Hey there, fellow developers! Today, I want to share my thoughts and experiences when it comes to how we build our websites. Do we use only a theme packed with features, or just a builder with a blank theme? As a website developer who frequently works with WordPress and Elementor, I’ve got a few thoughts to share on why I believe the second takes the cake.
Ready design vs blank canvas with unlimited possibilities
When we are browsing through themes, we can end up liking one very much because of its design and the idea that we won’t have to deal with designers. We might also like some of its functionalities because they are just what we need. Or because the theme is free and it has a few pre-built templates that we can use to quickly set up a website. This all sounds good but every theme has its limitations. And with time, they become bigger and harder to deal with.
On the other hand, Elementor, with its “Theme Builder” functionality allows us to do whatever we want. Design custom headers, footers, and widgets. Decide on what pages an element should appear and on what pages it shouldn’t (Custom display conditions). Build dynamic content, which is crucial for online stores, listing websites, and blogs. And all of this is done by a ‘drag and drop’ builder.
Responsive Design Made Easy
In the era of mobile-first everything, responsiveness is key. Elementor understands this, providing an intuitive interface to ensure your site looks stunning on any device. You have 100% control when it comes to how your website looks on mobile, tablet, and desktop.
If you are using a theme, you might get into a lot of obstacles when making your website mobile-friendly. Although most themes are mobile-friendly, if you want to change something, you will most certainly need custom CSS. And this is hard, especially for a beginner.
Many advanced developers will say that Elementor creates a heavy DOM tree (all the HTML elements within a page – titles, text, pictures, etc) which slows down a website. This is true, however, if you are building your pages responsibly, the effect on the website speed is not big. With almost every update Elementor introduces new performance improvements that enhance the speed of your website.
Using a pre-built theme, you take what you get. If the theme needs to load a lot of scripts to work, you can’t stop them, or at least it won’t be easy, and you will need to pay a professional to help you.
Future-Proof Your Website
WordPress updates, and theme compatibility issues—sound familiar? Elementor is already a big company providing more and more services and constantly working on improving its products. One key indicator is their Facebook Community (>146k users) and their YouTube channel which is full of tutorials. The other benefit you get is the endless source of information from other youtube developers showing what you can do with it.
All of this allows you to keep your site up-to-date without a lot of hassle.
Having a theme, on the other hand, limits you and if you want to add extra functionalities, you will have to install more plugins. We have seen clients installing plugins to get a phone icon standing in the bottom right corner of the website. Or a plugin to create a top bar to present a free shipping notice for example. And this is completely unnecessary.
While pre-made themes have their place in the hearts of beginners, Elementor hands you the architect’s blueprint and lets you build your dream website. So, fellow developers, embrace the creative freedom, and invest in learning how builders work so you don’t have to rely on third-party themes.
A Case Study with CarHunters.bg
Now, let’s talk about a real-world example – CarHunters.bg. When we started building the website, a pre-made theme seemed like a good choice. It was designed specifically for a car-selling business. However, as the business evolved, we hit roadblocks. Waiting 24 hours for theme support and dealing with unnecessary bloat became the norm.
One day, the client asked us to add a new section to the home page—a row with CarHunters’ partners’ logos The turning point was the inability to do so. It simply didn’t work. And that’s when we realized change was inevitable.
The Decision to Break Free
After enduring this theme-induced headache for a while, we decided it was time for a change. Waiting around for support and battling unnecessary theme bloat was slowing us down, and more importantly, our client’s satisfaction was at stake. The transformation was powered by Elementor, CPT (Custom Post Types), and ACF Pro (Advanced Custom Fields).
Embracing Freedom with Elementor, CPT, and ACF
Elementor allowed us to design without restrictions, while CPT and ACF empowered us to create custom post types and fields tailored to CarHunters.bg’s evolving needs.
Gone are the days of waiting for theme support or dealing with unnecessary features. Today, we build and tweak as we please, meeting our client’s needs in real-time. The addition of custom post types, like ‘cars on sale’ and ‘auction cars,’ updated weekly, has become a breeze.
In essence, the trio of Elementor, CPT, and ACF turned our website development experience around. We’re no longer shackled by theme limitations, and our client won’t be looking for another developer any time soon.
Learning how to build themes by yourself using Elementor allows you to develop your skills and build more complex websites over time. Both in terms of functionality and design.
This article was created solely thanks to the author’s experience. Ai was used to generate the structure of it. The case study mentioned is real and the reviewed website is live.
Tools mentioned in the post
Elementor – https://elementor.com/
CPT (Custom Post Type) – https://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-post-type-ui/
ACF (Advanced Custom Fields) – https://www.advancedcustomfields.com/