Elementor is the number one and perhaps the most famous page builder for WordPress. If you are looking for a reliable page building plugin to build your WordPress website, the free version of Elementor is probably my number one recommendation over all other popular page builders. The Elementor builder plugin is perfect for beginners, but also provides powerful functionality and customization for advanced users. Elementor saves you so much time no matter if you are new to building websites, or if you have been building websites for years and require creating complex layouts.
Elementor Pro on the other hand, is not something that everyone needs. The free version of Elementor has all tools you need to create a complete and custom website. With Pro, there are some feature additions to it that gives you the ability to easily create more powerful websites. Is Elementor Pro worth it? It really depends on the type of website you are building.
Rather than looking at how others are using Elementor Pro, I analyzed own usage and picked out biggest effect elementor Pro has on the way I build websites.
Let me start of by saying that Elementor Pro is very well worth it if you are trying to create websites that require dynamic functionality, conditional display, custom page templates and cool animations and effects. It also comes into handy if you need to do modifications to the theme, WooCommerce and even WordPress itself. It is loaded with plenty of advanced options that lets you create really cool and functional websites.
However, if you are creating a basic 5-page business website, Elementor Pro is really not necessary. You don't need the premium features such as custom templates for this. In fact, I have built more websites with the free version of Elementor than the pro version.
Rather than going into too much details, let me show you how I would use Elementor Pro and give you some examples of the kinds of websites that can be built with Elementor Pro.
Dynamic functionality helps to link your entire website together in a cohesive manner.
If I am looking to build a website that is able to display frequently updated content, that's when I will consider adding in dynamic functionality and advanced features.
Take for example, if I often run promotions and events for my business and want to showcase them on my website, I will want a system that makes it easy to update the information and content on the backend (with the help of custom post types and custom fields), while having it automatically display all these latest content into different areas on my website, such as the homepage and my dedicated promotions and events pages. This is called dynamic functionality.
There are some basic dynamic functions you already have in the free version of Elementor. One example is that you are able to add a "Latest Blog Posts" section into an area of your homepage. However with the pro version, you can do much more than just blog posts. You can even customize precisely how each dynamic content is being displayed.
Elementor Pro unlocks dynamic functionality within the page builder itself, making it really simple to create such advanced websites.
Besides dynamic functionality, the theme builder function is one of the pro features that I frequently use with Elementor Pro.
You now have the ability to customize almost any part of your website, such as your single post templates, single page templates, single product templates, blog post templates, product archives, blog post archives and more, which you have to otherwise do so by custom PHP code.
There are many uses for the theme builder. It is very customizable. Here are some specific examples of what I can do:
With some some of my clients that require very specific functionality, I find that Elementor Pro is able to help me do the job with ease.
The free version of Elementor comes with basic CSS entrance and exit effects, which is good enough for most website owners, depending on their needs. In fact, I tend to go light on animations and effects especially for business websites, where practicality and ease of use have more priority.
However, if you are trying to create a highly interactive visual masterpiece, Elementor Pro is an awesome tool that will help you achieve that. You have access to more advanced effects such as mouse tracking, scroll effects and more, without the need for extra coding.
Ever seen a website where things fly across, comes in and out of focus and dazzles you with their interactive effects? Elementor Pro has the capability to help you create such websites with relative ease.
If you are a Pro user, you also have access to a custom CSS editor within the page builder itself. You no longer have to create custom stylesheets for the smallest of adjustments. Website building is much more efficient and enjoyable when everything can be done in just one single tool. Pro widgets are also available for pro users, such as flip boxes, a contact form builder, countdown timers, custom sliders and more. This minimizes the need for additional third party plugins.
My favorite of them all is the ability to create custom sliders. Previously, I had to use additional plugins to create my custom sliders. With Elementor Pro I can create these sliders with ease and have full customization ability with the Elementor page builder itself.
As a bonus, Elementor Pro also comes with a basic popup builder tool too which you can use as a marketing tool to build an email list. It has several cool features like exit intent and other triggers. It is not the most advanced popup tool in the market, but it does the job. However, I do find myself using other popup tools most of the time though.
Here are other reasons that may also make Elementor Pro well worth it for you.
The Kits Library by Elementor is simply awesome! If you like your websites to have a modern feel with a designer's touch, you will not go wrong with this kit. The designs here have very fresh styling, with sophisticated design elements and beautiful color palettes. The subtle animations in some of their designs give it a very refined touch too.
