The Divi WordPress Theme: Changing the Way You Blog

By James George

If you aren’t familiar with Divi, it’s a WordPress theme I covered a while back. The Divi WordPress theme is a great starting point for any website. It has one of the best drag and drop page builders for building your own custom layouts.

Rakhitha Nimesh wrote about the power of WordPress page builders in an article published earlier this year, exploring some of the popular plugins that enable page building functionality. He also covered some of the pros and cons, but love them or hate them, page builders are here to stay.

Divi uses modules that you insert and stack on top of each other to build your own custom design. You can tweak nearly every aspect of the page’s look, including fonts, colors, images, animations, and more. Each module even has a section where you can add IDs and classes to elements, giving you the ability to customize your site, right down to the last detail. Up until now, this feature was only available for pages. The blog was left fairly standard, and the only way to customize it was to hack at the CSS yourself. With the new Divi update, they have completely changed the way you blog.

Divi Builder Blog Location

Divi Brings the Page Builder to Your Blog

Now, you have the ability to set up a blog post just like any other page on your website. You can access any of Divi’s modules, giving you the ability to highly customize your blog. Creating a unique experience for your site has never been easier with the modular page builder.

Blog Page Builder Features

It has everything the regular page builder does. Now you can add number counters, progress bars, and animated elements to your post, making them much more entertaining and engaging. You can break up long content, making it much less intimidating and more immersive. You’re no longer limited to just text and images in your blog post. You can stack modules however you wish to finely tune each and every blog post.

New Features

Instead of having the same exact layout for every blog post, you can now have specific layouts for different types of posts. This is incredible, because now you don’t have to make the content fit the layout. You can hand craft the layout to best fit the content and make it easy to find, use, and navigate.

Page Builder Blog Modules

Modules

There just about anything you’ll ever need, all in the modules section of the Divi Page Builder. Just click to add a module, and select it from the different choices that are available. Then, click the edit icon on the module and customize it to look how you want it to look.

You have the ability to add a wider range of content without having to add scripts in the text section of WordPress. You can add a portfolio to showcase your latest work. You might add a number or a circle counter to display statistics in a fun way visually. You could add a call to action, or a signup form, so visitors can subscribe to your blog or be encouraged to make a purchase. You can add an image slider, tabs, an accordion menu, or even a shop to a blog page. These modules make it easy to add any of these great features to your blog post, without needing to know or understand code or shortcodes.

If you’re a developer, you can add custom code to your blog posts with the code module. Think of the possibilities!

Custom Blog Header Options

Create Your Own Custom Header

You’ve never had this kind of control over your blog posts before. Now, you can create custom headers for each blog post. They can have a custom background image, complete with all sorts of extras. If you’re featuring a free download or a demo of something, there are buttons you can place in the header for these. You can also fine tune the look of your header, including text colors, parallax scrolling, background colors, color overlays on top of your images, and so much more.

Divi Blog Layout

Save and Load Layouts

Once you’ve spent the time crafting these layouts for different post types, you don’t want to have to go back and redo them over and over again. You can save a ton of time on each post by loading a saved layout. Save the layout once you’re done. Then, when you have a post that needs that layout, you simply click on “load layouts” and then select the necessary format from your own personal library. It will load the layout, usually with the content you created before, and you can simply update it with the new post content. You can focus more on the content and getting it in there quickly than if you were starting completely from scratch every time.

The Benefits of Working This Way

For any WordPress site, when your clients get used to things being done a certain way, consistency means everything to them. They want to go to your website, find what they want, interact, get in, and then get out without a hassle. Using custom layouts gives you the ability to customize the format to best fit the content. It’s better for your visitors because it makes more sense. It’s easier for you, because you can simply load the saved layout and fill in the content.

Brand Your Blog

If you use WordPress as a blogging platform for your business, all of these customization options make it easy to deliver a unique and consistent brand. You have total control over every aspect of how your blog looks, including custom colors and overlays. This makes it dead simple to match your blog to the rest of your business’ brand, without knowing a line of code.

Conclusion

The newest version (2.4 at the time of writing) of Divi by Elegant Themes is a powerhouse WordPress theme that makes it easy to customize your website any way you want it. Now, it adds the capability to customize your blog, making it more attractive and more engaging to visitors. It doesn’t just make your blog more beautiful.

If you harness all of the features made available, it opens up a wealth of new possibilities for your website, that weren’t there before. With Divi, you can easily build any type of website design you can imagine.

  • Perhaps some of the worst advice you can give anyone (especially a WP newbie) in the WordPress space is to recommend to them a theme with so much plugin territory functionality like Divi.

