by Adam Preiser updated April 2, 2018

Using A WordPress Page Builder – Do You Still Need A Theme?


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You started using a powerful front end page builder, but want to know if you need to use a theme.

This question is coming up a lot these days with powerful pages builders like Beaver Builder and Elementor Pro which does many of the things your theme would traditionally do.

The answer is maybe not!

Video Transcript

In this video work to try to answer the question
of do I need a WordPress theme in the answer

might surprise you hi my name is Adam from Remick WordPress tutorial videos

for non-techies if you’re new here consider
clicking on the subscribe button or if you

want video notifications click on that little
bell in you to let you know what I have a

new video so this question is coming up a
lot in this is actually more video to open

up the discussion of do you need a WordPress
theme now with products like Elementor Pro

version 2 which is due to come out April 9
or so it’s currently in beta what you now

have is page builders that will create headers
with the net menu navigation logo the crate

doubleheaders for you and the footers and
the blog post styles all of these things that

traditionally were built using your WordPress
theme and style with your WordPress theme

now you have page builders doing this in fact
there’s been another page builder that started

doing that about a year ago so the question
is actually very relevant right now of do

you need a WordPress theme in fact if we look
over here at Elementor’s get hub page so this

is a repository where developers will put
all of their code all of a sudden there’s

this new entry called Elementor a hello theme
and what this is is it’s a a totally stripped

down WordPress theme that you can use Elementor
with but then you would just be reliant upon

Elementor for everything and it just takes
everything out that you might need a theme

for is perfect let’s just go ahead and jump
in here and take a look at what it’s like

using this Elementor hello theme so what you
can do is put a link in the video description

box to this you just come to this page click
right here where it says clone or download

and then the drop down there there’s is option
to download the zip and then you can just

upload that to your WordPress’s themes section
so I’ve already done that right here so if

I go to appearance and then themes you’ll
see I have it right there and this just a

fresh installation of WordPress and then here
it is the Elementor hello theme and in this

is what it looks like right now as a matter
fact there’s absolutely nothing there I think

this might be a stripped down version of GeneratePress
if I was a look at the code I might be able

to confirm that so but there were some clues
as to why I think that so we can use this

and I really have Elementor Pro version 2
and we can convert it from this into a full

website this is how easy would be to do that
you go to Elementor we can choose on my templates

we can go to add new will select a header
just like this and I’ll give it the name header

okay now many click on create template I’ll
just take a moment it’s gonna create that

I go ahead and choose this default one now
please headers and footers and blog posts

styles and all that it’s a feature in Elementor
Pro version 2 it’s not in the normal free

version of Elementor when you click on publish
working to choose display conditions and to

choose for this header to show on the entire
website click on publish a click right here

and I’m going to go ahead and get out of this
header that we put together now if I click

on refresh you see we have that header now
on the right there will be a menu navigation

I just haven’t created the menu in this site
and then the next step actually we could just

let see will go here let’s assign a home page
and then will slap a template in their real

quick summary click on add new underlayment
home just like that a click on publish and

then I’m a go ahead and click on edit with
Elementor and were just can use one of the

Elementor templates of click on add template
and we can really choose anything at this

point I’ll just click on insert right here
it’s good to go ahead and download everything

package it all up and insert it into right
here okay so now I’m to go ahead and click

on updates we might be finding some problems
already see I haven’t tested this in advance

to go back to the dashboard but let’s see
if I go to templates and here it is Elementor

fullwidth this is actually new feature in
Elementor version 2 is this template that’s

is Elementor full with in that should probably
let’s take a look at this before we apply

it that should get rid of this let’s see if
that’s what it does some to go back here change

this to Elementor full with click on updates
go here hoops actually were going to go here

will click on refresh and that went away and
so here I am using essentially no theme it’s

literally stripped down to nothing and I’ve
got my header right here I’ve got to the full

page template right here so the question really
is do you need a theme and the answer to that

question is maybe you don’t I know you might
be surprised hearing that for me but maybe

you don’t need a theme however there are some
things to consider if in that question if

you need a theme or not so let’s go ahead
and take a look at this you’re going to want

a theme if you want to have global styles
global color styles global fonts also styling

a certain traditional theme parts like your
comments section those are styles that should

come from a theme now with Elementor it allows
you to set and define a couple of fonts it’s

about four fonts and about four colors in
that’s pretty much it everything else you

can have to manually choose the font and manually
choose the color which isn’t so bad except

if you later on want to change a font or change
in color than you can have to go back to every

single spot and make that change it can be
a little on the tedious side next in this

I think is the real big thing for me is plug
in integrations and so this would be for example

with the gent let’s just take all of the themes
GeneratePress OceanWP and Asher all three

of those WooCommerce integration if you want
WooCommerce integration in some of those special

features when you’re interacting with WooCommerce
in the shop page and on the product page and

on the shopping carts you’re not going to
get that out of this concept of having no

theme or a bare-bones theme and just using
the page builder you’re just talking to get

those a perfect example is the I know OceanWP
and Astra has it where you’re looking at the

shop page and you can hover over product image
and there’s a button that you click in the

product pops up in a pop up you can edit the
car and check out you don’t get those if you’re

going for a no theme another example with
the Astra Theme is they have LifterLMS integration

so out-of-the-box you plug LifterLMS in and
it looks beautiful you’re not gonna get that

out of having the snow theme theme same goes
for learn ’96 they’re working on learned

