What I learned switching from Elementor to GeneratePress

I recently built a new website for my WordPress management company.

The first time I built it with Elementor. I find using their new Flexbox containers, is a pure joy.

Then just a day later, I built the same site, with GeneratePress & GenerateBlocks.

In this video I’m to tell you how they perform, look, and how easy I find each tool to use.

Check out the sites:
Client Amp (Generate Press)
Client Amp (Elementor)

Products in this video:
GeneratePress
GenerateBlocks
Elementor

PAGE SPEED

The Elementor page passed Google Core Web Vitals with flying colors, scoring a largest contentful paint of 595ms, a total blocking time of 147ms and a cumulative layoutshift of 0.

With a GTMetrix Performance score of 97% and outstanding perceived performance, I did not need to move this site off of Elementor to increase desktop speed.

But , it had been a long time since I built a site with Gutenberg and I had some extra time.

I chose GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks because  even though I have never much enjoyed the Gutenberg experience, GeneratePress does it better than most.

There results weren’t entirely surprising. GeneratePress has better web vitals and I was even able to score 100% performance on both GTMetrix and Google Page Speed Insight.

Mobile PSI numbers saw the largest improvement, going from a 59 to 99. Mobile PSI numbers are always where Elementor sites struggle most.

Winner here is GeneratePress, but Elementor is certainly not going to hurt your SEO if you build the site properly.

How the pages look.

The biggest difference in appearsance is with Generate Press I chose to use the system fonts.

This means that the website will not load any fonts at all, making it faster. The downside is the fonts on apple devices will be different the fonts on Windows & Android.

I can live with that. Anywhere the company’s brand is display is an SVG so I am not sacrificing branding.

The result is the Generate Press site just looks better.

This almost certainly a result of the fact that as I went through and rebuild the site I was able to change the design here and there to make it more consistent and effective.

It’s rare that I can spend as much time with a site as I did this one, but I think the effort paid off.

So, the Winner here is GeneratePress, but the results aren’t scientific. I bet if I build this a third time with another builder, it would probably get even better looking.

Developer Quality of Life

This last section is about the qualify of life for the person who puts the pages together.

Both platforms have their bugs.

The one that really kills me is the ability to move elements around in Gutenberg, specifically when you’re dealing with blocks texted int he GenerateBlocks container element. I wish there was a key command to change the nesting level, but as far I can tell there is, so I’m stuck fumbling with these little blue lines and then the safari side panel pops open and I lose my place.

By the end of my build I was relying more on copy and pasting blocks rather than trying to drag and drop them, but it really shouldn’t be that way.

Dragging and dropping aside, getting a consistently layout was easier on GeneratePress. Particularly when switching to mobile responsive editing, to my surprise most things just worked. I tweaked a few margins and padding, and I was generally done.

As for Elementor, it’s far from perfect but it’s a platform I’m used to, so I already know how to work around its bugs. I’m also using an alpha feature in the Flexbox containers, so it would be silly of me to expect it to work as well as production feature.

This category is a draw. Both platforms have room for improvement, but I will say that GeneratePress just feels like more of a professional product that is targeting serious WordPress professionals, TM Gridpane.

Conclusion

I suspect the biggest take away many people will have regarding this video is the mobile speed scores.

As someone who builds and works on websites all day, every day, I feel that the importance of page speed scores tend to be over emphasized in videos like these.

Chasing a page speed of 100, is really a ridiculous and futile task that, on it’s own, and won’t cause your site to produce any more revenue.

Everyone has seen Neil Patel talking about how a slow loading page kills conversion rates, and that is true. To a point. There is no cash prize for reaching a PSI score of 100. I believe many people are using speed testing tools incorrectly. Everything on your site needs to be about human experience, if the site feels fast then that’s good enough. If engagement rate is poor and your site feels snappy, you have other user experience issues.  If your site feels slow, that’s where page speed tools can help you pinpoint areas that need improvement.

But I digress…

I am very happy I rebuild the site using GeneratePress, but more for the look and feel of the site rather than the performance improvements.

Moving forward, I am much more excited about building sites with Gutenberg, particularly when a great theme like GeneratePress is involved.

I’m still a little weirded out by the future of WordPress & Full site editing. I want to bury my head in the sand and wait for that to work itself out, but the best WordPress experience for me right now, is with GeneratePress.

That said, Elementor is still a great platform and anyone who says Elementor doesn’t produce good websites, is probably focused on solving the wrong problem.