Also, unlike section and page templates, these are pre-design templates for your entire site. If you ever piece together different pre-designed sections and pages for your website, you will find that you end up with a website that is not cohesive and consistent in design. Since the Kits Library provide you the template for your entire site, you can avoid this mess in just one quick import.
With Elementor Pro, you can build a website that rivals other websites built entirely from code (which are way more expensive to build due to the expertise required). This lowers your development costs, giving you a bigger profit margin.
Or, you can pass on the savings to your clients, putting yourself in a more competitive position.
Before Elementor Pro, we would build websites by finding a theme that has the closest functionality to what the website requires. We usually find the functions we need across several themes. However, just can't seem to find the perfect theme that does it all.
The beauty of Elementor Pro is that it lets you build your own functionality with the theme builder, so you never have to settle for a rigid theme again.
Elementor Pro is generally suited for more complex websites that require more functionality. A website running the free version of Elementor could even move over to Elementor Pro if an "upgrade" is needed. Here are a few scenarios where Elementor Pro is likely to fit you well.
If you update content regularly on your website, then it makes sense for you to have Elementor Pro to help you display your latest content to the most important places, such as your homepage.
Examples of where Elementor Pro works well are listing and directory websites. Once example would be a music school where you want to display a list of music teachers.
If the goal of your website is to impress your viewers with interactive visuals, Elementor Pro is a great tool for this. They have plenty of advanced animations and effects that adds magic to your website.
Majority of the WordPress website that I have created requires some form of custom coding to the CSS or theme files. There's no one perfect tool that does all. However, Elementor Pro makes it really easy to achieve lots of these requirements without the need for any code.
Whether it's modifications to my WooCommerce cart page, or my blog archive pages, I am able to do it with ease using Elementor Pro.
Elementor Pro is a powerful tool, and it's really not required or even meant for basic websites. Here's where Elementor Pro is not needed.
If you are a beginner to website building, chances are you will not be building a dynamic website as your first website. There are many other web design techniques you should learn and master before moving on to learning and creating dynamic websites.
If you are only creating a simple website for a business, you will likely not utilize the additional functionality that comes with Elementor Pro.
Some websites are just created to display business information, like your location, opening hours, services, etc. These are information that hardly changes. The free version of Elementor is all you need to create such websites.
Here's Elementor Pro's pricing at the time of writing. Do check back on their pricing page to ensure the most updated prices.
With their price of $49 per year for a single site, it's not just a good deal, but an amazing deal, considering the amount of third party plugins that you not only have to obtain / purchase, but maintain and ensure their cross-compatibility everytime you run your updates.
But the real value is where Elementor Pro can easily save you thousands of dollars on custom coding. You can create functionality only imaginable in a fully custom theme created from scratch by a theme developer, built specially for you.
Remember Elementor Pro is not just about their premium widgets (which I really love too), but the ability to transform your website into a custom one that feels like it was designed from scratch by a programmer.
As much as I love Elementor Pro and use it myself, I find that there are certain areas that are lacking. There are, however, other plugins to fill in the gap. Here's some pros and cons to give you a quick rundown on Elementor Pro again.
Elementor Pro has lots more features and functions that I have not mentioned in this article. What I have discussed so far are they ways Elementor Pro has impacted the way I build websites the most significantly.
I'm sure you'll be able to find more uses of Elementor Pro, and find out what's important when you try it out on your own.
Ultimately, I feel that Elementor Pro is very worth it if you have the proper usage for it. It will help you to cut down on many other third party plugins, and even do things that only can be done through custom coding.
I no longer recommend custom PHP coding as the default approach for my own clients' websites. Instead I work on their requirements with Elementor Pro so that I can complete the website much faster and at a cheaper price point, as I no longer have to pair up with a programmer to create basically the same website.
Check out Elementor Pro here.
Modern web design trends have focused on responsive web design. To put it simply, responsive design is the practice of designing web sites in a way that makes the site look good on whatever device is being used.
This might mean that the layout, features, content and media of a site looks different on a mobile phone than it does on a tablet or a desktop computer, but the site should still be usable and responsive to the device being used.
Increasingly, sites are being created that are responsive to the screen size of the device being used to view them. These are known as Responsive Web Design or RWD sites.
