In 2016, WPLift was one of the first sites to write an Elementor review. Half a decade has passed since then, and during that time, the plugin has seen incredible growth. In fact, a staggering ten million websites have been built using Elementor to date.
Furthermore, while many developers seem to stop once a plugin is released, the guys at Elementor never seem to stop and are looking for ways to improve what is pretty darn good already.
This review refreshes the original WPLift Elementor review of 2016 (and some subsequent updates.) It covers all the pertinent features of the plugin, including:
- The main interface
- Theme Builder
- Dynamic content
- Pre-built templates
- WooCommerce Builder
- Popup Builder
And of course, I will also cover performance, who it is suitable for, and the usual elephant in the room – the price.
Ready to check it out? Let’s dive in!
What is Elementor?
At its core, Elementor is a WordPress page builder.
If you’re unfamiliar with that terminology, it just means that Elementor helps you build your content and website using simple drag and drop controls with a live visual preview, rather than requiring you to mess around with the underlying code. Basically, you:
- Build your page rather like Lego® by simply dragging and dropping different “elements” together to create a design.
- Don’t need any knowledge of coding whatsoever, so if HTML, CSS, and stuff like that freaks you out, read on.
- See exactly what your visitors will see, making it easy to know exactly how your finished design looks.
Most non-developers love page builder plugins because they let you create more styled content without learning HTML/CSS. You can even import pre-built templates where much of the hard work has already been done for you.
Key Features of Elementor
What’s Included in the Core Version?
The core Elementor page builder is 100% free. Using that alone will let you make some pretty stellar pages. It includes goodies like:
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- Drag and drop live editor – Build your pages using pre-made elements.
- More than thirty widgets – Add things like buttons, videos, social icons, galleries and images, Google Maps, headings, etc., to your pages.
- Library of over thirty pre-built templates – For super quick page creation.
- Five website kits – These readymade websites are ideal if you have no clue where to begin or suffer from a chronic lack of creativity.
What’s Included in the Pro Add-on?
Things get even more interesting if you purchase the Pro add-on. This gives you access to some handy additional features:
- More advanced drag and drop editor – This offers much more flexibility and control over how your page looks.
- Theme Builder – This allows you to deeply customize your site’s headers, footers, posts and pages, archives, WooCommerce products, etc., using the same drag and drop interface.
- Dynamic content – You can insert dynamic content from custom fields in your designs.
- Popup Builder – You can design flexible popups and display them on your site.
- Form Builder – Add eye-catching custom forms to your site, with all collected data stored in Elementor.
- WooCommerce Builder – Design your store’s shop and archive pages.
- Global fonts and colors – This makes it easy to ensure a cohesive site design and quickly make changes across your entire site.
- More elements – You get tons more fancier elements to build your website.
- Pro templates – While the free version includes a bunch of basic templates, the Pro add-on includes over 300 additional professionally designed ones.
- Pro website kits – In addition to the five basic website kits included with the free versions, Elementor Pro adds over sixty premium ones.
- Global widgets – These let you reuse the same widget on multiple pages and then edit that widget from one location.
- Live custom CSS – Elementor Pro allows you to easily add custom CSS right from the Elementor interface.
- Premium Support – This is available 24/7 through the account dashboard
Pros and Cons of Elementor
As with everything in life, Elementor has both good and bad points:
Elementor has tons of great plus points, and choosing which to include in this list was a challenge. However, these are the ones which I feel are most noteworthy:
- Ease of use –You don’t need any coding knowledge, and the drag-and-drop interface makes building pages and posts a breeze.
- Pre-built templates and websites to get you started – If you are like me, you probably find a blank screen or sheets of paper freakily daunting. Having readymade templates can help overcome any creative blocks you may have, and can form the basis of an awesome website without needing to engage a graphic designer or web developer.
- Customization possibilities – The sky virtually is the limit when it comes to tailoring everything to your precise needs, particularly if you have Elements Pro.
- Value for money – I have still to discuss the pricing of Elementor, but here’s a spoiler alert: it’s excellent value for the extensive features you get.
