The WordPress community has always welcomed “All in One” WordPress themes with open arms. These multipurpose themes can be used for many different types of websites and, subsequently, save you time and money.
Before “All in One” WordPress themes were common, most website owners bought a new WordPress theme for each project. Therefore, in addition to spending more money on WordPress designs, you also had to learn how each design worked.
When Elegant Themes launched Divi at the end of 2013, they set the new standard as to what multipurpose designs should offer. Divi allowed all WordPress users, regardless of their technical experience, to create professional website designs in minutes.
It is no surprise that Divi is still regarded as the benchmark for “All in One” WordPress themes. In the past we at aThemes have compared Divi to other feature rich WordPress templates such as X Theme and the Genesis Framework. We have also compared Divi Builder to the popular drag and drop page builder Beaver Builder (be sure to check out our detailed review of Divi Builder and our comparison of the best WordPress page builders too).
In this article I would like to show you how Divi compares to Avada.
Avada is the number one selling WordPress theme on ThemeForest. At the time of writing it has around 365,000 sales, which is more than double the number of sales than the second best selling WordPress design. The theme was initially launched in August 2012 and has since evolved into one of the most versatile WordPress themes available today.
Avada comes with over 30 pre-made website designs and 200 pre-made page layouts together with a unique page builder. The question is: how does Avada compare to Divi?
Without further ado, let’s see what the most popular multipurpose WordPress themes available today have to offer.
The Page Builder Interface
Once you have uploaded Divi to your website and activated the theme, you are good to go. There are no WordPress plugins to install, though I do recommend visiting the updates section in the theme options area to add your username and API key. This will ensure that your theme can be automatically updated via the WordPress admin area.
Elegant Themes has taken a minimal approach to how they integrate Divi into your website. Divi Builder, which is the name of their popular drag and drop page builder, is available when you edit content such as a post or page, whilst theme customisations are available within the WordPress Customizer and their custom made module customizer (more on that later).
The only real presence of Divi in the admin area is a discrete menu that is placed underneath the main WordPress menu items.
At the heart of Divi is Divi Builder.
Divi builder is both a back-end and front-end editor. Some people prefer one over the other. My own preference is to use the back-end editor to create the page layout I want and then refine and tweak the layout live using the front-end editor.
The WordPress page builder market is very competitive, however Divi Builder is rightly regarded as one of the best. The interface is clean, colourful, and fast loading. Don’t let the simplistic layout of Divi Builder fool you; it boasts many useful settings and features that you will not find in other page builders.
Once you have clicked the “Use Divi Builder” button displayed in your post editor, Divi Builder will load. You can create your perfect layout by dragging content modules, columns, rows, and sections around. Colour coding makes this task straightforward.
Every part of your layout can be removed or cloned at the touch of a button and there are settings for each part to give you a great level of control over how everything is displayed.
Content modules are displayed within columns. These columns are contained within rows which are in turn contained with sections. You can easily add standard sections, full width sections, and speciality sections that feature columns that span multiple rows.
If you make a mistake in your layout, don’t worry. There is an undo button, redo button, and a history button that lets you revert back to a previous layout.
The front-end editor, Visual Builder, can be activated from the WordPress admin area by clicking on the “Use Visual Builder” button. Alternatively it can be enabled via the “Enable Visual Builder” button in the WordPress admin bar on the front-end of your website if you are logged in.
The Visual Builder uses a different interface from the default builder used in the admin area. It isn’t difficult to use, however I do feel it is a little less intuitive to move things around the way you want.
Clicking on the button at the bottom of the page with three dots open opens up additional options such as loading from your library, clear layout, and page settings.
The menu that loads down the bottom left-hand side of the page is particularly useful. It lets you see your page in mobile, tablet, and desktop mode. An option to zoom out lets you see your whole layout.
There is also an option called “Wireframe View” that hides your WordPress design and loads your layout the way it is displayed in the default builder. It’s very useful when you need to move things around.
Let’s switch our attention to Avada.
When you have activated Avada in the WordPress themes page, you are taken to a welcome area. From here you will be asked to install two required plugins: Fusion Core and Fusion Builder. You are also encouraged to install LayerSlider, Slider Revolution, WooCommerce, bbPress, The Events Calendar, and Contact Form 7.
Unlike Divi, Avada takes over your WordPress admin menu by displaying menu items for Avada, Fusion Builder, and Fusion Slider, at the top of your admin menu. This is a pet hate of mine as it pushes important WordPress sections, such as posts, pages, comments, and plugins, further down the page.
