Building a website nowadays has become so easy. You can literally setup one in less than 10 minutes and they come with big names like Google Sites, Blogger, Tumblr etc. These types of websites are actually limited on functionalities and you don’t have full control over your website. What we want is a website we can design yourself using one of the best page builder around, Elementor. What is Elementor Page Builder and how can we use it for FREE? Let’s get started.
What is Elementor Page Builder?
Elementor is a free WordPress page builder that lets you create beautiful website fast and easy. The company started in year 2016 and from that very short period of 4 years, they were able to gather 2 million user worldwide. This page builder has really taken the industry by storm.
There are lots of wordpress page builder out there but Elementor is the best page builder when it comes to best features available for free users. Like any other business, Elementor has a pro version where you can unlock more useful features for advance users for a low price of $49/year for 1 site.
One of the best thing I like about Elementor is its ease of use. It’s intuitive and rich in features even for a free user. You are given a live front end page editor where you can see your update as soon as you made changes to your website. It’s like working on a word document. You drag, edit and save changes. No technical stuffs, what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG).
There are also a lot of free very well-designed templates you can use if you are struggle on designing your website. All templates look professionally designed that will make your website stand out to crowd.
How to Start Using Elementor Page Builder on my Website?
Elementor is a WordPress plugin and it works only with WordPress. You may have heard or used WordPress.com which is the free website hosting service that you don’t have full control and have limited functionalities just like Blogger and Tumblr. Unfortunate, you can’t use Elementor on these types of websites.
WordPress plugins work on self-hosted wordpress called WordPress.org also known as the “real WordPress”. It’s a 100% open source project and anyone can use it for free if you have your own web hosting which cost around $3 to $10. Don’t worry, if you want a free web hosting for your WordPress.org website, you can always signup to my recommended platform: Wealthy Affiliate. Setting up your website will take less than 10 minutes hassle free with full guide and video tutorials.
If you are not very familiar with how WordPress.org works, I suggest you go through the complete set of training provided by Wealthy Affiliate. The training will give the basic idea on how to setup, download plugins and making money with your website. You can start with this free 10 lessons or signup now for free.
If you want to know more about the differences of WordPress.com and WordPress.org, you can check out this infographics.
Now, let’s talk about all its features, both FREE and PRO.
Elementor Page Builder Features for FREE Users
Free users can enjoy massive features with Elementor. If you want to stick as a free member of any page builder, Elementor is the best choice. Other page builders won’t give you these complete package features where you can build a completely beautiful website as a free user. Here’s what you’ll get with Elementor free version. I will try my best to explain what is elementor page builder for a free user on a way beginners can understand.
- Front End Page Builder (WYSIWYG)
- Ready Made 40 Full Page Templates and 100+ Blocks
- Free 31 Elementor Widgets
- Mobile, Tablet, Desktop Edit Mode
- Works with Any Theme
- Action History, Revision History and Auto Save
- Keyboard Shortcuts
Let’s discuss each of these features.
1. Front End Page Builder (WYSIWYG)
If you are new about building website, you definitely need to use front end page builder where you can easily see any changes as soon as you make them. It’s also easier to master and is fun to use. A back end page builder is the thing of the past where you need to refresh a page to see exactly what changes you’ve made. Forget about back end page builder, front end page builder is the best option nowadays and one of the best is Elementor.
If you are familiar with the acronym WYSIWYG, what you see is what you get, this is exactly what front end page builder is. It just got better with lots of features added using Elementor.
Here’s how Elementor page builder looks like.
The right panel is the actual view of your website while on the left are the editing options for a selected widget. The left panel is also where you choose the widgets (clicking the top right square will show all widgets). You can add them by using drag and drop anywhere on the right panel.
2. Ready Made 40 Full Page Templates and 100+ Blocks
Templates are huge time saver and in Elementor. These templates a very professionally designed. As a free user, you have access to 40 full page templates. That’s already a lot for a free user. You can edit these templates any way you want.
Blocks are small piece or section that you can add to your website like Call to Action (CTA), FAQs, Product Pricing, Features List etc. These are also fully editable and you can even save your owns blocks for future use.