- Integrations – Elementor is well supported and works seamlessly with most themes and plugins. Moreover, there are tons of aftermarket addons to enhance its functionality even further. That said, Elementor has so much functionality that it negates the need for some plugins, The benefits of that are cost savings and a reduced number of speed-sapping plugins. A win-win in my opinion!
- Customer support – Elementor took a real battering following the release of 3.0 which saw their customer support overwhelmed. As a result of that, they have completely updated their customer support procedures and have taken solid steps to ensuring customers are always kept happy.
- Easy to optimize for all device types – Noawadays, most people use mobile devices to view content. That said, desktops and laptops are not dead yet. Therefore, it is essential that your content looks and works great regardless of the devices your visitors happen use. In this respect, Elementor allows you to view everything as if it were on a desktop, tablet, or mobile phone, so you can nip any problems in the bud before the site goes live.
In all honesty, I struggled to find any real issues with Elementor that could be construed as definite ‘cons.’ The following are the best I could muster. They are all pretty subjective and relatively trivial, but I want you to be aware of them:
- Learning curve – This not so much of a con, but it is an important point. Despite all the promises of drag and drop being easy, it all really depends on what you are used to. So if you have never used Elementor before, be prepared to spend a little time learning it. It’s rather like going from a Windows computer to a MacBook – things may not be where you expect to find them, but they are there! Mercifully, there are plenty of tutorials available in blogs and on YouTube to help you.
- Speed – This is a bit of a hot potato which I have covered later in this review. You will read lots about Elementor slowing sites down. Personally, I have not found this to be the case, and the developer is making every effort to ensure it performs as fast as possible. The brutal reality is that all page editors have an impact on site speed compared to ones coded from scratch.
- Issues following rollout of updates – As already mentioned when Elementor 3.0 was rolled out, it had bugs. Lots of them. As a result, their customer support became swamped with queries and complaints. Fortuately, those bugs have since been ironed out, and the developer has learned a valuable lesson on releasing updates without thoroughly testing them first. So, hopefully the same scenario will not reoccur in the future. Either way, it is good practice to back up your site before installing any updates, and you can always clone your site to a staging site to test out the update first.
How the Main Interface Works
There are a lot of nitty-gritty details to cover, but let’s start with an introductory look at how you can build a page with the free Elementor page builder.
When you first launch Elementor, you’ll see a live visual preview of your website, with some added elements (these are what let you create your designs.)
There are three core areas you’ll work in (identified in red boxes in the image above):
- This is where you see a live preview of your design. You see exactly what your visitors will see when they come to your site, which makes it very easy to design. This is also where you can create “sections” which help you organize your “widgets”
- These are the widgets you can use to build your designs. You just drag them over to the live preview. Then, you’ll be able to customize each widget using the same sidebar.
- These are helpful controls that let you see how your design will look on different devices, undo/redo changes, and some other useful functions.
Building Your Page With Widgets/Elements
If you’re already familiar with page builders, this might not blow your mind. But if you’re not, this is pretty cool and is why people love page builders:
Let’s say you want to add a button to your page. Rather than messing around with HTML/CSS like you usually would, all you need to do is drag over the button element from the left-hand side:
To add more design elements, you just keep dragging over widgets. Once you get the hang of things, you’ll be able to create something like this without writing a single line of code:
This example is from WPLIft’s article on creating a landing page with Elementor. You can see the process in more detail there.
Editing Individual Elements
Once you drag over an element, you’ll likely need to edit it to make it behave how you want it to. There are two main ways to do this:
1. Inline Text Editing
If you’re dealing with an element that has text, you can just click on that text and type as you would in a word processor (this is called inline text editing):
2. Work in the Tab
Elementor has a sidebar area with three different tabs where you can perform edits. The settings available in each vary depending on which element you’ve used, but the general idea is the same no matter what:
- Content – this is where you control basic functionality, e.g., for a button, it’s where you choose the button size, where the button links to, etc.
- Style – this is where you control fonts, colors, and other basic stylistic elements.
- Advanced – here, you can control responsive settings, add custom margins/padding, use custom CSS (in Pro) and other more advanced things.