If you install additional recommended WordPress plugins such as LayerSlider WP, Slider Revolution, and The Events Calendar, you will see more items added to your admin menu. Those of you who are finding their menu a little crowded may want to consider using a plugin such as Admin Menu Editor.
Fusion Builder is a back-end drag and drop page builder that can be activated in your posts, pages, and other post types, using the “Use Fusion Builder” button.
In comparison to Divi, the simple black, white, and blue colour scheme of Fusion Builder is, well, dull. A little more colour would help make the interface look less dated.
On the plus side, the Fusion builder interface is fast loading, functional, and easy to navigate. When the canvas is blank you will see options to add a container (row) or a pre-made layout.
An 11 minute guided tour video is also displayed. I think most WordPress users will feel comfortable using Fusion Builder right away, though I still encourage everyone to watch the video tutorial as it explains the library system and shows you other settings and features you may not have figured out yourself.
Once you get over the fact that Fusion Builder is less colourful than other WordPress drag and drop page builders, you start to appreciate how quick Fusion Builder is. I have never considered Divi Builder to be slow, but when I activated both page builders at the same time I realised how much quicker Fusion Builder is at loading and dragging and dropping. Without a doubt, you can create layouts with Fusion Builder faster than Divi.
As you would expect, content elements, columns, and containers, can be easily deleted, moved around, cloned, and configured.
Fusion Builder calls rows containers.
All content elements are placed inside columns which are placed insider containers. No sections are available, though this will not stop you from creating beautiful layouts.
I am pleased to say that Fusion Builder also lets you see a history of the changes you have made and lets you jump between those changes. There is no redo or undo button, though the functionality still exists. You just have to use the timeline instead.
Content & Layouts
Divi Builder offers a total of 46 content elements. There is a good variety so I think most people will be happy with what is available.
Third-party WordPress widgets can be integrated into your layout using the sidebar content element. This content element lets you add a new sidebar and you can then place any widgets you want inside your new sidebar.
The level of control that you have over content elements is impressive (the same can be said for columns, rows, and sections).
Every aspect of the content and design can be modified with ease. The only time you need to actually use your keyboard is when you are writing a title or description as everything else can be changed using a button, dropdown menu, or colour wheel.
Design can be subjective, though I believe most people will be happy with how the content elements in Divi look. If you do not like the default look of a particular content element, simply jump to the element’s settings area and adjust things as you see fit.
Divi Builder’s templating system, which they call the library, allows you to save layouts and then load them later. There is also an option at the top of the Divi Builder that lets you export and import your layout using a JSON file. This is useful when transferring layouts between websites.
When I first started working on this article, one of my main complaints about Divi was regarding their layout system. At the time they offered 20 pre-made page layouts for your home page, blog, about page, contact page, portfolio, and much more. Unfortunately, they did not offer complete theme skins (sometimes called theme demos, but they are technically WordPress child themes).
They appear to have taken this criticism on board as on 21 January 2018 announced an update to Divi that added over 140 layouts.
The pre-made layouts provide a great starting point for creating professional looking pages and by examining the settings of each content element you can get a better understanding of how to customise things the way you want. All layouts, pre-made and those you saved, can either replace your whole layout or be appended to your existing one.
Most of the layout packs have around seven or eight page layouts. For example, one layout for your about page, another for your blog etc.
From a marketing point of view, saying Divi has added over 140 layouts sounds great, however it is a little misleading in a way as in reality they have added seven unique layouts. By that same rational, the developers of Avada could say they have thousands of layouts.
Whilst Divi still lags behind Avada in layouts, it is pleasing to see them expand their template library and I have no doubt that Elegant Themes will build upon this and add more layouts in the future.
You will also be pleased to hear that in 2016 a non-official marketplace called Elegant Marketplace opened. In the marketplace you will find additional Divi modules, layouts, and more. Pricing is quite sensible too, with many modules costing around $10.
Free child themes and example layouts for Divi are available from the Divi Blog and from third parties such as Aspen Grove Studios.
I believe Elegant Themes should be commended for offering free child themes and layouts through their blog and supporting the efforts of third-parties to do the same.
Elegant Themes were one of the first WordPress theme companies to embrace the WordPress theme customizer and allow users to make changes to their website design in real-time. They have, in many ways, moved beyond the theme customiser.
Divi still supports the theme customizer and it can be used to change colour schemes, fonts, general settings, and more. However, most settings and options relating to your website design are now changed through the module customizer.
The module customizer lists all 46 content elements. You can change how each content element looks and feels and these modifications are applied to the content elements throughout your website. It works the same way as the theme customizer so all changes are viewed in real-time.
One area where Divi needs to expand is WordPress widgets. The theme comes with three WordPress widgets: About me, Adsense, and Advertisement. From a functionality point of view, they are all very basic and you will find better solutions on WordPress.org.
