Scott Voelker’s 19 Year Journey From Home Builder to Amazing Seller to Online Business Builder

Scott Voelker’s 19 Year Journey From Home Builder to Amazing Seller to Online Business Builder

Scott Voelker may be a new grandparent but has the energy of a teenager. This year marks his 19th year being self-employed, and although he is slowing down to focus more on family, his workload at Brand Creators is still more than most will tackle in a lifetime.  Running the Rock Your Brand Podcast is his primary focus with nearly 900 episodes and 16 million podcast downloads, but that’s just the start.  Last year Scott checked a few things off his to-do list:
  • Wrote the book Take Action Effect.
  • Ran a high-level mastermind (10 people at $25,000 to join).
  • Completed a $200k home renovation for an Airbnb rental. 
  • Managed his podcast 175k-350k monthly downloads.
  • Created online courses for Brand Creators.
  • Hosted a live event with over 250 people in attendance. (pre-Covid)
  • Completed a handful of exciting case studies. 
  • Sold a business which all together netted just at 7 figures.
In his early days, Scott would see others being successful with a project or business and think, “I can do that, I can do better”, and next thing you know he would be building something new.  For those that know Scott best, this doesn’t come as a surprise. Even before Scott was building a business, he was building homes in the construction industry. Scott loves to create new things.  Scott has been in both the online world and physical brick and mortar businesses. He previously ran a photography studio for 5 years. It’s these types of experiences that have made him incredible at building brands. 

Watch the Entire Interview

Scott’s Philosophy on Building Brands

Interestingly Scott has been able to boil down two things that are the same for every brand.  Whether it’s building an Amazon FBA business, launching a live event, selling courses, brick and mortar stores or niche websites, Scott says one thing is always consistent. 
Traffic + Offers is the core of any business.
You have to have an audience to sell to (traffic) and something to sell (offers) that makes a profit. 

Scott’s Key Strategies on Building Brands

While this is a bit simplified, Scott dove a little deeper into business strategies that he used to build the business that netted him 7 figures in the three and half years building the company he recently sold.  This particular business he grew with a business partner.  While it started off as an Amazon FBA business, they also built an authority site in the space that really enhanced the overall business.
  1. Grow your email list.

    This is a traffic channel you can control. It’s also efficient and cost-effective. Running contests and landing pages with lead magnets was Scott’s go-to strategy in growing an email list for their authority site. With the contests, he was finding he could run a Facebook ad and generate email subscribers at .15-.18 cents per subscriber. The lead magnets would be closer to .70 cents per conversion, but he found subscribers’ quality to be much greater. The tool he uses for the contests is Giveaway Boost, a WordPress plugin. He actually partnered with Chris Guthrie a mutual friend of ours to build this tool. Check out Giveaway Boost for yourself!
  2. Don’t Disregard Ad Monetization

    For the longest time, Scott was convinced that adding ads to your website wasn’t worth it. He felt it diluted the value of the site and distracted from the main goals of the site. In his case the goal was to sell products on Amazon not earn revenue through selling ads. This all changed after talking with someone who was having success with ads. Scott decided to give it a try, and his only regret was that he didn’t start sooner. Using premium ad platforms (like Mediavine and Adthrive), he was sometimes generating nearly $6k a month in display ad revenue. The Amazon products were still the primary money maker, but the extra income far outweighed the negatives of adding ads to his site.
  3. Diversity Monetization

    Similar to how he diversified the advertising fees. Scott recommends repurposing content for additional revenue. For example, after doing Facebook live events, he would upload the video content to YouTube. After a while, the YouTube channel started making a couple of hundred dollars a month for little extra work. Another monetization strategy was to include a call to action for a paid product after converting someone from a Facebook Advertising campaign. The primary goal is to capture the email subscriber, but if you can upsell them on the back end to offset the ad costs, it makes running ads a game-changer.
  4. Consistency is required

    When Scott signs up in his own head to do something, he’s going to do it. Scott says consistency has done him well. The fact he has 900 podcast episodes is a testament Scott can be consistent. Scott’s giving credit to consistency reminds me a lot of what Nathan Barry from ConvertKit said in one of our last podcast episodes, it’s evident that consistency is a critical factor in any brand. 
What I love about these strategies is that it doesn’t matter what business you are in. They work. The products they sold in this business were accessories to household items—for example, an accessory to a Kirby vacuum or other appliances. 

Selling the Business

After three and half years and the decision to simplify a bit, Scott and his partner in this Amazon FBA business decided to sell.  Scott and his partner choose Quiet Light Brokerage to sell. Before they sold, they met with their team and were sure to prepare themselves early. They started to get their financials in line with a third party accountant and prepare the business for the sale.  Their preparation paid off. When listing the business, 6 offers came almost immediately. They choose one of the highest bidders, but unfortunately, Covid hit. 
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The benefits of taking the extra time to prepare financials allowed the buyer to leverage the SBA lending options. When Covid hit, finding a bank open to complete the deal delayed things. Eventually, after about a month, the buyer backed out.  They went back to the drawing board and eventually sold the business to a very capable, if not better, buyer.

Getting Back to Creating a Lifestyle Business with Brand Creators

Selling the business was a significant component of simplifying and getting back to creating a lifestyle business for Scott.  Scott knew he was pushing the limits with so much going on. Even with the sale of the business, Scott made an important decision. He was no longer going to compare himself to others. He would instead look at what he wanted. Pick his own numbers to challenge himself with, understand those numbers, and get real with it.  The first step was the rebrand of his podcast from “The Amazing Seller” to “Rock Your Brand”. 

Rebranding Amazing Seller to Rock Your Brand Podcast

In business, it’s not uncommon to take on the identity of your business brand.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been referred to as the “Niche Pursuits guy” Scott found he was known as being the “Amazon Seller Guy”. He wanted to expand to other things than just the Amazon sales.  No, he’s not saying goodbye to Amazon, but Amazon is simply a tool. The rebrand allowed Scott to focus on what he was truly great at, building brands.  The rebranding also allowed him to stay true to himself and the lifestyle business he wanted. The Rock Your Brand podcast allowed him to not just talk about Amazon selling, but all things business. Not only could he have unique guests on his show, but he could talk about health, fitness, or even business mindsets, things that are often highly needed and neglected for entrepreneurs.  But the broader niche didn’t solve all his problems. In fact, this required him to focus more. He scaled back even more by stopping the sale of his courses, slowing down on case studies, deciding to put his focus in just a few areas. 

Scott’s New Focus

  1. Brand Creators Academy
  2. Brand Accelerator Live Event (once per year)
  3. Little Workshops 3-hour lessons he can tackle on a Saturday and turn into evergreen content.
  4. Podcasting 3 times a week.
Scott and I go way back, and I’m excited to see him put his focus into these areas. He’s built himself a great funnel and will hopefully be able to spend a lot more time being grandpa “Papa” Scott.  One of the things Scott and I connect the most with is our attention to the family. Many people say that family comes first, but with Scott, you know he means it. From his father as his mentor to how he makes his kid’s events a priority. Even with taking on so much, it’s evident his family truly comes first.  You can read more about Scott, his family, podcast, and brand creators academy at BrandCreators.com
Elementor Page Builder Review & Tutorial 2021

Elementor Page Builder Review & Tutorial 2021

PROS

  • Core product is 100% free
  • Great user interface
  • Global widgets are awesome
  • Open source
  • Active Facebook group
  • Extreme customisation
  • Regular updates

CONS

  • Forced styling by default
  • Global vs static templates can be confusing
  • Lacking some marketing-oriented features
  • Less page templates than some competitors

What Is Elementor?

I remember when I first heard about Elementor.

From the context, I couldn’t really tell what it was.

And weirdly, all I could think of was the Dementors from Harry Potter.

Dementors Harry Potter

After binging on all eight movies that weekend, it wasn’t long before I noticed more and more people talking about it.

Elementor this. Elementor that.

Now I really had to find out what it was. And this time, I wasn’t going to let my imagination get the better of me.

So I blasted open a new tab, shimmied over to Google and punched in the word “Elementor”.

To my disappointment, I realized it was just ANOTHER WordPress page builder.

It didn’t make sense.

How could everyone be so excited about a WordPress page builder? I mean, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

Could it really be worth the hype?

Our Elementor Review

Elementor User InterfaceElementor User Interface

Elementor isn’t the new kid on the block anymore. It’s a fully fleshed, constantly evolving website builder, with a lot of aces up its sleeve.

Despite stiff competition, it has quickly become one of the most popular, visual page builders for WordPress, and it continues to grow at a rapid pace.