These controls allow you to dig deep and make your own page design. What’s more, because you’re working in a visual editor, the instant you tweak something small (like font size or padding,) you’ll immediately see those changes on the preview of your site, so you know exactly how things are going to look.
Styling Sections or Columns
If you just want to add some styling to regular posts, you might not need to ever dig into sections or columns. But if you want to create landing pages or otherwise build a more “full” website, you’ll need to use them.
Sections are somewhat like a container for one or more widgets. They’re helpful because they let you:
- Group things together to provide better spacing.
- Control that entire group as a single entity (like adding a background to the entire section, rather than just a specific widget.)
- Add shape dividers and other cool features.
Columns are another grouping element that sits inside a section. They help you divide up your page horizontally if needed.
For example, in the screenshot above, I had two different elements. By editing each element individually, I could add backgrounds to those actual elements like this (yeah, this is ugly, but I’m just proving a point!):
But most of the time, that’s not what you’ll want to do. So instead, by editing the section directly, I could add one cohesive background like this:
You can view this as a kind of hierarchy:
A section contains one or more columns. Each column can then have anywhere from zero to unlimited widgets/elements.
Once you get the hang of the interplay between these different classes, you’ll be able to unlock the full power of Elementor.
Previewing and Controlling How Your Design Looks on Different Devices
Okay, now that I’ve done a basic introduction to how Elementor works, let’s look at some of the specific features that take Elementor from “just a page builder” to “one of the fastest-growing and most popular page builders.”
First up, you have Elementor’s responsive design controls. In a world where mobile Internet traffic is huge and still growing, you need your design to look great and work properly on any device.
To help you make that a reality, Elementor gives you two useful options.
First, you can preview how your design looks on different devices using a button in the bottom-left corner:
But beyond that, you can also show or hide elements, columns, or sections based on a user’s device in the Advanced tab:
This feature is super helpful because you’ll almost always have some elements that look great on desktops but get in the way on mobile devices (such as large images.)
Using Revisions to Undo Mistakes
We all make mistakes, and while the rest of life might not make it easy to undo them, Elementor does.
At any time, you can click on the History button to review a list of:
- Actions – lists specific actions that you’ve taken during a session.
- Revisions – lists all the occasions when you saved or published the content.
To roll back to a previous version, all you do is click:
While many page builders offer this functionality, Elementor stands out for its flexibility in letting you move back to past versions.
Changing the Template to Design a Page From a Blank Canvas
This is a super simple feature but massively important and one of the reasons to love Elementor.
If you want to use a page builder to create a landing page, you need a way to hide your WordPress theme’s header, footer, and sidebar.
While you can find themes that make this easy, most don’t offer this functionality.
With many other page builders, that means you’re out of luck. But with Elementor, you can just use the included Elementor Canvas template to work from a blank sheet instantly:
In general: Elementor works with all contemporary WordPress themes.
Right-Click and Navigator for Speedy Editing
The ability to right-click is one of those things that you might not think about a lot, but it helps speed up the design process.
Thankfully, Elementor fully supports right-click, so you can quickly:
- Edit elements.
- Duplicate elements.
- Copy and paste elements and styles (it’s useful to be able to copy styles between elements so that you don’t have to duplicate your work.)
- Delete elements.
- Save elements as global templates (with the Pro Version.)
- Open the Navigator.
The Navigator is a handy tool that lets you zoom out and see the overall layout of your design (or the DOM, if you’re a developer.) To edit a specific element, all you have to do is click on it in the Navigator list, and Elementor will open its settings in the sidebar.
You can also rename elements in Navigator to help you remember them. For example, you could call a section the “Hero Section” so you know that everything inside is in the hero area of your design:
The Theme Builder
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could use the same interface I talked about above to design your entire WordPress site – change headers, footers, blog post pages, etc? Well, good news, people, you can do that, as Elementor includes true theme building functionality.
That means you can essentially use Elementor to design 100% of your WordPress site. Elementor even created the free ‘Hello’ theme to make this as easy as possible.