The term 'responsive web design' is also used to describe a design approach that adapts the presentation of a website to the device or platform being used to view it, usually on the fly and without requiring the user to refresh the page or click a link. For example, if you’re viewing a website on a mobile device, your browser will probably detect that the page is being displayed on a mobile device, and automatically render it using a mobile-specific style sheet.
This gives you a less cluttered view of the page while still showing you all the content, without having it being cut off or otherwise look and feel bad.
I've written an entire blog post about this topic about why responsive design is important. In short:
Over the years, responsive web design has evolved into an intuitive approach. How we design responsive websites today is very different from how we do it in the past. Let me explain how this is done in the past, and now.
Previously, websites were designed based on fixed pixel sizes. This was done with the desktop user in mind, since they were the majority share of web traffic back then.
When mobile usage started to rise, web developers started to cater to this group, by creating a mobile version of the same site, usually with highly stripped down features. The mobile version will then only be served to the visitor if it's detected that the visitor is on a mobile device.
This meant that there were actually two deployments of the site, the main site and the mobile version. And if your website does not have a mobile version, it is a big pain trying to use it.
During this period, mobile users were still relatively low in percentage, simply because the experience of surfing the web on a mobile device was not great.
However today, with almost everyone owning a powerful smartphone, mobile web surfing is a whole new ballgame. And developers started to realise that were many disadvantages or creating a mobile version of a site, which I will be going through later.
Today, responsive web design heavily relies on CSS, a style sheet language, to make the very same website responsive to all devices based on a fluid layout.
The web designer needs to understand that it is important to design websites with responsiveness in mind, and not be fixated on a single screen size, especially with so many devices and variations on the market today.
With this method, there is only a single deployment of the site, which brings about so much more benefits as compared to how it was previously done back then.
Modern responsive design comes with so many more benefits over the outdated way of serving two different sites depending on the device. Let me list the benefits here.
The first advantage is that you only need to keep one site updated. This dramatically saves you time and eliminates a lot of the hassle of maintaining two different sites that serve the same content.
Apart from content updates, performing regular plugin updates is also critical in a security standpoint. Having one version of a website with a responsive layout means that you only need to go through the hassle once.
By having two different sites, you are diluting your SEO efforts, simply because search engines treat them both as different sites. This not only causes duplicate content (which Google does not like), your backlinks to your site that you worked so hard for, will also be split into either one of the two sites.
Furthermore, it is really difficult to choose which version you want as your main site, as web traffic is so spread out from different devices these days, which just causes more confusion on where to direct your SEO efforts to.
With the old method, you have only two versions of the site, desktop and mobile. This means that other devices that fall between may not be able to load an ideal layout on their screen. This could lead to content cutoffs, or unoptimized font sizes.
With alternative devices today such as tablets and oversized smartphones, our website needs to cater to much more than just desktop or mobile. We need to take a more fluid approach to responsive web design that is able to load perfectly on any screen size, for both the desktop and mobile user.
Designing responsive websites requires a good grasp of CSS and how we use it to create fluid layouts.
How does responsive web design work? For a comprehensive guide, make sure to visit this guide from W3Schools. Here are some of the most important concepts for responsive website design.
Design used to be based on a fixed grid of 960 pixels, divided into 12 or 16 columns. Then it became adaptive with different pixel sizes at different screen sizes. Now we typically use a fluid grid, also known as a flexible grid, which are based on percentages instead.
In fluid grids, we do not think in pixels anymore, rather we think of the entire grid being divided into manageable columns. With knowledge of CSS, we can then stack these columns up according to how we want it to, which is generally more focused horizontally on desktop views, and vertically on mobile views.
As the screen size of the browser window changes, the columns themselves also change in a fluid manner. Inside these columns, our content and elements will be adjusted in relative to the parent container.
Images and media should be sized in relative units rather than in absolute dimensions such as in pixels. This ensures that your images and media displays how you want it to be no matter the screen size. You will also not have to worry about images being too small on desktop or too large till it gets cut off on mobile.
Here is a great video by Google Chrome Developers on how you should be managing responsive images.
Another approach to responsive web design is to use media queries to give you a more fine-tuned process to display your website contents. Media queries are also often used in conjunction with the fluid grid system for a well-covered responsive website. It can also be used by itself as a more adaptive design approach.
