For the past 3 months I have been eagerly studying Elementor – the new page builder for WordPress (well not technically new – it has been around for over a year – but it’s the newest WordPress page builder plugin – and in my opinion the best).
As I was using the page builder it really showed me how professional website layouts can be created in a matter of hours. This is beneficial to both clients and myself – and allows any type of promotional campaign to be launched very quickly – the only thing where effort needs to be put into is the actual content of the layout, image choices etc. rather than the technical aspect.
While I was very happy with my knowledge of Elementor – there is one problem.
Unfortunately most WordPress frameworks/themes are still using Visual Composer Page Builder (a different plugin to Elementor) – as their standard page building software.
Recently I was building a site where I attempted to use Elementor and it crashed some functionality of the site – forcing me to recreate the layout in Visual Composer – so I thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase the differences between the two – and show you just how great Elementor is – and yet also make you aware that should you go with a framework – why understanding what Visual Builder the framework comes with is very important.
So let’s start with checking framework page builders – and what that means (don’t get scared of all these technical words – it’ll make sense soon).
If you go to ThemeForest – which is one of my go-to places to find themes – but more importantly frameworks – let’s – for the purpose of this – imagine you are building a directory site for coffee shops in Australia – and what their facilities are for digital nomads (this is a bit of a selfish idea – as it’s something I would be interested in – since I need a powerpoint until I replace my Macbook battery, and good WiFi would be preferrable – as well as a generally friendly atmosphere when it comes to being able to sit with my laptop and not be bothered etc.) So we would build a site like ‘Digital Nomad Coffee Directory’.
If we find a framework to start working on like this one for example: https://themeforest.net/item/urbango-directory-and-listing-wordpress-theme/22712624?s_rank=2 (P.S. I wouldn’t personally recommend this theme for other reasons – like the fact that it has no reviews left – but we are just using this as an example)
If you look through the sales page it looks very cool – and the layouts look great – until that is – you have to modify them.
At the bottom of the page you’ll find what you’re looking for:
As you can see the plugin comes with Visual Composer – which is the case for the majority of theme frameworks. So – what does this mean to you? And why should you care?
Well just to give you an open book of how it will look when you actually decide to change the layout of this page – let me show you two identical layouts for a client – and how it looks like to edit them in the backend.
Here is me editing a client layout using Elementor:
As you can see – I (or you) simply click on an element that you want to edit and then make the changes – and afterwards everything is visible exactly how it would appear on the front end. This is what makes Elementor so revolutionary!
Now let’s compare that to Visual Composer – and how editing the same page would look like using the Visual Composer plugin:
As you can see in the video above – I do the exact same thing that I did with Elementor – but do you see how much more un-intuitive it is? Now instead of clicking on some text and editing it – I have to open up a new section – and when it comes to adding a visual element like an icon to the button – I don’t even know what it will look like without previewing the page – so every adjustment I make – I have to then update the page and then preview it (which takes 10-15 seconds each time – instead of being instantenous).
So now – hopefully – you have an idea of the differences between Visual Composer and Elementor – so keep this in mind. Especially if you get your site built – and should you wish to make changes to it – Elementor will make your life much easier in the long run.
Try and go with a theme that supports Elementor – and be aware of what page builder plugin your framework is using before you start – otherwise you will have headaches making new content.