Using the Theme Builder
It only takes three easy steps to create a new theme in Elementor using the Theme Builder:
Step 1: Create a New Template
The Theme Builder works via “templates.” When you create a template, you can choose what type of template it is from the drop-down:
For example, to design your header, you’d choose Header. Similarly, to create single post templates, you’d select Single.
I’m going to design a Header post template, but the same general principles apply no matter what part of your theme you’re working on.
Step 2: Choose a Building Block or Build From Scratch
Once you choose what type of template to create, Elementor will display a list of Blocks that fit that type of content.
While you can always build everything from scratch, these building blocks can save you considerable time and effort.
Once you launch the interface, you can edit or build your theme part using the exact same Elementor interface from above.
You’ll also get a new set of Theme Elements to use. For example, while “Your New Blog” in my demo doesn’t look very impressive, that’s actually using the Site Title widget (which pulls automatically from your WordPress settings):
All of these Theme Elements pull in information dynamically. For example, if you use the Post Title element, it will dynamically show the actual title of each post.
You’ll also get new styling options that apply to that specific theme part. So, if you style the section that contains your header elements, you’ll get a Scrolling Effect option that lets you create a sticky header on specific devices:
Step 3: Publish Your Theme Part
Once you go to publish your theme part, Elementor will let you use Conditions to control precisely where your theme part displays.
For a header, you might want to choose the Entire Site option to display it everywhere.
But these controls are actually pretty detailed, which can come in handy if, say, you just want to apply a specific post template to a particular category of blog posts:
Once published, your theme part will start working immediately. In the example I created, you can see that, while I didn’t design a particularly attractive header, it is indeed live on my site:
Creating Templates for Custom Post Types
Up until now, I’ve mainly focused on how the Theme Builder applies to your regular WordPress site.
However, if you’re building custom content sites, another powerful option is the ability to create templates for custom post types. This, combined with the dynamic content feature that I’ll discuss next, allows you to build some truly custom WordPress sites.
For example, if you’re creating a real estate listing site, you could create a custom post type for “House” and then use it to design the template for your house listings:
Again, to really harness the power of this feature, you need to pair it with dynamic content, so let’s cover that next.
Including Dynamic Content in Your Theme Designs
If you want to build custom WordPress sites, Elementor includes another powerful feature with its Theme Builder: dynamic content.
As the name suggests, dynamic content lets you dynamically insert content from WordPress and/or custom fields that you’ve added.
The possibilities for this feature are endless, and this is what really lets you use WordPress as a full-service content management system (CMS).
Let’s go back to our real estate listing example:
To go along with your “House” custom post type, you’d probably want to include custom fields for a house’s details, such as:
- Room sizes
You could then automatically insert those details in your “House” template with the dynamic feature. Then, Elementor will fill in the pertinent information for each house listing by automatically pulling that information from custom fields.
On my Elementor review test website, I’ve already set up a custom post type and a few custom fields that I added with Advanced Custom Fields. Here’s what it looks like when I add a new “House” in the WordPress editor:
Here’s how you can use that information when creating a template using the Theme Builder:
To add the house title and description from the native WordPress editor, you could use the regular Post Title and Post Content widgets that come with Theme Builder.
But what about those custom fields?
To insert them, you could add a regular Text Editor. Then, in the text editor, you click the Dynamic button, from which you can select ACF Field to target your custom field.
Then, you can choose the specific field and also prepend or append content after the data:
Et voila! You just dynamically pulled in content from a custom field to your design. The same process can be repeated for additional custom fields as needed.
What’s more, you can use dynamic content with more than just the text editor, too. For example, you can dynamically populate:
- Images into image widgets, backgrounds, sliders, etc.
- Numbers into countdown timers or pricing tables.
- Links (URLs) into buttons or text links.
- User profile information for logged-in users (for example, you can create a front-end user profile page.)
Overall, this feature is incredibly flexible, and it’s definitely one of my favorite Elementor Pro features.
With it, you can use WordPress to build truly custom websites without needing any special technical knowledge.