Since it’s release in mid-2016, Elementor has had over 5 million installs and an impressive 4.8 star rating on WordPress.org.

People clearly love it — but is this just the latest fad, or is Elementor truly the ultimate page builder for WordPress?

Let’s find out in our Elementor review.

The Good, Bad, And The Ugly

For this review, I fired up Elementor to see how well this page builder fares in comparison to popular alternatives.

From here on out, I’ll share my experiences using this tool, as well as what I liked and didn’t like along the way.

Let’s do this.

Installing Elementor

There’s nothing worse (well almost nothing) than wanting to test a new WordPress page builder and running into technical issues when you’re trying to install it.

Adding Elementor to your WordPress install is as easy as adding any other good plugin:

Elementor Plugin Installation

If you’re lucky enough to own the Pro version, installation here is also easy peasy. Just download your installation ZIP file, upload it via the ‘Add Plugins’ screen and away you go.

This is a lot easier than the process certain WordPress page builders follow, including the one I had to upload via FTP.

If you’re not familiar with FTP, it’s what Fred Flintstone used to upload his page builder plugins.

N.B. Elementor Pro is an “add-on” for the free version of Elementor i.e. you need the free version installed for the Pro version to work.

The User Interface

Before we dive into the nitty gritty of the Elementor user interface, we want to give the developers props for an innovative addition – the Elementor Finder.

Elementor Finder

One of the biggest problems most folks have with page builders is that making a change to a page or section means a lot of clicking around, or having to manually exit to the WordPress dashboard.

This not only eats up a lot of time, but can be really, really frustrating too.

Never fear, Elementor Finder is here.

Press CTRL + E (or CMD + E on Macs) to bring up the ‘Finder’ search window:

Elementor Finder

You can also access Finder from the main Elementor menu:

Elementor finder in the main menu

Once you have Finder open simply type in what you’re looking for and it will show you a list of available options:

This provides you with an easy way to jump between different settings, pages, posts, pop-ups or sections.

But – and I’m really nitpicking here – it doesn’t allow you to “find” widgets.

Why Elementor? Why!

Anyhoo, apart from that I love this new feature.

Pro Tip

If you want a list of other shortcuts you can use within Elementor then use Ctrl + ? on Windows, or CMD + ? on Macs.

Elementor Shortcuts

The Elementor Side Panel

As with most page builders, the side panel makes up the bulk of the tools interface.

I think this format works well, especially for visual page builders, because it doesn’t take up too much space on the screen – which is obviously important in this case.

Elementor Side Panel

A nice touch is that you can also expand or contract the panel by dragging it.

I must admit, this is something I only realized after several hours of using the builder… *blush*

Contracting the panel gives you more space to work with and doesn’t sacrifice usability in any way.

Really handy.

I almost feel like they could have taken this further and have the element icons default to a list, allowing the panel to shrink even more.

Clicking the little arrow on the side panel slots it away completely, allowing you to preview the page.

Of course, you can’t edit the page in preview.

how does Elementor side panel work

This might seem like such a small thing, but the speed and simplicity of being able to preview like this was huge for me.

Pro Tip

You can also press ‘Cmd + P’ on a Mac, or ‘Ctrl + P’ on a PC to quickly slide the side panel in and out of view.

Pretty much everything the tool has to offer is done through this panel, so let me run you through it.

In the top left, you’ll find the page settings.

Elementor Side Panel settings

(Don’t worry, I’m going to pick this apart soon).

At the bottom, you have several more options:

Elementor Bottom Menu
  1. Settings
  2. Navigator
  3. Revision history (their version of ‘Undo’)
  4. Responsive mode (preview on desktop, tablet or mobile)
  5. Preview changes
  6. Ummm….saves or updates your changes

And finally, clicking the grid icon in the top right corner will take you back to the elements library:

Elementor Elements Library

As for adding different elements to your content, it’s just a case of dragging and dropping them from the library straight onto the page.

No complaints there. The Elementor page builder lives up to the hype so far.

Section Navigator

Another nice touch is the ‘Section Navigator’ feature. It’s a floating window that allows you to quickly jump between different sections of your layout.

You can also right click on any element from within the ‘Section Navigator’ and start editing it.

Elementor Section Navigator

Preview Changes

When you update your layout, it automatically updates in the Preview window.

Not having to manually refresh a second browser tab to check for changes to your layout is such a simple idea, but a huge time saver for designers and marketers.

I must admit, it did take a little while to get used to where everything is, but that’s only expected when switching from another page builder.

Overall, the initial user interface is clean and super easy to use.

Layout Options & Columns

Being able to create specific layouts is what page builders are all about.

So how does Elementor measure up?

To begin creating a layout, you’ll first want to ‘Add New Section’ from the content area.

Adding New Section in Elementor

(We’ll cover the template stuff later)

Clicking the purple ‘add new section’ button brings up a little layout option.

New Section Layout Options

At first, I didn’t think it made sense to have to go through this every time you add a new section, but simply dropping an element onto the page will default to a single column section anyway.

It’s being aware of these nuances that tend to speed things up with page builders.

So let’s say I want a 2 column section.

How to Add 2 Column Section in Elementor

Piece of cake.

And adding more columns to a section is also straightforward.

Just right click the column button for any element and you get the option to add an extra column.

how to add a new column in Elementor
3 column section in Elementor

And because columns are contained within sections, you can easily stack columns to create more complex layouts.

Elementor Columns Contained With Sections

Another useful feature is being able to create extra columns by dragging and dropping elements into place.

All you need to do is drag the element using the ‘column’ button, and you can squeeze it in virtually anywhere.

how to add an extra column in Elementor

So far so good. Using Elementor seems like a blast.

But what about adjusting the width?

Again, pretty straightforward.

Just hover over an element to reveal the border, then drag the side to increase/decrease width.

How to Adjust column width in Elementor

Finally, there’s is a ‘Inner Section’ element in the sidebar (which defaults to 2 columns) if you prefer to do it that way.

Inner Section element in Elementor

Overall, I found the layout options worked well and I can’t see any obvious areas where it falls short.

Editing & Forced Styling

Now, let’s go a bit deeper and talk about the editing / styling experience.

Earlier versions of Elementor had this annoying thing where you could only edit elements from within the side bar.

That’s now in the distant past.

And let me do a quick side note here – we’ll get back to your ordered Elementor review section in a bit.

I want to point out that Elementor is one of the best page builders specifically because of the constant updates. We’ll talk more about their most recent update throughout this piece, but let me give you an example:

The Elementor 3.0 update came packaged with a lot of performance improvements, since it was a big complaint from some customers in the past.

That’s what you get with Elementor.

Now back to modifying page elements.

Editing elements is now as easy as you’d expect from a page builder as popular as Elementor.

For example, text editing and styling can be performed either inline, or from the sidebar.

inline and sidebar text editing in Elementor

Why offer two ways to achieve the same goal?

Because people are creatures of habit. This way, the builder supports any workflow people are used to.

You can also access the ‘Style’ and ‘Advanced’ menus without having to leave the same tab.

Advanced style Formatting In elementor

From my point of view, I much prefer this approach to editing text because I can view my layout and text “live”.

Other elements – like images – can only be manipulated from within the sidebar, but that makes perfect sense because you can preview your changes as you make them.

Styling

Elementor also deserves additional praise for its text styling options.

It might seem like a trivial thing but I really appreciate the fact they give you so much control over how text elements work.

You’re not just given options for font size, bold, italic and underline.

Nope.

Elementor allows you to tweak things like letter spacing, line height, and even set a drop shadow for your text.

Elementor style settings

Okay, drop shadows are a bit 2002, but I still have a soft spot for them.

And then you need to nod in appreciation of the fact Elementor also includes text styling options in the form of ‘Blend’ modes like luminosity, lighten, darken, etc.

A free page builder that gives you this level of control over your typography is pretty much unheard of.

Gotta love it.

Forced Styling

But there were problems, like why were my headings blue?

Going into the ‘Settings’ menu, it became apparent that Elementor has its own styling options, completely ignoring the styling of my theme.

Forced Styling in Elementor

I’m still not sure why Elementor would force a color scheme on you by default.

Same goes for fonts. I like my fonts.

Don’t touch the fonts, okay?

Elementor took user feedback on board, so now you’re warned that your theme settings might be hijacked, and you can also switch off Elementor’s default colour schemes.

So, if you activate a theme that recognizes Elementor (Hestia for example), you’ll get this popup that allows you to stop Elementor overriding your theme’s settings.

Elementor default styles

And we can double check the ‘Settings’ menu to confirm this.

