A Complete Background Check on Elementor [Interview with Ben Pines, CMO of Elementor]

The representatives of top web-design niche companies are always interesting people to talk to. They are always ready to talk about some interesting details and stories about their products. That’s why TemplateMonster is eager to talk to some cool people.

Today we have a really interesting interviewee – Ben Pines, the CMO of Elementor Page Builder. It's a shame if you do not know what Elementor is, but just in case – it is one of the best WordPress Page Builders. It helps web developers and beginners to create WordPress sites easily . Alexandra Payne will have a talk with the guy behind this awesome builder.

The start of a career

Alexandra Payne: It’s great having you here today, thanks for joining me. What should we start with? I guess the first question will be - what were your very first steps in the web development industry?
Ben Pines: Back in 2006, I started working in a small SEO company. After a couple of years, I quit it to build my own company which did affiliate marketing. I built several WordPress websites, and this was a small business just me and my partners so I had to do pretty much everything. Those were my first steps.

Alexandra Payne: Are you trying to keep current with all the updates in the SEO and content marketing world?
Ben Pines: I probably don’t get as updated as I should, but I am trying. I don’t just limit myself to learning SEO and content marketing. I think this is a common mistake that people believe that are SEO professionals just subscribe to the SEO blogs. Insights don’t necessarily come from your specific niche. I’m trying to find the most important information in terms of content creation, writing, and marketing. There are lots of streams that I follow.

Ben Pines’s Bookshelf

REWORK by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Zero to One by Peter Thiel

A few words about Elementor

Alexandra Payne: I’d like to ask you about Elementor Page Builder. It is growing more and more popular. When you joined the Elementor team was it a little company with a couple of people or was it a huge team? What was it like when you first started working with Elementor?
Ben Pines: When we got started there were just a few of us. When I joined the team it had 5 members. And now there are over 20 of us, so it is a huge growth. It was just 18 months ago and it's amazing to see how a community has grown as a team and as a product.

Alexandra Payne: You are constantly releasing new updates and add-ons for Elementor. For example, you recently released a new tool for creating contact forms. Can you please tell us a little bit more about this tool?
Ben Pines: This form widget is one the most popular in Elementor PRO. The form is a vital part of every site – it gives you conversion and a connection with customers. Working with forms and designing them visually was very popular among our users and we received a lot of feedback. That’s why we extended this widget. We added upload, so users can submit their own files. There is also an acceptance field now, which is important if your user needs to accept your terms or give consent to receive emails from you. We added a few more features so that the form widget is much more powerful and convenient for our users. One plugin less to worry about, you know.

Alexandra Payne: The fact you are constantly updating your product is just encouraging more and more people to use it. I see that Elementor continues developing – could you please tell me what you are working on now and what you are going to release in the foreseeable future?
Ben Pines: You know, there is an endless number of things you can work on and add as a feature. Currently, we are working on the next generation of Elementor. This is a big project of ours, and we have been working on it for several months. Elementor deals mostly with the content of the page and now we are going beyond that. You will be able to use Elementor to design your headers, footers and other areas of a website. It will introduce new challenges to Elementor, but will also make it more amazing than it is now.

Alexandra Payne: I see it will be a really huge update. Can you tell us how it would change the competition between Elementor and other page builders like Visual Composer or Beaver Builder?
Ben Pines: Every week both we and our competitors turn out a new feature. Every company faces this situation, so we are trying to improve the factors we consider the most important for page builder. The first is speed - clients need everything they do to work fast. Even a second of waiting is important from the users perspective. The second thing we're working on is design. We wanted our users to create not only regular pages, but also something more like professional designers do, like shape divider or box shadows. The third is to give users an opportunity to do all the changes live. Previously you had to flip between the back-end and the front-end. Now you don’t have to as everything is on the front-end. These are three things on which we are focusing and which will guide our vision. I think that going beyond page elements will make a huge difference between us and our competitors.