Other Great Features of the Elementor Theme Builder
Unified Interface With Template Preview
Elementor Pro has a unified interface specifically for theme building. It lets you easily see how all your template parts fit together, making it very user-friendly. Furthermore, you can also preview each template right from the interface. That is very convenient for quickly ensuring you’re editing the right theme part:
Clicking on a specific template provides a much larger preview, plus you can see where on your site you’re using that template. What’s more, you can edit the display conditions without opening the full Elementor interface (which lets you change where you’re using the template):
Finally, another very useful feature is the ability to quickly jump straight to this interface right from the Elementor editor sidebar.
Editing Different Theme Parts Without Leaving the Interface
Another helpful feature is the ability to edit different template parts without leaving the Elementor interface.
For example, you’re editing your single post template, but you see something that you want to change in your header template during the editing process. All you need to do is click to start editing the header template from within the interface:
Then, when you’re done, you just click again to go back to editing the single post template.
The unified theme builder isn’t the only feature in Elementor that makes it easier to build cohesive sites – a Design System lets you easily set up global colors and fonts to ensure that every page maintains the same cohesive style by default.
Should you want to make changes in the future, all you do is go in and edit the global color or font once, and those changes will reflect across the entire site.
Of course, you’ll still have the power to override a global color on an individual basis when needed – you just won’t have to worry about messing around with the “default” look of your site.
If you’re interested in how this works on a more technical level, the Design System is powered by CSS variables.
You can access all of these global settings from the Site Settings area in the Elementor sidebar:
The neat thing about this is you can add as many preset colors or fonts as needed – you aren’t limited by any arbitrary setup. For example, I can even create a color for the “WPLift Special Sauce” (I can’t tell you what this color is, though – it’s more secret than the Colonel’s herb and spice blend):
Sometimes, you don’t want to build your entire design from scratch. When that happens, Elementor templates save the day. These are importable designs that you can easily edit and tweak using the regular Elementor interface.
With the free version of Elementor, you get over thirty of these pre-built templates. Better still, the Pro upgrade adds over three hundred more:
Templates come in two different formats:
- Blocks – these are individual page sections that you can put together to build a page (kind of like Lego® bricks.) They also come in handy for the theme building features.
- Pages – these are full-page designs where everything is already put together for you.
Beyond the templates that Elementor offers, you can also:
- Save your own designs as templates to reuse them later.
- Import Elementor templates from third-party sources, such as those from EasyThemePacks (check out WPLift’s EasyThemePacks review.)
As well as pre-built templates, Elementor also includes pre-built website ‘kits.’ As the name suggests, these are full websites that you import, add your content, tweak to your liking, leaving you with a complete site in two shakes of a lamb’s tail!
The WooCommerce Builder
If you want to create an eCommerce store, you’ll be thrilled to know that Elementor includes a WooCommerce Builder.
The Builder basically takes the Theme Builder and applies it to your WooCommerce store while also adding new store-related widgets.
With Elementor’s WooCommerce Builder, you can design both your shop archive page(s) and your single product pages.
The neat thing is that you can create multiple templates for your products, which is especially useful for a WooCommerce store because it might not be optimal to use the same layout for all your products. For example, if you have a clothing store, you can use a template for the t-shirt category, one for the bags category, one for hats and scarves, etc.
For your single product page, the WooCommerce Builder adds several extra widgets to handle all the important areas:
Similarly, you get extra widgets to help you build your product archive pages.
Basically, you can use the WooCommerce Builder to design pretty much everything related to your store’s products.
However, there are two important pages where you cannot currently use Elementor WooCommerce Builder:
- Your shopping cart page.
- Your checkout page.
Because of that, you’ll still want to use a WooCommerce-friendly theme even if you’re using Elementor WooCommerce Builder. That way, you can:
- Use WooCommerce Builder to control your shop, category, and single product designs (along with all of your regular WordPress content.
- Use your WordPress theme to control your cart and checkout pages.
The Popup Builder
As the name suggests, the Popup Builder lets you create custom popups using the same drag-and-drop visual interface.
You also get access to all the Elementor widgets and design options, which gives you heaps of flexibility. For example, you can create:
- Email opt-in popups that use the Form widget to connect directly to email marketing services.
- Login/registration popups that use the Login and Registration widgets.
