Updated December 30, 2022Reading Time: 5 minutes
The Rise of Sliding Page Builders
It’s safe to say that a lot has changed in the world of WordPress page builders and web development in general over the last few years. Whether you’re weighing your options with a Divi Themes or WordPress page builder plugin, you’re not without your lack of options. You’ll learn what to look for and what to avoid to make the best decision for your website goals.
Some Technical Skill Still Required
One of the more important things to understand is that drag-and-drop builders don’t eliminate the need for WordPress skill and coding knowledge. Yes, it can make it easier to create page templates. Yes, it can be faster to create beautiful pages by dropping in desired elements. However, it doesn’t eliminate the need for some coding knowledge. Sometimes you need to delve into CSS or other files to guarantee consistency across your website for things like subheading hierarchy, font colors and sizes, form formats and tracking, hero image sizes, call-to-action-buttons, etc.
Comparing Gutenberg vs. Elementor
There are numerous page builders that are compatible with WordPress. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on two of the most popular options — Gutenberg and Elementor. In our website work, we’ve seen the mayhem that other Divi themes or customized page builders have unnecessarily caused.
While Gutenberg and Elementor page builders may seem similar on the surface, there are key differences. Each one has its unique advantages that are worth exploring.
When it comes to Elementor vs Gutenberg, both offer an easy user experience. As a WordPress plugin, WordPress Gutenberg page builder is essentially a backend editor. It works naturally with the entire WP ecosystem and a wide range of different themes. That’s a major plus, as the code is designed for integration with most things related to WordPress.
On the other hand, the Elementor plugin for WordPress isn’t really a WordPress plugin at all. It’s like a powerful companion tool that sits on top of WordPress. It too offers front-end editing features along with many other functions. Because of its complexity, the interface may not be particularly intuitive, so be prepared for a learning curve. It’s worth the effort, especially for websites that need a library of templates to ensure a consistent user experience across a site.
2. Builder Blocks
Gutenberg has movable blocks (individual elements that can “build” a page) that work well with many themes and plugins. The interface lets you easily add and rearrange blocks like headers, paragraphs, lists, images, galleries, and quotes. It does have a larger library containing additional block patterns and reusable blocks (standardized block templates).
Similarly, Elementor has blocks you can add to build a page. You don’t need coding experience as the builder is largely self-contained. Elementor has an extensive library of add-ons to choose from depending on what you need. Some add ons may require a subscription or purchase. As a builder, Elementor does not need other themes or plugins to build pages or posts, so it’s a bit more flexible than Gutenberg.
3.Technical SEO IssuesWhen testing load times, Gutenberg usually beats Elementor, most likely due to the code’s simplicity. Elementor’s extra features add more to your website’s file size. Site speed is an SEO factor but more importantly, it affects user experience. Click To Tweet
When testing load times, Gutenberg usually beats Elementor, most likely due to the code’s simplicity. Elementor’s extra features add more to your website’s file size. Site speed is an SEO factor but more importantly, it affects user experience. Visitors are impatient and they expect pages to download quickly and easily. That’s our biggest gripe with any type of page builder. To combat sluggish load times we recommend caching, image compression (keep the quality, reduce the file size), and other speed optimization tactics.
If you’re using advanced SEO techniques like Schema, we’ve found that Gutenberg is slightly easier to add schema markup. That said, schema markup also works on any type of website and a site that uses Elementor is no exception. Schema markup, especially for products, can work with standardized page templates created in Elementor.
Either page builder can work with an optimization plugin like Yoast SEO, RankMath, and others. Yoast is probably the most well-known as it offers both free and paid versions.
Now let’s talk about cost. Gutenberg is completely free. It’s built into WordPress itself. As such, you’ll need to rely on free support channels if anything goes wrong. You will need to pay extra for premium themes and specialty page builder blocks.
Since we use Elementor across multiple sites, we use the Elementor Pro. There is a WordPress version that begins at $99.00 per year. Elementor includes hosting in the cloud via Google with CDN distributed servers worldwide, live editing, widgets, animations, responsive design capabilities, and more. That’s a lot of value for $99/year.
The Bigger Picture of Managing Your Website
As you’re deciding between Elementor and Gutenberg, let’s look at the bigger picture as it relates to ongoing website management (adding content like new products, blog articles, updating images). to look at when it comes to utilizing page builders on your website. That includes:
- Training. Whichever page builder you use, be prepared to invest in overall training and upkeep. Like anything web related, there are updates and routine maintenance required to keep the software current. As new features are added, your webmaster may need time to learn how these changes affect your website’s unique plugin/theme ecosystem.
- Templates and UX. Your website is balancing how you present your brand and ensuring that the user experience as they navigate through the site is a positive one. In addition to having (and using a brand guide), be strategic in the use of page templates, content block templates (e.g., content that are consistently used across product or services pages), forms and buttons. Spending time on templates will avoid a site that feels like a patchwork quilt of various design elements that don’t quite work together.
- Dev Sites. Testing on a live site isn’t recommended. You don’t want to inadvertently break a functionality or worse crash the site. A development site is a safe environment to develop new templates, test features, and show design options in an interactive way. Sometimes WordPress just plugins don’t play nicely together and you have to troubleshoot errors.
Page Builder FAQs
Gutenberg is built-in with WordPress. You can disable the plugin if you choose to use Elementor instead.
Yes, Yoast is fully compatible with both Elementor & Gutenberg.
Gutenberg is a plugin that comes as a default editor in WordPress 5.0. For older versions, you will need to add them. Once it’s activated, you’ll automatically see it as your website’s default editor.
For webmasters using Divi, you can use the Divi Builder inside Gutenberg. It allows you to add Divi modules or even add Divi layouts. Divi builder code can be even heavier than Elementor or Gutenberg, so be prepared to use techniques to improve site speed and other performance issues.
Ready to Build Your Page?
Have additional questions about Elementor or WordPress’ Gutenberg or want to talk about your website design needs? Reach out now to get started.
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