__ We're continuing our Easy Guide series and today we'll take a deeper look at WordPress Page builders.
This article will be of great use to anyone who's looking into builders and wondering which one to choose. It can also help users who've tried one of them and are looking to compare. Buckle up and let's go!
What are WordPress Page Builders?
Page builders, in simple words, are features in WordPress that allow users with minimal technical skills to change the appearance of their WordPress site (indeed, build pages).
When developers started producing WordPress themes, they were pretty basic, and modifications still required some coding skills. Then, at some point, page builders began popping up in order to address this problem.
WPBakery (formerly known as Visual Composer) was born around 2009, followed by Origin in 2012, Beaver Builder in 2014, and Elementor in 2016. I honestly can't recall when DIvi came out initially, as it was part of Elegant themes portfolio in an era where they were offering tens of themes on a yearly subscription.
Page builders address an essential problem - the possibility to manage your content by yourself on a much deeper level. Now you can or remove elements, change the structure of your theme etc (not to mention the incredible customization options that the newly released Divi 4.0 offers).
Before we go through them one by one, we need to touch on a few points you have to keep in mind when deciding what's the best WordPress page builders according to your needs.
As we mentioned in our extensive guide on how to choose a WordPress theme, most themes will indeed come with an integrated builder.
How this works is the web developers of the theme usually purchase a developer license for a specific builder, and then they have the permission to use it in their theme.
If that's the case, you're already set. However, if you want to change it to a different one or your theme has no integrated builder, your first priority is to check whether the theme is compatible with the builder of your choice.
If you're purchasing a theme from Themeforest, all you need to to is look at the bottom right corner, where you'll be able to see a section stating various information about the theme. There is a field starting with "Compatible with" and this is where you'll check if your builder of choice is compatible with that theme.
if you don't see it there, however, or if you're purchasing your theme from a different place, it's best that you directly contact the developers and ask them.
When it comes to hosting, you will rarely encounter compatibility issues between the page builders and the hosting you've chosen. If WordPress runs on it, you should have no problems - just make sure that you select a fast and reliable WordPress hosting.
All Page Builders are not created equal. Some have more add-ons, others are easier to work with or allow specific functions, like Divi's functionality to modify the size of an element by dragging the border.
You need to ask yourself, what are you looking for and what is a priority. Google the WordPress builder that interests you and see some reviews from existing users. Usually, the page that sells the builder will have some reviews and comments already, but you can always contact the developers and ask them about it.
A little known hack for more specific results is to put place AROUND(X) between the keywords you're searching for. This is a Google operator, and it tells Google to search only for results that include both keywords with X amout of words between them. So if I Google "Page Builders AROUND(4) drag-and-drop" it will show me only results where Page Builders and drag-and-drop are within 4 words of each other.
Let's see some of the most popular WordPress Page Builders.
1. WPBakery Page Builder for WordPress (formerly Visual Composer)
We'll start with WPBakery Page Builder for WordPress (its former name is Visual Composer, which by the way, still exists as a separate product - more on that story here). This is one of the most well-known WordPress page builders, and it has been one of the first, for sure.
WPbakery is almost an institution. It's a sturdy, well-built builder that rarely produces random bugs as it often happens with WordPress plugins. Right now, most of the WordPress themes you can buy are using either WPBakery or Elementor - mostly the former.
Once you began building a page with it, you'll discover that it has an incredible amount ot elements. You will find your classic ones, like content elements, media, buttons, grids, headings etc.
If you got your WPBakery with a theme though, it's very likely that you will get custom elements, designed specifically for that theme. Also, due to its s popularity, several addons have been developed through the years. This means that even if a particular option isn't there by default (for example, pricing tables), you can get an addon which will allow you to extend even further the design options.
Similarly to the themes, many plugins and third-party software are developed with WPBakery in mind, so compatibility shouldn't be a big concern.
OVerall, you'll find that the builder is excellent and you can do a wide variety of designs with it. The one downside I can think of is that the front-end is rather heavy and often you can't use it properly.
