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Are you wondering if Elementor is the right website builder for your own website or blog?
If you answered “YES” then stick around because, I’m going to go over the biggest Elementor pros and cons, answer your frequently asked questions, and share my honest Elementor review so you can decide if you should use Elementor to create your website in 2021.
If you’re new to my site, welcome! My name is Katy and I’m here to help you DIY your WordPress site with ease and build thriving businesses online. I’ve actually been using Elementor for the last 3 years now. I built my own Christian lifestyle blog with it back in 2018 and have since gone on to design dozens of strategic websites for my clients using Elementor and WordPress.
Before we get into the reasons why I chose to use Elementor and still continue to use Elementor to this day, let’s talk about what it is and what you can use it for on your blog or website.
What is Elementor?
Elementor is a responsive page builder plugin for WordPress that you add on top of your existing theme. (That’s right you can transform your website’s entire design without the headache of switching themes.)
It has a visual drag-and-drop editor that allows you to build, edit and preview your web page in real-time without coding or switching between screens. (Talk about instant gratification!) With Elementor, you can create almost anything, including…
- Traditional web pages like your home and about pages
- Conversion-focused landing pages like lead magnets and upsell pages
- Pop-ups to grow your email list or promote a particular product or service
- You can even customize parts of your theme like your blog pages, 404 pages, the site-wide header and footer, WooCommerce shop pages, and more
The options are really limitless!
How Much Does Elementor Cost?
FREE Version: Elementor does have a free version that gives you access to 40 basic widgets out of their 90 widgets available. To download it, simply go to the WordPress plugins area, search for “Elementor” and install it. The free version is powerful, but it’s also really limited.
If you want to take advantage of the full features, you’d need to upgrade to the Pro version.
PRO Version: In the pro version, you’ll get 50 additional widgets along with access to the theme builder, pop-up builder, WooCommerce builder, form builder, and library of over 300+ page Pro templates that are predesigned to make building your WordPress pages that much easier — all for just $49/year for a single license.
Here’s the full breakdown of the pricing plans available:
If you haven’t yet gotten started with Elementor Pro and you’re thinking about upgrading, you can go to katyboykin.com/elementor. If you’re feeling a little hesitant, they do have a 30-day money-back guarantee. So even if you try it and then you decide it doesn’t work for you, you can get your money back!
Is Elementor Pro Worth It?
You may be wondering what’s the value of upgrading to the pro version. “Can’t I just get by with the free version?” Yes, you can get by with the free version for basic things like building a simple landing page. However, you should upgrade to Elementor Pro if you want the ability to…
- Access the “theme builder”, where you apply global design elements like your header (navigation menu), footer, single post templates, archive templates, etc. to your entire website.
- View your blog roll (or recent posts) in a grid format along with the feature image. (On the free version, you can only see your blog posts in a text list format.)
- Access the visual form builder & integrate your forms seamlessly with your email marketing service provider like ConvertKit or ActiveCampaign.
- If you want to use popups to grow your email list, create custom nav menus, or promote flash sales.
- Display a countdown timer on your tripwire or sales page to invoke scarcity/ urgency and get more sales.
- Display social share icons on your website without an extra plugin.
- Access WooCommerce widgets for your online shop.
- Create a sticky table of contents on your blog posts for a better user experience. (No extra plugin required.)
- Add forms to your website
- And more…
Elementor Pros and Cons
So now that you have a good overview of what Elementor is, how you can use it on your website and what it costs, let’s dive into the pros and the cons.
Pro # 1 – Ease Of Use
Elementor is extremely easy to use, especially if you are not tech-savvy and you don’t know how to code with CSS, HTML, or PHP. Once you are inside the Elementor editor, you can easily import a pre-designed page template or a block from the template library or start dragging in one of their widgets, make a few changes to match your brand and business, and BOOM, you have a beautiful webpage that you made on the fly.
If you ever make a mistake, you don’t have to worry because you can reference your full revision history & recover old design iterations!
Pro # 2 – Functionality
Elementor packs a ton of functionality into this one plugin with basic and advanced features.
Before using Elementor, I needed to add a lot of third-party plugins that, while they may have been free, weighed down my site. I needed to add a ton of plugins in order to just to get the same functionality that Elementor is giving me in this one.
Not only that, but I was using LeadPages before in order to grow my blog and my email list. And with Elementor, I no longer need that. I get to save a ton of money ($27/mo) every single month by eliminating that altogether. So Elementor is really valuable because it allows you to cut down on extra plugins, especially the ones that are third-party that are costing you extra money.
The bottom line: you can leave expensive landing page builders and bulky plugins behind and switch it out for one powerful all-in-one design tool, Elementor!
Pro # 3 – Customization
Elementor makes it ridiculously easy to customize every square inch of your website.
I remember when I was building my very first blog, I was frustrated because every time I would test out a theme or try out a theme, there were limitations. I would go into the appearance settings and realize I didn’t have the capability to update a certain font that I wanted or change the header or the footer. Once I added Elementor, all of those limitations and frustrations went away because I was in complete control! I got to customize exactly how I want my blog and my website to look.
