You know, I heard that question recently, and it made me smile. If I asked you, “why do you buy a Mercedes if everyone is hyping about Tesla?”, you would probably smile too. If there were only one type of every product, it would be a monopoly, and that’s not good for the global economy (I don’t know much about economics, but I’ve read about monopoly in Wikipedia). If there is competition, everyone does their best to improve their own product, and customers get stuff of higher quality. The situation is the same in the page builders niche – developer companies learn from each other’s mistakes and make the software more useful and smoothly working.
The other interesting question is, “what page builder is better: Gutenberg or Elementor?” I now feel like I’m back in my childhood, and my little sister asks me, “who is stronger: Superman or Batman?” (that was a tough question, and now they shoot a whole movie about it!). Surely, before starting the work you want to get the best possible tools. However, you’ll never know the answer to that question without comparison, so I’m going to do it for you. I’ll tell you about pros & cons of Elementor and Gutenberg, and then we will conclude altogether.
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What they are good at
There is a set of features every page builder must have. Drag-and-drop functionality, a set of convenient blocks, real-time customization – you can’t name your product a website builder if it hasn’t those features. That’s why I won’t mention them at all – it’s useless. Instead, I’ll tell you about the raisins that differ Elementor and Gutenberg from other builders.
In the early stages, it hard to predict if the product will be successful. Elementor was launched in 2016, and nobody expects it will grow so rapidly. By now it has more than 80 000 downloads and the highest rating on WordPress.org. The community of users is vast, active and passionate. So, why do that people love it?
- Revision history functionality. While working on something you can make a mistake. That mistake could be so nasty, that you won’t be able to delete it somehow. Here’s when revision history will help you – Elementor saves the changes you make in a special list, and you can turn back to every stage in case of some troubles.
- Open source origin. It means that the code of the program is available to users and everyone can propose an improvement, fix bugs and add new functionality. Thanks to that, Elementor is evolving so rapidly. Not only does a team of developers work on it, but a bunch of enthusiasts too.
- Active community. If you have a question about Elementor, a vast community of users will be pleased to help you. There are about 5,000 of passionate participants in the Facebook group and if by some case, your question hasn’t been discussed before by someone else, you can ask it and get your answer in about an hour.
- Helpful video tutorials. They are detailed and will be able to help you at almost every stage of website creation process. Elementor creators tried to shoot a video for every action you can do and every issue you may meet. If you don’t like talking to people on Facebook, you probably will find the answer in one of the videos.
WordPress developers don’t hurry with Gutenberg and take their time. Even now it is still not finally released, thus users actively test its functionality. The final version will be added to WordPress 5.0, and its launch date is coming closer rapidly. WordPress team hopes to get 100 000 installs of Gutenberg before merging into WordPress administration panel – to track all the bugs and gather the feedback. However, fans install Gutenberg even. Thus it is not the final version – why?
- Mobile friendly interface. No other builder has such perfect compatibility with mobile as Gutenberg does. People now tend to use mobile for internet activity more than PC, so the creators built Gutenberg to work with smartphones perfectly.
- Useful writing features. In the beginning, WordPress was created for blogging, and even now when it has a huge bunch of other functionalities, it is still one of the best blogger platforms. Gutenberg has lots of useful features for writers, like a sidebar table of contents (built according to tags), easy anchor bonding, and a quoting mechanism.
- Simple embedding. Gutenberg allows you to embed the reach content, such as a YouTube video, Facebook or Twitter posts and Instagram pictures to the page easier. It can specifically embed content from 32 platforms, and developers promise this number will be growing in time.
- Clear design. I don’t mean it’s appearance; I mean the customization is clear from redundant elements. All the tools you may need are shown in drop-down lists, so you see and use only necessary items. Nothing distracts you from work, and you stay focused all the time.
Where they suck
You can’t evaluate the product correctly if you don’t know its disadvantages and believe me, everything and everyone has them. Some of them are little, like snoring, and some could make you change your decision and choose another builder. So here are some dirty little secrets of both our competitors.
- Plugins updates issues. Elementor is very aggressive if we speak about its evolution. The developers' team work hard, creating updates and in such a rush there will always be some bumps. However, they also added a functionality that allows you to choose the version of the plugin you use, so you can always go back if something doesn't seem to work correctly.
