ArcStone has been using WordPress to build websites for nearly 12 years. In fact, in 2016 we wrote about our 10 year WordPress anniversary and how the platform has changed over the years. That being said, we are constantly evolving our WordPress approach and tools — including trying to find more cost efficient, effective and flexible approaches. Enter the WordPress Divi Builder.
Divi is a theme and site builder using WordPress that allows you to rapidly build out websites using their drag and drop features. It saves us time by significantly reducing custom design and development time, ultimately saving you money. Consider it an option that falls between pre-purchased themes, subscription site builders like Squarespace, and a custom website. We've actually written about Divi before — see The WordPress Divi Builder: A review from one of our designers to read more on the specific capabilities of the system.
Rather than get into the weeds about Divi itself, I would like to talk at a higher level about whether the Divi builder could be right for your business and website.
So, when is Divi a fit and when is it not?
The primary impetus behind us exploring Divi was because custom website development can be very expensive. Most of our custom WordPress sites range between $10,000 – 100,000 and there are times when it is not pragmatic for us to propose that option to a customer. Right now, our Divi websites typically range between $5,000 – 12,000 and still result in great looking websites.
Sometimes organizations need a website propped up in a matter of days or weeks. Divi makes that a possibility. Although many of the steps are similar to a custom redesign, the website builder allows our team to drop in widgets and style page templates at a higher speed. Of course, content creation and design decisions also need to move rapidly in order for this to happen.
Better to focus on marketing and content
For websites that are more marketing and content driven rather than transactional, a Divi website may be a fit. This also allows you to focus more budget on creating custom content — messaging, video, page copy — which can be just as expensive as building a website.
Low page count
Divi is typically best when you have 50 pages or less of total content. When you extend beyond that volume of content, you are likely looking at more than 2 levels deep of navigation which can be difficult for the standard Divi options to accommodate for.
If your website has custom features, multiple system integrations and is highly transactional, it is likely not a fit for Divi. Examples of custom functionality include mapping, complex filtering and search, eCommerce with hundreds of products, system integrations and more. However, there are exceptions where there are plug-ins or Divi widgets available that may be able to accomplish the same thing, so be sure to ask.
Size of business
Although the WordPress Divi builder can produce great, high quality websites that look better than many websites out there, they often still don't reach the same level of quality as custom websites do. This is similar to building a house — choosing to go with a production builder vs a custom home builder yield different results. Although many can't always tell, a trained eye can spot the differences. So for larger, more established businesses, the custom route may be better in the long run.
Cons of using WordPress Divi to build your website
Even if Divi seems like a great option for your organization, it is important to note that there are cons, such as:
The flexibility of Divi can create an inconsistent web experience if you build out too many unique pages and go overboard with the drag and drop functionality. It is still important to use a set number of page layouts when possible and follow design best practices.
If not built in a streamlined way, there can be speed issues due to the extra shortcode the builder adds.
Although at surface level it seems that anyone should be able to use Divi, it is actually not very easy to use without experience. We would recommend still contracting with an experienced freelancer or developer to at least build out the initial framework and templates.
The extra code can negatively impact SEO. This is often tied to speed issues so be sure to address those.
Many of these cons mentioned above can be issues even with a custom WordPress website, so be sure to hire professionals with a track record of building technically sound websites.
WordPress Divi Website Examples
Below are some examples of successful websites we have built using Divi. All are small businesses or nonprofits.
Have a WordPress website already or thinking about building one? Join us at our upcoming WordPress Crash Course! The half day workshop will cover best practices for WordPress hosting, content management, plug-ins and more.