With the new 2.4 update to Divi, Elegant Themes is betting that this theme will become the foundation of their future themes and updates. With the new, sophisticated Divi Builder, it is possible – easy, even – to make this theme into just about any type of website that you could imagine.
I was not a Divi user or fan when it first came out. It seemed unusually difficult to custom style, and switching themes seemed that it might be just short of impossible. Lately, though, I have had so many clients request this theme that I thought it was time to give it a test.
Divi 2.4 First Impressions
With almost 40 modules to choose from, adding text, sidebars, images, audio, information elements and more is just click and drop. There are plenty of page templates included, as well as splash pages and landing pages. There are no fixed page widths – the grid is fluid, so you can set your own page width.
A new Global Settings allows simple, quick changes to the entire website in one panel. Advanced Builder Settings allows for advanced CSS settings for every Divi module.
Divi epanel Options
Once you have installed the Divi theme, you need to set up the epanel. Elegant Themes all use the epanel for initial setup, and these settings should not have to be changed once they are set properly. This panel is used for sitewide settings such as logo, blog layout, ad management, social media and more.
You also control all global navigation settings such as menus, categories, etc. There is also SEO settings in the epanel, but I always install Yoast for my clients so your SEO settings are not controlled inside the theme itself. This epanel is fairly comprehensive in the settings it allows you to make globally. Impressive.
Divi Theme Customizer
In the WordPress 3.4 update, WP added the Theme Customizer API to the Admin area. This works completely from the front end and gives you the ability to make changes to your site instantly and see the changes as you make them – no more save and refresh.
Spend some time with each block, adding as much info and making as many settings as you can here. Especially for beginners, the ability to see your changes as you make them is a time saver.
A neat feature with this theme is the Mobile Styles block. This allows you to adjust your website for different mobile devices, and displays the effects of your changes in a screen that simulates the device you are adjusting for. This means that you can optimize each page, while viewing it, for all popular devices. What a great option, and one that I am sure we will see copied by other theme authors soon.
The Divi Builder
This is where things get exciting.
One of the drawbacks of the previous version of Divi was that the older version of the Divi Builder, called “Page Builder”, was literally just that – you could only use it on pages, not other post types.
When you select the Divi Builder button above the stock post editor your screen switches to the new builder. You can load a template from the library, save a new template to the library, and of course build new templates by designing your own layout.
The basic layout is this – Section >> Row >> Column >> Module. For example, say you want a 3 column row of recent posts (or blurbs, or videos, or anything). You first load a section, then add a row. Next you can choose from 11 different column layouts to fit inside the row, and add any modules you wish inside the columns.
Once you have a really slick design that you think you may want to use over again, save it to your library and next time, just pop it in! Remember also that Divi 2.4 ships with a huge number of predefined layouts (more than 30) that you can use for everything from Home pages to storefronts.
Divi 2.4 Modules
Divi modules are the building blocks of the theme, giving you the option of adding any of over 30 different widget-like functions and content types to make your page appear exactly as you want, with no coding or programming skills.
You can use as many modules as you like on each page, in any order, as many times as you want. You can customize your modules through the module settings. For each module, you can add original content, edit CSS, and make them all appear the same or different.
Divi Language Support
The Divi theme comes with 32 built-in language translations, and the theme is fully translatable. It even offers RTL support, so this is truly a global theme.
How to Buy Divi 2.4 from Elegant Themes
To get Divi, you need to navigate to Elegant Themes and sign up for the Personal plan membership. For $69, you not only get access to the Divi theme, but you get unlimited access to almost 90 more high quality themes. A few things to remember. This is a yearly membership fee. If you quit paying, you keep everything you have downloaded and used.
If you find that you are going to want or need access to all of the ET plugins or Photoshop files and want lifetime membership, $249 is still a bargain for lifetime tech support, theme and plugin updates and more.
Divi Theme Security
It is a growing concern that you see constantly in the news – website security. At least from the coding standpoint of this theme, that is something you do not need to worry about. Elegant Themes had a prominent security company, Sucuri, audit this theme and found something astounding:
The code audit found 0 issues. Because of the rarity of an event like this, the review was performed multiple times, each time with the same results. Exceptional job by the Elegant Theme development team.
Not a single significant problem was found during multiple code audits.
Elegant Themes is planning coming releases of themes integrated with the Divi builder plugin, so they are completely committed to the success of this platform. This sets my mind at ease regarding future updates, and makes learning the intricacies of Divi builder more of an investment than a chore.
I mentioned earlier that one of the things that kept me away from this theme was the lack of ability to change themes once you built a website using Divi. Apparently, that is changing. Elegant Themes is in development of a plugin that will maintain your layout no matter what theme you change to, even if it is not another ET theme. You keep your design and modules, and if you ever choose to migrate to a different theme, you do not have to recreate your whole site.
If you have any experience with Avada or Xtheme, you will find that Divi has a very short learning curve compared to the complexity of the designs you can produce. The ability to store your layouts in a library means that you only have to take the time to get them right once, and the theme is extra-responsive across all platforms.
This is an impressive theme, and I highly recommend it to WP pros and beginners alike. What are your experiences with Divi and Elegant Themes? You can view another of our author’s take on Divi here. Leave me a comment and let me know.