Elegant Themes Review – a lotta bang for your buck

If you’re in the market for a great selection of premium WordPress themes – all at an affordable price – I can highly recommend the Elegant Themes package. By the way, I’m not using an Elegant Theme on this blog because – to be honest – this is just a place where I park random ideas and notes and I really don’t care, very much, about how it looks. I actually may, eventually, “jazz” this thing up with a better theme. Basically, I just haven’t gotten around to doing a makeover on this site. Anyway, if you surf around this blog you’ll find that I’m not in the business of endorsing products. Maybe I can get ’em to pay me for this! Probably not. Anyway, I was genuinely impressed with the value of this package to the extent that I thought I decided to write something.

My Perspective
Myself and a business partner purchased the developer’s license from Elegant Themes about four months ago. We also purchased some theme packages from some other outfits. The Elegant Themes package was, by far, the most bang for the buck. It included a great selection of themes which were easy to implement and use – and the support was excellent. I’m not going to bash anyone, here, but suffice it to say that I couldn’t say the same sorts of positive things about the other theme packages we purchased. And while I have a reasonable frame of reference I don’t have years and years of experience with WordPress; I’m sure that there are some other great packages, out there, with which I’m unfamiliar. If you’ve found another theme package that you felt was good (or bad), feel free to leave a comment.

Pricing, etc.
For $39.00 per year you can get a standard membership and you can use use any – or all – of the 70+ themes currently offered by Elegant Themes on any of your WordPress blogs. By the way, since my partner and I made our purchase (just a few months ago) there have already been couple of new themes added. It appears that they crank out new themes with a fair amount of regularity. I believe the number of themes currently available is 74. And, Elegant Themes offers a 30-day, money back guarantee. While I’d would presume that not too many people won’t be pleased with what they’re getting (for $39.00!) it’s good to know that you can get a refund. Honestly, I can’t imagine anyone would buy this package and be disappointed. Recently Elegant Themes began offering a developer’s license. The way that works is this: you need to have a standard license (at a rate of $39.00 per year) and pay a one time, additional fee of $89.00. This allows developers to use Elegant Themes on as many client’s sites, and as often, as they wish. I’m not sure why (it seems pretty straightfoward to me) but on the Elegant Themes site there seemed to some confusion as to how this worked.
From Elegant Themes:

“You still need to have a normal subscription active in order to retain access to the member’s area. The $89 one time fee is in addition to your normal subscription, and gives you permission to use the themes on your client’s sites.”

 

The bottom line is this: while the core features of WordPress are GPL and free to anyone, the designs produced by Elegant Themes are subject to copyright. The terms of their standard license are such that you can use as many of them, as often as you like, on your own sites. If you’re developing sites for other people – and wish to stay on the right side of the law – you need a developer’s license. That’s it.

What you get – short version
In the proverbial “nutshell”, here’s what you get for 39 bucks:
> Access to over 70 premium WordPress Themes
> Most themes include Java sliders and a lot of other, nice features
> They’ve got a great variety of themes – and, really, they’re all excellent
> A very easy-to-use admin area called the “Epanel” – makes customizing your theme simple
> Support from the developer’s, and, the Elegant Themes forum (I’ve had good experiences with both).

Customization is relatively intuitive
One thing that I liked about these themes, in particular, is this: I’m terrible about reading documentation. I’m old, I’m tired, and I’m always going 1000 different directions. And please, hear this, loud and clear: I am NOT saying, “Hey – buy these and don’t bother to read the documentation.”, or, “You really don’t need to read the documentation….”. If you don’t read the documentation, you could end up driving people on the forum insane. I can imagine someone from Elegant Themes finding this post and screaming, “Hey – don’t tell people that!”. My point is, simply, that while these themes are highly configurable and incorporate some high end features they also include something called the “Epanel” – an extremely intuitive interface by which they can be customized. In other words, when you install an Elegant Theme it installs their propietary Epanel as part of the theme (in your administrative back-end). While you should certainly read the documentation for these things, to be perfectly honest, I think most people will find that they can figure out out how to do basic customizations to their themes by simply fiddling with the Epanel control center. That was my experience, anyway. So, the Epanel is very very intuitive, which is good – but you still should look at the documentation!

The Epanel looks like this:

Anyway, if you’d like to dress up your WordPress blog with a “killa” theme, I’d suggest dropping by the Elegant Theme site and taking a look – I think you’ll be impressed…..!

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