done with Divi settings alone.
- Last but not least: the Divi license system is really favorable for website builders, designers, agencies and others who build websites on a regular base. For a one time investment of 249 dollar, you can use Divi and everything else from Elegant themes on an unlimited amount of websites, and you also get lifetime updates and support. Most premium themes and plugins licenses are only valid for one website, and support is limited to a few months after purchase most of the time.
That almost sounds to good to be true… Are there any downsides on Divi?
Of course, Divi isn’t perfect either. Some of the main cons are:
- The learning curve. Divi is a very extensive theme and it will cost you a fair amount of time to discover all its possibilities. That goes for the page builder too; even though it’s really user friendly, it will take some time to get used to it. As I said at the beginning of this review, it wasn’t love at first sight for me either 😉
- The price. As I said before, it’s really favorable for people that build websites regularly, but if you only want to build one or two websites, Divi is quite expensive compared to the competition. Other Popular themes like Avada or Enfold are only 60 dollars after all, while Divi costs 225 dollar (with a 10% discount you’ll find in every feature update blog).
Keep in mind that is for a lifetime licence that entitles you to all future updates, but that goes for Avada and Enfold as well. Support however is limited to 6 months with Avada and Enfold, while it’s included with Divi for life as well. You can also choose to get a yearly Divi subscription at $ 89 for one year of updates and support, but you can’t keep a website running smooth without updates so you’ll need to keep your subscription active. In just 3 years time, the lifetime option is a more attractive option already.
- The Divi page builder works with shortcodes (as most other page builders do, except for Elementor and Beaver Builder). You won’t even notice that as long as you use Divi, but if you ever want to switch to another page builder your content will be full of shortcodes which will make it unreadable. Luckily, there’s a great plugin available that can clean up Divi’s shortcodes, so this isn’t that big of an issue anymore.
- Divi has a built-in slider, but that’s really basic and can’t be compared to the extensive animated sliders that come with Avada and Enfold.
- When Divi doesn’t have any secrets for you anymore, you’ll find you still can’t do everything you want with the page builder alone. For this – relatively simple – website, I still had to write about 1000 rules of custom code.
Which alternatives for Divi are there?
If you’re looking for a “multi purpose” theme, you probably ran into Avada already. Just like Divi, Avada also has it’s own page builder. The base is about the same as the Divi builder (also based on shortcodes), but mainly in the area of tweaking the design of individual modules Avada is quite limited.
Of course, you can adjust colors and such, and you can even use animations, but you won’t find advanced border controls, shadow effects, shape dividers, color filters etc. in Avada.
Moreover, the Avada page builder can only be used in the backend, not live in the frontend. Therefor you can’t see the effect of your changes live as you make them. In May 2017, Avada said a front end builder is being developed, but as am I’m writing this article a year has past and there’s still no news about this…
Avada’s theme options are also in the backend. Those theme option are really extensive though, and the dedicated search functions works really well so you can find the option you’re looking for quite easy.
Like Divi, Avada has a library function as well so you can export every part of your layout and import it anywhere else on your site and in another Avada site. The documentation is ok, though less extensive as Divi’s documentation. The support is good, but officially limited to 6 months after purchase date. Although I must say I received great support on a 4 year old client website recently so they seem to be quite flexible on that.
Finally, Avada is a lot cheaper than Divi, but you need a new licence for every site. If you want to build just 1 website, Avada can be an attractive option.
You may have ran in to Enfold as well. This theme has its own drag & drop page builder as well, but its a lot less extensive than Avada and Divi. Like Avada, Enfolds page builder only works in the backend, and the theme options they offer are quite limited. That doesn’t mean you can’t build a nice website with Enfold, but if you want to be really creative with your design Enfold probably isn’t the right choice for you.
That’s because Elementor also has a very active development team, and I regularly see one of Elementors Facebook posts in which they announce a cool new feature that’s not in Divi yet, that makes me think “I want that too!”.
E.g., Elementor had shape dividers months before Divi, and now they introduces a header and footer editor too.
Elementors page builder works fully front end so you see the effect of your changes immediately, just like in the Divi frontend builder. Just like in Divi, you can adjust padding and margin very easily with drag & drop, but in Elementor you can even adjust your column with as well.