    However, to some it’s all about the destination rather than the journey. By that I mean, that there are those who don’t care how a job gets done just that it does get done. They may also not care how the site is built so long as it looks pretty.

    Divi does indeed tick all the boxes for that demographic group. This group even includes freelance designers and agencies that have very limited code experience and pass off such sites to their paying clients that trust they’re getting a quality site. This tool makes it even easier for rip off artist WP implementers to call themselves developers / designers.

    Those that care about more than just the appearance or bottomline would be wise to look past the “ooh shiny” and spend their money elsewhere. If anyone suggests to do your site using Divi, RUN!

    For personal purposes, it’s fine. For a business or client site of any kind though it is probably best avoided IMO.

    • Hi Matt, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Personally I’m not really a fan of page builders either, but we have seen them growing in popularity in recent years and I can see why some people choose to work with them.

      • Actually, I have nothing against the concept of page builders. They can be great time savers for site builders and clients alike. There are actually several good ones out there.

        However, I am of the opinion that any page builder that isn’t a standalone plugin should be avoided. I have yet to come across a single, valid, acceptable reason (any imagined integration advantages aside) why a page builder should be part of a WP theme’s codebase. This doesn’t mean though that every available standalone plugin based builder is automatically good in my eyes though. Visual Composer, for example is still pretty awful but it’s still a better choice than Divi IMO.

        All page builders should be plugins. It’s as simple as that. That’s not just my philosophy, it’s Automattic’s as well. While nothing in their guidelines specifically mentions page builders, it’s clear that they don’t like plugin territory functionality in themes.

        So, I accepted early on they probably were more experienced than me and had a reason for this. Having made various mistakes, I realized what the foundation of those guidelines were. Until you’ve done it wrong, you just don’t know. I can see that now in retrospect. Experience is indeed the best teacher.

        • Sam Anthony

          Hi Matt, the divi builder is a standalone plugin as of several days ago. Now that your biggest concern has been addressed, I am sure you will agree that this is one of the best builders out there.

    • Tim

      I like WordPress a lot, but to be honest, the fact that someone would use WordPress in the first place means that it’s all about the destination rather than the journey. Rather than building your own content management system or static html pages that can be customized any way you want, you’re using a pre-built package with ready-made themes and templates that you can just upload and change a few colors on. So, really, the theme doesn’t matter. The fact that you are using WordPress (or any CMS) in the first place does.

      • Um, no. Even making a big stretch I find it difficult to believe that. Then again, I’m no theme apologist.

        Though, if that lie to yourself makes it easier for you to accept using Themes like Divi then so be it. You’re welcome to use WP or any CMS how you want. I also doubt users of October or Craft CMS would agree with your overly broad opinion.

        Use WP however you like but please just don’t try to convince anyone that the theme doesn’t matter. That’s total delusional BS. LOL.

        • Tim

          WordPress is a great platform, but you are kidding yourself if you think you are awesome because you use it and start off with the 2014 theme to modify til your heart’s content. A theme is a theme plain and simple. You can start with Divi and spend 200 hours customizing it so that it doesn’t even resemble Divi anymore. Does that make your theme better than the original? Does it make your website better than it would have been? Does it make WordPress better? THAT’S totally delusional BS.

          • Ha, ha. I don’t pretend to think I’m awesome enough to create a CMS platform by myself (let’s face facts, I’m not). WordPress is a great platform because of the products, people, etc that make it great. I personally think that products like Divi make it less great. However, that is only my opinion though people much more experienced than myself have said as much as well.

            When you say customize, do you mean “Theme Options Panel” or code modifications? (I don’t mean HTML and CSS as they are not programming languages). Since being able to use a theme options panel requires little to no skill, the ability to use them doesn’t impact the opinion I have of myself. It really doesn’t factor in for me at all actually.

            Does use of Divi (and themes like it) make creating with WordPress better for those couldn’t do what it does otherwise? Yes. Does it make WordPress (and the community) better? No. If anyone thinks that making a site with MOST (not all) themes from ThemeForest or Divi provides the tools necessary to create quality sites, that’s simply ignorance (that’s not stupidity – there’s a difference) at work. I admit it, early in my WP journey I would have believed this too. I just know better now.

            If you’re able to create beautiful works of art using Divi or other themes that’s great. Good job. However, design is not only how something looks but also how it works (internally) for me. I prefer to understand how things work (not everyone needs to or cares to) and that’s why I don’t like themes like Divi.

