Elementor Plugin & Hello Theme Review
Elementor is far more than a theme or a simple plugin. During our Elementor plugin review we found it as a powerful WordPress website builder that it is deeply integrated in WordPress.
Starting with Elementor
Since Elementor is a WordPress plugin, there is the prerequisite of having a WordPress instance. You could install a WordPress instance within a traditional hosting plan. Alternatively, you could buy a WordPress as a service plan. In case you buy a WP as a service plan, make sure that it supports the Elementor plugin. Once, you have your WordPress installed you will need to install the Elementor plugin in the plugins area. If you have bought also the paid/pro version, you will need to install this one also.
Then, you need a theme. You could use a default WordPress theme or any other theme optimized to work with Elementor. There is also the option to use Elementor Hello theme. This is by design optimized to work with Elementor. The Hello theme was made for Elementor and it is much lighter and with less bloatware.
After installing and activating the plugins and the theme, you will need to learn how Elementor works. We recommend reviewing the official getting started tutorials and videos. These provide essential insights on the initial configuration steps and on how to start building you website.
The main differences between Elementor Free and Elementor Pro
In the Pro version users have access to the Theme Builder, Popup Builder and Form Builder. Also, only paid version users have features related to custom code, custom attributed and custom CSS. Another powerful feature which is available just in the Pro version is the role management. This is extremely helpful in case you have multiple roles on your website. In this case you might want to restrict the access to specific editing functionalities for some of your users. Thus, this feature could prevent users to break your designs. This is done with a better separation of content from the actual design of your pages and posts.
Easy to use editing experience
When you create a page or a post you could decide to edit it with Elementor. Thus, you will enter an Elementor edit mode for the corresponding post or page. In this editing view you will have access to a lot of editing components and widgets in the right sidebar. You can create your own design and layouts by simply dragging these elements on your page.
For example, you could drag a posts element to create a post listing anywhere on your page. Once added, you will be able to configure this post listing as you want. Next, you could decide if you want 1,2 or 3 columns. Then you can specify how many posts should be listed. You can customize even the pagination. Or, you could activate a masonry rendering for your post list.
Connecting post lists widget to real data
In the “query” configuration area you will be able to specify your dataset. Decide what posts should be listed. Then select the wanted filters. Here you could specify if you want all the posts from one or more categories. Or, how they should be ordered. Then, there are powerful style configuration controls. Here you can tweak the look of your post listing. We loved how easy it was to change the style of each post. With a few clock you can change the appearance of its thumbnail image or content.
At the date of this Elementor plugin review, some of the editing components & widgets were available only in the pro version. The posts, portfolio and gallery elements can be found only in the paid version. Still, the free version provides many basic elements for you. You can use these to experience the editing experience and to create your own impression about it.
Right-click contextual menu is another handy feature. When editing a page, you could right click on a specific element. Then its contextual menu will appear. The shortcut options from the menu will allow you to easily copy an element or its styling.
Predefined design blocks, layouts and templates
Another key feature of Elementor are its predefined content structures. These are predefined page templates, landing page templates, block templates, popup templates, website templates and many other. If you need inspiration you will find these quite useful.
Build responsive websites
During editing you can view your page on multiple viewports. This can be done by activating the responsive mode. Here you will be able to switch easily between desktop, tablet and mobile view. Thus, you will notice easily any rendering issue. Then you could fix these on spot.
Manage overall website settings and templates
There are multiple ways in which Elementor facilitates managing global settings. One way is by editing the global site settings in the sidebar. Here you will be able to specify global colors, global fonts and many other themes style settings (typography, header, footer, et cetera).
Then there is the theme builder functionality. The theme builder will allow you to tweak your Hello theme directly in WordPress. Here you will be able to create multiple headers or footers. Or you could create specific designs for a single post, a single page or a category archive page. You could even create your own custom Error 404 page here.
Perhaps the most powerful feature of Elementor it is its templating engine. You can create templates form scratch or by using predefined examples. And these templates could be applied to a post, to a page, to a category listing, et cetera. By reusing your Elementor templates across your website you could make changes easier later.
A large portfolio of integrations
The plugin also has many ecommerce features such as predefined ecommerce designs and a WooCommerce builder. Pro users will be able to customize the card layout, the checkout look and feel, or specific product pages.
There is the support for many integrations such as MailChimp, Active Campaign, HubSpot, Zappier, Facebook SDK, Font Awesome Pro, Google Maps APIs, YouTube and Vimeo videos. Most of these integrations are available only in the Pro version.