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Why I stopped using Divi theme

As of now, Divi theme is the most popular page builder in the world. Themes using the Divi page builder and themes are able to build the most stunning websites in the world through visual editor.

By using Divi, you do not need to be a web designer to come up with professional looking sites. And many developers are making a good career coming up with Divi child themes.

The Elegant Themes, the team that come out with Divi has the most comprehensive tutorial sites in the wordpress world- both in the blog and their YouTube channel.

I had wanted to change the look and feel of my websites for sometime. After going through some reviews and detailed tutorials I decided to purchase the Divi theme. I choose the lifetime package of USD$249 with a 10 percent discount from an affiliate link.

However, after spending sometime of intensely going through the theme, online tutorials and blogs, I came to the conclusion that even though the theme is awesome, it is not suitable for me.

I logged into my Elegant Themes page and send a message to their billing department. Within a few hours, I receive a confirmation email that my membership has been canceled and the money would be refunded in about 7 days. Really, they are true to their words… that they would allow you to cancel within 30 days with no questions asked.

Sustainability

After spending 10 years working on intranet sites as well as my own blogs, I am well aware that at some point of time, a site may need to undergo migration.

That is why it has been deeply ingrained in me that the contents in the site must need to be migrated as easily as possible. No complication, no break and no tonnes of  blabblish shortcodes.

Yes, I know. Many have said that with the Divi page builder plugin, the blabblish shortcodes would not appear. But as tested by YouTuber, the format does run when you switched to a different theme but still maintain the Divi page builder as per below:

What I did was that after I bought the Divi theme, I was initially testing the Theme on a few of my sites. Actually, really, thanks to Divi, a person with no web design background could come out with sites that looks a little more professional.

But one of the site I tested has high traffic and hence I need to switch back to the original theme (Thesis) which contained pages and sidebars that I had painsakingly customised when I am not working on the site.

And guess what, I noticed to my horror that gibberish shortcodes started appearing. Oliver from webmatros is right in this post…. the code is seriously a tonne. So okay, I followed the advice from Elegant Themes and downloaded the Divi page builder plugin and activated it. The shortcodes were gone.

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But the Digi plugin, in its huge purple button appears on every page and posts that I wish to edit. I had problem disabling the Divi as the default editor- I was only able to do so after I canceled the plugin and try to remember which page I worked on so that I could delete the shortcodes.

I cannot imagine what happened if I had gone ahead and customized for hundreds of pages.

Example below are screenshots taken from my site:

A site I made using Divi theme

Above: I managed to make a nice looking homepage with Divi. Someone like me with no knowledge on web design could make a page as per above.

When I changed back to my original Theme, my homepage became a sea of shortcodes like below:

Divi shortcodes left on pages after you switch theme

Divi shortcodes left on pages after you switch theme

Divi shortcodes left on pages after you switch theme

And a blog post which I have attempted to customize the page ended up with a few bunch of shortcodes on the published version:

Divi shortcodes left on pages after you switch theme

I have to manually delete in the Edit mode for the page to revert back to normal:

Divi shortcodes left on pages after you switch theme

When you use Divi to build website for your clients and they face problems

I was looking through some of the hosting companies and find that some of them also offered bundled web design services for a very low price.

At first, I was so impressed by their sites. However after I downloaded the Divi theme, I realized that essentially they were using Divi because some sites looked almost exactly the same as one of the standard templates in the Elegant theme library.

But even though Divi is intuitive, it has a learning curve. I also build websites for others and when a client engages me to build a site, the most important factor is sustainability.

We need to understand that most people are paying us for a skill that they do not have time or interest to learn. They just want a site up quick and easy.

So if we do a quick kill…. give them a super duper impressive site with all kinds of bells and whistles which the client has no idea what to do, there would be a lot of after sales service issues.

We have to help them troubleshoot with the heaps of shortcodes when they disabled certain plugin or decided to change themes or maybe another platform like Joomla. The client is not going to understand all these technical explanation.

OK, let’s say they keep the Divi page builder plugin, but the plugin is always there sticking out on their post/page editor like a sore thumb that they would bound to click on it and then ended up getting lost or causing some damage.

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Understand the customer’s point of view

I wish to explain from the perspective of a client because I can understand what they are going through. That is why sustainability is very important because it can directly or indirectly affect your reputation and peace of mind.

From the past when I was working… me and my colleagues have our share of dealing with vendors who build systems that we felt had lots of bugs. Thinking back, the system they build was not stable enough to withstand updates.

When we call the vendor, they will explain using all sorts of technical jargons that we do not understand and we feel the vendor is not solving our problems. Then our boss going after our backs on why the site crashed/gone bonkers, our panic button is activated and it came to a point that the vendor refuses to answer our calls and blocked our number.

Definitely as far as we are concerned, the vendor is lousy and irresponsible. We definitely will not recommend the vendor to any of our other colleagues and friends in the industry.

But if the truth is to be told, the vendor may not have done it purposely. Some of them may be using off the shelf packages which they do not have much knowledge about but just enough to do a little customization. When problems or bugs appear, they really have no idea how to fix it.

 

There is the talk about Gutenberg is said to be a totally new publishing experience and possibly impacting how existing sites work.

My point is technology constantly evolves. What is most important is sustainability.

When I was first starting out, we use static html websites. Later when I move to paid hosting, Thesis theme was then the most popular theme in the planet. Everyone thought it was the way to go.

Later it was followed by Genesis framework which like Thesis, still required a lot of CSS customization to stand out from looking like all other sites.

Currently it is the page builders like Beaver, Wix, Elementor and Divi whereby anyone with no background in web design or knowledge in CSS can come out with totally professionally designed sites.

Sure, my site runs on Thesis theme and some of my heavier content sites have various customized pages and sidebars which I created using the Skin Editor of a Skin (in Thesis it is known as a Skin but it is similar to a Child Theme).

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It is the same if you use any theme or child theme that understandably you would lose all the customizations that you have done.

But for sites build using Thesis or Genesis framework (not those using pagebuilders), you can still somehow transfer over some of the CSS customizations that you have done. In fact, I have tried switching to other themes and the main essence of my site remains intact. After all, they are written with the standard CSS language which is universal.

However for sites designed using pagebuilders like Divi, you have to keep the theme forever to keep the customization and structure. I would not want to do that because I have been around long enough to see how things change…. how websites that involved to what we could not possibly even imagine 10 years ago.

One last point is that… Divi’s pricing is the most reasonable in the market. They have the lifetime plan which means you can access to lifetime of updates.

However from observation, while the pricing is good for clients, the lifetime plan may not be a totally viable sustainable business model for the theme developer.

I also bought the lifetime developer plan from DIYthemes and I understand many people also bought the plan from Genesis theme.

What I noticed is that the moment when some genius come out with a better theme or framework, everyone would flock over there. Like they would change ship in droves.

Sales would then plummet and the developers may be less motivated to keep going or provide sufficient support to address all queries.

Whereas for yearly pricing structure, you can bet the person(s) behind the theme or plugin would be motivated to constantly come out with improvements to beat the competition. Or else, they would see the revenue from the annual renewals plummet.

In the long run, it would affect the users/clients because the theme or plugin would always try to keep ahead of the competition.

However, having said that, I am sure with massive of users worldwide should there be any changes that impact users, the developers behind Elegant themes would definitely jump in to rectify any issues as soon as possible.

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