Moving large Elementor sites to a bespoke WordPress theme.

migrate your site from Elementor to WordPress

If you have a large WordPress site built with Elementor and want to move to a bespoke theme that’s fit for purpose, we can help.

Get started

Why move your site from Elementor to a bespoke theme?

Elementor, like other page-builder plugins, can be great for smaller sites, but if you have plans to go large, you need to be on a bespoke theme.

Once WordPress sites get to a certain size, managing them in page builders like Elemenor can become problematic.

Speed and compatibility issues can become more complex and your site can slow down to a crawl, so if you have a large site built in Elementor, we can move it to a lightweight, purpose-built WordPress theme that will set a solid foundation for your websites growth.

Why build a massive site on Elementor?

Often websites start off small, which can mean small budgets to build.

Many of the sites we move from Elementor to bespoke themes started off as smaller websites, and Elementor was perfect for the job, but as the sites grow, things get more complex.

Because bespoke development can be overly complex on WordPress sites that use page builders, site owners tend to add more and more plugins to get things to work and this slows the site down.

What started off as a small site can quickly grow into a large mission-critical site, and once you get to this point, you’re seemingly stuck with Elementor as everything is baked into it.

The problem is that your site becomes slower and slower, more prone to plugin conflicts as more plugins are added over time to achieve basic functions.

Get help moving your site off Elementor.

We’ve helped lots of clients successfully move their WordPress sites off page builders and over to bespoke-built WordPress sites to improve content management, page speed and SEO.

Get started today

How do you get a large site off the Elementor theme?

Carefully, and with a lot of planning.

The truth with page-builder plugins is that the longer you use them, the more complex it becomes to unpick them when things start to go wrong.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the sooner to make the move to a bespoke WP theme, the better.

We help clients to migrate away from Elementor themes and onto lightweight, future-proofed themes whilst maintaining rankings, permalink structure and so on.

We do this as follows:

  1. Getting the complete site structure into a spreadsheet so all the URLs can be checked
  2. Looking at ranking URLs (against SEM Rush and aHrefs data)
  3. Planning custom post types on the new site to hold the migrated content and maintaining the URL structure
  4. Using custom Gutenberg blocks to recreate global and page elements from the Elementor site
  5. Migrating and cleaning out the content mess that page builders create
  6. Repopulating all the new pages with the content
  7. Technically optimising everything (green lights in Google Page Speed)
  8. A hold range of other checks pre- and post-live

That’s a cut-down version of everything we do, but you get the idea.

Moving an Elementor site takes time and careful planning.

Keeping the same design when moving away from Elementor.

Many clients love how their site looks, they just want a better content management experience.

This is not a problem – when we move an Elementor site to a bespoke theme, there’s options when it comes to the design.

  1. Keep it the same as the current site
  2. Evolve it a little to improve UX
  3. Throw it away and start again

If you prefer to keep the existing design, we can simply recreate this in your new bespoke theme.

If you want to evolve things a little, we can do this via new design visuals or simply work in-browser for smaller tweaks and changes.

For a complete redesign, this goes into our branding team for the full design process.

Don’t mess with the content (yet).

It can be tempting to rework a lot of content during a migration from a page-builder to a bespoke theme. Don’t do this.

We strongly recommend not changing content when moving WordPress themes.

If you rank for keywords, it’s best to keep the content as-is during the migration and move content updates to ‘phase two’.

One of the main reasons for this is that moving you to a bespoke theme means a significant change to your site’s codebase and structure of the code. It’s best to do this first and let the changes bed in with Google before changing the content too much.

Re-theming and reworking content at the same time also doubles the complexity of the project – on your new site, you’ll be able to edit all the content easily, so it’s best to wait until we’ve done our job before you start yours.

So what’s the point in moving from Elementor to a bespoke theme?

Speed, quality, content management, future-proofing and technical optimisation are a few to get us started.

Let’s be clear that we are not knocking Elementor—it’s an amazing piece of kit—but we’re talking horses-for-courses: it is not right for all websites.

If you’re a solopreneur or a micro business, Elementor gives you the option to build your own website (apparently in minutes), and this can be attractive for startups and people with more time than budget.