Neat!

disabled color palettes in Elementor

If you do run into a problem where Elementor has taken control of your default theme styling for fonts and colours,fear not – all is not lost!

Simply go into the ‘’Settings’ menu and choose ‘Discard’ for both colours and fonts.

Elementor global fonts

And you can go one step further.

From within the ‘Settings’ menu choose ‘Dashboard Settings’.

Dashboard Settings in Elementor

Now you’re just two mouse clicks away from stopping Elementor’s styling hijack dead in its tracks.

global Style Settings in Elementor

Oh the drama!

And look.

I don’t want to take anything away from Elementor here — it’s GREAT that you can even set different colors/fonts for individual pages — I’m just not overly keen on having these set as a default.

However, with Elementor’s most recent update (Elementor 3.0, released on the 30th of September 2020), they added even more styling options.

Global Design Options

In Elementor 3.0 you have access to a Global Design System.

Basically, this is a way to unite all of your pages under one styling umbrella, with features like global fonts, colors and a few other functionalities.

Global Design Options In Elementor

“Site Settings” is the dashboard you can use to find most of these options, and they’re a breath of fresh air for web designers using Elementor.

Elements / Widgets

So let’s talk about the actual elements (or widgets) within Elementor.

list of basic elements in Elementor

These are the little building blocks you use to piece your content together, and Elementor offers a generous library to choose from.

If you have the Pro version of Elementor, then you’ll also have access to these additional widgets:

Elementor Pro Elements

It’s also nice to see that Elementor supports standard WordPress widgets, as well as any third-party widgets you may have installed.

WordPress widgets in Elementor

Overall, it’s definitely not a bad selection but it’s far from complete.

Especially in comparison to some other WordPress page builders.

The Question is, what’s missing?

Well, it can sometimes be hard to know until the moment you need to perform a particular action.

For example, let’s say you’re putting a roundup review post together and you want to finish it off with a nice comparison table.

Guess what?

Elementor doesn’t have a table element.

Elementor Table Element Comment

For the moment, if you want a table you’ll have to install another plugin – like TablePress – and paste the shortcode into Elementor.

This isn’t a huge deal, but hopefully they include a built-in table widget in a future release.

You also have the option of installing the Ultimate Addons For Elementor plugin, which adds a table widget, and a ton of other cool features too. This isn’t a free plugin, but you get a lot of value for money here.

Now, speaking of value for money, Elementor just happens to be an open source page builder.

The first of its kind. The breaker of chains. The mother of Dragon…never mind.

Game of Thrones fan here.

Being open source means third party developers can create widgets, templates and blocks for sites built with Elementor, all resources that you can find for free, or for a fee, on the WordPress plugin market.

This presents any marketer with their own dev team/person with a business opportunity – developing addons for Elementor.

Elementor has an active community of over 61,000 members, so that’s a huge market for you to tap into.

How do you come up with ideas for an addon for Elementor?

Find something you don’t like about it, and have your dev create a solution to resolve that issue 🙂

Saving Time With Widgets

When creating a complex layout for a new site, it can be super useful to drop in a group of pre-styled elements.

For example, in Thrive Architect, I can quickly drop in a pre-styled, call-to-action element like this:

Thrive Architect pre-styles call to action element

Sure, the design itself is pretty basic but it’s more than enough for most people.

And, most importantly, it only took a second to drop onto the page.

In its early days, Elementor used to struggle with this. It didn’t feature the same amount of pre-made elements, and if we’re honest, it’s still not quite there yet.

When talking about resources or templates, Elementor can lag behind competitors like Thrive Architect or the Divi Builder.

But is it enough to compete with the likes of Thrive Architect? (Check out our Thrive architect vs Elementor comparison if you want to find out more.)

Yes, definitely. Elementor is a phenomenal choice, especially if you’re an experienced developer and web designer that wants more control over their workflow.

But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. We aim for a fair Elementor review, so do consider the fact that Divi has an incomparable amount of page templates, and Thrive Architect has features and widgets that are better suited for marketers.

It struggles to find its focus.

It can feel like it’s trying to cater to everyone.

But it’s getting better at this with each update.

Another potential solution for a perceived or actual lack of templates is to use something like the Envato Elements plugin.

You get hundreds of free template “kits” and blocks you can import directly into Elementor for later use.

Envanto Elementor Element

Do remember, however, that this can have an impact on your site’s backend. Mixing so many elements from a lot of plugins can make your site hard to load. So don’t overdo it.

That said, I do think Elementor covers the basics really well and if you don’t mind installing a handful of additional plugins, it does an excellent job at handling everything else.

Now let’s continue with our Elementor review.

Global Widgets

As you might expect from any page builder these days, Elementor allows you to create custom ‘widgets’ from your content elements.

(These are different from page templates, which we’ll cover soon.)

So let’s say I’m using an ‘icon box’, and I’ve styled it exactly how I like.

Icon Box Widget in Elementor

If I wanted to use it again the future, I can save this (now custom) element to my library.

All you have to do is right click the element, and then click ‘Save As Template’.

You’ll then be presented with a popup window.

Pop in a name, hit ‘Save’, and your custom element will be added to your library.

How To Save Widget As Template in Elementor
Global Elements in elementor

The element you saved will also have a yellow border to indicate that it’s a global widget.

At this point, you can use the global widget on any page (or even again, on the same page) by going to the global widget tab.

Elementor global widget list

Okay, so that’s how it works, but let’s get practical.

What if you want to make changes to your global widget?

Well, if you click the widget you’ll notice a few things in the left pane.

making changes to global widgets in Elementor

First of all, the global widget is locked.

That means you can’t edit it or make styling changes as you would with a regular element.

You can temporarily unlock the element by clicking the ‘Edit’ button, which will apply your changes to this global widget across ALL your pages.

So what if you want to make changes to the widget without applying those changes globally?

That’s where ‘unlinking’ comes in.

Elementor Global Widget Unlinking

Clicking this button will effectively convert your global widget into its normal, ‘elemental’ form.

You’ll notice the yellow border turns back to blue, and you can make changes as you normally would within Elementor.

Elementor Global Widget Editor

And what’s great about using global widgets with Elementor, is that they can be used virtually anywhere throughout your site.

If you no longer need a certain widget then they’re equally easy to remove.

Just head over to your WordPress dashboard, click ‘Templates’, ‘Saved Templates’ and then highlight whichever widget you want to send to your digital trash heap.

saved templates in Elementor

Shortcodes

Elementor shortcodes

Elementor shortcodes work on pages, regardless of whether or not they’ve been built with Elementor.

And there’s even a dedicated WordPress widget for them.

Elementor Library WordPress Widget

Using this, you can easily design “call to actions” within Elementor, and then have them display globally in your sidebar.

Here’s an example from Copyblogger.

Elementor Global Element In Sidebar On Copyblogger

Overall, Elementor handles global widgets really well.

In fact, it does it far better than some other “premium” page builders.

The shortcode feature makes it easy to mix plugin elements, widening your toolset and helping you personalize pages.

Section Templates

This kinda follows on from the ‘Global Widgets’ feature we just covered above, but ‘Sections’ do work a little differently.

So what exactly is a ‘Section Template’?

It’s basically a container, marrying individual elements in a given section to give you control over the group as a whole.

Example of Section Template in Elementor

To save myself having to recreate the same sections over and over again, I can simply save them as a ‘Section Template’.

save as template in Elementor

We’re saving the entire section because my call-to-action is made up of several individual elements.

So, I’ll just give it a name and hit ‘Save’.

Elementor Save Your Section To Library

Now I can essentially add that section to any page with a few clicks.

Cool.

But here’s where things got a little confusing.

Unlike global widgets, section templates don’t show up under the ‘Global’ tab.

global elements in Elementor

So where does Elementor keep them hidden?

There are two ways you can import sections, and, as I found out, they both behave very differently:

  1. The templates widget
  2. The Add Template button
how to find templates in Elementor

The ‘Add Template’ Button Method

  1. Click on the ‘Add Template” button from the main workspace.
  2. Click on the ‘My Templates’ tab
  3. Choose your template
  4. Click ‘Insert’
inserting saved templates in Elementor

You’ll now be presented with all the templates you’ve ever saved within Elementor, including ‘Section’ templates.

Click on ‘Insert’, and the section will appear on your page. Simple as that.

One quick note here is that if you can accidentally import the document settings of the template.

Or, in layman’s terms, you’ll accidentally import a lot of gunk that could (and probably will) mess up your layout.

