Elegant Themes Review
Recently I decided that I couldn’t write my own themes for use in Internet Marketing. It simply wasn’t a productive use of my time. So, I began my search for quality, usable themes. Being broke, and trying to follow the Bum Marketing methodology as much as possible I started out by looking at free WordPress themes.
Most of these themes were OK; some were even good. However, the lack of technical support, and features, and the scare stories I had not only heard, but experienced, with themes breaking and not being updated, put me off free themes.
So when I came across Elegant Themes, I was a little stunned. With over 70 themes, and for a yearly membership fee of just $69(plus taxes), that’s about the price of one premium theme on Themeforest.
How could I not resist? The themes from the website demo’s looked pretty good, and since I’m a coder, I can handle the odd tweak here and there. So, I purchased the package, and I thought I’d tell you all about the different themes available (Not all of them! Just a choice few) and how good (or bad) they are.
70+ Themes… Really!
So, let’s get into the Themes. I’m not going to review all 70 odd themes; that would just be silly. Instead, I’ve chosen my top three themes picks, which I think will be really useful to Internet Marketers and in fact seem more focused towards our little community of marketers.
The rest of the themes are all perfectly viable for use, but depending on your project, you may need to tweak them a little bit. Why don’t you check out their themes? They all include demos.
InReview is a theme for, well, reviewing things, and is absolutely perfect for an affiliate marketer, especially for physical products.
The great thing with this product is the inbuilt rating system. As the author of the post, you can select a number of features and rate them. These ratings, and an overall averaged rating, are placed on the the post. Also, the overall average rating is displayed on the post excerpt as well, so your visitors get a nice visual idea on how good the product is.
The features can be anything you want them to be. For example, a site promoting HD TVs, the features might include:
- Screen Size
- Contrast Ratio
- Color Depth
- Any other product features
You can also add a price which will feature below the featured image in each post, and a Call to Action button which appears at the bottom of the post. One feature I did miss from this theme was the ability to add multiple Call to Action buttons, but if you’re just sending a visitor to one affiliate company like Amazon it’s not an issue.
The theme comes with some quite useful widgets as well, an Adsense widget, About Me widget (for a cheesy photo and blurb), and the really good Top Rated Products widget. This last widget displays a quick overview of the top rated products based on either your rating or the users comments rating, which is a great way to get user’s to see quality products that might be further down the post list.
This Elegant Theme is all about promoting a product (Did you guess that from the name?). The theme features all the usual goodies you would expect, except here the featured slider has been pushed over to the right and there’s a tabbed area for content on the left.
Added bonus: The theme is laid out in such a way that it forces the visitor to focus on the product.
The widgets supplied with MyProduct are pretty standard, with the exception of the Tabbed widget and the Testimonial widget.
The tabbed provides a funky way to display a list of Recent, Popular (by comment count) and Random posts – a great space saver.
The testimonial widget provides a way to get customer testimonials across via a Quote box. The wonderful thing about this is that when the page is refreshed, the testimonial changes! This means that you’re saving valuable space on your site, but can show various testimonials.
This is the newest theme available at Elegant Themes (at the time of writing, Elegant Themes provide a new theme each month). This is a new take on the classic Landing Page, or Sales Page.
First things first: This theme is the first one they have created that uses a drag and drop feature to create your landing page. As such 99% of the options are in the Landing Page Builder, rather than the Epanel.
I clicked the Sample Layout, and was given a ton of blue buttons. So after deleting them all (I like a blank slate), I found it was really easy to simply drop and drag the features I want onto the site.
Each “module”, such as Logo, Header, Video, Slider, Testimonial, Pricing Table (the list goes on), has an easily accessible options panel for each individual module. Each module also has an inbuilt TinyMCE (the WordPress text editor) should the module require text.
The shortcode features of all Elegant Themes are also built into these editors, which makes adding buttons and other functions easy. If you are not sure about shortcodes, in brief these are codes that look similar to this – [button-blue] – and are either manually typed in, or you can select from options on the editor menu (which is how the Elegant Themes shortcodes work). These tiny tags, actually tell the theme to do something cool. As in the above example, it will tell the theme to insert a blue button at the chosen point. Easy to use, and really powerful.
The modules that contain each function, such as Header, Video etc can be rearranged easily simply by dragging and dropping. Not only that, but the Landing Page Builder provides a column system which makes creating half, third and quarter width columns a snap. I did find putting modules into the columns a little fiddly at first though, but maybe that’s just me.
The one down side I came across for this theme is that it doesn’t have custom menus built in, which is a shame, as custom menus are a really powerful, easy to use feature of modern WordPress themes. It does have a Widget module (5 in fact) so you can still use different widgets, including the custom menu widget, but you will have to mess with the CSS a bit to get it looking pretty.
And I understand to a degree why there is no custom menu support, as this theme isn’t mean to be used for a standard website, but solely for Sales pages and Funnels, but having this feature would have made a great theme brilliant.