Blocks and full page templates can be accessed in one area within Elementor. There are 3 tabs: Blocks, Pages and My Templates.
Just scroll down and select the blocks and pages you want. You may also use the filter on the left sign to filter by category. If you are a free user, you can filter only those that are free to use. You may also use the search bar to search for specific template you want.
The third tab is where your saved templates are stored. If you have sections that you use often, it’s best to save a template so you can access it here at anytime.
3. Free 31 Elementor Widgets
Aside from the widgets that came pre-existing with wordpress, you now have additional 31 widgets you can choose from as a free user. All these widgets can be found on the left pane of the page editor. Widgets are small pieces of elements of you website, like headings, images, buttons etc.
These elements are fully customizable with a wide range of options. Just drag any elements and tweak some settings to your likings. You can use the search field to easily find the widgets that you need.
Below is the list of widgets you can use as free user.
By the way, if you need more free elements, there are lots of free plugins that you can download to add more to the list. We will not cover it here, just search Google if you need to. I just thought it is worth mentioning.
If you want a clear explanation of what these widgets does, below video explains it all.
4. Mobile, Tablet, Desktop Edit Modes
The good thing about front end page builder is that you can edit using 3 different modes: mobile, tablet and desktop. Nowadays, this is a very important feature to have and Elementor just gives it for free.
As soon as you access Elementor page builder, you will be presented with a desktop mode editing. If you wanted to view or change details on mobile view and tablet view, just hit the icon at the bottom left section as shown below.
In mobile and tablet view, you can change or correct things that doesn’t fit to your likings. For example, the background you put in the desktop mode doesn’t look well on mobile view. You can adjust those kinds of mismatch specific to mobile or tablet views.
You may also hide or show widgets in any mode. For example, you wanted to show a floating chat me icon only in mobile mode, you can go to advance section and toggle the hide it on desktop and tablet view as shown below.
This is a great feature if you really want to make your website look beautiful on any device.
5. Works with Any Theme
Elementor is a page builder so your wordpress website still need a decent lightweight theme that should be compatible with Elementor. The good news is that Elementor works with any wordpress theme. If you want the best free compatible theme, I suggest you go with the free version of Astra or OceanWP.
If you search over the internet, you would also see people suggesting these two themes so you can’t go wrong with these. These are both tried and tested by real users.
Elementor actually has its own light weight theme called “Hello”. It’s even lighter than Astra and OceanWP since it’s primarily was created to be used with Elementor. It’s the bare minimum theme with the very basic features and is expected to work very well with Elementor Pro, the paid version. So if you are planning to go premium, you can consider using “Hello” theme for a lighter and faster loading, though the difference will not be very noticeable.
For me, even if you choose to be a free or premium user, it is still best to go with Astra or OceanWP. Using Hello theme will make you build your website totally from scratch which is totally possible with Elementor Pro. But, at some point, you would possibly still use some features of a fully working light weight theme. If you want to dig deeper as to why, you may want to read the full explanation from Astra blog.
6. Action History, Revision History and Auto Save
There’s nothing more annoying when you’ve done so much good stuffs designing your website only to realize you’ve failed to save or do backup of what you’ve worked for hours. In Elementor, you don’t need to worry about saving your work. It will automatically be saved for every steps that you make. These steps are saved in your action history where you can easily trace back and restore at any point.
Another great feature is the Revision History. You don’t have to worry about losing your work anymore. Elementor saves a version of your page every time you hit save or publish the page. If you ever wanted to go back few versions back, you can easily do that with Elementor.
7. Keyboard Shortcuts
You could say this is a very basic feature but this is something I appreciate on this already feature packed page builder. It helps a lot with the user experience. Just simple hit of Ctrl Z (or Command Z for Mac) will undo last action and feels like home as we’ve all been used to it.
The legendary Ctrl + S will definitely save your work even if auto save is always active. Doing this will create an item in revision history so this is very important as well.
Below are the full set of shortcut you can use. If you want to see this anytime on Elementor page edit mode, just press Cmd + ? (or Ctrl + ?).
Elementor Page Builder Features for PRO Users
Elementor for free user has already a lot but there’s more with Elementor PRO. With free version, you can only use Elementor as a page builder. With Elementor PRO, you can use it as a theme builder. You can design a single post template, or your archive template. You can even work with WooCommerce elements if you are planning to sell products with custom checkout and billing system on your website.
