Designing websites is always challenging, stressful, and takes lots of time. Luckily WordPress users have ready-made themes to start their website easily. Theme customization options and page builders used in a theme are one of the important factors used to determine the efficiency of a theme. Elementor page builder and WordPress Block Editor are used extensively in modern WordPress themes for their flexibility.
We are going to compare the Elementor page builder and the WordPress Block Editor (aka Gutenberg editor) in this post from a normal user and a developer perspective to find out which one suits best for your website.
Why WordPress Introduced Gutenberg Editor
WordPress powers 41% of the websites on the internet as of writing this post. Many Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and millions of blogs are using WordPress. Plus, the competitors like Squarespace and Wix have their own website builder tools. WordPress introduced Gutenberg editor as a long-term transition plan to meet the user’s needs and growing competition.
For starters, Gutenberg has evolved a lot ever since its debut in December 2018. In fact, WordPress Gutenberg editor is better than the Squarespace builder tool; we have even mentioned it in our Gutenberg review post.
The Gutenberg editor is considered as a major update after the WordPress 3.0 update in 2010. WordPress 3.0 brought many useful features like custom post types, multisite network, and a better admin dashboard UI to make WordPress a powerful CMS. We all know version 3.0 worked well and took WordPress in the right direction. Likewise, WordPress Gutenberg editor is considered to be the future of WordPress.
Understanding the Needs of A Normal User And A Developer
The commitment WordPress shows on the Gutenberg editor makes many users and developers wonder whether they can create a website using the Gutenberg editor. The answer to it is, yes, you can design a normal webpage with the existing Gutenberg editor. But, once your design becomes complex, Gutenberg can’t handle it.
We have to be clear about our needs before choosing a page builder because we might end up doubling the workload by ourselves, and eventually, it will lead to frustration when we can’t accomplish what we intended to do.
In general, an average user’s needs will be:
- Creating pages
- Changing colors
- Adjusting images
- Adding widgets
- Editing content
The needs of a developer are totally different; what they look for is :
- The ability to add custom features.
- Making the custom elements available on the interface.
- Ability to add elements within other elements and customize them.
- How complex the code could get and the time needed to finish a task.
- How the page builder will affect the site performance/page-speed
We will see how WordPress Block Editor and Elementor page builder meet these needs.
Elementor VS WordPress Block Editor: Interface
The WordPress Block Editor is just a fancy WordPress editor in its current stage. So all your work will be on the backend, and you have to preview the results in another tab. In other words, you can’t edit a page and visualize it simultaneously in the Gutenberg editor.
The Customize option in Gutenberg lets you manage the existing content and enables you to add widgets; that’s all. If you need to add a button or a form to the page, you have to go to the dashboard page again and add the elements you want.
The Gutenberg’s backend interface is very intuitive; no one can deny it. You can easily add a block by clicking the Plus icon. In addition, there is a search option for you to find the blocks you need.
The Elementor is primarily a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor. You can dynamically edit the content on the page and add elements by simply dragging & dropping them on the palace you want. Users can do all customizations without even leaving the front page.
Most importantly, you can customize an element’s features directly in the Elementor page builder. For example, if you want to change the button color or size, you can click the button and start editing its styles.
Takeaway: When you are editing one or two pages, constantly switching between the backend editor and the preview screen won’t annoy you. But, when you have to create a whole website, continually switching between the editors and preview screen will affect the workflow significantly.
Elementor VS WordPress Block Editor: Customizing Pages
Customizing pages is something that both a normal user and a developer uses a lot. As said at the beginning of the post, the level of customization options provided in a theme defines the theme’s quality.
In WordPress Block Editor, you can customize the pages within the layout defined by your theme. For example, if your theme uses a three-column design for the gallery or the portfolio page, you can use only the three-column design. However, if you don’t want a three-column layout and wish to have a widget on that page, you can’t do it with the Gutenberg editor.
You can add blocks to the pages and customize the content on the pages, but you can’t completely redesign an entire page layout.
On the other hand, Elementor allows you to take advantage of the entire page.
As you can see, you can select the structure of your page layout. You can decide whether you want a sidebar or not, use different elements for different columns, and much more. To make things even more simpler, Elementor has free and premium ready-made templates. If you find a template that closely resembles your idea, you can download it, make a few tweaks to it, and publish your page. The Elementor template kits save lots of your time and make the job simple.
Takeaway: Clearly, Elementor dominates in this point. Gutenberg/WordPress Block Editor in its current stage, can’t even imagine what Elementor can do. If you are buying a WordPress theme and if it is ok with you to use only the given layout in your website, Gutenberg editor is ok. But, once you want to go out of the box, things will get more challenging.
