Elementor vs Divi Builder – which visual page builder is best for web designers?

The two popular page builders are invariably pitched against one another to determine a WordPress champion but what are the key differences between Elementor and Divi Builder when working to a detailed website design process?

To compare Elementor vs Divi Builder we’ve first got to understand what they do. There’s a pretty good chance you already know what you’d use these popular WordPress plugins for given you’re reading this post but for the sake of clarification, these are drag and drop visual page builders with a raft of customisation options to give web designers more flexibility in their creativity.

Not to be confused with all-in-one subscription website building services like Wix and Squarespace, Elementor and Divi Builder are incredibly powerful editors for WordPress favoured by professional web designers and developers. They allow for advanced customisation functionality within a simple and flexible user interface.

Unlike the subscription website builders that are designed to be simple enough for most web users to pick up, Elementor and Divi Builder, along with other WordPress visual page builders, require a lot of technical design understanding to get started with. Web designers can use visual page builders to create fully customisable WordPress sites which site owners can then update through the same tools, after some basic training.

Why do professional web design agencies use Elementor and Divi Builder?

You might think that using page builder tools takes much of the skill out of web design but it’s more about the development time they can save. If you consider that a skilled web designer might be able to build the basic wireframe for a new site from scratch in a week, being able to achieve the same end result in half of that time results in a significant saving. Any time saved for the web designer means money saved for the client.

In some respects Elementor and Divi Builder sit somewhere between coding a completely bespoke website from the ground up and using an off-the-shelf WordPress theme to build a site with common and familiar elements. You’re not getting 100% control and flexibility with a visual page builder but you’re far more likely to end up with a truly unique end product than by simply repurposing an existing WordPress template.

Lead Generation WordPress Elementor website for Numeritas

How Divi Builder and Elementor work within the website design process

We have previously detailed how Preface Studios works to a specific website design process by way of ensuring our website projects are delivered on time, exactly to spec and free of errors. Using this process, we have taken a look at the pros and cons of using Elementor and Divi when beginning a new website build project.

We’ll consider the benefits of Elementor vs Divi Builder across each of the seven stages in our process to help you understand any potential strengths and weaknesses.

Divi Builder in WordPress backend view

Visual page builders in the discovery phase

During the discovery phase we are typically conceptualising the project whilst considering needs and goals. This is where we can quickly determine whether it’s appropriate to engage with a visual page builder like Elementor or Divi Builder for the site we’re building. Budget and time constraints will be factors here, but also the site’s overall everyday use requirements.

Clients with very demanding specifications for their web design projects might be better served by a fully bespoke website build, particularly where they plan on leaving the ongoing maintenance of the site to the developers as well. However, where users require the ability to easily make their own changes and add new content, this is where we’d consider using Elementor or Divi Builder.

At this stage of the process it is too early to distinguish between Elementor and Divi Builder.

Elementor vs Divi Builder for SEO and content

The next phase in our website design process is the consideration of content and SEO for our website build. This is the first stage at which some subtle differences between Divi Builder and Elementor become apparent and may begin to affect which is best suited to the task ahead.

First up it’s worth pointing out that both page builders are fully compatible with the most popular WordPress SEO plugin, Yoast, so effective optimisation of metadata, page content, structure and links should be no trouble with either Divi Builder or Elementor. However, Elementor now includes native integration with Yoast, making it ever so slightly simpler to work with. At the time of writing there were no plans to offer a similar native integration for Divi users, many of whom have reported technical issues when using Yoast. Consequently, this is a battle where Elementor currently has the upper hand.

Additionally, as site speed becomes more and more important for successful SEO (lest we forget Google have confirmed that core web vitals will become a ranking factor this year) it’s worth considering the differences between Divi Builder and Elementor in terms of page load speeds. Helpfully, this research has already been conducted online by various sources so we won’t add to the noise around the topic. But you can see from this post and this one that in controlled testing there’s a slight edge for Elementor.

All in all then, it’s advantage Elementor after the early stages.

