Many people start building their site using platforms like Blogger, Weebly and Wix. When we discuss with our clients, they are not interested to move their site to self-hosted WordPress for two reasons. One is security and other is drag and drop site builder. Keeping security aside, poor page building experience is one of the major reasons for people not to go for WordPress. However, WordPress page builder plugins changed this situation offering smooth user experience. Elementor is one such plugin allows you to create beautiful layouts and create a landing page in WordPress using in-built elements. We will review the features of Elementor Page Builder plugin in this article.
WordPress Editor or Site Builder
In fact, WordPress does not offer anything called page builder. You will have content editor where you can create your post or page and publish online. Earlier, WordPress was offering Classic Editor which is a simple HTML editor. In order to attract users, WordPress introduced Gutenberg block editor with version 5.0. Improving Gutenberg block editor was one of the prominent focus with past many WordPress updates. We do believe, the focus will be same in future as well. However, Gutenberg is not equivalent to the visual page builders you can see in Weebly or any other platforms.
There are many third-party developers offer page builder plugins to fill up the gap in WordPress and offer real page builder experience. WPBakery Page Builder (Visual Composer), Beaver Builder, SiteOrigin Page Builder and Elementor are some of the popular plugins among them.
Elementor is a free plugin that you can install from WordPress plugin repository. Though the basic plugin is free, you have to upgrade to use pro elements. There are more than 4 million active users have Elementor plugin on their site. It has almost 5 star review from more than 5K users. Install and active the plugin like any other plugin.
After installing the plugin, you will see new menu items – Elementor and Templates.
The settings for the free users is limited that you can enable the plugin for posts and pages. In addition, you can setup some styling and advanced setting. Unfortunately, most of the options like fonts, icons and templates are for premium users. Frankly, we do not understand why to include all these options as separate menu items instead of showing everything under a single pro menu item.
Elementor Editor Interface
When you are in the post or page editor, click on the “Edit with Elementor” button to open the editor.
Depending upon your internet speed, it will take few seconds to few minutes to load Elementor Page Builder editor interface. We know the drag and drop editors are very slow no matter Weebly or Visual Composer plugin in WordPress. However, Elementor is slower than any other editors with the same internet connection. Even, it was showing session expired and prompting to login again.
You will also see a warning like message to enable safe mode for troubleshooting the slow editor.
When it finally loads, you will be happy to see a real drag and drop page builder.
Free Elementor Blocks
Since, we built many sites using Weebly, Elementor editor resembled us the Weebly site editor. the editor has two areas – sidebar and content area.
The content area is exactly the preview of your site and the sidebar contains all Elementor elements. You can use star rating, image carousel, counter, progress bars, testimonials, tabs, testimonials, toggles and many other elements with Elementor.
Creating Beautiful Content
Click on the + button to choose the structure to create columns for your layout.
Search for elements from the sidebar, drag and drop on the content area to start building your site visually. Each element has content, CSS and advanced sections in which you can edit the settings.
The right bottom of the editor has options to preview the page in a separate tab, view navigator to view all sections on the page, see the history, test your page in responsive mode, save your layout as a template and publish to online.
Using Template Library
Instead of creating your own layout, you can choose one of the pre-defined layouts from Elementor to quickly start your page. Click on the file icon on the content area to view the popup that shows premade blocks and pages. You can also save your custom layout as a template and use throughout your site.
You can choose the free blocks and template to connect to Elementor Template Library. However, you have to register for an account in order to use Template Library. In addition, there are few options for free and many other blocks / templates are for pro users.
Free users can also define colors schemes, font styles and theme styles right from the editor. for example, you can define the style for headings and add background to your page and enable image lightbox.
Free Elementor Addons
The plugin became very popular as many theme developers bundle and offer it to their users. For example, the popular Generatepress theme has premade templates for both free and pro versions of Elementor. In addition, there are many free plugins offer addon bundles for Elementor to add any kind of widget on your site.
In addition, popular plugins like Yoast SEO works integrated with Elementor plugin allows you use them seamlessly.
Pro Elementor Version
All elements marked with locked icon in the editor are for pro users. You can add portfolio, form, gallery, animated headlines, flip box, table of contents, countdown, call to action and many other beautiful blocks. In addition, you can get custom fonts, custom icons, premade blocks, templates and use any block as global.
Pricing of Pro Version
Elementor pro version is available on subscription basis under three plans – personal, plus and expert. The single site personal license will cost you $49 per year that includes 300 pro templates and theme builder and WooCommerce builder. You can get similar features under plus ($99 per year) and expert ($199 per year) plans with a difference that you can use on 3 and 1K sites respectively.
As you can see the for $199, you can use Elementor on 1K sites. This is a good reason many theme developers combine Elementor and offer it as a bundle.
As a free user, you can get support through official WordPress support forum of the plugin. In addition, you can use the documentation available on Elementor website and post your query on their forum. They have a help center that includes videos, knowledge base and FAQ. Pro users can contact the developer by registering an account and contacting them through 24/7.
Elementor is one of the popular and free plugins to change the way you create and edit content. However, the free version comes with limited options and you need some more plugins to get additional widgets. Otherwise, you have to get $49 premium version and upgrading each option will be costly option compared to a one-time purchase of competitor’s plugins like WPBakery Page Builder.
- Real drag and drop user experience.
- Easy to setup and use.
- Too much upselling of pro version.
- Limited elements and options for free version.
- Very slow editor interface.
I was using Elementor for years and this is one of the useful plugin with classic editor. However, Gutenberg has many blocks like social icons now which is redundant with Elementor. Maybe when Gutenberg adds all necessary blocks, i don’t need Elementor or any other page builder plugins.
Good drag and drop plugin with many blocks.
High price like a theme.