Elementor VS WordPress Block Editor: Post Editing
When it comes to editing posts, WordPress Block Editor is the best. Most of us won’t even think of Elementor to write a post unless we have any special design needs.
If you are someone like me who prefers proper writing tools like Google Docs or Word, the new Gutenberg tool lets you copy and paste the content on your WordPress editor with just a click of a button. You can even copy and paste images in the WordPress Block Editor, which is not available in the classic editor. Please take a look at the How to edit several Gutenberg blocks at once article to know more about the WordPress Block Editor’s post-editing capability.
Takeaway: There is no doubt, Gutenberg editor is the best option here.
Elementor VS WordPress Block Editor: Adding Custom Elements
The default elements in the Elementor and the WordPress Block Editor won’t meet the needs of all types of people.
Even as a normal user, one might like to have a unique element on his/her page. For example, a blogger might need an animated rating widget to make the content even more engaging for the readers.
WordPress Block Editor has only basic blocks in it. Thankfully, there are add-ons to add some extra blocks to the Gutenberg. You have to search for the plugins with the element you are looking for and use them on your website. Add-ons like Kadence and Genesis are one of the best Gutenberg block add-on plugins.
From a developer’s perspective, adding custom elements to the Block editor will be difficult because the learning curve here is steep. The developer must have a deeper understanding of React and Java skills. Since it is a new feature, you have to find the solution by yourself. If you get creative and want to try something entirely new, there are chances that you might hit a wall at certain points.
Themeisle, one of the reputed WordPress theme developers, has tried to revamp their website entirely using the Gutenberg editor. They have shared their experience in this post. Please read it to know more about the challenges you will face with Gutenberg.
Takeaway: Depending on the level of complexity, your choice may vary. But if you want to create a unique element and deploy it quickly on your website, the Elementor is the best option.
Gutenberg VS Elementor: Page Speed
A site’s speed is decided on several factors, like how fast your hosting is, page optimizations you made, image optimizations, and many more.
Using a page builder tool will significantly increase the page size because additional scripts will be running in the background when you load a page; This may affect the website loading time.
Barrel Roll had conducted a page speed test by creating similar pages with the famous page builders and published the results in an article. The article has many interesting points; the two things we must consider are the page size and the load time.
As you can see, the Guttenberg editor creates very few additional files when compared to other page builders. This results in better loading speed.
Takeaway: If you are creating a simple page with just blogs, sidebars, widgets, and images, Gutenberg is more than enough for you. Because, the same pages with simple elements designed using a page builder like Elementor take a few extra seconds to load.
WordPress Block Editor VS Elementor: Cost
The WordPress Block Editor is a built-in feature, and it is open-source, so you don’t have to pay money. One of the reasons WordPress Block Editor became far better than the page builder tools like Squarespace and Wix in a shorter time is that it is open source. Thousands of contributors around the world spend millions of hours to make it fit their needs. You can install add-on plugins for your custom needs, but they may or may not cost you based on the plugin you choose. If you have the skills and knowledge, you can definitely make the block editor work for you.
The Elementor has both free and premium versions. Basic functionalities like the drag and drop editor, essential web elements, and free templates are included in the free version itself. But, if you want some additional features like portfolio, animated carousels, and other such things, you have to opt for the premium version. The Elementor Pro version starts at $49/year for one website.
Takeaway: If you are a normal user on a budget and if some of your creative ideas can wait, you can use the WordPress Block Editor.
For developers, it depends on your skill and the time you have for your project. If you think you can get around and make the Block Editor work for you, then definitely you can save some bucks here.
Which One Should You Choose
If you make it to this point, you might have got a clear idea of Elementor and WordPress Block Editor potentials by now. Both of them are incredibly flexible and friendly to use in their own ways.
Gutenberg editor is lightweight and comes along with WordPress. You don’t have to worry about updates or whether the new update will break your website. Even many premium WordPress blog and portfolio themes are now made purely using Gutenberg. Theme creators give you their own block editor add-on plugin for extra customization options. Because of the WordPressBlock Editor’s open-source nature, many free Gutenberg compatible WordPress themes are also getting customization options now, which developers could not offer to their users before.
The Elementor is an advanced page builder tool that helps you create almost any type of website without even touching the code. If you are purchasing a WordPress theme with Elementor, then you can rest assured that your website is future-proof. Whether it is minor customization or a major overhaul, you can do it by yourself. You have complete freedom, and normal users don’t have to get a developer’s help to make a page they want.
Which one do you prefer for your next project or your website? Share your thoughts below and the challenges you faced while developing the website or theme.