Elementor is currently one of the top plugins for WordPress. It was created in 2016 to provide helpful drag and drop functionality to designing a website with WordPress. It was a significant improvement over the old default WordPress editor and made designing website much more easy for an average user.
However, now that WordPress has developed their own Gutenberg editor and continue on with their new full site editing that continues to get better, it’s time to take a look at the honest pros and cons of investing in the Elementor eco-system for designing your website with WordPress.
I’m honestly not a big fan of Elementor overall, it’s a framework on top of a framework that makes your site load slowly. However, combined with WooCommerce and specific themes you are able to have full control over the site design. Particularly useful if you’re an agency offering design services.
- Visual front end editor
- Template and block library
- Pop-up customization
- Optimized for mobile
- Compatible themes
- Pricing and Pro Features
Visual front end editor
When Elementor came out it was quite the game changer. Before Elementor the only real option to designing your website with WordPress was to learn HTML and CSS or use a clunky theme like the Headway theme (now defunct), Avada or X the Theme.
In general, you were limited in terms of your ability to design a website. When you bought a theme, you were stuck with it’s design and limitations. But now, block editing and having a visual front end editing experience is the norm.
While a significant positive change for WordPress, Elementor as a design option has become less useful as the default WordPress editor has gotten better and the various plugin options for adding helpful blocks more feature rich.
For example, with a theme like the Astra theme and the default WordPress editor (tutorial here) you can design a simple but professional looking website with an intuitive and easy to use block editor, without any of the limitations that the free version of Elementor imposes.
Elementor design control
Last, it’s quite frustrating that Elementor “takes over” the design of your entire website. You can’t use Elementor on some pages and turn if off on others, or that it adds to the WordPress block editing experience.
It’s either all or nothing with Elementor, you have to decide to use Elementor or you the default WordPress block editor. You can’t use both at the same time.
The downside of this is that the visual front end editing experience is limited with the free version of Elementor as a way to get you to upgrade. In particular you can’t edit your blog posts or blog archive page. A deal breaker for anyone wanting to start a niche website or blog.
You also can’t edit the header and footer with the free version of Elementor, but there are 3rd party plugins to work around this. If you do want to blog, then you must get Elementor Pro.
- Elementor when activated on your website allows for a visual front end editing experience.
- It’s a real time, drag and drop editor so you can see the design changes you make happen as you’re editing.
- You get detailed, specific, feature rich control over the appearance of each element you add.
- Elementor takes over the design of your website and imposes unreasonable design limitations with the free version (like no editing the blog or individual blog posts).
- While feature rich, Elementor has a learning curve new users should be aware of.
- You can do a lot of the same things for free with the default WordPress block editor that you can do with the “premium” version of elementor. Things like editing your websites header and footer for example.
Template block and library
As Elementor competes now with the WordPress block editor (and all the plugins that add helpful blocks), Elementor has developed their own library of blocks and pages for you to use.
Blocks are just sections of a website. With WordPress you get access to various blocks for free and can install plugins to add more blocks. The Elementor eco-system works the same way, the only downside is that most of the useful blocks are locked behind a pay wall.
But still it should be noted that if you do decide to go with Elementor Pro, you’ll get access to an extensive library of well designed professional blocks. Everything from FAQ blocks, testimonials, call to action as well as email opt-in sections.
Elementor templates are pre-designed pages you can download and install at the click of a button and then jump into and edit to your liking. Again, most of the design templates are locked behind a pay wall but if you do upgrade to the pro version of Elementor you’ll get access to everything.
The only option comparable to WordPress would be to use a free theme like Astra and then use a plugin like Astra Sites that allow you do download fully designed website that uses Elementor or the default WordPress editor.
- Elementor has an extensive library of professionally designed blocks and templates.
- There are numerous 3rd party developers for Elementor adding to the block and template library.
- Most of the useful templates and blocks are locked behind a pay wall.
Elementor has one of the most advanced, feature rich design options for pop-ups. If designing pop-ups with WordPress is important, then consider going with Elementor Pro (view their popup sales page here).
