Moving from Divi to a New WordPress Theme
Divi by Elegant Themes is one of the world's most popular WordPress themes. It's ascension to the top spot is no surprise. Not only does Divi offer a professional-looking design, but it also gives users the ability to design their pages visually. Not just that, but Divi is competitively priced, well supported, and enjoys an active user community.
Still, while Divi can be an excellent solution for some users, I've yet to find any tool that is best suited for all users. As the objectives of your website change over time, I recommend simultaneously evaluating the technology you use to achieve those objectives.
Despite its strengths, some may determine something other than Divi is best for their needs. If that's you, you have to make a plan for how you move on from Divi. Although not automatic, such a transition is possible. The purpose of this post is to study some of the ways you might choose to migrate from using the Divi theme to power your website.
The Impact of Deactivating Divi
As you might expect, activating a new theme changes the appearance of your site. This change shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, the purpose of a WordPress theme is to control the appearance of your site. What does come as a surprise in this change is how unreadable your content becomes after deactivating Divi.
Your great-looking content becomes a mess of weird text in [square brackets]. This extraneous text is something WordPress calls a [shortcode](https://codex.wordpress.org/shortcode). By themselves, shortcodes aren't a bad thing. In fact, there are at least a half-dozen shortcodes built into WordPress.
Shortcodes are mostly transparent when the tool that uses them is active. Since Divi manages the shortcodes it creates, everything looks great while it is active, but falls apart when deactivated. Because of this, you'll have to make some plan to manage these shortcodes when migrating away from Divi.
Although coming up with such a plan might seem daunting, the good news is you have options. Le's have a look at these options.
Option 1: Install the Divi Page Builder Plugin
Something many Divi users don't realize is Divi offers its page-builder toolset as a standalone WordPress plugin. This plugin is fully compatible with your existing Divi content and frees you to choose the WordPress theme that works best for you.
Once activated, all of the leftover shortcodes previously littering your content goes away. The Divi plugin then manages how your page and post content looks while your new theme takes care of how everything else looks. This relationship is similar to the relationship between WordPress themes and page builders like Elementor or Beaver Builder.
Option 2: Rebuild Content and Manually Remove Divi Shortcodes
With Divi deactivated, your content doesn't go away - it just has shortcodes everywhere. Since shortcodes are nothing more than text in the WordPress editor, you can manually remove the shortcodes from your content.
By manually removing the shortcodes, you can use the default WordPress editor or a new page builder to rebuild/reformat your content. As a manual process, this is also a time-consuming option. Despite the time commitment, this can prove to be the most accurate option. Because of the manual page-by-page and paragraph-by-paragraph evaluation, the reformatting effort is usually exact.
Option 3: Delete all Divi Shortcodes with a Plugin
Unfortunately, there's no easy button to divorce from Divi. Migrating away from Divi, or any page builder for that matter requires some level of manual effort to reformat your content.
The good news is that while some manual effort is necessary, there are tools to automate at least part of the process. The [Bye Bye Divi plugin](https://www.sean-barton.co.uk/2017/12/bye-bye-divi/) scans and removes all of the Divi shortcodes from your content.
Be warned. Since this tool removes all Divi shortcodes, you'll no longer be able to use the Divi theme or plugin without reformatting your content for Divi (again).
What Option is Best?
Which of the basic options outlined above is best depends on the dynamics of your website. The first choice you have is whether to divorce from Divi? Because Elegant Themes makes Divi available as a separate plugin, you can use practically any WordPress theme with Divi.
On the other hand, if you're done with Divi, you need to decide how you want to de-Divi your existing content. The Bye Bye Divi plugin is a great way to rip Divi off like a Band-Aid. Doing this means your content is just plain text with no heading tags or other formatting applied.
Put another way; you'll need to invest time to apply the proper formatting for your content. Of course, this need isn't unique to using the Bye Bye Divi plugin. If you've chosen to move on from Divi, stripping your content of shortcodes is a necessity.
Recognizing this, if you prefer not to rip things off like a Band-Aid, you can take a hybrid approach. In a hybrid approach, you can use the Divi plugin to keep your site correctly formatted while you manually de-Divi each page and post of your site.
Again, everyone's needs vary, and the method you choose must adapt to those needs. Regardless of the method you choose, using Divi isn't a life sentence. You can migrate away from Divi if your needs or preferences have changed to require something else.
Have you made the transition from Divi? Share your experiences and tips for a successful transition in the comments below.