Making a website or blog that uses the WordPress framework pleasing to look at and functional is a daunting task. It appears especially difficult for those who know little about programming and theme design. For this reason, many people resort to the various customizable themes sold on the internet and try to configure them to fit their needs. Due to their lack of expertise, this is often a costly and time-consuming endeavor. Those who have tried Elegant Themes discover that it is indeed an exception in terms of cost. Their yearly subscription cost is at the very least half the price of their closest competitors.
Elegant Themes give their customers access to all 70+ beautifully designed themes in their portfolio, as opposed to the one or two themes offered by their competition. These designs have many of the same features provided by other more expensive theme providers. The number of people utilizing it, numbering more than 100,000, also gives credence to the usability of the product and the service the company provides. Unfortunately, the company’s theme and customer support is terribly weak. Fixing issues usually takes too long. This is what frustrates a lot of their clients and lowers their overall satisfaction rating.
There are two types of package to choose from. The first, which costs $39 annually, is the Personal package. It allows the customer to utilize any number of themes the company offers on as many websites as they want. This may seem like too much for those who need only one or two themes. However, the price still makes it a bargain compared to their competitors who sell one or two themes at almost twice the price.
The other package offered by Elegant Themes is the Developer package. It costs $89 and has additional features more suited to website developers. For instance, although logo Photoshop document (PSD) files are available in both packages, only the Developer package allows the customer full design access to PSD files. Furthermore, more theme support ” a glaring weakness of the Personal package ” is said to be available.
Competing companies who offer similar access to all their themes generally charge their customers monthly fees on top of the start-up fee. This amounts to at least few hundred dollars. The price for Elegant Themes packages look inconsequential beside such.
If the customer is dissatisfied with the product for any reason, a refund will be given as long as the request is made within 30 days of the purchase. There are instances where refunds were also provided because the customer gave compelling enough reasons that the companys management deemed acceptable.
Each theme may be customized using the ePanel theme options page. These options are more or less the same in all the themes offered and cover general settings, navigation, advertisement management, colorization, search engine optimization, integration and support documents. The choices, however, under each of these options are few and will reduce design possibilities accordingly. Thus, customers with specific ideas about their websites theme will find themselves severely limited by this. On the other hand, those who with little or no expertise in theme design and programming find these pre-made theme designs friendly because they are not swamped them with difficult to understand options.
A number of plugins are also provided with each theme. What is nice about these is that they can be used with other themes. This increases the number of possibilities to tailor the theme to ones needs. Other features included in each theme are the widget-ready sidebar, the search bar, gravatar and thumbnail images. Footer display and layout customizations are free with the Developer package. Customers who need this may opt for an upgrade.
Elegant Themes provides email support for their product. But many complain that they do not respond in a timely fashion. They provide fixes that should supposedly solve an issue but in many cases worsen it. This is largely due to the small staff supporting the themes compared to the customer base. Elegant Themes is run by only four people. As a result, a significant number of their customers resort to finding solutions on their own instead of waiting for a response.
Fortunately, most solutions to the various problems encountered can be found in their forums. Each of the 70+ themes has their own thread. Searching through these, though, is a time-consuming task. Many requests for assistance through this support medium are ignored. The excuse given is that the solutions are already there and the customer just needs to look for it. This speaks volumes about the companys attitude towards customer support and may in time weaken their client base.
Furthermore, an auto-updater does not come with any of the two packages. Customers are notified about updates via email. They do have a newsletter that explains of the new options, fixes, plugins and such. It is important for anyone who purchases Elegant Themes packages to follow these in case they encounter some unforeseen difficulty. However, unless the customer is interested in theme development, following emails and newsletters will look like a waste of time. Until they have a problem.
Another major weakness is the ineffectiveness of Elegant Themes tutorial support, particularly their ePanel tutorials. What appears to be fairly easy and straightforward in the demo is confusing when one actually begins customizing the chosen theme. Also, certain theme-specific options are hard to find and not pointed out in the tutorials. This makes it rather difficult and frustrating for the customer to set up the theme satisfactorily. Those who are after a specific look” will find this frustrating, especially if they have little or no experience with theme design and programming.
People seeking beautiful themes but do not have programming or design skills may find Elegant Themes very attractive and straightforward. There are fewer design options available when compared to more expensive themes in the market so some ideas might not be possible. What needs a lot of improvement is their theme support which is rudimentary at best. Considering the low price of their packages, this is somewhat to be expected.
Company Website: http://www.elegantthemes.com