But Elementor warns you about this in advance:

Impor Document Settings in Elementor

The neat thing about adding a section this way, is that you can immediately make changes to it before saving it again.

editing template in Elementor

It’s all pretty straightforward, with everything working as you might expect.

The ‘Template Widget’ Method

That brings me to our second option.

Strangely enough, this doesn’t work the same way as the ‘Add Template’ function.

This time, we’re going to insert the section template using the ‘Template widget’ from the side panel.

Template Widget in Elementor

As with any other Elementor widget, you first need to drag and drop it onto the page.

After that, it’ll ask you to select your saved template.

In this case, we’re looking for our saved section template.

Now here’s a random quirk – the template widget doesn’t show you a list of section templates until you actually type something into the search field:

Template Widget in Elementor

You have to “Enter 1 or more characters” for anything to show up here.

Template Widget Search in Elementor

That’s a pretty bizarre UX choice from a user’s point of view.

Obviously if you have hundreds of saved sections then this makes sense.

But even then, if you can’t remember what your saved section is called, you’d have to back out of Elementor, go to your Dashboard, and find the name of the saved section there under ‘Templates’.

The section template will load… but here’s where things get a little confusing.

This time, the section templates are treated as a single block, so making changes requires clicking the ‘Edit Template’ button.

Editing Template Block in Elementor

And once you do click on ‘Edit Template’, it opens the section in a separate editor in a new browser tab.

This is where you have to make the changes you want, and then save the template section.

Not only that, but any templates imported using the ‘template element’ are automatically regarded as “global”.

But — and this is a big BUT — unlike global widgets, these templates cannot be unlinked.

It took me a while to figure this out because Elementor didn’t give me any indication that these would treated differently.

Very confusing.

So here’s the bottom line:

If you want a static, unlinked section, you’ll need to use the ‘Add Template’ button.

Otherwise, use the template widget.

Page Templates

What’s a page builder without some full-page templates, eh?

Again, there are two ways to load a page page template within Elementor.

  1. From the ‘Add Template’ button in the main workspace
  2. From the ‘Template’ widget in the sidebar
adding templates in Elementor

Page templates suffer from the same issue as section templates – using the template widget leaves you with a single element that then needs to be edited in separate editor window to change anything.

So we’re going to bypass that as an option.

I’m sure the developers have a reason for handling templates this way, but it’s lost on me.

Elementor comes pre-loaded with a bunch of professionally designed templates, which you can use right away.

To check out the available templates click on the ‘Add Template’ button:

designed templates in Elementor

From there, click to preview an individual template, and if you like what you see, you can deploy it on your page by clicking ‘Insert’.

N.B. One thing I noticed when inserting a template was that if you have a ton of existing content on the page, it can take a while to load.

Once the template loads, you’ll probably find that it doesn’t look anything like the preview you saw.

inserting Elementor template

This happens because Elementor is restricted to the boundaries of your theme.

Basically, if your theme says “content goes here!”, that’s where content goes.

Elementor Content Area

So what next?

In order to properly utilize a full page template, you first need to have a full-width (or blank) page template for Elementor to work with.

A full-width template retains the header and footer of your theme, while a blank template is exactly that, blank.

There’s no right or wrong one to use, it just depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Now, I’m gonna be straight with you.

In the first draft of this review, I went on an epic rant about Elementor not having this functionality built-in, along with ways you can get around it.

Shortly after, guess what happened?

That’s right, they went and added it in.

And while it’s always fun deleting an entire section of your article, I was still pleased to see that we’re all on the same page. (No pun intended.)

To get to it click on the ‘Page Settings’ button and then look for the ‘Page Layout’ dropdown menu:

page settings in Elementor
page layout settings in Elementor

You can now choose between ‘Full-width’, ‘Elementor Canvas’, and any other templates included with your theme.

Note

The ‘Elementor Canvas’ option is just a blank template. For some reason, they decided to get fancy with the name 😛

So let’s try it again with the ‘Canvas’ option selected.

canvas option in Elementor

That’s more like it, Elementor!

Now, with the technical stuff out the way, what about the actual page templates?

Honestly, I was quite impressed with the designs.

They’re clean, professional and easy to work with.

In an earlier iteration of this review, I waxed lyrical about there being a good mixture of templates, but that they might become prone to overuse.

But that’s only if:

  1. You do very little to customize the template for your own use
  2. You never upgrade to Elementor Pro

Elementor does make the “mistake” of trying to be the perfect WordPress page builder for everyone on Earth.

Which means they’ll never be able to keep everyone happy, no matter how hard they try.

Templates Library in Elementor

If you depend on pre-built landing or sales pages, the Elementor Pro templates should have something to suit you

But If — like me — you’re happy to build landing pages yourself, you can simply save your own page templates to reuse again and again.

On a final note, you can import other people’s templates as well.

This site has a very respectable selection of page templates, popup templates and section blocks, with some tutorials throw in for good measure.

Even better – it won’t cost you a cent, although the site does accept donations 🙂

imported templates in Elementor

However, one more point before we continue with the Elementor review. While the page templates are great, and while for some people page templates don’t matter at all, Elementor started to lag behind its competition.

Thrive Architect is targeted towards marketers, so their landing page templates are more complex.

Divi just blows Elementor out of the park, handing over 2000 individual page templates at your disposal. More about that in our Divi vs Elementor showdown.

So if page templates are important to you, Elementor might not always be the best choice.

Responsiveness

Not unlike most page builders today, Elementor is responsive by default, so your design will automatically adapt to different screen sizes.

Elementor lives up to the market standard of page builders allowing users to live preview their site, on different device sizes, with the touch of a button.

And what surprised me even more was that you can make independent changes for each device.

To illustrate what I mean, I’ve got two headings here:

Headings in Elementor

If I switch over to the preview for ‘Mobile’, my headings look more or less the same.

Mobile preview in Elementor

But for arguments sake, let’s say I’m not happy with the spacing between them on mobile devices

This is really easy to fix in Elementor.

  1. Select the element you want to adjust
  2. Click on ‘Advanced’
  3. Add a margin for the element
  4. All done!
Editing Mobile Preview in Elementor

And here’s the real magic.

When I go back to my desktop preview, Elementor hasn’t applied the same changes to my desktop layout.

headings in Elementor

Seriously, how can you not love that?

If you’ve ever battled with responsive design, and struggled to make your content look good on any device, this is a real game changer.

Pro Tip

You can also press ‘Cmd + Shift + M’ on a Mac, or ‘Ctrl + Shift + M’ on a PC to cycle through the device previews.

But guys… it gets even better.

Not only can you control styling for different devices, but you can also hide the element completely.

responsive settings in Elementor

AND this isn’t limited to single elements, it also works with sections.

While this amount of control over your page is featured in other page builders as well, Elementor was the first to pull it off, and it’s still going strong with one of the easiest ways to do responsive editing.

Theme Builder

You know when you find a theme you really like, but you still need to tweak certain aspects of it to get it looking just right?

Especially the header or footer, because they never look quite how you want them to.

What if…there was some kind of tool that would allow you to build a custom headers, footers, and other layout elements?

And what if you could then deploy them across your entire site with a few clicks of a mouse?

Yes, yes, I’m building up to talking about Elementor Theme Builder.

So, how does it work?

As usual, Elementor keeps this nice and simple – you launch it from your WordPress dashboard:

Elementor Theme Builder

Then you simply click on ‘Add New’ and choose a template type and click on ‘Create Template’.

For the purpose of this review we’re going to create a new header.

creating header template type in Elementor

You can then choose to either create your own header from the ground up, or use one of the handy default header templates that you can then restyle to your liking.

header templates in Elementor

And with a few mouse clicks you can create a logo that looks and feels more like you.

edited header template in Elementor

Then all you need to do is click ‘Publish’ and use the ‘Add Condition’ function to tell Elementor where you want your new header deployed:

Hey presto – your new header is published to every page of your site.

You can follow the exact same process to create a snazzy new footer for your entire site.

And if you make a mistake you can always back up and change the ‘Display Conditions’ for the header.

So, now you can make any theme bend to your design will.

But it gets better. With the new update, Elementor 3.0, the Theme Builder gives you a ton more customization options by making the entire site available in one dashboard.

With the new Theme Builder, you can make advanced tweaks to:

  • Headers
  • Footers
  • Pages
  • Posts
  • Product pages
  • Error pages

And a lot more, according to what you need from it. It’s a big update for an already powerful tool, and the added control it gives to the regular user is noteworthy.

Definitely a plus in our Elementor review.

That’s pretty cool, Elementor. Nicely done.

Well we timed the update for this review quite nicely, because Elementor recently rolled out their popup builder.