So in terms of features and user friendliness, Elementor is really close to Divi. Moreover, it has one huge advantage: Elementor is completely free!
Well.. the basic version that is. There’s also a pro version of Elementor, which offers even more features and modules. The basic free version doesn’t have features like contact forms, pricing tables, sliders and portfolio modules, things that Divi does have. The header and footer builder is also only available in pro. Divi doesn’t have that either – yet. This feature has already been announced on the Divi blog so it will probably be in Divi as well in a couple of months.
The basic free version of Elementor is really extensive too though, and certainly worth the effort of trying. The pro version is a little expensive with $ 49,00 a year for just 1 site. They do offer a unlimited sites licence for $ 199, but that amount is also per year. For $ 50 more, you have a Divi lifetime licence…
WP Bakery Page Builder
If you bought a few themes on ThemeForest before, you probably know the WP Bakery Page Builder (maybe under its old name Visual Composer). Even though some popular themes like Avada and Enfold developed their own page builder, most ThemeForest themes use this one.
Just like Divi, the WP Bakery page builder also has both a backend and a frontend editor, and this page builder also offers some advanced design options like animations, borders, (parallax) backgrounds and even color filters. Some other features like shadow effects and shape dividers aren’t available though, and the features that are available are a lot less customizable than Divis.
The biggest problem though is that the way WP Bakery works is just a lot less pleasant than Divi and Elementor. As said before, when you adjust something in the Divi or Elementor front-end builder, you see the effect of your change immediately, live as you change it. So if you want to change your background color, you see the background change on your website as you hover over the color picker.
The WP Bakery page builder opens a popup in which you have to make your adjustment. To see the effect of your change, you have to save and close the popup before the changes take effect. If you don’t like the color, you have to open the popup again, choose another color, save and close the popup…
That’s not a front end editor, that’s just a backend editor that opens in the front end of your site. You can’t compare this at all with the live front end editors of Divi and Elementor.
The WP Bakery page builder does have quite a lot of modules and there are a lot of (paid as well as free) addons available. With a price of $ 45,00 for 1 site, but with lifetime updates, the WP Bakery page builder isn’t really expensive… but not really good either, in my opinion.
Beaver builder is – just like Elementor – a user friendly stand alone page builder plugin that you can use with virtually any WordPress theme. Just like Elementor, Beaver Builder also works on the front end of your website, and there’s also a free version available. But where the free basic version of Elementor can measure itself with premium page builders like Divi and Avada, the free version of Beaver Builder is very limited. The pro version of Beaver Builder is quite expensive and they offer very little styling options: no fancy backgrounds, shadow effects, borders, color filters, shape dividers etc, and just a few basic animations.
For me personally, Beaver Builder is way too basic. I want to have a lot of features and styling options in a page builder, but there are also a lot of people that just want a basic page builder that works really well and fast, without all those confusing options. If you’re one of those people, Beaver Builder might just be right for you.
But Bob, if I buy a page builder, I won’t need you anymore?
That’s right, you don’t need me anymore. Certainly with Divi or Elementor Pro, you can build just about anything you want without any knowledge of code.
However, as said before, it will cost you a fair amount of time to discover all the possibilities and getting used to the way your page builder works. And when you finally know everything you need to know, it will cost you a lot more time to build the website exactly the way you want it. You also have to install and set up WordPress, and find, install and set up the plugins you might need.
Moreover, a page builder can’t teach you how to make a user friendly website, how to make sure it ranks well in Google and how you get your visitors to buy something from you or request a quote. Those are things I, as an experienced web developer, do know.
Did you just start out and do you have more time than money? Then I absolutely say “go for it!”. Buy yourself a good page builder, watch hours of video, read everything you need to know about SEO, usability, CTA buttons, conversion optimization etc., and after a few months you’ll probably have a decent website.
Don’t you have that much time, of would you rather use that time to find new clients or do other important things? Then you’re probably better off hiring a web builder. If you choose a web builder who uses a good page builder, you can always still play with adjusting colors and settings yourself when you want to change something on your site 😉
Let Bob The Web Builder build your Divi website!
Bob The Web Builder, the author of this Divi review, is a professional Divi website builder who knows this popular theme inside out. From just € 995 excl. VAT, Bob will build you a beautiful Divi website, which includes a lifetime licence for Divi (valued at $ 249).
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