Finding the best WordPress theme is daunting task. There's no such thing as the perfect theme and what works for you may not work for someone else. Today I'm going to show you what works for me.
I use Divi by Elegant Themes. It's a great choice for bloggers who don't know how to code because Divi offers a drag-and-drop visual builder. And it's also a fine choice for developers because the theme offers plenty of ways to do advance customizations using code. Technically I use their Extra Theme but it's just a variation of Divi. For a flat rate of $89/year (or a one time payment of $249 for lifetime membership) you get access to all of Elegant Themes and Plugins.
Divi Theme Pros 👍
- Lots of built in modules. This is probably the biggest pro for travel bloggers who want to be able to customize their themes and use advanced features, but don't know how to code or don't want to deal with 20+ separate plugins for each module. Divi offers built-in slideshows, photo galleries, testimonial modules, tabs, toggles, e-mail opt-ins, video backgrounds, audio players, counters, etc. Basically there are a lot of cool things you can do with Divi that would otherwise take custom coding, 3rd party software, or multiple plugins to accomplish with other themes.
- Drag-and-drop visual builder. Divi's latest version release came with their new and improved front-end visual builder. This means that you can edit the look and feel of your pages while looking at them. I only use this occasionally because I like to code from the backend, but a lot of Divi users LOVE this and exclusively build out their pages using the visual builder.
- Their products work well and are regularly updated. Some might say that they do too many updates. For example, in 2017 Divi put out 60 updates which is well above industry norm for WordPress themes. But whether that is a pro or a con is a matter of opinion. Elegant Themes only puts out occasional version updates. For example, the most recent version was released 09-07-2016. And they instead put out A LOT of point release updates, which change an aspect of the theme, but not the base functionality like a major release. This type of setup could mean a lot of updating and testing your blog, but you don't necessarily have to update for each new point release. (I don't.) The counter argument for too many updates is better than not enough updates because that's what other theme developers are sometimes guilty of. The trade off for A LOT of updates is not having to wait until the next major release of a theme for small issues to be addressed.
- Elegant Themes offers decent support. To be fair, this can be anecdotal. I've only had to submit three support tickets since I started using their software several years ago, and two of them were resolved quickly. The third, I'm still waiting on a response from a week later.
- There is a huge community behind Divi. For example, the Facebook group Divi Theme Users & Elegant Marketplace has over 28k members. A big user base means that if I have an issue or need a customization, chances are someone else has already blogged about it or posted about it in a support forum. The opposite side of this coin is using a theme that only a few hundred other people use. Theme support in that scenario is usually limited to the developer themselves or general WordPress community help.
- All themes and plugins are included in the price. This includes their Extra theme (which I'm using on this website), Monarch plugin for social sharing, and Bloom plugin for e-mail opt-ins (which you can see all over the place on this website in combination with my Privy exit-intent pop-up).
Divi Theme Cons 👎
- It's not the fastest theme out there. Other popular themes on the market offer better internal speed optimization which translates directly into how fast your website loads – and we all know why that's important so I won't get into it. Granted, your theme isn't solely responsible for how fast your blog loads, but it certainly plays a big role. With Divi, I have to do a lot more work to optimize my page load speed than with other themes. However, historically I've used Divi on more visually intensive websites, so page speed optimization comes with the territory. Be sure to also choose a great WordPress host (those are my top recommendations) which also plays a huge role in how fast your website loads.
- The customization options can be overkill. Sometimes I don't want to deal with it, especially on an information rich website that doesn't require a unique design. On a site like that, I just want to install a theme that looks nice out-of-the-box and write my content. Divi takes longer to customize initially, but the results can be worth it, especially for travel bloggers who want a unique design.
- There's a learning curve involved with using Divi. However that comes with the territory of using any software that's more advanced than alternatives. If you're just looking for a beautiful theme that you can just input your logo, customize the colors, and start writing – then Divi isn't for you. There's definitely a learning curve involved with the theme and it takes some time to learn how to use all the features. (I'm still learning.)
