Gratuitous Backstory

One of the things I love about Divi is the rich eco-system that surrounds it in the form of seemingly endless third party divi providers.  Just the fact that so many Divi child themes and plugins exist speaks to the quality and relevance of the Divi platform – because if Divi wasn’t useful, there would be no after market from which to shop!

My criteria for purchasing any non Elegant Themes products is pretty straight forward:

  1. Is the seller reputable?
  2. Does the product save me time?
  3. Does the product do something beautiful I wouldn’t code up myself?

In that regard, there are (3) plugins, (1) child theme, and (1) subscription service I have purchased in the last year which are (in no particular order):

  1. Image Intense (BeSuperFly)
  2. Anthem child theme (BeSuperFly)
  3. Testify (Aspen Groves Studio)
  4. Divi Overlays (Divi.Life)
  5. Divi Cloud (Divi United)
I’m not affiliated with any of the above and am not recommending anyone purchase them. I can, however, safely say I trust the above vendors and support the quality of their product.

Of those purchases, I undoubtedly use Divi Cloud the most and their business model (subscription based service) is what I really want to talk about because I’m seeing more of the subscription based business model emerge (BeSuperFly and Aspen Groves / Divi.Life, for example, have both launched subscription based services this year) and I think it’s important to discuss how they help your business or, if nothing else, share the story of how it helps mine.

My Thoughts

In the case of Divi United, from what I can tell they were ‘first to market’ on two things:

  1. Cloud based layouts (you can download them directly from within WordPress, no upload of files)
  2. Page Layout distribution (NOT child theme distribution)
  3. Section and Module options, as well.

And those, in my very modest opinion, are a game changer for every Divi user. In particular, the idea to distribute/release layouts (and not child themes) allows unmatched flexibility in design and serious time savings.  And if there is one thing I love, it is saving time (though, it’s worth noting I love tacos more).

Yes, child themes save tons of time, too, but when I used Anthem (I used it once), while I loved the look and feel, I felt ‘locked in’ to the theme with little flexibility outside of it.  Now, to be fair, that is THE POINT of child themes, but then what is the point of running Divi if you are going to rely solely on the child theme!?  If you are going to just accept a theme ‘as is’ then I might suggest abandoning Divi and shop around the seemingly endless supply of WordPress themes on the market.

And then when I did add code or CSS to the child theme, I was worried about a future update overwriting my changes and, deep down inside, as Elegant Themes continued to crank out code and feature releases, I got more and more worried that eventually a conflict would arise. The good news, of course, is that reputable vendors (see #1 above in my criteria) will fix problems, but then I have to update/upgrade the child theme to get the fix, which ushers back my fear about my custom CSS edits/changes disappearing.

Now, again, to be fair, there are very good ways of handling both of those concerns, but still, it ultimately, using a prebuilt child theme carries too much risk and lack of control for me so I rarely use them.

Divi Cloud, however, is something else entirely.  Their focus is on importing sections and modules and page layouts.  They don’t care about custom child theme php files or specific functions.php code that can get outdated as Elegant Themes updates Divi.  They seem to care about the things I care about – saving me time by:

  1. Rapidly importing designs from the cloud
  2. Saving designs I do (and love) to the cloud
  3. Inspiring my creative juices by doing alot of the fancy stuff for me.

There is still custom CSS I have to add to use the layouts they way the intend, but that’s CSS that I paste into an environment I built, giving me back control of the end product, which I like.

I’m certainly not saying that Divi Cloud is a great fit for everyone, but it’s been a great fit for me.

How I Use Divi Cloud

My workflow is pretty much just like their intro video shows.

  1. Install plugin
  2. Create new page
  3. Load an awesome page layout
  4. Start to change things like I want them

But the real power, to me, is the ability to use sections.  I get jammed often when it comes to creativity and I really enjoy doing this:

  1. Add Section
  2. Import from Divi Cloud
  3. View all the pretty sections
  4. Import one

Now, sections do not import at the first click, you have to save the page, then go add the section again from your local library, but still, that is way faster then building the section myself, but more so, it’s like having professional designers on the team building sections for me to use whenever I want.  And guess what?  Next month, I get more new sections!

Pros and Cons of Divi Cloud?

Pros

  • Import page layouts (not entire themes)
  • Import section layout
  • Import module layouts
  • Constantly growing selection
  • Cloud based (access from anywhere)
  • Time Saver
  • Inspires creativity
  • Affordable!  $20/mo is so worth it to me…

Cons

  • Search categories do not work all the time (or are not intuitive)
  • Lots of the CSS used forces font-selections that I don’t like
  • Memory usage concerns (I haven’t baselined it, but once I deploy I site, I disable this plugin and delete it)
  • Pricey?  I don’t think $20/mo is pricey, but some people might….

A Quick Note to Divi Cloud

I appreciate / value your approach to integrating with Divi in a cloud service.  I think it’s brilliant and I hope your business does well and you stay around for a long time.  The only serious complaint I have is the font-style CSS you use in so many of your layouts and, in particular, Roboto Slab!  Please, pretty please, consider removing all font-styling from your CSS so the layouts will defer to the Divi theme’s customizer settings!

Native Texas, Logan Seth Ramirez is a computer science graduate from Trinity University and lives in San Antonio with his wife and four children. Along with being a web hero, he authored The Groom Wore White Socks, sings and songwrites as Logan Seth, and his favorite Spanish word is cacahuates.
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