- You can change only the content area. If you want to customise header and footer you'll have to go to the WP dashboard. The Elementor team works on a special plugin for header and footer customization, but it is not available now.
- No White Label option. Of course, it affects only developers, but the templates, created via Elementor can't be sold on the third party marketplaces.
- It is beta software. You can test it, you can even like it, but it is not ready for live software. You will have to wait for WordPress 5.0 to get its full potential.
- Low rating on WordPress. Users have lots of complaints about Gutenberg, which they write in the reviewing section of WordPress.org. The main complaint is about problems in the builders’ work, and the problems are numerous. I don’t want to list them here.
- Bugs, bugs everywhere. Professionals and enthusiasts now test the builder, and they find tonnes of bugs every day. Gutenberg developers try to fix them as fast as they can, but it will take a little.
What do other specialists think about it?
I will tell my own conclusion a little later, but I, certainly, can’t miss a chance to ask someone else’s opinion. As a very friendly monster, I went talking to people and found two writers that used different website builders and formed an opinion about Gutenberg and Elementor competition.
I'm a blogger and have used several of the page builders including Beaver, Elementor and Gutenberg. Here are some of my thoughts on this:
The page builder business (and the premium theme industry) will need to adapt when Gutenberg arrives as the default in the WordPress product. The signs from the WordPress team point at Gutenberg being a major release that they plan to build their future around in order to better compete with Squarespace and others. This means that the technical question of who’s best may not mean much because as usually the majority of users just use the default version they’re presented with.
By being the default choice, Gutenberg will get support from the open-source community through the creation of plugins and themes that are specifically built for it. Most of the newbie bloggers would not have a need to go and look further than Gutenberg. It will cover all their needs in terms of creation of more unique looking blog content and the need to go install another page builder will be pretty much be eliminated for them.
So the acquisition of new users at the current scale will become a problem for page builders and premium themes. The third-party page builders, despite making this format successful, may turn into more of an advanced niche product that enhances and extends Gutenberg. This would then be for more advanced bloggers who have a specific need that Gutenberg may not cover at the time such as access to a wide variety of great looking templates or some specific extension for edge cases. The industry will get tougher in terms of competition, some teams that are adaptable will thrive but some may not survive. It might not happen on day 1 after the release of Gutenberg, but the writing is on the wall for those that don’t adapt as Gutenberg matures and improves.
But I would say all in all the Gutenberg introduction will be great for all the bloggers and the whole WordPress ecosystem. It will make it so much easier and faster to build amazing content without the need of any design experience or tech know-how. And it will expand the WordPress ecosystem and bring new opportunities to developers and entrepreneurs who embrace it.
a blogger at HowToMakeMyBlog
It seems there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment about the direction WordPress is heading as Gutenberg is being slowly rolled out in phases with the eventual aim of becoming a drag and drop builder.
Elementor is one of the best page builders for WordPress alongside Beaver Builder and a couple of others and while this breed of WordPress plugin look like they could be under threat of extinction I like to think there is a more optimistic outcome.
WordPress has always tried to evolve gradually and carefully to remain lean and as a result, I doubt any Gutenberg page builder that comes baked into future versions of WordPress will feature all of the bells and whistles people have become accustomed to.
I anticipate Gutenberg's features such as blocks to make it easy for third-party plugins and developers to extend their drag and drop functionality by creating uniquely functional custom blocks and modules.
This will create a new ecosystem within WordPress where savvy developers will be working on creating these custom blocks that can be exported between sites and shared with other WordPress users. WordPress Page Builders don't have to become dinosaurs if they evolve their purpose in line with WordPress core roadmap. They can become block libraries that extend Gutenberg.
It's also worth noting that Gutenberg is very much in its infancy right now with only the basic tools and a new Medium-like WYSIWYG editor and if you need to build a website today then I would certainly still recommend using Elementor.
designer, developer & digital marketer at Mazepress
To me, it is like comparing Batman and Superman. Both are superheroes; both have their advantages and disadvantages. How can you tell who’s better? You can read the pros and cons once more and decide who you like more (and I will be interested if you write your conclusion in the comment section below). I think that Elementor is better. It was launched two years ago, and almost all its bugs are fixed. Gutenberg has excellent prospects for the future, but you still have to wait for it, and while you are waiting, Elementor is just the tool you need.
So, yes, we still need Elementor, even though everyone is hyping about Gutenberg.