I used to be a Visual Composer/ WP Bakery fan but in the past 3-4 months have been using Elementor and now find it absolutely amazing. Here is the workflow that I follow to help me create at least the bare bones of a site for clients in record time.
This is far from a perfect workflow and you for sure have better techniques. Some of these are basic WordPress tips as well and are mixed in here. So here goes.
After installing WordPress I crack on with the following steps.
Choose The Theme
There are millions of themes out there and on the Facebook groups there is a healthy debate on the pros and cons of each, I use the Hello theme for the simple reason that is is “light” and fast.
Debate “rages” about others and I am not averse to them but this theme has suited me to date. With load speed a ranking factor I want my sites to load quickly.
Is used to have this theme stored on my local hard drive but it is now on the WordPress repository and I upload it from there.
So with them in place what is next?
Elementor comes with a lot of attractive templates but I tend to avoid them and have built my own from scratch.
What I have created over the past months are the following templates that I import to each site. I do tweak them a bit after loading for colour and fonts.
- Simple Home Page: About 50-60% of my business is building simple websites for clients that look well. They don’t want bloated sliders or heavy-duty icon usage or flashing imagery. They want a nice site. So I have buil a standard homepage template that has a header image, body text in one, two and three columns with images. I can and do add to it but for first blush it looks fine.
- Contact Page: I have created a simple contact page with a two-column section with a form and contact details, social icons section and a Google Map full width underneath. 99% of the customers are more than happy with that. I tweak the coloring and fonts a little and it is done.
- Full Page: The Hello theme default theme page is awful really but an OK sacrifice to avoid bloat. I have a full page template already setup with Heading, full-width column and two columns and three columns. I also have a two-column with image left and right with text on each side.
- Header and Footer: Again there are lots of nice template headers but I have built a two row header template with nice spacing that I use again and again. Of course I change colours and fonts and the logo but it saves me a ton of time.
I plan to build a Post template and a WooCommerce Product template in time but having the templates above saves me 2-3 hours of work in creating them and not wasting time searching for “nicer” templates.
I of course use the Elementor Pro license and have the plugin locally so drag that in and install it and of course the core Elementor plugin.
I then install the following plugins which help my workflow as well.
Duplicate Posts: I install the free Duplicate Posts plugin straight away.. I usually use it to duplicate the Pages above from the template to create the main pages for the client to get going.
Yoast SEO: I have used the Yoast SEO plugin for years. There is passionate debate online about the Pros and Cons of different SEO plugins but I really only use this to sort out the page titles and some meta. Yoast does a little more but for quick sites, I leave it at that.
Other than these two I don’t add many more. I sometimes install Contact Form 7 but the Elementor form works fine for me in the above contact page.
I have a Depositphoto paid account and use it all the time. But for initial prototyping I usually grab free images from Pexels to get started that match the business niche. I also use a Mac app called Shrink-O-Matic all the time to reduce bigger images quickly rather than relying on a plugin.
If needs I drop them into Photoshop as well to tweak exact dimensions to make things look well.
Most of my smaller clients allow me free reign with colour choices. I tend to drop into Adobe Color to pick up ideas .
There are tons of gret ideas for colours so I grab some and with a simple dark grey for text off I go.
For fonts I always use Google fonts and choose at most a two font combo for headers and body text.
Once I get these I add them to the default fonts and colours for the site and we are nearly there.
I take a little bit of time with the above fonts to establish a style guide. This is really a note where I jot down the type of font and color for headings, the font and colour for body text and work out any spacing I need.
I like to call this my power tip. Again this applies to simple quick sites. I have created an export XML file of the most popular pages people look for and with the Duplicate Post plugin and this upload I can upload 6 pages with pre populated information. Some just have “Coming Soon” some a bit more information.
Fast is Good and Fast Is Bad
I use all these tips as I work in a competitive market where price is king and having Elementor and the above tools have taken hours off my workflow.
Once I have these things done I apply several hours to improve styling, add some nice touches using Elementor where needs like borders, styling, spacing and the nleave it be.
It gets me nearly 90% of the way there for budget sites and sometimes for even more complex sites. I must add I am very very comfortable with Wordpress so I can do this quickly through working with this CMS over the years. Elementor is my “Tool of the Year” for sure in this.
I am constantly looking for ways to do the above tasks faster. One of the things I am playing with is building more sites using XAMMP and just using Duplicator Pro to do it all in one go (the above templates, plugins and so on). This is my next plan and will reduce the above work by an even more significant amount.
I would love your feedback so drop me an email with ideas – love to caht.