If you are in that boat, where you are just completely frustrated by trying to get your existing theme to work, without needing to hire a developer, Elementor would be a really great tool for you.
Pro # 4 – Price/ Value
The value of Elementor is absolutely incredible because of what you get for the price of $49 a year. Seriously for less than 50 bucks a year, you can eliminate the need for tons of other plugins, have the ability to create anything on your website without needing any coding makes it a no-brainer!
Pro # 5 – Integration Capabilities
- Marketing tools like ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, GetResponse, MailChimp, and a ton of other marketing tools.
- WordPress plugins like RankMath and LearnDash
- Social networks
- Plus other tools like fonts, recapture and icons
Pro # 6 – Responsive Design – Optimize Mobile, Tablet & Desktop Views
There is nothing more frustrating than designing your website on a desktop to find out your head is chopped off on the mobile view and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Well, with Elementor, you can toggle between the desktop, tablet, and mobile view and customize every single element per each device. So for instance, if your heading font was set to 55 pixels on the desktop view and you wanted it to be 30 pixels on the mobile view, you could make those changes for each device. You can also hide widgets, columns, and entire sections and control which device they show up on.
Honestly, I could keep going on and on Elementor is extremely feature-rich. However, for the sake of brevity, I think I’ve hit the high points. Next, let’s go ahead and talk about the cons.
No tool is perfect. No tool comes without some negatives or some downsides, so let’s be honest and talk about what those are together.
Con # 1 – Performance/ Site Speed Issues
I am in a ton of blogging communities and web design communities online, specifically on Facebook, and people hate on Elementor because they say it just completely drags your site speed down.
Typically in those Facebook groups, I’m seeing people put Elementor up against the Gutenberg block editor and they’re saying that the Gutenberg block editor is significantly faster than Elementor and everyone just needs to abandon page builders and just build with the Gutenberg block editor.
If you are in that boat where you are thinking, “Well, maybe I should be using the Gutenberg block editor over Elementor,” let me quote, Grayson bell from iMark Interactive.
He says, “You have to remember that not everyone cares to learn how to use blocks to build their sites. They care more about the ease of use for themselves. Using Gutenberg has speed advantages, but can be hard for many. And that’s where a page builder can come in. It’s not always about what makes the site the fastest it’s about what makes it work for the person creating it.”
That was the exact situation that I was in! Gutenberg felt clunky. On Gutenberg, I still had the pain of constantly switching between the editing and preview screens and it took me twice as long to get a page completed.
I decided that if I have to go through a few extra hoops to make sure that my site speed is optimized through different premium plugins, like ShortPixel or WProcket for example, I was totally okay with it. At the end of the day, the day-to-day ease of use was worth the trade-off of a few higher points on site speed.
Now, site speed is a really big topic because it’s not just one plugin that’s usually the culprit of a slow website. So if site speed optimization is a topic you’d like to see me cover, please leave a comment down below so that I can put that on my content calendar.
Also, if you need some resources about site speed optimization, check out iMark Interactive’s Site Speed Course or their Site Speed Services. I’ve personally used both and know that you’ll find them helpful too.
Con # 2 – Big Updates Have Caused Glitches/ Headaches
When Elementor’s team rolled out a few of the big updates in the past, there have been some glitches and some headaches for their users.
I applaud Elementor because of their innovation and desire to push out new features to their users…
However, they need to be more cautious in testing those beta features before launching them to the public. Now that they have more than 5 million active installs, it’s more important now than ever to test, test, and triple tests before releasing a big update.
If this con makes you feel a little bit nervous, it’s not that big of a deal if you follow a few best practices:
- Always make sure that you have a backup of your website before you make any major plugin changes and updates that way you can always restore your website to the way that it originally was before you made those changes.
- You can always clone your live site to a staging site (which usually your host will provide for you) and test out all of those plugin updates before implementing any of those changes to your actual live site.
- You can wait it out. Instead of updating your plugin upon that initial release, you can wait until the next bug fix comes out before you update your plugins. Let other users test out the glitched first and listen to feedback from other Elementor users.
- If you need to, you can always roll back your Elementor version.
Con # 3 – Customer Support
I’m putting their support under the con bracket because they have just gotten beat up really in relation to the Elementor 3.0 rollout. There were so many glitches that I don’t think they had enough infrastructure and support people on staff in order to handle that many support requests. On top of that, I think that the element to our plugin is so incredibly popular that it’s growing and converting at faster speeds than their support team can make up for it.
Now in the whole debacle of 2020 with Elementor or 3.0 rollout, they know that they got beat up on the customer support side, and as a customer, I have seen them make valiant efforts to improve their support.
Of course, I don’t work for them and, other than being a user and recommending their tool, I don’t know what’s going in on the back end of their, their business. However, I have seen steps in the right direction.
- Elementor released a support update in January of 2021, sharing their commitment to their customer support plan, talking about their fundamental efforts to do better. They talk about how they’re doubling their team, they’re advancing their help desk software, they’re investing in their agents, and they’re deepening their communication between the product and support.