Gutenberg threat

Alexandra Payne: It was said, that Elementor makes a work with WordPress much easier for developers and regular users who don’t know how to code. The next question is what do you think of the Gutenberg plugin? I’m sure you know that version 5.0 of WordPress will be released with this editor. What could its release mean for page builders?
Ben Pines: We’ve been keeping a close eye on the Gutenberg project because we want to promote it. We think it is important for WordPress to have a visual side of content creation that we already see on Medium or Squarespace. We are working on the compatibility of our products and recently removed an issue that occurs when switching between Gutenberg and Elementor. It’s hard to tell now how it will influence the WordPress core, but in my mind, it was a good move on the part of Matt and WordPress to go in this direction.

Alexandra Payne: A demo for the Gutenberg Editor has been available for several months already and there were some thoughts that the appearance of Gutenberg means the end of all visual page builders. What do you think about that? Could it become true?
Ben Pines: Certainly there is an opinion that Gutenberg affects the page builders and theme providers. I have to say that I’m sceptical that a real threat exists. I mean, you always have users’ preferences. Even now people use different page builders and some of them are much worse than Elementor. I think users have their own thoughts about what to use.

Pre-made WordPress Themes + Elementor

Alexandra Payne: You've mentioned template providers that offer pre-made templates. Lots of providers, and TemplateMonster too, make templates with Elementor included. Have you ever check the quality of those products and what do you think of them?
Ben Pines: I recently checked the TemplateMonster templates and there were thousands of them. They look pretty cool and professional and I was pleased with the result. That means I have also seen some freelancer templates and they were hideous. That was long ago when we had just started. When the Elementor was launched we had adopters that were not necessarily professional designers. As time passed by and we grew, it became totally different. Now we have top designers with whom we work. Our template library already has over 130 templates, dozens of which are free, so we are a good starting point for beginners. However, if a user needs a template for some specific niche it’s great to have an external theme provider like TemplateMonster.

Alexandra Payne: Thank you, it’s really nice to hear. There is an opinion, that not every WordPress theme is compatible with Elementor. If this is true – how do you choose a suitable theme that is compatible with this page builder or what do you do if you already have one that doesn’t work with Elementor?
Ben Pines: There are tens of thousands of themes available. We post templates that we have  checked and recommend on our website. What I would suggest, if you encounter some problem with a theme, is to check if the issue is really inherent in the theme. If the problem is within the template – contact the theme provider and try to solve it. Sometimes there is just a small issue that can be easily solved. However, most of the themes are working normally with Elementor. There are even theme providers like Astra Theme and Theme Isle that contact us and say that they want to switch to Elementor. They customize their previous themes and make new ones that are completely compatible with our page builder.

Little plugin secrets

Alexandra Payne: Let’s talk about plugins. Do you have some set of essential and compatible WordPress plugins that every blog owner should use?
Ben Pines: First of all, it is advisable not to use too many plugins. The fewer plugins you use – the faster is your website. Elementor has actually replaced the need to use some plugins. We have a built-in maintenance mode feature, sliders and slideshows, form builder and menu builder. However, security is a big issue. Personally, I would install a plugin to monitor if people are trying to hack your website. Yoast SEO plugin is one that I always use and WooCommerce too. It really depends on what site you are trying to create. One way or another you would need some caching plugin and one for security.

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Read Also

Elementor Page Builder: This is Your New Must-Have WordPress Plugin

Elementor VS Cornerstone. Is the Game Worth the Candle?

Elementor or Page Builder Sandwich: Which One Is Right For You?

MotoPress vs Elementor. What’s the Best WordPress Front-end Page Builder?

Elementor or Visual Composer: What WordPress Page Builder Is Better?

Elizabeth Thistle

A passionate WordPress monster since 2018. Loves professionally built website templates, is Elementor Page Builder fan and becomes extremely curious when it comes to trying some new site creation tools. Quora account

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