Yay!

Note: This is only available in the Pro version.

This is a great move on their part for a number of reasons:

1. It shows they listen to customer feature requests
2. You now won’t need a separate plugin to create popups

So how do you use it?

You’d assume this feature would be available as a widget, but you have to go back out to the WordPress dashboard to find it…under templates.

popup templates in Elementor

Now, the weird thing is that you start the popup creation process from the WordPress dashboard instead of from within Elementor…but you edit the popup from within the regular Elementor workspace.

how to add a new popup in Elementor
how to create a new popup in Elementor

It just seems like it would make more sense to integrate it into the interface itself, no?

Of course, the reasoning behind the location of the popup builder is probably based on how often the average web developer creates a popup?

Once a week maybe?

And you can always use the new ‘Finder’ feature to jump back out to the dashboard when you need to.

But I digress.

options to display popups in Elementor

There are dozens of different popup templates to choose from, with something to suit pretty much anyone, including us marketer types.

A nice touch is that you can choose which category of popup you’d like from a dropdown menu:

  • Bottom Bar
  • Classic
  • Fly-in
  • Full Screen
  • Hello Bar
  • Slide in

Simply click on your template of choice and then click the green ‘Insert’ button as illustrated here:

how to insert popup in Elementor

Another option is to close down the Library window and you’re then brought straight to the Elementor editor.

From here you can design your own popup from scratch, if you really want to:

Design Popup From Scratch in Elementor

You get a dizzying number of design options that allow you to tweak not just the content of the popup, but its dimensions, shape, colour scheme, etc, etc.

popup in Elementor

Some very interesting features in the ‘Advanced’ tab include being able to prevent visitors closing the popup with the escape key, and disabling page scrolling until you interact with the popup.

Popup Settings in Elementor

This appeals to the tiny bit of Sith in me, but hopefully these features aren’t abused.

After all, some people are more full of Sith than others though. *cough*

You also get dozens of entrance animations to play around with under the main popup settings tab – “Lightspeed” is my current favourite.

Popup animation settings in Elementor

Once you’re satisfied with the layout of your popup you can then click ‘Publish.

This is where you’re introduced to the various settings to control the behaviour of your new creation:

Conditions – you choose where you want the popup to appear e.g. one one page vs. your entire site. You can also set multiple conditions for the same popup.

Triggers – this is what causes the popup to trigger in the first place. All the usual suspects are covered including “on scroll”, “on click” and “on page exit intent”, among others.

Advanced rules – has settings to cover things like only display the popup after your visitor reads x number of pages, or has visited your site x number of times, for example.

Popup advanced settings in Elementor

Autoresponder Integration?

So you can create amazing looking popups, and set them to trigger in dozens of different ways.

How well does the popup builder integrate with MailChimp, GetResponse or Aweber?

Ideally this would be a point-and-click affair.

But it’s not.

Yes, you can integrate any of the above autoresponders with the popup…you just have to get an API key and then figure out what form elements in your popup you need to tweak for it to work.

Or alternatively you can use a plugin like Mailoptin, although I haven’t tested that personally. It just comes recommended by the nice folks at Elementor, and I trust them 🙂

It would just be nice to have autoresponder functionality directly within Elementor because more plugins = more potential for things to go wrong.

Custom Fields

Okay, we know that this is pure nerd territory but we need to cover it.

Why?

Because Elementor makes managing this stuff super easy.

And if you’re even remotely interested in e-commerce, then you need to learn a little more about how dynamic data and custom fields work.

It also makes perfect sense if you build affiliate sites, and you’ll see why as we walk through how you actually use custom fields and dynamic data within this page builder.

Before we go any further, we should mention there are three requirements for the examples we use here:

  1. Elementor Pro
  2. The Custom Post Type UI plugin
  3. The Advanced Custom Fields plugin.

Once you have the above two plugins installed it’s time to actually create your custom post types.

But wait…what are custom post types?

These are basically types of posts that don’t fit in with your standard post layout.

Typical examples of this would are product pages for an e-commerce store, or maybe an artist’s portfolio that needs to include pricing and other information.

They’re the types of posts where you need to add extra information to them in a way that a standard install of WordPress doesn’t support.

So, let’s go ahead and set up some custom post types for Dave’s Bike Emporium.

We do this from the WordPress dashboard, using the Customer Post Type UI plugin.

custom post type in Elementor

Once you add a new post type, you’ll see you have a new menu option in your WordPress dashboard.

In this example it’s ‘Bikes; because…well….Dave sells bikes.

menu option after adding custom post type in Elementor

Next up we need to add a taxonomy for our custom posts.

A taxonomy is basically a way of grouping similar pieces of data together in one place.

For this we’re calling our taxonomy “biketype”.

We also need to attach it to our custom post type of “Bikes”.

custom post taxonomy in Elementor

We now need to add different sub-categories (New bike types) within our custom post structure:

sub-categories for custom post type in Elementor

Okay cool, that’s the custom post type stuff taken care of, but how do we add in the product details?

This is where Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) comes into play.

When do we get to how to using this stuff in Elementor?

Patience Padawan….patience.

Here are the custom fields we created by adding new ‘Field Groups’ in ACF:

how to create custom fields in Elementor

The red asterisk beside each ‘Label’ means it’s a required field, just in case you were wondering.

Now when you click on ‘Add New’ under your ‘Bikes’ custom post type you get this screen:

example of custom post type data in Elementor

Once you’ve added in some sample data here, it’s time to actually get to getting, and create a single post template in Elementor.

Note: You do this from ‘Templates’ on your dashboard, and then ‘Add New’.

how to create a single post in Elementor

You can choose to use one of Elementor’s snazzy templates, or go it alone with a hands-on layout.

We chose the manual approach because we’d already designed a basic header for Dave’s Bike Emporium earlier.

The first piece of dynamic content we add to our template page is a background image.

We do this by clicking the section we want to work on, and going to the ‘Style’ tab.

From there we click on ‘Background’ type and then the ‘Dynamic’ data button.

how to add background image in Elementor

We also add in a dynamic ‘Post title’ widget from the ‘Single’ widget category – these were called ‘Theme Elements’ until a recent update changed that.

In fact, if you haven’t used Elementor for a few months, you could find yourself feeling a bit lost.

Minor gripe, but there you go.

dynamic post title widget in Elementor

Adding the ‘Post Title’ widget this automatically inserts the name of the first bike of our custom post types – the “Hustle 2000.”

That end of things all works pretty well.

But what about styling other parts of your layout with dynamic data?

Let’s add an icon box and then use custom fields to drag some data into it.

icon box and custom fields in Elementor

A feature I really liked is the ability to preview your final design with different data before hitting the publish button.

preview of a template with custom fields

That way you can test that your template works for each of your custom posts/products/portfolio pieces, etc.

Finally click on ‘Publish’ when you’re all set, and then choose where you want the template applied to i.e. your entire site vs. certain types of posts or pages.

So, how well does Elementor handle custom post types, custom fields and dynamic data?

Honestly, once you get your head around their structure, designing these templated pages is a snap.

Even complete newbies could have dynamic pages up and running in an afternoon.

The Downsides

But it’s not perfect.

Why?

Well, for some weird reasons Elementor forgets certain data fields when I exited a page.

This happened even after updating the page, and checking the previews.

To be fair, this could be something I’m missing, but if that’s the case we’ll update this review again in the future.

Any other gripes?

The dynamic data menu layout is messy and not really all that intuitive.

What we mean by that is when you choose your ACF field to drop data into the page, you have to click on it again to choose your key from ‘Settings’

…and then another sub-sub-menu to add text before or after the dynamic data.

How To Add Data in Custom Fields in Elementor

It just felt clunky, even though it does actually get the job done.

Undo & Revision History

Okay, this is one area I was eager to cover.

We all make mistakes when designing layouts. Things get moved. Other things get deleted.

Or you mentally tune out for a few seconds and do something catastrophically dumb…but you can’t remember what.

It happens.

But what if you want to simply undo an action?

That shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

In previous versions of Elementor the lack of an ‘Undo’ function was a major gripe for me.

I’m starting to suspect that the Elementor team crawl through product reviews and find the most glaring flaws in their product…and then promptly correct them.

Are they stalking me….?

Elementor has gone from having no real “Undo” function to having 2.5

The .5 is that you can use CTRL + Z to manually undo your most recent changes, but beyond that you have to rely on the ‘History’ function and ‘Revisions’ tab.

The other two options for undoing your “handiwork” are both available through the ‘History’ button.