Now let’s look at Avada.
Avada’s Fusion Builder also offers 46 content elements. This includes elements such as pricing tables, galleries, tables, and more.
Content elements can be customised and saved to your template library for use in the future.
When it comes to configuring content elements, Avada falls behind Divi. There are less content settings and limited ways to change the design of the content element.
In many situations this will not be a problem, but those of you who like to make many changes to the default style of content elements may be frustrated.
I found the default look of content elements a little basic. With so few design customisation options on offer, you may struggle to make your layouts as professional as you would have hoped.
Professional layouts can be created, but it is a little harder than it should be.
Where Avada does excel is layouts.
The theme comes with 30 complete theme skins (child themes), which they refer to as theme demos. These theme demos completely transform your website and effectively make Avada 30 WordPress themes for the price of one. Each theme demo is much more complex and in-depth than the layout packs offered in Divi.
Each theme demo can be previewed before you install it on your website.
ThemeFusion, the developers of Avada, have to be applauded for their efficient theme demo installation system.
The installation process advises which WordPress plugins you need to import for the theme demo to work correctly.
You are also asked what content to import. You can import all content or just select which type of content to add and when importing a theme demo you are advised the required memory limit to implement the import.
The great thing about the whole system is that there is a content removal tool. Most WordPress themes install content data and then leave your website with lots of unwanted posts, pages, and media. Avada have clearly recognised this as a problem and have provided a tool that lets you quickly delete the unwanted data.
Truth be told, my initial experience with Fusion Builder left me with the impression that it was difficult to create professional layouts with Avada.
The high quality of the 30 theme demos that are available in Avada changed that opinion. All of the theme demos look great and there is a large variety of website types on offer.
Every page layout from the theme demos can be imported and added to a layout on a page by page basis. This provides hundreds of layouts at your disposal.
Without these layouts and theme demos, I think beginners may find it difficult to get the most out of Avada. What I suggest doing is using one of the layouts as a starting point and then modifying it accordingly.
Underneath posts and pages you will see the Fusion Page Options box. These options allow you to customise many design aspects of your page, such as the header, footer, background, slider, and featured image.
The majority of settings can be changed at the click of a button, which saves you a lot of time.
You can make simple customisations to your website design through the WordPress Theme Customizer.
Changing your design from this area is quite restrictive because most design settings and options are in the theme options area.
There is an extensive number of design options in the main Avada theme options page. You cannot see changes in real-time like you can in the WordPress theme customizer, however it is quicker to navigate, which reduces the time it takes to modify multiple settings.
Nine custom WordPress widgets are provided in Avada. This is more than the three that Divi provides, but none of the widgets are spectacular and you will find better alternatives on WordPress.org.
Other Features & Settings
A host of other settings can be found in the Divi Theme Options page. The page is divided into eight categories: General, Navigation, Builder, Layout, Ads, SEO, Integration, and Updates.
The settings contained within this area are generally global fields that change things across your website. You can modify a host of settings here such as the default palette for colour pickers, custom CSS, and SEO options.
Code can be inserted into your website header and body in this area too, which is handy for adding tracking code for services like Google Analytics.
Within the general settings box in Divi Builder is an option to enable split testing. Known as Divi Leads, this tool can be used to reduce bounce rates and increase conversions. It does this by letting you display different layout variations of your page and tracking how many people stayed on the page and how many left.
You can test as many variations of your layout as you wish and assign goals such as increased subscription rates or more sales.
Divi provides a role editor too. This allows you to specify exactly what your users can and cannot do. You can, for example, disable particular content elements for users or disable the ability to delete items.
Within the Avada main menu you will find a system status page that gives you information about your WordPress environment and server environment. There is also a page called Fusion Patcher that lets you apply big fixes and security updates to Avada with ease.
The main theme options for Avada is broken down into 25 different sections. This is where you adjust the design of your website, add CSS, and export and import theme option settings.
The Fusion Builder Elements section offers similar functionality to Divi’s module customizer. From here you can change the look and design of every available content element.
Within the Fusion Builder menu you will find a settings page. On this page you can disable elements and post types and import and export your Fusion Builder content.
Fusion Builder Settings
A number of third-party add-ons are available for Fusion builder on CodeCanyon. The mobile layout creator is one to check out.
Fusion Builder Addons
Fusion Slider is the slider post type that is included with Avada. It can be used to produce beautiful slides, though the dozen or so options that are available are no match for advanced slider WordPress plugins such as LayerSlider and Slider Revolution.
