The Ultimate Design Tool for WordPress? [Integrity’s Elementor Review]

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Web Developer
Dec 4, 2020

As a web design and development agency, we’re always looking for better ways to help clients reach their goals with their new sites. Elementor is one of those better ways.

If you’re new to website design and development, Elementor is a drag-and-drop website builder. It has a relatively small learning curve and can produce beautiful designs while keeping the code 100 percent clean. 

What’s So Special About Elementor?

This website builder offers a solution for those who may not have a massive budget, or massive timeline to launch. We should note here: if you need a truly robust site with unique and specialized functionality a custom site is still the right solution.

But we find that what many of our clients truly need is a site that’s beautiful, easy to navigate, and truly mobile friendly. The reason we typically turn towards Elementor is the speed in which it allows us to get a site up and running when we know the timeline requirement is tight.

From a development perspective, Elementor takes much of the raw CSS and HTML construction out of the equation. Instead, it allows developers to focus on creating custom functionality and stunning designs, and with time saved on the build-out, Elementor enables us to meet a wider range of client budgets while still delivering a product we know will meet and in many cases exceed their needs.

Faster Setup

Setting up a site using Elementor is easy. While it’s not as simple as clicking a few buttons it is incredibly accessible and intuitive even for novice developers. This is especially the case if you already have the foundation of a good host that has a WordPress install up and running.

Clean Code

The code involved in Elementor is one the cleanest of the available builders. The main reasoning is that it contains no ‘!important’ on CSS which forces the style to override all designs. It is a big no-no in coding but sometimes a necessary evil. Fortunately, the Integrity team has rarely encountered this issue while adding custom CSS to our client Elementor sites.

Beautiful Designs

There are quite a few builders that claim design freedom, but there are often limitations you will run up against that are critical to your original vision. The stunted capabilities might not even become apparent until you’re halfway through the build leaving you in the unfortunate position of abandoning your work, or abandoning your design.

The flexibility and control offered in Elementor (especially the Pro version) gives you the ability to add animations and layers to a site without having to spend hours on custom code. This design functionality is instrumental in creating depth and enriching the user experience while they navigate your site.

Efficient Build

For consistency and fluidity, there are often repeating elements within a website. In Elementor you can create entire page templates or replicate single elements that can be reused or edited as needed. This increases the efficiency of the web development process, again saving hours and budgets.

Relatively Inexpensive

We’ve mentioned it throughout but just to reinforce the point: when it comes to web development projects, time = money. Because Elementor cuts out so many typical hours from the basic build of a website, Integrity is able to offer our clients a budget and time-saving option. While the basic version is suitable for a novice user creating a placeholder website, we’ve found the Pro version of Elementor offers enough tools to build a website you won’t want to redo in six months.

“Good enough for now” doesn’t cut it for our clients, so we rely on the robust features included in Pro, like slider widgets and dynamic content to autofill areas, so we can deliver a website with which they can hit the ground running. 

Tons of the Right Integrations

It’s simple to integrate a lot of the ready-to-go WordPress elements, such as Gravity forms or Advanced Custom Fields. It can also connect with marketing tools — such as MailChimp — and social networks. 

There’s also a good chance someone has made something you want to integrate as an add-on. The Elementor community is constantly evolving and producing, featuring a wide range of developers and non-traditional users together that are creating amazing add-ons to fix everyday problems.

The Downsides to Elementor

As much as we love Elementor, we’d be remiss not to talk about a few cons to the tool.

Slower Speed

One of the biggest gripes we have about Elementor is its speed. If you already know how to create a clean and speedy site, you could probably get a good speed score through Google, but the nature of Elementor makes this a little more challenging. To be fair, this is an issue with any builder. It stems from the extra code needed to account for having all of the amazing, pre-build options to add to a page.

The number one issue is images, so be sure to watch your image sizes (keep each image under 1 MB). We recommend SMUSH or SMUSH PRO for image management. This will help bring that score up.

Integration Limitations

Ok, we know we bragged up its integration capabilities but there are still a few holes we’ve had to find solutions for. Specifically, pixel tracking and Google Tag Manager tracking can be tricky.

For our clients who require clear traffic and lead funnel reporting, this was a roadblock that required additional hours to work through. It is definitely doable but will often require having a dev or Google expert to help fill the gaps and make sure the tracking is set up properly from the site through the reporting process. 

Risk of Getting Off Track

Because Elementor is so flexible, it’s easy for anyone to do what they want — which is great until it isn’t. This can run the risk of deviating from the original design and creating a challenging experience for the end user.

There are some good user controls on Elementor to help mitigate this risk, like the global styles available to try to force the use of specific colors or reuse set templates. But the best control is having access to a UX designer who can steer the project back on track when needed.

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There is no perfect builder, but Elementor is an excellent option for those looking to have beautiful sites without paying for a fully customizable build. And for developers looking to expand their skill set or try a new tool, there’s no better platform to test out than Elementor right now. Here is a helpful Elementor blog to reference to get started.

Ready to partner with a web design and development company that understands your goals and builds beautiful websites? Contact Integrity today to begin.


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