History option in Elementor

Clicking on ‘History’ brings you to a screen with two separate tab: ‘Actions’ and ‘Revisions’.

Actions are the changes you made during your current design session.. To undo whatever change you just made, roll your mouse over it and you’ll see a “rollback” option.

I like this because it’s pretty similar to what I’m used to seeing in other design programs like Photoshop.

history of actions in Elementor

If you click on the ‘Revisions’ tab you’ll see a list of changes dating back up to 30 days.

Once you’ve found the revision you’re after, just click the green ‘Apply’ button.

revision history in Elementor

It works great, fair enough.

But…

Firstly, it’s not as simple as clicking a button.

It requires navigating through the menus and previewing different revisions before you even find the right one.

Some kind of logical naming system would help stop this being a nuisance.

Secondly — and this is the real kicker — this feature is built on the WordPress revisions system, which means revisions only appear for each time you’ve hit the save/update button.

Basically, if you haven’t saved your changes in a while and you really mess something up, it’s game over.

Which usually results in tearing of hair, gnashing of teeth and questioning your place in the universe.

Pro Tip

Having month’s worth of revisions might seem like a good idea, but they can really hog resources and slow down your site.

How?

Because each saved revision adds more clutter and bloat to your WordPress install, increasing the size of the database that runs the show.

A solution is to occasionally use a WordPress database “cleaner” plugin, like this one.

I haven’t tested the plugin myself, so I’d advise making a backup before running it.

But I’m told it does a solid job at cleaning up the revision history stuff (as well as other database fluff).

Though it’s not exactly a deal-breaker — and I do really like the revisions history feature — it still boggles my mind that such a well thought out page builder lacks a more visual approach to handling page/site revisions.

Still, for a fair Elementor review – they do a good job of it nonetheless.

Copy Style and Copy Paste

If you’ve been around the world of websites and page builders for any length of time, you’ll understand how tedious it can be at times.

Not the design and layout process – that’s pretty much always the fun bit.

The tedium kicks in when you have to update the styling of multiple elements or sections of your site.

Usually because of a tiny change you made that you now have to cascade to the rest of your site.

Enter hours of not-very-fun work.

Sure you could write a pile of custom CSS for this…or you could hope for a point-and-click solution instead.

Elementor obviously heard the cries of developers suffering from RSI when they introduced the Copy Style and Copy Paste features in mid-2018.

So, how do these features work?

Well, let’s say you’ve just created a new element that you’re quite happy with the look of:

Copy Style and Copy Paste feature

But you want to recreate that style elsewhere in your design.

how to copy icon box style in Elementor

Urrghhh….great, now I have to manually go in and update the style of all the other elements!

Or I could just use Elementor’s “Copy Style” function instead.

All you need to do is right-click within the source element – the one you want to copy the styling of – and choose “Copy”.

And then right-click within the destination element, and choose “Paste Style”.

Copy Style and Copy Paste feature in Elementor

If you don’t like the changes you’ve made, then simply right-click again and “Reset Style”.

how to reset style in Elementor

How easy is that?

Again, this might seem like a trivial feature to some, but it’s worth its weight in gold if and when you need to change the styling of a bunch of different elements.

So, what about the “Copy Paste” feature I mentioned earlier?

Elementor offers a full drag-and-drop interface, which works really, really well.

But what if you want to just copy an entire column or section to a different part of the page?

You could recreate the elements in a new section, and then shortcut things by applying the “Copy Style” function.

Or you could just copy and paste the entire section onto a new part of your page.

Which is exactly what we’re going to do.

Highlight the section or element you want to copy, in this case we’re copying an entire section, and select “Copy”.

Copy feature in Elementor

Then scroll to the part of your page you want to place it, and select “Paste”

Paste Feature in Elementor

Job done!

Nice time-saving feature, right?

Copy Paste feature in Elementor

What’s that – you want to be able to copy and paste entire sections to another page?

No problem.

Just copy your element or section as we did in the earlier example,

Then exit to your WordPress dashboard. Open the new page in Elementor, and right-click where you want to place the copied content.

This tiny feature means being able to add entire sections to other pages in seconds instead of (potentially) hours.

We’re not going to get hyperbolic here and describe either of these features as “game changers.”

But once you get used to using them you’ll find it difficult to work any other way.

Open Source

Let’s lift the mood again. 🙂

Easily one of the biggest differences between Elementor and other page builders is that it’s open source.

That means… uhm… Google, what does it mean?

Open source: denoting software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified.

Since the code is freely available, it allows users to fix bugs, improve existing features and even introduce completely new features to the software.

In fact, you can see all the “action” on GitHub, right here.

Elementor Open Source

As a result, development generally moves faster than with “in house” page builders. And most people agree that open source is the way forward.

It also opens the doors to useful third-party plugins.

The effects of this are already evident when searching for ‘Elementor’ in the WordPress plugin repository:

Elementor plugin search in WordPress

Those are all third-party plugins designed to enhance Elementor, and many of them are free.

While some of them offer minor improvements, others virtually give Elementor super powers.

A good example of this is Essential Addons For Elementor.

Essential Addons for Elementor

This plugin adds a stack of new widgets to the Elementor library, and more than 100 ‘Blocks’ ready for you to drop into your layouts.

There are lots of other Elementor plugins I’d love to include here, but it would take up an entire post.

Hmmm….stay tuned on that one…maybe.

Although it’s a bit of a hassle having to install plugins on top of plugins, I’ve always been a fan of this approach because it keeps the core product lean for those who don’t need all the additional bells and whistles.

Support

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much praise for support as I’ve seen with Elementor.

Where this would normally be due to some top-notch, live chat support, that’s actually not the case here.

In fact, Elementor doesn’t offer live chat support.

Instead, it has something even better.

An active, raving community of “Elementorists” at your beck and call.

Elementors Community on Facebook

I referred to this community multiple times throughout the writing of this review, and no doubt I’ll continue to do so for as long as I use Elementor.

It’s amazing to see how quickly this community has grown! The last time I checked it had fewer than 5,000 members.

As of right now there’s over 30,000 Elementorists who have probably already answered any questions you might have about the plugin.

search option in Elemenor Community on Facebook

If a search comes up short, just ask in the group.

It’s a collaborative community and you’ll generally get responses flooding in within an hour or so of posting.

Aside from that, I found their YouTube channel super helpful.

Elementor Youtube channel

Elementor has a lot of moving parts and it can be overwhelming when you first start using it – particularly if you’ve never used a page builder before.

In my opinion, their videos are the perfect starting point since they cover all the core features of the tool.

They even have playlists dedicated to newbies, like the ‘Getting Started’ one, and their ‘One Minute How To’s’ is another solid choice for beginners.

They also have detailed documentation, if you’re more of a reader.

IF for some reason you still need help, there is a VIP option, but that’s only available to Pro members.

Elementor Technical Support

To be honest, I think that’s fair given the quality of free support options available to you.

The premium support is basically a ticketing system.

Of course, I made a request to test how reliable it was for this review.

Elementor Contact Form

As expected, it was stellar.

Overall, you really can’t complain.

And if you did, I’m sure they’d take care of you 😉

Are You PRO, Or No?

Throughout this review, I’ve only briefly touched on the paid version of Elementor – also known as Pro.

And while Elementor is, for the most part, a free plugin, upgrading does give you a little more firepower.

Elementor Pricing

So what are the benefits of going Pro?

I won’t write a novel on this, because you can get it straight from the horse’s mouth, right here.

What I will do, however, is comment on the most notable differences between the free version, and the Pro version.

So for starters, you get access to a bunch of extra widgets.

Elementor Pro widgets

While I’d class a few of these as slightly gimmicky, there are some very useful additions.

Other important features of the Pro version of Elementor include:

  • A visual form builder
  • WooCommerce integration
  • Pop-up builder and templates
  • The theme builder

You’ll also be able to use global widgets that can be used throughout your content, as well as other areas of your site.

Elementor Global Widgets

I covered global widgets earlier in the review, so you probably won’t be surprised that I’d recommend Pro for this reason alone.

As for page templates, you’ll be pleased to hear that upgrading will unlock a slew of premium page templates for you to dabble with.

Elementor Pro Premium Page Templates

And the last one I’ll mention gives you an extra layer of design control with ‘live custom CSS’.

So if you’re a stylesheet-ninja, you’ll appreciate this one.

Elementor Heading Custom Css

Personally, I feel like the idea of a page builder is to eliminate the need for CSS entirely. I almost see it as a safety net for when the tool can’t deliver.

For that reason, I don’t think this should be a Pro feature.

Is Elementor Right For You?