- CTA popups that use buttons to drive visitors to action.
You can even use dynamic content in popups. These open up a whole new range of features, automatic name insertion when displaying a popup for logged-in users.
Popups can be targeted at the entire site or just to specific pieces of content, for which you get additional targeting and trigger rules, as with other WordPress popup plugins, namely:
Trigger rules, including exit-intent:
- After X seconds (or immediately.)
- Scroll depth, either a percentage or when a visitor reaches a specific element.
- X number of clicks (you can also trigger a popup when a visitor clicks a button to create a two-step opt-in.)
- Exit intent.
Advanced targeting rules:
- Show popups after X page view or sessions.
- Limit how many times to show popups.
- Show popups for visitors arriving from a certain location (e.g. search engines) or even a specific referring URL.
- Hide popups for logged-in visitors (or specific user roles.)
- Target popups to specific devices (e.g. only show for desktop visitors.)
Additionally, you have complete control over the canvas for your popups. It can be any size and placed anywhere on your site. For example, you can create:
- Centered popups.
- Full-screen welcome mats.
- Notification bars that appear at the top or bottom.
- Slide-ins that appear in the corner.
Overall, the Popup Builder is a powerful tool that can completely replace the need for a third-party popup or opt-in plugin. The only thing it’s missing is a built-in feature for analytics or A/B testing (though you could use Google Analytics to track popups with Events.)
Using the Popup Builder
The Popup Builder is super easy to use. Here are the steps that you will typically need to follow to create a popup:
Step 1: Create a New Popup
To get started, you go to Templates → Popups → Add New.
Like other Elementor templates, you can either start from a blank slate or choose a pre-built popup template:
Once you have selected how you wish to start, you proceed as you would with any other Elementor design:
The only notable difference is that you get some new options to control the canvas for your popup – these are accessed by clicking the gear icon in the bottom-left corner. These let you control the size, position, animation, etc.
For example, this is where you can choose between a full-screen filler, a notification bar, or one of the many other options.
Step 2: Choose Targeting and Trigger Rules
Once you’ve finished designing your popup, click the Publish button to set its targeting and trigger rules, which are divided into three tabs; Conditions, Triggers, and Advanced Rules.
In the Conditions tab, you can display your popup on certain types of WordPress content. You can target your entire site, or specific:
- Post types
You can even target individual pieces of content.
In the Triggers tab, you can choose the timing for when to display your popup:
Using the Advanced Rules tab, you can choose more detailed targeting rules. These include an option to show/hide popups for specific devices and hide popups for logged-in users (or specific user roles):
Other Noteworthy Features of Elementor
Alongside all the other features already discussed in detail, Elementor has plenty of other tricks up its sleeve. Here are some of my personal favorites:
1. Lots of Helpful Widgets That Can Replace Other Plugins
Elementor Pro adds a bunch of helpful new elements that you can use in your designs:
Many of these elements can actually remove the need for additional plugins on your site. For example, you get elements to easily create:
- Price tables
- Social share buttons
Furthermore, you also get elements to help display your latest blog posts and WooCommerce product information.
2. Global Widgets
Global widgets are super helpful if you need to reuse the same content across multiple pages. Basically, you can insert the same global widget anywhere you want.
Then, to update every place where that widget appears, you can edit the global widget just once.
3. Live Custom CSS
You can add custom CSS directly to widgets, sections, or columns.
While many other page builders let you add a CSS class or ID, Elementor allows you to write the actual CSS code without leaving the interface, which is way more convenient:
4. Third-Party Extensions
Beyond just plain creating a stellar product, I think another reason Elementor has been so successful is that the development team embraced the third-party developer community.
If you need even more functionality, you can find loads of free and premium Elementor extensions to give you even more control over your WordPress site. By way of example, here are some of WPLIft’s favorite Elementor add-ons.
Who is Elementor For?
You may be wondering if you should use Elementor to build your website. Elementor has one of the most generous free versions of any WordPress page builder in terms of features. With that version alone, you can build some pretty awesome designs.