Comparing Divi Builder and Elementor for user interface

During the creative and user interface phase of the website design process, we start to map out wireframes and look at optimal user experience. We tend to use the excellent FlowMapp for wireframe design thanks to its clever flowchart and sitemap tools but this is actually an area where Divi Builder can help too.

From within Divi Visual Builder you can switch to wireframe view and get a bare-bones look at the outline of your site. Obviously this works better once you’ve already added in at least some of the pages you want built for the site, and it won’t help you to plan out a visual sitemap but it’s a great feature when you want to streamline your workflow, switching easily between backend and frontend.

Whilst it’s possible to achieve something similar in Elementor using third party plugins, every additional plugin you add will ultimately have an impact on load. Given how vital page speed is to the modern web experience, the fewer plugins required the better, so on this count we think Divi does have an advantage over its rival.

Elementor admin

Elementor page builder view

Elementor vs Divi Builder for website development

If you’re choosing between Elementor and Divi Builder then you’ve already selected the CMS you’ll be working with, and like 75 million other websites WordPress is that CMS of choice. There are so many advantages to using WordPress, both from a developer and end-user point of view, that we won’t start reeling off its giant list of plus points here. Suffice to say it’s the world’s most popular content management system for a reason.

Were we not wedded to picking one of the page builders under scrutiny in this post we might at this point be considering alternatives to WordPress for the web build project in question. Though not a like-for-like comparison, we will often favour the PHP framework Laravel over WordPress for more demanding and complex websites, but this is only really appropriate where you’re not expecting the client to regularly update the site in the future. Laravel is an incredibly powerful professional web developer’s tool, rather than a true CMS that’s easy to pick up for the less technically minded.

You can’t use visual page builders with Laravel so we’ll say no more about it aside from highlighting this handy post where we’ve previously discussed the differences between WordPress and Laravel if you’d like to know more.

Next, we’d be looking at setting up any required third-party tools within the WordPress backend for the new site. This is where Elementor or Divi needs to be plugged in. Both are very easy to set up in the same way as the majority of WordPress plugins, with a simple upload and unpack functionality.

One area where you might need to consider your choice between the two page builders here is in terms of further third-party plugins required. As we’ve already discussed, the fewer plugins you need, the better, in terms of page code, resource load and site speed. Therefore, if there are features included within Elementor that you know you’d need a further plugin to use with Divi, save yourself those extra plugins now.

This is a good opportunity to highlight one such Elementor-only feature, which will be of particular interest to those with an interest in marketing. Elementor Popup Builder allows you to design targeted popups of all shapes and sizes as well as create the rules and triggers to display them. It’s a really powerful yet easy to use feature that you won’t find in Divi Builder, so if you know it’s something you’d definitely like to make use of, it’s probably the time to drop Divi from your shortlist.

Website launch phase

With the majority of the heavy lifting done, it’s time to check, test and test again before putting our new web build live to the world. We will typically perform an SEO audit at this stage to ensure no optimisation basics have been missed. For this there’s really very little difference between Divi and Elementor as both page builders run through the standard WordPress backend which we already know is well set up for search engine optimisation. That said, as mentioned previously Elementor’s Yoast integration does make the process ever so slightly smoother than performing SEO actions in Divi.

Before launch the site is also going to need all required tracking to be set up, including Google Analytics and Search Console at a minimum. There are plugins that will simplify the process of authorising your Google tags and tracking but it’s always better to add the required tags yourself, within the page code editor in WordPress, and reduce reliance on third-party plugins which can bloat your code.

Beyond basic analytics you might also want to integrate more involved tracking such as through a marketing automation platform like HubSpot or SharpSpring. We’re big fans of SharpSpring at Preface Studios and can attest to the ease of integration between this powerful tool and Elementor. But the likes of HubSpot, Zapier and MailChimp are just as compatible so you can easily plug your preferred platform in and start gathering data.

Which page builder is easier to learn?