Now that I’ve covered all the different features and functions of Elementor, weighing up the pros and cons and giving my experience along the way — let’s talk about YOU.

As with any tool, Elementor isn’t going to be the right choice for everyone, so I want to get to the bottom of who exactly this page builder is suitable for.

Budget Bloggers

I’m just gonna come right out and say it.

Elementor is a budget-bloggers wet dream. I mean, come on… it’s 100% free!

Elementor Free Version Download

Yes, there’s a Pro version.

And yes, as I mentioned before, it does offer some useful additions.

But this isn’t your usual “freemium” product.

In most cases, freemium means getting access to a small slice of the pie. A slice that’s riddled with heavy, and often annoying restrictions and/or intrusive advertising.

Elementor gives you access to MOST of the pie without taking anything significant away from the product. In my opinion, it’s 100% usable without going Pro.

Does that mean you shouldn’t upgrade?

Well, not quite.

Like I said earlier, there are some definite advantages of the paid version, but these are things you can absolutely live without if… well…

No Money Wallet
(Sorry, I just had to throw that in there.)

Beginner Bloggers

Is Elementor suitable for beginners?

Despite the slight learning curve I experienced, most likely due to being too familiar with how Thrive Architect works, I still think it’s a GREAT page builder for beginners.

Of course, if you’ve never used a page builder before, it will take some getting used to, but I think the same can be said for any page builder with the same capabilities.

There were some instances where things just didn’t make sense — the global vs non-global templates being a good example .

But in most cases, a simple post in the Facebook group quickly cleared up my confusion.

Overall, if you’re a beginner and you’re looking for a page builder that’ll give you the least amount of friction with the most amount of flexibility, Elementor is an excellent choice.

High Level Marketers

I touched on this earlier in the review, but wanted to elaborate on it here.

Elementor isn’t geared towards marketers, which means it’s missing a few features.

Things that we – as marketers – might rely on from a page builder.

With that said, Elementor has come on in leaps and bounds.

A perfect example of this is the integration of the most popular autoresponders via API:

autoresponders API integration in Elementor

So, if you’re a GetResponse, Drip, Mailchimp, ConvertKit (and others) user, then you won’t have to rely on hacking Elementor to get it to play ball.

One area it still falls down on is that there’s no way to run A/B tests on popups or opt-ins.

This is a real shame considering that you can integrate Elementor with most email marketing/autoresponder platforms, but your ability to make the most of their features is limited.

But what I’d like to focus on here is the positive stuff.

Yes, Elementor has flaws, but it’s still a great page builder for marketers at almost any level.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that Elementor is one of the best, if not the best, free page builder on the market.

This feature-packed WordPress plugin even stands its ground against many premium, more established page builders, with development showing no signs of slowing.

(You can see our comparison review of Elementor against other popular page builders (including Beaver Builder) right here.)

Perhaps most interestingly, it’s the first open source page builder.

As for Elementor Pro, it’s already an attractive upgrade despite being in its infancy, and I imagine most new features from this point forward will be exclusive to members.

Only time will tell though!

Oxygen Builder Review 2021 – Pros, Cons, Pricing And Alternatives

Oxygen Builder Review 2021 – Pros, Cons, Pricing And Alternatives

PROS

  • Extremely flexible if you know how to use it
  • Powerful features
  • Well-rounded
  • Decent modules and templates
  • Stellar pricing

CONS

  • Extremely steep learning curve for non-techies
  • Overrides your theme
Oxygen Builder Homepage Screenshot

Oxygen builder is a… WYSIWYG builder.

But it’s not a page builder in the sense you’re used to.

Oxygen Builder is a very special breed of WordPress plugin. It’s a tool with extremely powerful functionalities, miles ahead when compared to what Elementor or Divi can do. But the steep learning curve comes along with the extra functionalities.

It doesn’t work with blocks, modules or layouts. It works with divs, columns and other “codespeak” elements.

So it was a very interesting tool to review. If you’re thinking about using it, make sure you read our Oxygen Builder review beforehand.

Oxygen Builder Review In Short

Have you ever tried building something in Webflow?

It’s a CMS, like WordPress, but it’s extremely complex and non-techies will have a really hard time using it to its full extent.

Webflow Interface

And that’s coming from a non-techie that has been using Webflow for well over a year. I still can’t seem to use it to its full extent.

The same is true for Oxygen.

Oxygen Builder Websites

It’s a website builder with extremely complex functionalities, that allow experienced web developers and designers to create amazing sites.

But here’s the thing – I’m not an experienced developer.

I’ve created my fair share of sites using WordPress and Elementor. I have used a ton of page builders, like Divi, Beaver Builder or Thrive Architect. I understand how CSS, HTML and Javascript work.

But I’m not an experienced developer.

I went ahead and reviewed this tool nonetheless. Most of the people in our audience are not experienced developers either, so it’s important to provide this perspective into Oxygen.

But one thing’s clear right off the bat: If you’re a simple blogger that just wants page builders as a means to achieve a decent website, don’t use Oxygen.

It’s just not built for people like you and me.

However, there are cases in which Oxygen is a wonderful choice:

  • If you’re a blogger that wants to learn website development. In that case, it might actually be the best tool out there, since it has familiar elements and complex functionalities all together.
  • If you have a blog and you’ll just upload posts, while a professional builds the site for you. In this case, they’ll have a lot of control over how your site looks and performs, while you only need to learn the basics to upload new articles or add promotional banners.
  • If you’re an experienced web developer or designer that wants full control over a website.

So I teamed up with expert opinions on the internet, and a friend that has his own web development company, to provide the most insights possible into Oxygen.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into this review.

Getting Started With Oxygen

Like most other paid plugins, Oxygen needs to be downloaded after you signed up on their website:

Oxygen Download Link

And then uploaded manually into WordPress:

Wordpress Plugin Upload

It’s not the hardest procedure, but it is a bit more complicated than just adding a plugin from WordPress’ repository.

However, this is where things get harder.

After you activate Oxygen, you’ll be prompted with an installation option:

Oxygen Installation Options

I wanted to go for the left option, but that actually resulted in an error. According to my developer friend, this is most likely a compatibility issue between Oxygen and Siteground, so keep that in mind if you use Siteground for your hosting.

However, the second option worked, and it just means you’ll need to do some extra work when adding templates and pages.

If you want to get to the actual Oxygen interface, you’ll need to create a page, give it a title, publish it, and only then can you access the Oxygen builder.

Edit With Oxygen

The first thing that hit me?

You don’t actually drag and drop elements. You just click them.

Oxygen Builder Components

I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it actually takes a bit of time getting used to if you’re familiar with builders like Elementor.

And I wanted to mention it in case you try to use Oxygen and the pre-made elements won’t drag into the page. It’s not an error – which is what I thought initially – that’s just how Oxygen works.

The Interface

By all accounts, Oxygen’s interface is amazing.

It didn’t feel that way in the beginning. I just saw this:

Oxygen Builder User Interface

And I got so confused. So many elements that I didn’t understand. But don’t let that discourage you, because once you get used to what each button can do, it all becomes crystal clear.

I especially liked the Structure sidebar on the right:

Oxygen Builder Sidebar Structure

You can see how your page is structured at all times.

On top, clicking any element will open up advanced editing options on the left sidebar:

Oxygen Builder Edition Options

Which makes editing a page extremely easy, because you don’t get lost among the visuals elements of a page.

The Divi Builder has something similar with their wireframe view:

Divi Builder Vs Oxygen

But you have to toggle that, while in Oxygen you have it available at all times.

I’ll use this opportunity to make a general point about Oxygen – it’s probably one of the best website builders for WordPress, because it can do anything other page builders do, but always at least slightly better.

However, not everyone will be able to use that “slightly better” option because of the skill required to operate Oxygen.

For example, if you go to the Advanced options for any element, you can choose its tag:

Oxygen Builder Element Tags

If you’re a developer, you’ll know that setting the tag to “aside” should only be done for secondary content, that’s usually displayed in a sidebar or callout box.

Non-techies like me can understand that.

But we’ll need quite a few extra Google searches to understand why, how, and when we should change tags for elements.

So all in all, Oxygen’s user interface and easily accessible edits are amazing. They’re depthful, but not overly complex. They make sense.

But to use that to its full extent on your site, you need to know what you’re doing. If not, any other visual builder is a better choice. Even the vanilla WordPress page editor is better.

Wordpress Default Editor

Templates And Content Library

First, let’s talk about templates.

Oxygen doesn’t have a whole lot of those, and the ones that do exist are just some content packs of elements you can add on page.