- They’ve also recently changed their pricing model in March 2021 so that they can provide more support on the backend. With the new pricing rollout, the have their response times listed at the checkout so customers can know what to expect if they encounter an issue.
With all of that said, yes, their support needs improvement and I put it under the con list, but I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker. At least it isn’t for me. There aren’t that many occasions where I really need to reach out to their team.
If you are thinking, “Ooh, support is important to me,” you would need to be a pro user in order to get that level of support, but also…
Be scrappy and resourceful! Rely on YouTube videos like the ones I share on my YouTube channel and other resources in Facebook groups to get the help and support you need if Elementor’s support team isn’t getting you answers fast enough.
Con # 4 – Learning Curve For Beginners
If I were going to give a con #4, I would say that for the beginner user, there could be a learning curve, just like with anything new that you try. When you ride a bike for the first time, there could a learning curve and the same could be true when you’re trying to figure out a new piece of software.
Fortunately, though, I have an entire YouTube series playlist called “How To Make A WordPress Website with Elementor” that will walk you through each step of the process and help you DIY your dream website with ease.
So even though there might be a learning curve, you have no excuse because I’m providing you with some free videos to walk you through what you need to do to get started with Elementor as a beginner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve addressed the elements or pros and cons, let’s dive into some frequently asked questions.
1. What Themes Work Best with Elementor?
Elementor works well with all themes that respect the coding standards of WordPress. That means (99.5% of the time) you can keep your current theme and still enjoy the benefits of Elementor!
I have come across a few instances where Elementor did not play nicely with the WordPress theme, but that is rare. One of my custom design clients had a theme that allowed her to create pages, but wouldn’t work with global widgets. Those cases are rare, but you could come across some compatibility issues.
Now, if you are starting a brand new website from scratch, or you are ready to switch themes, and you just want to know what is the fastest possible solution, here’s what I recommend. There are two on the market right now that I really recommend that is Astra Theme and the Kadence Theme. Those two work really well with Elementor and they are extremely fast right out the gate. Of course, there are other themes that work well with Elementor as well. I’ve used OceanWP before and GeneratePress, however, those other two (Astra and Kadence) are the top two that I’m recommending at this time.
2. What About Elementor’s Hello theme?
Elementor produced the Hello theme which is an extremely lightweight theme that essentially gives you a blank canvas and wants you to depend entirely on the Elementor design system. That might sound intriguing, but if you don’t know website coding or development, I wouldn’t recommend using it. Beginners need a solid foundation and the Hello theme doesn’t have any features or integrations, which many of my clients need especially when using display ads or WooCommerce. Plus, when trying to optimize your website for site speed, the Hello theme provides some challenges. I’d only recommend the Hello theme if you are tech-savvy or know how to code.
3. Should I Write Blog Posts In The Elementor Page Builder?
No! When you write a new blog post, don’t choose the blue “Edit with Elementor” button. You should always write your blog post content in the Classic or Gutenberg WordPress editor.
You’ll use Elementor to create a global template that styles the way your blog posts are displayed on your website. On the blog post template, you’ll use Elementor widgets that pull your post title, excerpt, featured image, post content, meta data, and more.
The best part about using a template to style your blog post layout is that if you ever want to update your blog’s design, you can simply restyle this single post template and instantly transform your blog’s design across hundreds of posts!
4. I’m A Blogger. How Do Display Ads Work With Elementor?
If you’re a blogger who wants to monetize your blog with displays ads, here’s what you need to know about ads and Elementor…
First, if you have less than 10,000 monthly page views, I don’t recommend displaying ads on your blog. Google Adsense will clutter your website, distract from your user experience, slow down your site and pay very little. It’s just not worth setting up.
Once you hit 10,000 monthly pageviews you can apply to a premium ad network like Monumetric. This is what I did on my lifestyle blog. Once you’re accepted, Monumetric will work with you to install the ads on your website. In my experience, Monumetric had no problems adding the HTML code into your Elementor blog template.
If you have over 50,000 monthly sessions and apply for Mediavine, which pays better, you’ll hit a snag if your blog posts are styled with an Elementor template. You can read their support article explaining why page builders are bad for ad performance, but essentially they say that page builders break the HTML structure of your blog’s code by automatically adding wrapped containers around your post content making it difficult to effectively target your in-content ads.
If you are with Mediavine but use Elementor, you’ll need to remove any blog post templates and rely on your blog’s theme settings to style the way your blog post layout is designed. You can still use Elementor for pages, post category pages, and other design elements; again, just avoid it for your blog layout design.
Final Wrap Up
So now that you have a good overview of what Elementor is, know the difference between the Elementor pros and cons, and have most of your questions answers, I want to know if you think Elementor a tool you’ll be using to build your website in 2021.
If it is, go to katyboykin.com/elementor to get started with a Pro plan. Once you’ve bought your license, you can check out this post next showing you How To Install Elementor and Configure the Settings. Already have it installed? Watch the How To Make A WordPress Website with Elementor series on YouTube.