Pros & Cons Of 5 Most Popular WordPress Pagebuilders
In this day and age, WordPress Pagebuilders are no longer an accessory – they are considered as an essential tool in the web design and development process of a website, whether you are a professional designer or just doing your own thing. This huge demand for them has led to a surge in their availability and a variety of pagebuilders, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. This post will help you know the good and bad about a WordPress page builder plugin.
With such a huge number of WP pagebuilders, this article deep dives into the benefits and shortfalls of some of the leading and most popular products in the market.
Divi by ElegantThemes
Divi pagebuilder is built with two things in mind, simplistic, beautiful designs and practicality. Whether you are familiar with drag and drop pagebuilders or not, you will be able to create a beautiful and unique design in minutes. This simplicity has attracted a huge number of bloggers and developers as well and its other major highlights include:
a. Variety of pre-made layouts
As a new user, you might be struggling to come up with a new design to suit the design of your website. Luckily, Divi provides multiple pre-made layouts from which you can choose and use as your template. This enables you to either use the whole layout for your website or modify it by removing some of its elements, then add your own to come up with a customized version.
Alternatively, you can get ideas to structure your webpage just from going through the different layouts, and in the end, come up with your own unique layout. All in all, without these layouts, it would be quite difficult for anyone not used to the web design process to kick start their project.
b. Responsive out-of-the-box
Divi built websites are able to change layout when loaded on different devices. This means that the website will adjust the elements to look good on all devices, whether they are phones, laptops or a tablets.
This responsive design makes your website look great on all devices, giving the end user a great user experience regardless of how they access your site.
Simplicity on the outside most likely means complexity on the inside and Divi has some bit of that on its inner workings. These include:
a. Difficult to switch to another WordPress theme
We all know WordPress is pretty easy to use. To put it into perspective, think of WordPress as a piece of land on which you can plant almost anything on. However, using Divi can be compared to planting trees on your land. Once you use it, it’s difficult to switch to other themes, because it embeds certain elements into your content which are difficult to remove.
This is important to consider because you might need to change to different builders in the future. These difficulties might tie you up to this vendor unless you get an expert to give you some assistance.
b. Not compatible with some WordPress plugins
The various modules that enable you to drag and drop content and images using Divi encloses them in many layers of code, making it difficult for plugins like Yoast SEO to analyze and help you optimize your web content. Be sure to check which plugins work with Divi before spending your money on it.
2. Beaver Builder
Beaver builder is a very lightweight plugin, yet is still packs a punch. It is very fast and provides all the website building tools that a non-coder would want. Its major highlights include:
a. SEO ready
Search Engine Optimization is important for every website. The on page optimizations can determine how well your website is ranked, consequently affecting the number of visitors your website receives each day. Beaver builder factors in some of the best standards in SEO such as code compression and incorporating schema.org metadata which greatly improve your website’s visibility.
Additionally, the builder supports various plugins such as Yoast SEO which further helps you optimize your web content. It is also compatible with WPML, which is a translator plugin to help translate your website to a variety of languages, increasing the potential number of visitors you can get.
Web design might not be a walk in the park for everyone. Fortunately, Beaver provides world class support to every client in order to publish and sort out any web issues as soon as possible. In most cases, you will get feedback almost instantly but in case of delays, contact is re-established within 24-48 hours.
The crew at Beaver even have casual chats with their customers with the intention of knowing them better in order and give more personalized support. This makes it very easy to solve issues. Apart from that, they have a very interactive community on Facebook with over 10000 members, and that provides another line of support.
Beaver builder does have some issues which include:
a. Bland User Interface
Although the plugin is quite light, giving you exceptional performance, it does not have a very interesting UI. This might not be a big issue especially because it is on the design end of your website. However, other builders have more elegant user interfaces which just make it more pleasant to work with.
Beaver builder does not come cheap. Unless you are satisfied with the lite version (which is of course limited in functionality), the cheapest plan costs $99 while the agency plan will set you back $399. They also provide a low discount of 40% on renewed subscriptions, which to a majority of people, could have been around 50%.
However, for the builder’s efficiency and world class support, this might be a small price to pay.
If you’re actually wondering which of the above two plugins you might want to use, this article on CollectiveRay is an excellently detailed comparison which you should read.