Oxygen Builder Design Sets Library

It makes sense, considering that it’s a builder meant to give you as much flexibility as possible. The rigid structure of a pre-made template might actually make your job a bit harder, as a pro developer.

However, the templates that do exist are beautiful, well-optimized for all screen sizes, and easy to modify once on-page.

Oxygen Builder Template Example

If you’re one to rely on templates, or if you just want a page builder with a bit more pre-made pages, try Divi.

When it comes to content blocks, again, the variety is not impressive.

Oxygen Builder Block Library

But you’ll need to dig a bit deeper to see all the options you have.

There are the classic text boxes, buttons, or images, as well as premade blocks as part of a library.

Oxygen Builder Classic Blocks

But Oxygen also has some widgets that I’ve never seen on other page builders.

For example, there’s the Modal block:

Oxygen Builder Modal Block

It’s a dynamic element that you can use to trigger pop-ups when certain events take place. Sure, Oxygen is not the only website builder for WordPress that can create pop-ups, but the way it does it is impressive. The modal block offers amazing flexibility for when and how pop-ups are displayed.

Again, you can see the emphasis of giving full control to the user to make changes however they want.

With Oxygen, you can also create your own Templates.

Oxygen Builder Creating Templates

Which makes it easy to display elements you’ve already created on other pages. For example, you can use that to create headers, footers and contact forms, then just paste the element on all the pages it should be featured on.

So overall, the templates and content library of Oxygen Builder are satisfactory. They’re not as exhaustive as that of a page builder like Elementor, but that’s by design – the few elements you have are flexible enough to cover an even wider array of needs.

Plus, the strength of Oxygen Builder doesn’t lie in its templates.

This WordPress website builder works best when the developer gets their hands dirty with advanced CSS customizations.

Oxygen Builder Advanced Css Customization

Code Cleanliness

One key advantage of Oxygen over other website builders is that of its code cleanliness.

And that’s because Oxygen overrides any WordPress theme you had on your website before installation. The complexity of its modules also ensures fewer code for the same results.

So that means that while in something like Elementor you have the code of your theme, bundled along with the code of the visual editor, in Oxygen you get a single unit of code.

Elementor Vs Oxygen Codes

And that’s huge.

Of course, that also means you’ll need to do some extra work to get to your desired result.

But it ensures easy indexation, fast loading time, and an effective site even when you build something complex.

Speaking of – if you want to see what Oxygen is capable of in terms of end results, check this page out.

When is this important?

If you want a basic site just to bootstrap a place to post your articles on, code cleanliness might not mean so much to you.

Hey, even if you’re just going for a basic website design, like we have here at Authority Hacker:

Ah Homepage Design

The code cleanliness you need can be achieved with a smart use of classic WordPress websites functionalities.

However, if you’re going for something a little bit extra – with fancy transitions and innovative site designs – there’s nothing quite like Oxygen out there.

Moreover, Oxygen does have an edge over all other website builders because it loads less elements whenever someone visits your page. Builders like Elementor load your entire library of content, while Oxygen only loads what’s needed for a specific page.

Oxygen And Other Page Builders Comparison Code Cleanliness
Credits to the Oxygen blog

Blogging

If you use something like Elementor or Divi, you can even ignore the page builder and add posts via the WordPress website management dashboard.

Wordpress Default Editor

With Oxygen, it’s not that easy.

Your initial theme is overridden, so you have to do things the Oxygen Builder way. There’s a half hour tutorial made by the developers of Oxygen showing you how to do that, and it’s actually easy to follow and replicate, even if you’re not a developer.

Oxygen How To Build Wp Blog

Basically, you’ll need to add the heading, text, and visual blocks on a page, then save it as a template for other articles. You can create different post types and keep the template on the ready.

At first glance, this might seem like a disadvantage.

You need to learn how to do things their way.

But in reality, it’s even better to do it this way because you have way more control over the appearance of blog posts.

On top, if you want to create stunning blog posts that actually take your site further, you’ll need some help from a visual editor anyway.

SEO In Oxygen Builder

First of all, plugins like RankMath integrate well with Oxygen Builder, so you can keep doing things like you’re used to.

On top, the lean code of Oxygen ensures good indexation and, most importantly, fast loading times for your websites pages.

Don’t underestimate that.

Sure, keyword relevancy and backlinks matter way more than the site code.

But if you’re looking for every edge possible to conquer the SERP, having a clean code and a comprehensible structure is an important front to cover. Moreover, because you’re able to create different post types and save them as a template, content upload goes a bit faster too.

As a page builder, it’s decent for SEO. You can trust Oxygen to help you keep Google happy.

Oxygen’s Shortcomings

The first thing we’ll mention is, obviously, the steep learning curve of Oxygen Builder.

I’ve been using this tool for a month, I’ve built a few pages and I researched everything people think about it. I spoke with expert web developers and got their input on what Oxygen builder can do.

So that was enough research to understand that… I still don’t know half of what Oxygen can do.

Sure, I know enough to understand how to make changes to the basic stuff, and how to work with websites created by other people in Oxygen.

But there’s still so much I don’t understand.

Oxygen Builder Attributes

So the steep learning curve is definitely a problem for non-techies. So big of a problem that, again, if you’re not a developer it’s advised to choose another page builder.

Oxygen used to struggle with many things before. For example they didn’t use to have an undo function for the longest time, if you believe it.

Oxygen Builder Edition History

Of course they have one now.

And you’ll see a lot of these problems thrown around in other Oxygen reviews. A lot of them were written while we still had Oxygen 2.0, and probably are long overdue for an update, because the builder improved significantly since Oxygen 2.0.

Now it’s at the 3.6 iteration and, as far as I can tell, besides the steep curve there are no other problems, at least not objectively.

Sure, for some people the blogging and templating processes could be simplified. Webflow for example offers the same amount of customization, but handles blogging so much better:

Weblflow Overview

But if you’re a developer, you’ll definitely enjoy Oxygen.

Support

Oxygen’s support can be hard to access.

Oxygen Builder Support

A ticketing system with 24-48 hours response time seems a bit slow in today’s market.

But it’s not the only support you can get.

Oxygen also has a sizeable knowledge center, filled with text and video tutorials:

Oxygen Knowledge Center

And their forums and Facebook groups add just enough help to make sure you don’t run into obstacles you can’t overcome.

Oxygen Facebook Group

On top, a lot of Oxygen reviews mention how the community helped them grow into better developers overall, so once again a reason this tool is good both for professionals, and for people that want to learn web design.

Pricing

This is what Oxygen’s pricing scheme looks like:

Oxygen Builder Pricing

Pretty straightforward, going from $99 – $169.

The Basic plan is good for bloggers, the WooCommerce plan is a must if you want to use Oxygen for an online store, and the Agency plan has a better integration with the WordPress ecosystem thanks to its Gutenberg block builder.

What we liked is that all plans have a lifetime unlimited access. That’s right, you pay once, and you can use the tool for life, and you enjoy all updates and support for life.

Not to mention, you can install it on as many sites as you want.

That’s just huge, and I don’t think Oxygen is matched in what they offer by any other website builder.

A free or a demo version would be great, maybe even something like Beaver Builder has, at least to get the hang of what Oxygen does without spending any money.

But considering that they have a 60 day money back guarantee, their pricing is still top notch. One of the (if not the) best on the market.

Is Oxygen Builder Right For You?

So you’ve read our Oxygen review, you know more or less what it can do.

Is this the right page builder?

WordPress websites can be built with a ton of tools, so it’s important to understand what’s right for you.

If you’re a developer

Just pick Oxygen. Beaver Builder also does a good job for developers, but it pales in comparison to what Oxygen can do. On top, Oxygen is cheaper. Webflow is also a decent option if you’re willing to switch from WordPress, but that’s a topic for a different day.

If you’re a blogger

Elementor might be the best choice, especially if you’re on a budget and just want a tool that gets the job done. Elementor’s free plan is what you’re looking for.

If you’re a marketer

You can make do with a lot of tools, including Divi, Elementor or even Oxygen. However, the best choice for marketers is Thrive Architect, thanks to its premade conversion focused templates.

In Conclusion

Oxygen is a wonderful tool if you know your CSS, Javascript and HTML. The websites you can create with it when used to its maximum capabilities are just stunning. You should especially give it a shot if you’re a web designer with poor experiences using other builders.

However, if that paragraph doesn’t sound like you, try something else. The amount of learning and experimentation you’ll have to do to use Oxygen defeats the purpose of WYSIWYG editors. That is, unless, you want to hone your web development skills.

Read our best page builders roundup to see what works for you.