I am impressed with what Elegant Themes have delivered with this theme, I have recently reviewed other Sales page themes and this feature of drag and drop makes creating this style of site an absolute dream.
I want to talk about the Elegant Themes Epanel system. Epanel is on all their themes and is where you change your options. Sometimes the Epanel is slightly different to accommodate specialized features of a theme, but I’ll just go over the main sections.
Here you can add a custom logo and favicon very easily, and change the color scheme to one of the predefined styles. You can also tweak the number of posts that are displayed in the pages (Category, Archive, etc.).
From the homepage tab you can quickly include or exclude categories displayed on your homepage and tweak or turn off the quote displayed.
Most of the themes have an inbuilt slider which can display posts or pages. One slight annoyance is that it will only display posts from one category rather than from a selection.
If you’re just going to use the inbuilt theme navigation it’s here where you can select which pages and categories are used.
I would still use a custom menu, personally, as it gives slightly more flexibility, what with being able to use custom links and tags as well.
Here you can select what meta data you want displayed (i.e. Author name, category etc.) and whether thumbnail images are shown.
I was a little disappointed with the ad management on most of the themes from Elegant Themes. They only provide you with the ability to put a 468×60 advert at the bottom of posts. Of course you can still put ads in the sidebar etc. via a supplied widget, but still, I would have liked a little more options with it (say you want a smaller fatter advert or it to be at the top etc.).
Here you can tweak color settings for fonts (overlooked by so many themes!) and include a child theme stylesheet. The themes even supply a color picker so you don’t have to hunt on the web for the right hex code, which is really handy!
If you don’t have a plugin for SEO, the themes provide in built capabilities to tweak the SEO of posts and pages.
Here you can add in Google Analytic codes and the like without actually having to look at the code. Great for those little scripts and everything Google.
The themes come with some handy shortcodes available for posts and pages. These include different coloured boxes for Information, Warning, Downloads etc. There are button shortcodes with various colours and even with icons. As well as these there is an option to add a tabbed information area and an author bio with image at the click of a button.
I was slightly disappointed on two counts though. One there’s no preview images, a minor thing really but there you go. The other was that the images and colors are pre-set so you can’t change them without getting your hands dirty with some code/file system.
OK, so even Premium WordPress themes can have issues, so having a good customer support is necessary and this is what separates the boys from the men, the free themes from the premium.
When I first used Elegant Themes I had an issue straight away. I was using the InReview theme and the stars for the product rating were missing. After a visit to the support forums, I discovered it was due to a WordPress update and they provided a bit of CSS which sorted it out. A while down the road and they updated all the themes with updates that fixed little bugs like that.
Little things like that shouldn’t bother you, they happen, what should bother you is how they are handled. So far the customer service at Elegant Themes has been top notch.
All in All
Would I recommend Elegant Themes? Yes I would, especially if you require a large number of varied themes for different purposes. If you just need one, then it might be overkill, but even so at the price ($69+ tax) buying the years membership for one theme is worth it, and you get another seventy or so themes thrown in so any other projects that might crop up.
01/30/2012 @ 2:06 am
Hey there Dean! You really have a nice site here! Those WordPress themese look awesome. I signed up to your email form. Can you please tell me what email marketing service you are using? Thanks!
01/30/2012 @ 8:57 am
Hey there Cham, glad you like the article! I’m using Mailchimp (it has a free service for up to 2000 subscribers though the free service doesnt have an autoresponder). I havent used them but Awebwer is very popular, no free service but they have a trial, $1 for the first month.
02/02/2012 @ 10:57 pm
These themes are awesome. I’ve tried them out and I love them. Thanks for recommending.
OptinSkin Plugin Review - ApinaPress
03/02/2012 @ 1:44 pm
[…] I tried it out on a variety of popular themes, including Elegant Themes and some free themes and it worked on every one. You will have to make sure that when designing the […]
07/03/2012 @ 4:42 am
Nice review. For almost 7 years blogging but I never use Elegant Themes on my site – just install it on client site only. But I read all the review 🙂 What great about elegant themes is actually the price. Under $40 per year that a big discount for me.
07/08/2012 @ 10:12 pm
08/13/2012 @ 11:35 pm
Dean: Thank you for a nice report. I am getting my feet wet regarding the use of WordPress. I have the Chameleon theme by Elegant. I have used a plugin to establish a child theme (CSS only), but would love to have someone setup a child theme for me that has all the files. I know that it is not too much to accomplish, I’m just not at the point of doing from the FTP program (still learn it as well.) Let me know if you know of a reasonable service to help with elegant. I have purchased Geneses Framework and a child theme. One day I will move that direction, but for now I have too much time invested in learning Chameleon. Thanks so much…rick (Main site is: missionlink.org through another venue)
08/14/2012 @ 11:06 am
Hello Rick, I will send you an email regarding this.