Elementor is certainly a bargain. The free version gives a beginner almost all the tools required to create a simple but elegant website. The premium versions are quite affordable and add on a few features like forms and posts widgets which help you improve your website further. The builder also has other benefits that include:
a. Instant testing
Most pagebuilders create mobile friendly websites but very few provide testing tools. Elementor is one of the very few page builders that provides you with an instant tester. This tool is built into the panel, enabling you to view your posts in mobile, desktop, laptop and tablet screens as live simulations.
b. Easy to use
It is very easy to set up layouts in Elementor. You can either use the grid layout and add new elements in it or drag and drop elements directly into the work area to begin designing.
It comes with an elements panel containing various widgets such as images and videos. It also has a WordPress block element containing WordPress specific features like posts, menus and pages, giving you an all in one package that requires simple drag and drop actions to create almost any design on your website.
To add onto this, each element has its own custom configuration options which are easy to adjust and the end result is shown live as you continue your configurations.
Elementor could improve on the following:
a. Inline text editing
In most page builders, you edit text in the actual website as you continue building but in elementor, text is edited on a text editor, located on the left side of the page.
This editor overlaps with the elements panel, inconveniencing you in such a way that if you want to add a new element when you are typing text, you must click another part of the page so that the whole panel can disappear then pull out the elements panel. It is not a very big issue but when creating content rapidly, it might be a nuisance.
b. Buggy sometimes when it comes to fonts and texts
At times, elementor users experience some misbehavior in the way that fonts and texts respond after being applied. Most of the times, they appear correctly but might appear incorrectly due to bugs.
4. Site Origin (Page Builder)
Site Origin is one of the oldest page builders for WordPress. It is also very popular because of the following reasons:
a. It is completely free
Site Origin is probably one of the best, free pagebuilders on WordPress. The developers behind Site Origin (Page Builder) believe in democratization of web content and are committed to it. They provide regular updates while also providing support on their website to make it easier for designers.
This means that you receive full features for nothing in return. Such a pagebuilder should enable you build a fully functioning website with all the features that you can think of.
b. Has a history browser
While creating a website, you might make unwanted changes or mistakes which require to be undone. Site Origin has a history browser that lets you roll backward through the various changes until you come to the desired point. In addition to that, it also allows you to roll forward and redo the various changes.
It incorporates a live editing feature from which you can view live changes as you roll back or forward, giving you an editing edge over other builders.
Site Origin disappoints mainly in terms of its usability. For instance:
a. The widget bundle needs to be installed separately
Site Origin requires its widget bundle in order to work. This must be downloaded after installing the plugin, which is quite cumbersome especially for the designers who like creating websites quickly.
b. It has a very plain user interface
Usually when something is free, there is a tradeoff. In this case, it’s the user interface. It is very plain and has a very complex structure of menus and options which could be overwhelming for a novice WordPress user.
Some menu options do not even have custom icons, instead, they have WordPress icons, making it even more bland. It seems like it was built for experienced users only (the ones who know what they are doing).
5. WP Bakery (ex Visual Composer)
This plugin is quite advanced. It caters for web designers as well as web developers by providing the following:
a. Advanced features
WP Bakery is not your ordinary pagebuilder. It is quite advanced, with a builder for both the front end and back end. Experienced developers have a ton of features to explore, especially on the back end which include features such as visual query builder.
Another key developer attracting feature of this pagebuilder is the ability to include custom shortcodes into their themes while also having the opportunity to sell them on marketplaces such as ThemeForest.
It also supports numerous add-ons which further assist you develop the website you desire.
Being one of the best and most advanced pagebuilders in the market, it is befitting that WP Bakery has professional support and they do not disappoint. Creators of this builder provide multiple tutorials to get you started.
In case things get tough, they provide support through a ticketing system. This is quite good for follow ups, especially when issues last for a long time before being solved. However, before getting assistance, you must verify your license – just to make sure only actual customers are getting support (which is only fair to the developers).
They also provide regular updates that automatically upgrade your builder to the latest version with the latest features.
Although very advanced, it has some shortfalls which include:
a. It is shortcode based
WP Bakery inserts its own form of shortcut code in the website code meaning that when you uninstall it, the website might crash.
b. Very expensive for multiple clients and/or websites
Having all these features does not come cheap. A regular license costs about $45 but has a lot of restrictions. An extended license costs $245 but still can only be used to build just a single website. If you are building multiple websites, you need to get a new license for each one of them.
All in all, WordPress pagebuilders, regardless of their strengths and weaknesses, provide huge benefits when setting up a website. Choosing the best one can be a hard task because some are almost similar or have minute differences. The one that works for you is down to personal preference, depending on the strengths that suit your needs the most. It might take some time so as a designer/ developer, every time you work on a new project, you could try to use a new builder – while this has a learning curve, you can find the one you like best – and stick with it!