However, Elementor Pro is packed with extra widgets and design options, plus three powerful tools (Theme Builder, WooCommerce Builder, and Popup Builder.) That means you can really crank up your website game.
So when it comes to Elementor free vs. Pro, which one should you choose?
There’s no single answer here, and this decision largely depends on your own situation. If you just want to use Elementor to:
- add some creative flair to your blog posts;
- create better-looking core pages, such as styling the “About” page for your blog; or
- build some basic landing pages,
then you’ll probably be okay with the free version of Elementor.
However, if you’re serious about building websites or are trying to achieve specific marketing goals, you’ll probably want to upgrade to Elementor Pro.
Here are some situations in which I think Elementor Pro really shines:
You’re Building Websites for Clients
If you’re building websites for clients, everything I discussed above is doubly true.
Furthermore, the Pro Version offers some nice extra perks, such as:
- Easier pricing – because you get access to so many features for one price, you can streamline project pricing. For example, you don’t need to pay separately for a form plugin, slider plugin, etc., as Elementor Pro includes all of those for one price.
- Simpler updates – because everything comes from Elementor Pro instead of a bunch of separate plugins, there’s a lower chance of things breaking during updates.
If you happen to be worried about clients breaking things, you can choose not to give them access to Elementor. Instead, you could use dynamic content to insert content from custom fields. Then, you can let clients edit those custom fields from the safety of the WordPress backend.
You’re a Marketer
For marketers, Elementor Pro is packed with features to help convert more visitors.
First off, you get access to the Form widget, which lets you build all kinds of lead generation forms. It includes built-in integrations with popular email providers, as well as a catch-all Zapier integration that helps connect to other services or CRMs.
Of course, you could use other form plugins and add those forms to Elementor. However, it’s more convenient having access to all of the Elementor form design options in one place, which is why I like the built-in Form widget.
However, the most powerful feature for marketers is probably the Popup Builder. Because it gives you access to the full Elementor interface, you can use it for all kinds of popups such as:
- Email opt-in/lead gens
- Two-step opt-ins (by triggering the popup with a click)
You also get tons of targeting and trigger rules to ensure that the right people see your offers. And with the dynamic feature, you can also personalize popups to specific user groups, which is another way to boost your conversion rates.
Furthermore, you also get access to other marketing widgets, such as:
- Countdown timers to add urgency
- Testimonials for social proof
- Dedicated CTAs to drive action
- Pricing tables
Finally, you still get all of Elementor’s general design flexibility, which means you can easily spin up landing pages without needing to work with a developer.
You’re Running a WooCommerce Store
If you’re building a WooCommerce store, Pro is a no-brainer for two reasons:
- You get access to the WooCommerce Builder, which means that you can create your own templates for your shop and product pages.
- Even if you plan to rely on your theme for your store’s designs, you still get access to a bunch of dedicated WooCommerce widgets that you can use to include product information in one-off Elementor designs.
You’re Building Custom Content Sites
The Pro version is also a no-brainer if you’re building custom content sites. By “custom content sites,” I mean sites such as:
- Job boards
- Real estate listing sites
- Business directories
In a nutshell, any type of site where you’re going beyond regular WordPress posts and pages and using things like custom post types and custom fields to store new types of content.
There are two reasons why Elementor Pro is great for custom content sites:
- You get access to Theme Builder, which means that you can easily create your own templates for any custom post types that you’re using.
- The dynamic feature makes it easy to include content from custom fields, such as those you’ve added with Advanced Custom Fields, Toolset, Pods, etc.
Usually, adding this type of dynamic custom data requires working directly with the PHP in your theme’s template files. However, with Elementor Pro, you can do everything from the visual, drag-and-drop interface – perfect for people terrified of anything that looks mildly like code.
As a non-developer, I’ve found the dynamic feature to be a life-saver as it finally allows me to harness the power of WordPress as a full CMS.
You Want More Customization Options Than Your Theme Allows
If you’ve ever felt limited by the design options that come with your theme, you’re going to love Elementor Pro because it basically eliminates the need for a theme.
Instead, you’ll get complete control over every single pixel on your site, and you can do it all from Elementor’s visual, drag-and-drop interface.