With their pop-up design you get detailed control over the user experience of your email marketing. You can set clear triggers for when pop-ups appear as well as specific conditions for what type of pop-up appears where.
In addition, you can set more advanced rules for pop-ups like having an email opt-in form appear after a user has been on the website for X amount of minutes.
While here at Website Creative Pro we’re not big supporters of pop-ups as Google as specifically stated that they don’t like them because they interrupt the user experience too much, they are still a good choice if you’re looking to create a landing page or sales page.
- One of the best, most advanced pop-up design options.
- Feature rich with control over triggers, rules and conditions.
- A niche specific need, most bloggers and content creators won’t use this aspect of Elementor to it’s full potential.
- Google does not like pop-ups and excessive use may impact your rankings.
Optimized for mobile
When using the visual front end editor with Elementor you can toggle how your website looks on a mobile device and edit and customize your design specifically for mobile. This is essential because Google has a mobile first indexing policy.
What we like about Elementor is that because it’s a visual front end editing experience, it’s easy to design your website for mobile. We also like that Elementor pays attention to mobile specifically because a lot of other themes simply don’t.
Sometimes you’ll design a big beautiful design that looks great on your laptop, but looks weird on mobile. With Elementor, you can adjust your design for multiple devices.
- Can adjust and control how your website looks like on a phone, tablet or laptop with ease.
- None, this is an essential feature we wish more themes had.
Elementor is first and foremost a page building plugin. That means it is compatible with any theme, but it is better used on some themes than others. Also, as WordPress has moved to a block editor, the functionality Elementor once provided to basic free themes has been quite decreased.
As for specific themes, once Elementor started to rapidly grow in popularity numerous themes were developed by 3rd party developers to maximize the usefulness of Elementor. Here are my favorites:
Hello – A theme from the team behind Elementor. This theme is a “blank canvas” style theme designed to work perfectly with the Elementor page building plugin.
Astra – Works with Elementor, Beaver Builder or the default WordPress block editor.
Ocean WP – A rival to Astra that works with Elementor, the Beaver Builder and the WordPress block editor.
Generate Press – A light weight theme that works well with Elementor or the WordPress block editor.
- The Hello Theme is simply outstanding to use with the free or paid version of Elementor. This theme and their plugin make for a professional, drag and drop visual editing setup to rival the Divi Theme in terms of functionality.
- WordPress uses a block editor now so previous free themes that really benefited from using Elementor don’t any more as the free version limits your designs too much.
Pricing and Pro Features
Elementor has updated their pricing to four tiers: Essential, expert, studio, and agency. Essential is ideal if you’re building out one website like perhaps an ecommerce store, expert is for anyone who runs multiple website built with Elementor and the studio and agency tiers are for small business selling WordPress design.
Elementor is free to use and try out but you’re limited to editing pages (no blog posts) and you’re very limited with editing the header and footer of your website. Overall, you’ll need to get an essential plan at a minimum to unlock the full potential of Elementor.
With each plan you get all blocks unlocked and expert website kits which are premade templates you can automatically upload to your website to design something fast and access to the support community.
Elementor Pro features
Elementor Pro comes with all the features you would ever need to develop any type of website. With full access to their block and template library you can easily create important parts of a website like pricing tables, product review blocks, Woo Commerce specific features and more.
- With Elementor pro you get full access to everything the Elementor has to offer.
- Full design customization is possible once you understand how Elementor works as well as some HTML and CSS.
- A lot of the Pro features you can get for free with other themes and plugins.
Elementor Review – Pros and Cons
Elementor has come along way from being just one of many page building plugins to now being the industry leader. I find that the Pro version is excellent for a specific type of designer, but overall for the price there are better options.
Last, the free version and the Hello Theme are quite an impressive combination if you’re looking for something similar to Google Sites, but more feature rich. Just note that with the free version you’re not allow to edit your blog posts or your blog post archive page.
David UtkeDavid Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 27k+ YouTube subscribers!
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