- It's very shortcode intensive which makes switching themes harder. I felt remiss not to mention this con but I'm only including it half heartedly. The reason is that if you put a lot of time into creating a unique design for your website, switching from ANY theme is labor intensive. Understandably, if you create every page and post using their Divi Builder, you're going to have a headache on your hands down the road, but I exclusively use the Divi Builder on my PAGES and not my POSTS so that my job will be easier down the road if I need to switch themes. Keep in mind that you can also install their Divi Builder Plugin when you switch themes, which lets you retain all the modules you created but still switch themes (as it works with any theme).
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Examples of Travel Blogs Using Divi Theme 👀
Now comes the fun part! I'm going to show you what's possible with Divi (other than on my own site which you're reading now). I reached out to travel bloggers in our community and also in two other FB groups to see who was using the theme so I could showcase some examples of Divi in action. They also provided me a quote about what they like and dislike about developing with Divi.
Joby and Stephanie use Divi on their Weeks Abroad travel blog where they share tips and tricks about becoming travel junkies. Their custom child theme was developed by Dave Cahill.
“What I like about Divi is its flexibility and accessibility. I have been using Elegant Themes' products for 7 years now, and I am very familiar with how they code all of their themes, including Divi, so I may be a bit partial because I have the most experience using their themes over any others. As far as dislikes, I don't really have any because everything is optional. If I don't like the Divi map module, I don't have to use it. I guess the biggest concern for such a robust theme would be loading times on slower servers (*points finger at GoDaddy) as well as a lot of Divi sites looking very “same-y” – besides that though all positives from my end.” – Dave Cahill
Alpesh Koria uses Divi on his family's Nomad-ish blog where they share their experiences as a family living abroad in Mexico.
“I’ve been using Divi for about a year now and did a lot of research on other themes prior to purchasing it. So far, I really love the ease of use and it’s relative intuitiveness. Is it perfect? Of course not. But then again, neither is any other piece of technology I have ever used either professionally or personally. For me, Divi provides the right balance of out-of-the box features and customization options based on my limited technical knowledge. And would definitely recommend to others!” – Alpesh Koria
►Life Part 2
Jonathan and Sarah use Divi on their Life Part 2 travel blog where they share their adventures through retirement and minimalism to teach others how to experience the full spectrum of life. Their child theme was developed by Kevin Mullins and designed by Marcy Holland Henriques at Atomivox.
“Divi allows us to creatively push what is possible with web design on WordPress. We just have to be careful to ensure that the ease of using Divi's visual builder doesn't come at the expense of performance and speed.” – Kevin Mullin
Espen and Maria of Nerd Nomads have been using Divi since it's first release. Their blog is focused on adventure travel and epic experiences which they share through inspiring articles, photography, and in-depth destination guides.
“We’ve been using Divi ever since the first version came out. Elegant Themes featured our very first design on their blog. It sure has changed a lot since then.
Back then we were looking for a theme that would allow us to do a design with extensive customizations but without having to code it from scratch. Divi’s page builder made that possible and is still our favorite feature of Divi. It’s the reason we are still using Divi through two redesigns. The popularity of the theme has also created a great community always willing to help, and a lot of third-party presets and modules are now available.
As for dislikes, we feel that development of Divi as a tool for quickly building websites has been at the expense of speed optimizations. As an example, it is seriously lagging behind in using the latest techniques in serving scaled responsive images in its modules. Making Divi as fast as possible for our readers should be a top priority. After all, we redesign once every few years, but our website is read by thousands every day.” – Espen Egeland
Violeta Matei uses Divi on her personal travel blog which she hopes will inspire you to pack and go. She shares her stories and photography as a world traveler since 2005.
“I use Divi. I like the library feature because it saves time and it enables building new page layouts quickly. I also like the versatility of this theme, the easiness of achieving any type of layout without the need for coding knowledge. The main dislike is that switching to another theme is difficult, as the shortcodes become part of the body copy.” – Violeta Matei
Kans and Suni use Divi on their travel photography site Vividscapes where they photograph and write about their insatiable quest for adventure, wildlife, and traveling to offbeat locations to do something crazy.