            Ignorance can be bliss. That certainly is the case with themes like Divi. If you never peek under the hood or don’t understand what’s going on there then the site probably seems ok to you. Not everyone needs to understand it all to make sites, it is that difference in level of understanding that makes one site better than another. I don’t even claim to understand everything I see, 100%. I’d be lying if said or believed differently.

            Why in the world would I ever want to start any customization with any theme with so much built-in functionality? I wouldn’t. That’s why I use Automattic’s underscores to begin my themes. Does it make my theme development better? Yes. Is this an option for everyone? No. Is this the best way to develop themes? There’s no easy answer to that. It’s just how I prefer to do it and I recommend it if you’re capable of doing so. Does it mean that themes made with it will be free from the bloat and potential plugin conflicts that often plague other themes while also leveraging the 1000s of hours put in by the Automattic team? Yes. Does making themes with the Underscores base automatically make me the most awesome theme author ever? No, definitely not. Lol.

            I also have used WooTheme’s Storefront which is based on Underscores as well when I need extra e-commerce functionality already baked in. Unlike many other themes that WooTheme sells, it’s not filled with lots of fluff that I’ll likely need to remove if I don’t end up using it.

            Keep learning. Know your limits. Never be satisfied. Strive to be better than you were yesterday. There’s always someone more awesome out there to learn from, I see proof of that everyday and it humbles me. :-)

          • Tim

            That’s great, but your client doesn’t care about any of that unless they are also a developer.

          • Agreed, initially they won’t. If they did know enough to care they may not need to hire anyone at all.That’s why they hopefully hire someone honest, knowledgeable enough to be able to properly care about such things and humble enough to admit when they don’t know how to do something while still managing to make it all seem easy. Though they probably won’t as they’re not as common as the alternatives. Making a site seem easy is not the hard part these days.

            All too often clients are sold a facade of what they wanted but when they finally see through it (sadly many never do), it can be a rude awakening for them / learning experience. They are fooled by the used car salesmen of the web world. While they shouldn’t have had to experience something like this at all, that’s life unfortunately. It may even happen multiple times to the same client until they can more easily spot it which makes them that much more distrustful of the next site builder they hire.

            The #1 motivator of many site builders / implementers today is the money and how fast they can move on to their next job. Quantity over Quality. Padding the portfolio. They’re focused on achieving these short term goals. The consequences of this short sighted thinking can reflect negatively on the reputation of WP itself, the WP community and web building community in general as it not exclusive to WP alone.

            For repeat business from such clients, the clients learn more and more about your methods over time. They may even come to prefer how well you (or your agency) treats them and their projects for more than just the initially superficial reasons.

            Some site builders set out to just do one offs because that’s their business model. If a client doesn’t want to refer them or use them again in the future, that’s fine because they already got what they wanted now. Plenty more fish in the sea to hook and reel in. I don’t agree with this one-off, short shortsighted way of doing business.

  • simon codrington

    Thanks for the article; looks like something interesting to look into

    Building something that clients can manage yet doesn’t turn pages Into monstrosities is always a balancing act. Should be good to see how they have built their system and compare it to my own builders :)

  • I’ve been looking at Divi since it’s been out – a very interesting concept. And I’m glad that you wrote about it, I also checked their website…very tempting.

    However, my primary question would be: if this is so customizable, why don’t you guys at sitepoint use it / implement it? Also…how can you then move to another theme (because there will be a newer and shinier theme in 1 year or so) when you have so many customizations to the website?

    Furthermore, I’m not sure if every page you write on the blog should be different than the one before it. That is, unless you’re pining for “landing pages” that are as unique as possible.

    I still am not convinced that all these customizations are something positive, unless I don’t really see where the internet is going these days…. – and so I may be wrong…

    • Hi Stefan, you’ve highlighted one issue I’ve come across – being able to change themes once you’ve used something with so much customisation can be a problem.

  • Sam Anthony

    The Divi theme is certainly one of the best themes out there for an abundance of reasons. It is about as solid as themes come from a code perspective. The theme is well maintained, but isn’t requiring an update every week (thank goodness). The Divi pagebuilder is now a standalone plugin — so it can be installed on any website.

    That was the biggest concern with Divi — “am I stuck with it forever?” — and now that problem has been solved by turning the divi pagebuilder into a plugin. When comparing the divi pagebuilder to something like Visual Composer, it is not even a comparison. The divi builder is 50x faster, smoother and more feature rich….honestly.

    It is also the flagship product of one of the most successful theme companies out there. The divi builder is what Elegant Themes is building everything around. This makes it a very safe investment.

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