Media queries help you to set certain CSS properties and layouts depending on the size of the screen, and we use a breakpoint to determine the screen size the visitor is on. We can also use as many breakpoints as we want, giving extreme flexibility to our website layout.
On my homepage, you can see that I have an obvious breakpoint for the mobile view. My layout has been designed to be generally more vertical-focused, while still keeping with the design flow. I've also dropped some graphics elements that I felt was not necessary in the mobile view.
Relative units ensure that our content is displayed at an appropriate size, whether you are browsing on a smaller or larger device with higher screen resolution.
Take font size for example. Using relative units such as 'em' or 'rem' instead of absolute pixel sizes, we can make sure our font sizes are displayed in relative to the parent element's font size, or the root element's font size.
With media queries, you can still specify absolute units depending on the screen size. So ultimately, this is a very flexible approach that each designer can choose to take.
This is a question many web developers ask themselves before commencing on the project. I personally do not think that there's a right or wrong answer, but there are benefits from choosing one over the other.
Mobile first simply means that we start designing our website based on a narrower screen size like how we view on a mobile device. Whereas a desktop first approach just means that we start designing based on how we want the desktop version to look like first.
There is a slight benefit in terms of load speeds for whichever you choose to design on first. So if you choose to have a mobile first approach, your page will display faster on mobile or smaller devices, because your CSS and media queries will be loaded earlier.
However, all websites have different requirements, and some of them are just much easier to design with desktop first. This is especially if you or your client prioritizes a very specific desktop layout.
So I generally would not harp on too much on which approach is used, as both gets the job done and the end user experience is similar.
They both refer to two very different things. Mobile first indexing is just a search engine's way of choosing a mobile view of your website to base it's indexation on, rather than the desktop view which was traditionally done.
Mobile first design approach on the other hand is whether the web designer chooses to design a website for mobile view first, then optimize it for desktop.
Here are some useful tips I have when you are designing for a responsive website.
I've came across websites with zero screen padding on mobile view. This creates a very unprofessional look and may even display a lack of design sense. Too much padding is also another problem where your content will be squeezed into a narrow column, making it both difficult to read and making your website feel out of proportion.
I get that some owners want to impress their visitors with fancy animations and high quality graphics. This is totally fine, but I would suggest keeping that to the desktop view only. On mobile, everyone tends to be a little more fast paced, and it's important to get your visitors to your content with the least resistance possible.
A common mistake I see web designers do is that they optimize the site layouts for all kinds of devices from desktops to mobiles, but they skip out on on larger screens. Although not as common, some visitors may use an ultra large screen such as a 32in iMac. Depending on what kind of approach you use to align your elements, such as using floats, your website may just fall apart on these larger screens.
With a desktop, you have a cursor to hover over elements such as flip boxes. However on touchscreen devices like our mobiles phones, the :hover pseudo-class will no longer work. It is therefore important to make sure the experience on the desktop can match the one on mobile.
This happens usually on mobile devices where the content is larger than the screen. Depending on the relevant CSS overflow property, you website may require side scrolling (which provides a terrible user experience), or is entirely cut off (making it impossible for the user to see). Make sure to wrap your content properly and avoid this at all cost.
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In the past, websites were designed to be viewed on specific devices. However, in today’s world, users use a variety of devices to access their favorite websites. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of shoppers begin their shopping on a mobile device.
This means that it is crucial to your business’ success in 2021 and beyond to have a website that is optimized for all devices, especially mobile devices. Otherwise, you are missing out on a significant amount of potential customers.
In fact, as of 2021, over half of the online traffic is coming from mobile devices, and this is expected to continue to grow in 2022 and beyond.
As more and more people are using mobile devices to look for products, it is important for businesses to ensure they are mobile friendly and are not missing out on potential customers, by having responsive web designs.
Why is responsive web design important? Here are 7 reasons I would like to share with you today.
Google is aiming to make the mobile web more accessible to consumers, by prioritizing mobile-friendly websites in their search results. Since 2019, mobile first indexing has been Google's default indexation method for new websites. If your website is not responsive today, it could mean that your customers may not even find you on Google.
Having a website that is responsive or adaptive will help you rank highly for search terms. This will increase user engagement and traffic to your site as you'll be able to rank for those terms that people are searching for in such a way that they find what they're looking for immediately.