’96 integration there also working on an
events calendar integration so an integration

meaning you just plug the plug-in in and it’s
gonna look perfect out of the box that’s what

I mean by integration so as not to say that
you can’t use WooCommerce LifterLMS learn

’96 events calendars you can’t use that with
this no theme concept here but it’s can require

a whole bunch of heavy lifting to stylet if
you choose to go the no theme route but to

get a better look at this let’s go ahead and
look at one of the feature lists of one of

these themes that I’m talking about let’s
go ahead and take a look right here at Astra

I’m on their website and when I scroll down
on the particular page that I’m on it list

out the features so let’s actually just look
at this and try to answer the question are

you can to get this or do you actually need
this that’s a question that only you can ask

are you can get this or do you need this for
your WordPress theme okay transparent header

as of today Elementor Pro version 2’s not
get you transparent headers but I assume that

their canoe add that feature at some point
probably sooner than later sticky header it

doesn’t have that either but I’m sure they’ll
add that sooner or later page headers kind

of you get that more color controls now with
81 of these themes you’re going to get color

controls for a lot of the different parts
of the website that you want a color control

on with Elementor you’re going to get control
over four different areas that you can set

globally better topography this is another
thing where you’re to get more topography

options in a theme then if you just used your
Elementor you get for four different fonts

that you can set to be global custom layouts
footer widgets that’s already in Elementor

Pro to scroll to top link I’m not such a fan
of scroll to top link that’s the little link

that’ll be in the bottom right of your website
and someone can click it and it will scroll

right up to the top of the website I’m not
really a fan of that because I find that there’s

other things I rather have their like a live
chat bubble or something along those lines

but you can actually do that with 1/3 party
plug-in header sections white label blog layouts

blog will answer get an Elementor to site
layouts WooCommerce integration you’re not

getting that out Elementor spacing control
yes you actually have full spacing control

out of Elementor more header designs mega
menu there isn’t a mega menu that I that that’s

out for Elementor I think there might be some
third-party plug-ins you can add to get a

mega menu inside there I think really what’s
can happen is it’s going to boil down to a

theme offering you ready to go sites or starter
sites I think that’s gonna be a big reason

to buy a theme moving forward and then I think
it’s really going to boil down to plug-in

integrations so if you are wanting to have
a basic kind of what they call a brochure

website that right there you might not need
of a paid theme you might just want to go

this basic Elementor theme I don’t know if
there to release it or develop it further

maybe they’re just using it for testing but
it’s certainly an interesting concept then

you might want to consider something like
that if you don’t need any integrations all

you need is a header or footer and whatever’s
is sandwiched in between you might not need

it but those are my opinions I want to know
what you think in the best place for you to

share your opinion on this concept is in the
comment section down below let me know what

you think about teams and what is going to
be a purchase decision or a decision use one

theme over this potentially new concept of
using no theme I love to hear about it from

you in the comment section down below-enjoy
this video go ahead and give it a thumbs up

and remember subscribe and I appreciate you
taking the time to watch this video and I

look forward to seeing you in the next one

My passion is making the best quality video tutorial online, for non-techies. When I am not behind the camera, I am usually helping out one of my YouTube subscribers.

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  1. I notice that I have an option to edit my theme and a separate option to edit my theme in astra. If astra is active then I assume itโ€™s the same outcome..? Should i use elementor initially when I create a page or create normally and then edit with elementor? Does it even matter which way i do it? Sorry Iโ€™m such a noob!

    1. You theme is what you use for your global settings such as fonts and colors. Your page builder us what you would use for the actual content on each page of your website.

  2. Hi Adam, not quite there yet.
    I have bought a theme in themeforest. I have struggled a bit and found elementor. Is it stupid or pointless to have paid for the theme if I Will be using elementor, or better so, Will I not profit from all what my theme offers me if I use elementor or it has nothing to do. Gracias in advance

  3. Newbie here…began learning about customization of themes and the need for a child theme to buffer original theme updates. My visual of using a page builder eliminates the need for a child theme as there are no “updates” to consider, am I missing something?

  4. Thank for this tut!
    And, just let you know I did buy Astra via your referrals and send email the details.
    Your blog is so great for learning build WP sites!

  5. Hi Adam, Thanks for great tutorials for non techies like myself ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks to you Ive just started creating a website using Elementor and have a little question… How easy is it to access the backend source code if I need help from a proper developer down the line? And how do I access it? I need to implement some tracking codes for Analytics etc, and Im not sure how to.. Hope you can help ๐Ÿ™‚
    Many thanks!

    1. You are free to download Elementor direct from the WordPress directory, then unzip it to see the source code. Regarding adding tracking codes and other scripts like that, you would normally add that with your theme or a specific plugin that makes it a little easier.

  6. Thank you, Adam. This clarifies part of a question I was having. The other part is, when I choose a theme, how does their offered templates relate to or work with that?

    1. Well, it depends on the theme. Most of the themes on ThemeForrest only work with Visual Composer, which is VERY unfortunate. There there are themes like Astra where it’s demo’s work perfectly with Elementor or Beaver Builder.

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