08/13/2012 @ 11:36 pm
Dean: What plugin did you use in the footer for “Popular Post?”
08/14/2012 @ 11:08 am
That actually isnt a plugin, I modified the footer.php with some code that shows the top ten posts based on the number of comments. It’s quite easy to do, but I would advise using a child theme as its a modification to a theme file.
Aron @ Red Rocket Web Works
11/30/2012 @ 9:46 pm
Dropping $39 for all these themes is a no brainer. In my opinion elegantthemes.com is the best premium wordpress theme provider period.
12/19/2012 @ 11:19 am
I agree with that “Little things like that shouldn’t bother you, they happen, what should bother you is how they are handled.”
But i’m not agree with this.. “So far the customer service at Elegant Themes has been top notch.”
Knowing Elegant Themes for many years, and tested/used their templates for my clients, I can say that I NEVER EVER HAD PROPER SUPPORT with Elegant Themes.. How they handle the tickets cannot be worse than how it’s currently.. I am not talking about customisations-, but basic functionality.. Use their templates if you really know what you are doing and if you won’t need any single help.. By the way, this is how 30 days refund is working… you will get response for any email you sent in 30 days, after that nothing as you locked with them anyway.. Their templates’ graphic designs ok, but if you expect some support, forget about Elegant Themes.. I still have 2 tickets open over a month old, and not a single reply after 6 emails.. After reading just possitive comments, I just wanted to share a different picture.. so it’s up to you…
01/28/2013 @ 1:32 pm
Great article Dean. I am going to buy the Elegant Themes package as it seems the best value on the market. I am looking for the SEO score for the CORPORATION theme against the other themes. Did see a league table online but cannot find it now.
02/11/2013 @ 11:35 pm
I am a newbie and trying to finish my site. I am fast becoming an Elegant Themes hater!!!
They advertize how it is so easy to use their themes and the FEATURES page goes on and on about how many controls, toggles, etc. are included. What I have found is that almost every text formatting, from bolding, color and font, to alignment, size choices etc, needs to have CSS code added to the style sheet. NO WHERE on their site did it tell me I needed to know how to make changes to my style sheet or my PHP files. NO WHERE! It was suppose to be all just toggles and menus.
To save a simple thing like background color requires you do that in two different places… why? It makes no sense and drives up the frustration level.
Even a simple thing like a list of what image sizes are for various areas on any given theme are not published anywhere.
Their support people are arrogant, sarcastic at times in their answers, and tend to give you code for your style sheet that causes other problems you didn’t even have before you pasted in their code.
Pretty themes that my work if use them as is. But that is not what most people expect based on their web site and the many blogger write ups. Just check out the most used themes and they have tens of thousands of posts. The Corporation them is approaching 20,000!
ET is definitely not elegant!
08/19/2013 @ 1:14 pm
I cannot believe that getting support from elegant themes is sooooooo difficult. A simple contact would be great.
I have bought the ongoing plan and I cannot download the Cameleon theme no matter what I do and cannot get any real advice.
At present I think it a waste of money.
08/19/2013 @ 2:19 pm
I never had any issues with support, but most of my queries were answered by a trip to the forums. I do hope you get it sorted soon though. And though I haven’t come across this issue, maybe try a different browser to download.
10/16/2013 @ 2:13 pm
Hi Dean, as a previous user of Elegant Themes I’ll stick my $ worth in. They are lovely to look at and have some great features with plenty of choice, so for newbies or those with little or no web design looking for an off-the-shelf theme for WP, great value.
But you can’t upload a header, just a predetermined size logo unless you wrestle with code and the personalization options are very limited – you get what you are given. I dumped them in the end and went (thankfully) back to Flexibility, another really cheap alternative which gives you total control over the whole site.
12/24/2013 @ 8:25 am
I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate and have just started to set up my website. I am using the theme ‘Active: Displace’ and have been trying for the past week to change the Page background (where my content is). I think I accidentally managed to change it but can’t remember where on the stylesheet I did it, as obviously I’m not familiar with HTML code. Anyway, I still want to edit the Page background colour and also the font size on my sidebar (where my Page headings are). Could you please help?
12/24/2013 @ 5:32 pm
I don’t know that theme but I would suggest first off checking the Theme Options, often they have a bunch of settings to change the background and fonts. If not, then yes it would be via CSS, feel free to send me an email here or a PM via WA if you get stuck.
02/14/2014 @ 1:37 am
02/14/2014 @ 8:20 am
That is good advice Ray, especially regarding expectations and learning how websites work. The only thing I would say is to not expect a web designer to “re-word your pages for focus/kewords according to a statistical analysis on specific keywords related to your business and geographic region of operation” some will, some won’t. So it is best to ask first 😀 I would also say that even basic websites can work, so long as they look clean and professional and not like your 8 year old went at it. Think Craigslist, think Google – neither website will exactly wow someone but they work.