Thankfully, both of these popular slider solutions are included with Avada so if you feel that Fusion Slider is too simple for your needs, I recommend using LayerSlider or Slider Revolution.
Whilst I do have experience with testing websites, I am not a developer myself. Therefore, in this section I want to pass you all over to my good friend Kris Hoja. Kris is an experienced WordPress theme developer who has a great understanding of coding and how a WordPress theme should be optimised.
Support and Documentation
Both Divi and Avada are very well supported.
Elegant Themes have an extensive documentation area within their member area that is full of written tutorials and video tutorials. Their support forum is actively monitored by staff and answer support queries quickly.
I do however feel that Elegant Themes can do more for beginners as after activating Divi you are redirected back to the main WordPress themes menu. There is no welcome area and users have to figure out themselves where they should go next.
Elegant Themes Support
ThemeFusion has a large support area for Avada users which has documentation, a knowledge base, video tutorials, and more. You can submit a ticket at any time if you cannot find an answer through searching.
Avada Support Options
Avada treats new users a little better than Divi.
After activating Avada, customers are taken to a welcome area that displays a detailed 13 minute video that guides you through installing the theme and using it. In this area you can also register your product and go directly to multiple support pages.
Welcome to Avada
Elegant Themes have a simple pricing scheme. You can choose to either pay $89 per year or pay a one time fee of $249. If you think you will be using Elegant Themes for more than three years, the lifetime plan is worth selecting.
Both plans provide access to Divi and all Elegant Themes templates and plugins, unlimited updates, and premium support. There are no restrictions on how many websites you use their products.
Many of the products included in the membership could sell for $99 on their own; so it is no surprise that Elegant Themes has a high customer retention rate.
Elegant Themes Pricing
An Elegant Themes membership provides fantastic value for money. In addition to Divi, the membership gives you access to their magazine WordPress theme Extra and 85 other WordPress themes. Admittedly, a large number of their WordPress themes are outdated and need to be removed; though all of the designs released over the last three years have been great.
Members also get access to three high quality WordPress plugins:
Divi Builder is a standalone page builder that offers the same content creating functionality found in Divi theme
Bloom is an email opt-in plugin that will help you increase email subscribers
Monarch is a stylish social media sharing solution that integrates into WordPress websites with ease
A regular license for Avada retails on ThemeForest for $60 and comes with six months of support. An additional six months of support can be purchased for $18.
LayerSlider, which retails at $22, and Slider Revolution, which retails at $25, are both included with Avada.
All Elegent Themes products fully adhere to the GNU General Public License that WordPress is released under. This means that you can freely use their themes and plugins on as many websites as you wish.
Unfortunately, most ThemeForest designs are not GPL compliant. Only a small selection of WordPress themes adhere to the GPL. The regular license for Avada states that it is a single end product which end users are not charged for. The extended license retails at a mind boggling $2,950, but that is only for those who want to modify the theme and sell it as your own. If you are designing a theme for a client using Avada, the license can be transferred to your client.
Buy Another License
When you activate Avada you need to enter a token key to use the theme. This restriction stops you from using it on a second domain and it also means that you have to transfer your license after using Avada on a test website.
What this means in practice is that Avada costs $60 per website. For most WordPress users, I do not believe this restriction will be cause for complaint, but those who want to use Avada on multiple websites will need to look closely at the total cost of using the theme.
Divi and Avada were both designed to be multi-purpose WordPress themes that can be used to create different types of websites. Many parallels can be drawn between the two themes, but it is clear their approach to design is different in many key areas.
Let’s do a quick recap on what I believe to be the main pros and cons of each solution.
First up is Divi.
Pros of Divi
Divi Builder is a fantastic page builder which can produce beautiful content
Refined product with many advanced features such as split testing
Elegant Themes Membership offers tremendous value for money
Layout packs are a great feature that beginners and advanced users will love (however, it needs more designs)
Cons of Divi
No support for third-party plugins (Only plugins designed specifically for Divi)
Now let’s look at the pros and cons of Avada.
Pros of Avada
Fusion Builder is incredibly fast
Included collection of theme demos lets users create a professional website instantly
Large number of design options and settings
Cons of Avada
Content elements look dated and have few settings
Regular license restricts usage to one website
Which theme is right for you will depend on your needs. Both Divi and Avada are finely tuned products, so it is more of a question of which theme is right for you instead of which is the best.
Personally, I am of the opinion that Divi’s page builder is vastly superior to the Fusion Builder that is packaged with Avada; however I also believe that beginners may struggle to make their websites unique as only page layouts are provided within the theme.
In contrast, website theme demos is an area where Avada excels. The theme provides a large selection of website designs and have made the installation and removal of those designs a breeze.