Here are the additional feature you should expect with Elementor PRO.
- Elementor Pro As Theme Builder
- Hello Theme, a lightweight theme Built for Elementor Pro
- Additional 50+ Widgets
- Additional 150+ Full Page Templates and Blocks
- Popup Builder and Form Builder
- WooCommerce Builder
- Add Custom CSS code
1. Elementor Pro As Theme Builder
As a PRO user, you have the ability to create a site-wide global templates for your post, page, archive or even the 404 error page when people visit a non-existing page on your website.
If you regularly create a post for your readers, this is a very useful feature. Just design you post template using Elementor Pro and all your future post will look consistent based on the design you made. You’ll get all the same environment (with additional elements) as the page builder so you can make your template as personalize as you like. Your imagination is the limit.
2. Hello Theme, a Lightweight Theme Built for Elementor Pro
If you plan to build your website purely using Elementor, you can use “Hello” theme built by Elementor team specially for Elementor. Hello theme is the lightest theme for wordpress with size of only few kilobytes. This makes it the fastest theme to use for Elementor.
But beware of the disadvantage of this theme since features are cut down to get the most speed and lightness, you have to build everything from scratch using Elementor. This may be a good thing for some but if you wanted to focus more on designing the major part of your website, you can choose other themes like Astra and OceanWP. Those themes can take care of the small details and other essential features you might need in the future.
3. Additional 50+ Widgets
As a free user, you already got 31 awesome widgets. With Elementor Pro, you can use additional 50+ widgets, that’s a lot. These additional widgets are at pro level. You no longer need to install other plugins that most of the time slows down your website. You have everything you need within Elementor and it’s a lot better than those free plugin around.
Below video explains every pro widgets.
4. Additional 150+ Full Page Templates and Blocks
If you can’t find a good enough full page template as a free user, you definitely can find a lot to like with additional 150+ full page templates and blocks with Elementor Pro. These are professionally designed templates that you can use with no limitations.
You can update or combine the templates to your needs, there’s so much to play around. There are also templates for pop-ups which is a feature not available for free users.
5. Popup Builder and Form Builder
Popup is one of the best features of Elementor. You have the full control of when and to which pages these popups should appear on your website. Combine it with the powerful builder and you’ll get to build your popups the way you want it to be.
If you are out of ideas, Elementor Pro provides you with some great popup templates that were tested to convert and are very professionally designed. Some of these templates are already integrated with a form builder.
A form builder is where you can use buttons and fields to gather information from your visitors. These form builders can be integrated with the popular email list builder like Mailchimp, Convertkit etc.
You have nothing else to look for. Combine it with other pro widgets and all your marketing needs are here.
6. WooCommerce Builder
WooCommerce is also integrated with Elementor Pro. You no longer need to hire professionals to build you an online store. You can easily create one with Elementor’s easy to use WooCommerce builder.
Elementor also provides you with WooCommerce full page templates and even customized checkout pages. You can literally make your online store standout from the rest using Elementor.
Below new widgets will be available for you to choose from.
7. Add Custom CSS code
If you do have experience with coding CSS, you can add some of your custom CSS with each widget in Elementor Pro. This is a powerful addition since you can design even the tiniest detail in you website. You can change the style of specific parts of you website or position some things that you just can’t do with Elementor.
Note that the CSS Code field is located at each elements’ advance tab.
Conclusion: Should Go Free or Pro?
Upgrading to Pro version is easy to recommend. The fee isn’t so high for most people who are already have a running website, so I believe, this is a good investment if you are really serious about building a professional website. It could save you from stress as well since you’ll get a pro 24/7 support from Elementor.
You can upgrade to pro version now and test it out. If for some reason you didn’t like it, there is a 30 day money-back guarantee so you have nothing to lose. Just sent a request for refund.
If you are just starting, you can start with free version and decide to upgrade later. There’s still a lot to love with the free version and you can stay as free user as long as you like.
If you decide to upgrade and use Elementor for 1 site, you just have to pay as low as $49/year. If you have more sites, here is the pricing.