Given that as a web designer you will at some point be handing over your new creation, it’s important that your client can pick up the process for updating the site in future. Both Divi and Elementor will require some basic training, even for experienced WordPress users. Thankfully the learning curve is gentle enough you shouldn’t be tearing your hair out, whichever visual page builder you go with.

Both have excellent support options, including Facebook groups where common issues can quickly be resolved thanks to active communities. Though the look and feel of Divi and Elementor differ between them, the basic functionality remains fairly similar and they’ve been designed with simplicity in mind. This makes training clients in their use relatively painless and neither sticks out as being more complex than the other.

Divi vs Elementor for website maintenance

As discussed above, you’ll find guidance and support for both Divi Builder and Elementor in abundance. This makes ongoing website maintenance as simple as possible and because you can have the plugins update automatically, along with WordPress, security risks are minimised too. You’ll still want to regularly backup your site, but whether you use Divi or Elementor won’t impact this.

Where you will find a difference between the two is in terms of the user licence you get. For Elementor’s Pro version you sign up for a year and will need to renew each year thereafter to avoid being downgraded to the more limited free version. The annual cost for this depends on how many sites you want to use Elementor with. A licence for one site costs just $49 a year but if you’re going to be using Elementor frequently across multiple projects there are a number of licences that reduce the per site annual cost. In fact, at the top end of the scale power users can end up paying just $0.99 per site on the Agency plan.

With Divi Builder there’s a more simplified pricing structure as it’s bundled with the popular WordPress theme library Elegant Themes. The licence for Divi costs $89 per year but is not restricted to one site so once you’ve paid for it, you can implement it across multiple sites as you please. What’s more, Elegant Themes is also available with a lifetime licence, costing $249. This represents excellent value if you’re going to be rolling out Divi across lots of sites you work on. There is no free version of Divi however.

Which page builder comes out on top in terms of pricing will depend on your specific requirements, so we’re not going to call a winner for this category.

Into the website evaluation process

Post-launch, a lot of time is spent assessing and analysing real world data to understand how users interact with the site. In this phase you’ll mostly be working with your analytics and third-party monitoring tools. There is one feature that comes into its own here from Divi though, and that’s its inbuilt A/B testing tool.

Keen marketers will know that A/B or split testing can be an incredibly useful method to optimise your site’s conversion rates. By serving different versions of pages and on-site elements such as enquiry forms and popups to different users you can gather data on which is more successful (the A version or the B version). Divi’s inbuilt Divi Leads feature offers a simple integration to help carry out split testing in this manner.

Elementor doesn’t have this functionality, but you can use numerous third-party plugins instead. Additionally, if you’re already using a marketing automation tool like SharpSpring, you’ll have access to split testing via this tool anyway.

Consequently, we’d advise that if you’re going to be using a third-party specialist marketing or tracking platform, Divi Leads probably won’t be a consideration. However, if you know that native A/B testing would be useful to you and you’d have to install an additional third-party plugin to do this within Elementor, you may be better served by Divi Builder and save adding the extra plugin.

In conclusion

When it comes to high performance web design there is no substitute for a completely bespoke build, designed from the ground up. However, budget and time constraints won’t always allow for truly bespoke web design. This is why visual page builders within WordPress can serve as an ideal solution for advanced website projects that need flexibility and high functionality but also have to keep costs down.

Both Divi Builder and Elementor allow for customised design and content, giving developers control of design systems via CSS, so the creative potential is practically limitless. Drag and drop functionality helps clients to easily understand how to create and edit content, reducing long term developer input, and features are always being added and improved.

For us at Preface Studios we find that working with Elementor gives the best balance between power features and time saving efficiency, but Divi Builder remains an excellent alternative and some users may find their specific circumstances would be better served by Divi. Certainly, you’re unlikely to be disappointed whichever you ultimately decide to go with in order to power your next web design project.

If you’d like to know more about how Preface Studios work with Elementor to build beautiful, easy to maintain WordPress websites, get in touch with us today using the form below.

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