Elementor Review – The Pros and Cons of this Page Building Plugin

David Utke •  Updated: August 16, 2022 •  Business Software

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.

Elementor Review

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

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.

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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.

Elementor blocks

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

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.

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Pop-up Customization

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.

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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.

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Compatible Themes

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.

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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.

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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 Utke

David 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 20k+ YouTube subscribers!

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