Dispelling the Myths About Speed
Finally, let’s close out our review with a quick word on performance.
People constantly criticize page builders for sapping speed and generally causing sites to perform poorly. Elementor has had more than its fair share of complaints in that respect.
Whether you use Elementor or any other page builder, this is just something you’ll have to deal with to some extent. If you want that simple visual drag-and-drop interface and all the other nifty features, the codebase will never be as clean as that of a site coded entirely from scratch.
Sure, some page builders are better than others on the performance front, and there are still some things that developers could do to reduce code bloat on their page builders.
Elementor has already implemented some of those best practices, such as reducing the number of DOM elements that Elementor creates. In simple terms, the plugin adds less “clutter” to your site’s codebase, and that helps improve page load times.
Beyond that, Elementor also made significant improvements to the server-side rendering processes and how dynamic CSS values are rendered. Instead of dynamically rendering these values for every single visit, Elementor now caches them and can grab them from that cache when needed, which takes a lot less time.
The result? Your site’s time to first byte (TTFB) and overall page load speeds have been significantly improved compared to when Elementor was first launched back in 2016.
Furthermore, the development team knows that performance is something users care about and will continue working to ensure sites created with Elementor are as fast as possible.
And in case you’re wondering, as long as you’re implementing other WordPress performance best practices and choosing fast hosting, it’s 100% possible to create lightning-fast WordPress sites with Elementor.
Pricing: How Much Does Elementor Cost?
I’ve already mentioned that the core Elementor page builder plugin is 100% free and available at WordPress.org. Even by itself, the free version is already powerful and will allow you to create great websites and pages.
However, if you want access to the full theme builder and all the other cool features in Elementor Pro, you have four different plans from which to choose: Essential, Expert, Studio, and Agency. Annual pricing starts at just $49:
The Essential plan would be perfect for most users, but if you have more than one site to cover, then Expert would be the one to go for. Studio and Agency are geared more towards developers and agencies creating sites for other people.
I’m not going to directly compare Elementor to the competition as that would take a month of Sundays. However, looking at the pricing of other popular page builders, I think it is very competitive and offers excellent value for money.
Incidentally, you can also purchase a hosted Elementor website package. That costs $89 per year and includes everything you need to get a website up and running in no time, including hosting, SSL certificate, 20GB of storage, a custom domain, automatic backups, and more. The great thing about that package is everything is kept under one roof, a real advantage when you need technical support.
Annoyingly, no lifetime plans are offered, which is a shame as I tend to stick with things I like and am happy to pay a little more upfront to get continuous coverage.
Is it worth paying for Elementor Pro? In my opinion, yes, it is because $49 per year is a small price to pay for the masses of additional functionality you get with the upgrade.
The Competition: Who Are They?
Elementor has only been around since 2016, so it is the new kid on the block compared to its closest rivals, all of which pre-date 2013.
However, since its inception, Elementor has given its competition plenty to worry about. In fact, many of its key features have since been mimicked by others with varying degrees of success.
Elementor’s closest competitors in terms of functionality, features, and price are (not in any particular order):
I only started using Elementor on my websites over the last year or so. But, in all honesty, I should have used it long before that. I admit that the rumors relating to its performance put me off, but speed has never been an issue since switching to it. What’s more, the functionality it includes – even in the free version – is second to none.
But there’s also another valuable thing that you get when you choose to build your site with Elementor: the Elementor team doesn’t rest on its laurels. Despite their incredible success to date, the developer continues to roll out enhancements and improvements. They clearly strive for perfection and aren’t going to stop until they get it.
That is an important factor when choosing a WordPress page builder. Being a long-term decision, you want to go with a team that’s in it for the long haul – one that will not just be maintaining the plugin but improving it also.
Elementor certainly isn’t the only team that checks the right boxes. For example, Divi Builder and Beaver Builder are also great page builder plugins, but the Elementor team has the most impressive resume over the past few years in terms of rolling out helpful new features. It is no wonder that they have gone from zero to ten million sites in five years!
For those reasons, I think Elementor is the best page builder for both now and the foreseeable future.