INTERESTED IN WORDPRESS? Check our WordPress section
2. Divi Builder
If you've missed the big advertising wave of Divi in 2016, I'd highly recommend you watch the video. Not only it was quite funny, but they managed to explained in under 2 minutes what are the advantages of their page builder.
The big premise here is that Divi builder is not just intuitive, but extremely felxible as well. Just as wtih WPBakery, you can create the structure of your pages; the big difference is, here you have the option to define the size of your elemetns by dragging the border directly in the front-end.
The plugin is bundled with 46 builder modules, 20 row types, and 3 section types, all of which can be combined and arranged to create just about any type of website. With its advanced design settings, you can customize every element to a great extent.
Also, check out these Divi child themes.
That being said, if you want to make real-time changes on the design, then you might want to use the Divi theme. With the theme, you can build your page with the frontend editor, so your pages can be updated right from the frontend without having to switch back and forth from your dashboard to your website.
Elementor is the first free and open source advanced page builder for WordPress. With its quick drag and drop builder, you can make instant page edits from the frontend of your site. Elementor is well-known for its high speed performance, which makes it fun and easy to build with.
With its extensive template library, you get hundreds of beautiful WordPress templates by their top-notch designers, which can be exported to different websites through the page builder.
Elementor supports responsive mobile-friendly design, allowing you to build web pages that work great on any device.
Some other cool features of Elementor are:
Canvas: You can build a brand new landing page without header or footer, optimized for high conversions. Maintenance mode: For maintenance, you can get your site offline with its built-in maintenance mode. Zapier integration: Integrating your website with a third-party web application is a breeze using its Zapier integration. Pricing: Starts at $49 for a single site license
4. Beaver Builder
Beaver Builder is one of the best drag and drop WordPress website builders. It gives you the ability to create a website the way you want without knowing any coding skills. You can drag and drop to build beautiful pages with ease.
Beaver Builder comes with dozens of gorgeous page templates, so you can easily kickstart your design without starting from scratch. You can choose a template, replace the images and text with your own, and then hit publish.
Beaver Builder works with most of the WordPress themes giving you full control over your content. The best thing is, even if you stop using the plugin, your content gets ported to the WordPress editor. With the pro plan and above, you'll get beautiful Beaver Builder compatible themes that allow you to modify your styles with the native WordPress Customizer.
5. Themify Builder
The Themify Builder comes with a drag and drop interface that helps you create any layout you can imagine with ease. The builder comes with over 60 prebuilt layouts and animation effects that you can choose from. This means you can quickly build beautiful pages without having to start from scratch. All you have to do is simply import the layouts you want to use, replace the images and text, and you're done.
The builder comes as a standard feature for all Themify themes. You can also use their builder plugin with any third-party WordPress theme.
From the compact backend interface, you can use the drag and drop feature to build modules quickly and easily. In the frontend, you can preview the design and make live edits to your modules.
To enhance the capabilities of the Themify Builder, you can find tons of different addons which can be purchased separately or as a bundle.
6. Thrive Architect
Thrive Architect is a page builder that's built for conversion-focused websites. Thrive Architect is developed by the same folks behind Thrive Themes, a company that sells conversion oriented WordPress themes and plugins.
Thrive Architect is shipped with a drag and drop editing tool and 271 prebuilt landing page templates. With Thrive Architect, you can quickly create a stunning homepage, sales page, blog posts, and everything you could ask for.
SiteOrigin is one of the most popular WordPress page builders in the WordPress repository, with over a million active installs. With SiteOrigin, building a responsive, column-based content is a breeze. Your content will adapt to all devices, regardless of its screen resolution.
The SiteOrigin builder works seamlessly with your existing WordPress widgets, so you can add your favorite widgets to the websites you build. The builder works perfectly with any WordPress themes. The best part about SiteOrigin is that you can find a lot of neat compatible WordPress themes built by the same folks behind the SiteOrigin plugin.
The flexibility is one of the main benefits of the plugin. Using its advanced row builder, you can choose the exact number of rows for each column you add.