This is no surprise that lot of SEO professionals recommend using mobile responsive web design for all websites, as responsive website design plays a part in today's SEO and search engine algorithm, and is one of the few ranking factors of Google since 2015.
Not only are there more mobile devices than computers in the world, but more of them have fast internet connections than ever before. Based on this market research, mobile users have been the majority share of traffic since 2017.
This means that the traditional way of designing websites for just the computer screen is a very outdated approach. It is already time for us to pivot to a mobile-first approach to web design.
Now you know that mobile users make up the majority share of traffic, you should be making sure every page on your website is fully responsive for all devices. Mobile users need to have the same experience as a desktop user, even if they have a smaller screen size.
They should only need to scroll down the page, and not have to pinch and zoom, and scroll sideways. This will prevent customers from getting disappointed by the difference in screens, which helps to maintain or improve your bounce rates on all screen sizes.
If your website is not responsive, customers are unlikely to take the effort to go through your content if it does not display well on your screen. For example, if your text is too small, your viewers will have a hard time reading your content.
Today, most users will simply leave your page, knowing that they can find content elsewhere. In fact if you do not implement responsive design in your website, viewers will have the impression that it's out of date or even broken. If you are running a lead generation campaign or generating sales online, you will have a hard time convincing the customer to submit any of their personal details on a website that is not functioning properly in their eyes, and it leads to poor conversion rates.
You need to understand that unresponsive websites are a huge conversion killer, and have no place in today's website standards.
When you are using a desktop, you have a larger screen and you are usually on stable wifi or ethernet. Depending on the type of industry you are in, a good web designer will make use of this opportunity to integrate eye-catching features such as animations, high resolution graphics and interactive elements to display on higher screen resolutions.
However on mobile devices, most users will appreciate websites that omit all these features, simply to have a better user experience such as faster load speeds, less data usage and getting to the content quickly. Most of the time, mobile users just want to reach your content as fast as possible. So by selectively removing certain design elements depending on their device type, you will be improving the user experience. This is an important technique for responsive design.
Imagine running expensive marketing campaigns such as SEO and paid ads, only for viewers to immediately leave your site and find a competitor instead, just because your content does not fit well on their screen. You are in fact providing free marketing to your competitors.
A frustrated user will always remember the experience he or she had when they were on your website. It is not a good impression, and that's where a well planned responsive website comes in to serve customers no matter the device they are on. Do a search on Google and see how many of your competitor's sites implement responsive design, and you will have an idea of where your website stands.
Nowadays, the e-commerce customer journey usually begins on mobile. People are reading personal emails and newsletters on mobile apps. These promotional campaigns will usually have a call to action that leads users to their e-commerce site or a promotional landing page. If everything runs seamlessly, you should be able to see high conversion rates.
But, if your site does not display well on their mobile devices, it is a huge obstacle for the user to move to their desktop to continue the journey, which ultimately defeats the purpose of the well thought out marketing campaign. Therefore all kinds of websites, including e-commerce websites, need to implement responsive web design.
Well the first thing is to simply load your website on your mobile device and make sure you to do an actual user test. Your goal here is to focus on responsive web design. Here are some key points to look out for:
This is a crucial test because it involves Google, and we rely heavily on them for our SEO. This is more of a technical tip than a design tip, and is a tool for you to check if your website's mobile version is considered mobile-friendly according to Google's eyes.
Plug in the URL of the page you want to test from your website, and the app will analyze it usually under 1 minute, and give you the results immediately. It is important that you pass this test on all your pages, so that you will have a better chance of ranking on the search engines.
What you want to see: Page is mobile friendly
What you don't want to see: Page is not mobile friendly
In order to check if your website is responsive on all devices, does it mean that you have to own all of these devices? Of course not. There are ways to simulate browser testing with free or paid platforms. A great free tool that I use to check my sites for responsive design in my initial testing is Chrome Developer Tools.
If you would like a more accurate simulation, you can also use this responsive tool from BrowserStack, where you can load your URL and test your website interactively on over 2000+ browsers and devices.
So I have outlined why responsive web design is important. It allows for better SEO rankings, increase conversion rates, lead generation and sales opportunities. I hope this blog post has been informative in deciding whether to update your website or redo it with a responsive layout. Enquire about our responsive web design service for a great starting point.