“The ease of getting new changes and looks is a breeze with Divi and why we love it.” – Kannan Venkat
►The Travel Bunny
Suzanne Jones powers The Travel Bunny with Divi where you can find travel inspiration, culinary encounters, culture, and adventure. Her travel guides and tips are designed to help you make the most of every trip.
“I love that Divi is simple to use ‘straight out of the box' to build a professional looking website with lots of features. I am not in the slightest bit techy but have had no problems building my site. The update and feature emails are great and draw attention to some aspects I wasn't otherwise aware of. The ‘how to' videos are super useful too. On the downside some features need coding if you're not entirely happy with the design but the positives far outweigh the negatives.” – Suzanne Jones
►Now in Rio
Yvonne and Sarah power their website Now in Rio with Divi where they uncover the best beaches, activities, destinations and accommodations in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.
“I am the type of person that changes her mind a lot. I love how Divi allows me to change whatever I want, in no time at all. It also has an amazing community behind it, with numerous tutorials online and Facebook groups where individuals can help you with any DIVI related question or concern. I am never going back :)” – Yvonne Ivanescu
Chris Backe powers his travel blog Worthy Go with Divi where he writes about weird, offbeat destinations and life as a long-term traveler. He's also written for this website before too. Check out his post about Medellin Colombia.
“I love how easy it is to change layouts, the widths, and the overall look of a page in a matter of seconds. It's also easy to dig deeper and customize each element exactly as you want.” – Chris Backe
►Backpacking Like A Boss
Sabrina Bos uses Divi on her travel blog Backpacking Like A Boss where she writes about freedom, traveling the world, exploring new things and working online as a digital nomad.
“I am using Divi since 2 months for Backpacking Like A Boss. Still work in progress but I love how I can design the pages with full width pics etx. I love how easy it is to make a website look like it has been built by a professional!” – Sabrina Bos
►Where In The World Is Ina
Nina Ragusa of Where in the World is Ina uses Divi to power her blog where she shares adventures of completing her extreme mission of living a nomadic lifestyle on all seven continents. (She's still figuring out Antartica.)
“I use divi and love it. It’s super flexible and does what I want without me being a super duper amazing techie genius. Bc I’m not😊 I also have the lifetime member plan with ET which has well paid for itself by now! Whenever I have a problem or I’m in need of a change of something – they respond immediately and if I still can’t get it right, they do it for me! Awesome 😍” – Nina Ragusa
Ryazan Duray-Tristram powers her website Everything Zany with Divi where she writes about her experience as a dual citizen living in Europe.
“I'm using Extra/Divi!😍 I absolutely love ET Extra and Divi because of its endless customisation possibilities. Also as a blogger that creates tons of content, having a handy library where I can save my templates for layouts and modules is a sweet treat!🥂 Also ET/Divi community are so helpful in case you get stuck with any plugin or coding problem.” – Ryazan Duray-Tristram
Paula and Gordon McInerney use Divi on Contented Traveller where they share their expertise as travelers and as travel bloggers.
“We use Divi, but I'm not sure that I use all of the functions that I can and should. Seriously love their videos. I am a little worried about using any coding so our site is super simple. We may not be the best example of all that Divi has to offer.” – Paula McInerney
Karen Alexis uses Divi on Wanderlustingk where she writes about adventure travel, cultural travel, off the beaten path places, good food, learning about other cultures, and photography.
“I have Divi. I love how simple and easy it is (beyond the starting process of learning it) to create new pages that look professional as well as add cool features in seconds. For anyone starting out who doesn't have the money to hire a designer, I love how easily you can do things yourself with a little work. It's also great for mobile/tablet compatibility. – Karen Alexis
What's your experience like using Divi theme?
Share your thoughts about Divi for better or worse in the comments section below. Alternatively, what theme would you recommend for travel bloggers instead, and why? Add to the conversation below.
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