You can choose from 100s of generic designs and design elements to build your site from a set of templates that 16 million other people have used. You get a website, but you get a generic one.

What you spend on your website obviously matches what your business can afford to spend on a website, so if it’s not much, then a page builder is for you.

If you’re an established business that aims to rank higher and demands more custom coding and functionality from your website, a page builder app is not something you should consider – you have the budget to go bespoke.

The benefits of a bespoke theme:

  1. Faster and improved technical optimisation
  2. Future proof – built around the WordPress codex, which isn’t going anywhere
  3. Easier to update – no plugin or theme conflicts
  4. Easier to develop – add new functionality within the theme, not by adding loads of new plugins
  5. Easier to manage content – page builder UI is famously complicated, so a stripped-back, built-for-purpose UI makes managing content easy, even for non-technical users
  6. Easier to reskin – if your brand updates, you don’t need to throw the website away; you have the stylesheet updated
  7. Unique – not like the millions of other sites already out there on generic templates and theme designs
  8. Plays nicely with APIs and other integrations – seamlessly connect your other apps, APIs and other tools you use without the fear of breaking things
  9. Easier to fix or debug – page builders are massive plugins; if there’s a problem, it can be like finding a needle in a haystack
  10. Independence – remove the locked-in reliance on additional third-party plugins by using vanilla WordPress

Sooner rather than later.

As we’ve previously mentioned, the larger your Elementor site gets, the longer it will take to migrate it.

Due to the way that Elementor and other page builders work, migrating content from a site to a bespoke theme can often be a copy-and-paste job.

There are some automated ways that your content can be ‘cleaned,’ but more often than not, it has to be worked through page by page with each one being rebuilt.

There is (at the time of writing) no way to export page builder content into Gutenberg blocks, so if your page layouts are already complex in Elementor, the rebuild can also be complex.

Moving away from Elementor theme FAQs

What are the main benefits of moving from Elementor to a bespoke WordPress theme?

Moving to a bespoke WordPress theme can offer improved performance, greater flexibility in design and functionality, and better control over SEO elements. A custom theme is tailored specifically to your needs, potentially reducing unnecessary bloat from generic themes.

Will my website experience downtime during the transition?

Downtime can be minimised or completely avoided with proper planning. The development of the custom theme typically occurs in a staging environment, which doesn’t affect the live site. Once the new theme is ready, it can be deployed quickly to minimise any potential downtime.

Can I retain the same design when moving to a custom theme?

Yes, it is possible to retain the same design. A custom theme can be designed to match your existing website’s aesthetics closely. However, this is also an opportunity to refine and optimise the design based on current web standards and user feedback.

How long does it typically take to develop a custom WordPress theme?

The development time for a custom WordPress theme can vary widely based on complexity, specific features, and the level of customisation required. Typically, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

What happens to the content that was created in Elementor?

Content created in Elementor can be migrated to the new custom theme. However, because Elementor uses shortcodes and specific widgets, some content elements might need to be recreated or adjusted manually to fit the new theme structure.

Is it more expensive to develop a bespoke WordPress theme compared to using Elementor?

Initially, developing a bespoke theme can be more costly than using a pre-built Elementor theme due to the time and expertise required to create a custom solution. However, this cost can be offset in the long term by the benefits of having a more streamlined and optimised website.

Will my website’s SEO be affected by the change?

Changing themes can affect your website’s SEO, but with careful planning, you can mitigate negative impacts. Ensure that the new theme is optimised for SEO, maintain URL structures where possible, and properly redirect any changed URLs to preserve search engine rankings.

How can I ensure that the new custom theme is secure?

Security should be a priority in the development of your custom theme. Make sure your developers follow best practices, such as using secure, well-maintained plugins, regularly updating WordPress, and implementing security measures like firewalls and malware scans.

What should I look for in a developer or agency to create a bespoke WordPress theme?

Look for a developer or agency with a strong portfolio of custom-built WordPress sites and positive client testimonials. Expertise in web standards, responsiveness, accessibility, and SEO is also crucial. Ensure they understand your business goals and can offer ongoing support after the theme is launched.