Elegant Themes, WP Premium Themes – Product Review

In this review I wish to answer the following questions: What is Elegant themes? Who are Elegant themes? Why is it worth getting?
I will also talk about my personal experience with the product up until the time of this review, which is the 29th of June 2011.

Perhaps one of the most daunting tasks in creating your own website is choosing how it looks. If you happen to decide to use WordPress.org as your back end engine, choosing an appropriate theme is difficult and tedious because of the sheer amount of options available.

Summary: For those who don’t want to read the whole review, here is a brief summary

The Facts:

  1. Elegant Themes is incredibly suave and gives your viewers an appealing user experience which will be difficult to forget
  2. Elegant Themes offers premium WordPress themes for around $0.64 per theme, per year. Perfect for your website weather in be business , e-commerce, personal blog or photography.
  3. Very easy to install
  4. Each theme is completely customisable to your needs without any technical knowledge or programming skills
  5. Each theme is SEO and Pay Per Click advertising compatible
  6. At the time of this review, a member of Elegant themes have access to  all 61 premium word press themes for $39 p/year (including all future themes, and the collection is growing rapidly)
  7. Included in this cost is a comprehensive support network including Forums, a blogosphere and the ability to contact the creator Nick Roach for any questions
  8. There is also detailed installation and support documentation

Keep reading for more information. Be sure to Subscribe to Digi PhD Student Blog by Email for more blog related reviews.

What?

Elegant Themes is a collection of premium WordPress themes which are not only designed for a comfortable user rich experience, but provide a fully customisable back-end which allows you to swap and change almost everything. Including meta tags, incorporating Google analytics and Pay Per Click advertising. You can even insert custom HTML code in the header, body and footer from the themes options menu. Many of the theme designs have been constructed with the focus on simplicity and professionalism. On the elegant themes website there is a complete support network including a large forum community along with regular blog updates by the authors. The main website offers a very easy to navigate members area where you can preview and download any of the themes, get support and leave feedback.

Each theme has:

  • Unique features which are completely customisable
  • Comprehensive instructions on how to install and trouble shoot
  • Its own forum support feed
  • Support all of the common web browsers, e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Netscape
  • A completely unique feel and look

Who?

Elegant Themes, owned by Nick Roach, has been operating for about 5 years now and during that time has developed a comprehensive repository of 61 premium wordpress themes. Nick Roach started out as a musician in high school, but unfortunately, his band didn’t hit it big. He has, however, been in graphic and digital design since 2001 the past (10 years) and since then he has become a self taught web designer.  His aim was to create a community based product where members of the community (i.e. you and me) can get together and recommend idea’s for future themes and talk about what makes a good website. If you purchase his product you become apart of his exclusive “Members Club“, and you will be surprised at how community orientated his products really are.

Why?

This is where I am supposed to tell you that this is undoubtedly the best product out there. However, I am not. As with any community oriented project, Nick’s approach to design his themes or “skins” is based upon user feedback. This approach has evidently worked for him, and for an independent business it is definitely the best approach he could attempt. But it’s not the ideal way t to design your products. Larger companies such as Studio Press and other commercial groups targeting the blogospere spend a rather large amount of money on ensuring the user experience is optimised. There are even people with their PhD in user experience. Their products are a in a different league to Elegant Themes- Nick has just done the best he can with the resources he has. He is targeting individual bloggers as well as entering the corporate business blogging sector, a scary world.
That said, his themes and ideas from the current community have produced some very simple, effective and in some cases jaw droppingly good looking themes.

Another interesting point to mention, some of the other premium themes on offer, although very feature rich at times, are very sluggish. And so far with the themes I have used, they have scored well in Google’s community oriented attempt to make the web faster tool collection.

Ok, lets talk numbers: What does it cost?

To become a club member, you are looking at $39 per/year. This gives you complete access to currently 61 themes. Putting that in perspective, that is $0.64 per theme/ per year. You can download as many as you like, as many times as you like. You have full access to the forum and great documentation.
You can also  become a developer club member for $89 per/year, This license allows you to use the themes in an unlimited number of client projects.

What is the Competition?

Other competing premium theme distributes are asking around $50 per theme, or $300 for access to there complete range (Studio Press’ Genesis frame work). That is 7 years worth of Elegant themes in one payment, not to mention the range that elegant themes have is much more comprehensive, there are literally twice the number of premium themes compared to the Genesis frame work.

The advantage of Elegant Themes over some of the some competing companies and free WP themes is that you still have complete control in your WP dashboard and you can go above and beyond customising each theme to suit your needs without being a programmer or web designer. All the technical aspects are done for you. It is what I call a black box solution. You get a solution, it looks great, does everything you had hoped for but need little knowledge in how it operates.

My current theme

Yes you guessed it, you have read this review on an Elegant Theme’d blog. I am using the theme called “The Style“, and simply put… It adequately performs all the back-end requirements that are needed to have a competing blog in search engines. It does away with the large number of SEO and Google analytics plugins required to get the standard WordPress blogs communicating with search engines correctly. On top of that it provides a simple layout for my visitors to find their way around and navigate two and from other posts without clicking back a couple of times to get to the home page. So feel free to navigate around, get a feel for how the design works.

The style elegant wordpress theme

The style elegant wordpress theme

To accompany this review, stay tuned on a comprehensive video illustrating how to access all the resources in the members area, download your themes, install them and customise them to suit your needs. Subscribe to Digi PhD Student Blog by Email or at the bottom of the page.

Plug:

I am a PhD student, currently doing my PhD in signal processing (as you may have noticed from my other posts), and am conducting research in the area of speech enhancement for improving cochlear implants. I have done this review because when I was trying to decide what themes to get for my blog, ElegantThemes provided the solution I was looking for at a very reasonable price. So I have taken it upon myself to attempt to give a relative user experience and extensive review on ElegantThemes products. For this purpose I have also joined as an affiliate, which means I do in-fact get funds from any purchases that I refer. So if you get all the way to the bottom and to read this plug, know this: If you decide to purchase elegant themes through this site, you will be supporting my journey as a PhD student and potentially helping those with profound hearing loss. Thank you for your time, I hope you enjoy your purchase.