There are now many page builder plugins for WordPress, which allow you to construct elaborate page layouts in a drag and drop manner. So why use one, and which one is right for you?
Why use a WordPress Page Builder?
- DIY option for novices
- Save time building a complex page
- Visual interface, more user-friendly
- Lines your content neatly up in rows and columns
- Good for designing mobile-friendly (responsive) layouts
- Library of components to choose from (e.g. buttons, sliders, carousels)
- No need to learn code – it’s all done for you.
Why might you not use a WordPress Page Builder?
- You have difficulty using a drag and drop interface
- Want to learn code
- Some builders may not have all the components you want
- May find it hard to style the layout to your exact needs
- SEO plugins such as WordPress SEO by Yoast may report that your page has no content, making it harder to optimize (here’s a suggested SEO fix)
- If the plugin breaks or is deactivated or deleted, you lose your nicely crafted layout.
3 Page Builders Compared
SiteOrigin Page Builder
The SiteOrigin Page Builder is a free responsive (mobile-friendly) page builder.
It works by creating widget areas in your posts and pages to hold content. This means you can use all the standard WordPress widgets, plus any others created by plugins on your site. SiteOrigin recommend installing their Widgets Bundle plugin for more widgets.
The back end view:
The options for creating a button:
The front end view, in the Customizr theme:
- use on unlimited sites
- can add CSS styles/classes to widgets
- you can add Font Awesome icons
- Widget Bundle supports Google Maps and a post carousel
- no prebuilt layouts, though you can reuse ones you build
- builder not so intuitive – have to hover over widgets to see edit, duplicate and delete options
- limited selection of widgets
Visual Composer bills itself at the “#1 Best Selling Page Builder Plugin for WordPress”.
It’s available to buy for . This gives you a license to use it on a single site only.
Here are the elements that can be added to the builder. This includes video, social media buttons, Flickr widget, progress bar and pie chart:
This shows the back end editor:
These are some of the button editing options:
This is a page on the front end:
Visual Composer also supports the masonry grid layout of posts or images – example below:
- nicer looking than SiteOrigin builder
- can test out before buying
- not too expensive
- comes with a range of pre-built templates – build portfolios, FAQ pages, news pages and more
- can edit pages in the front or back end
- animated effects
- supports addition of posts or media in a masonry grid
- add CSS classes
- choose button sizes
- have to buy a separate license for each site you want to use it on
- a little hard to see some of the editing options
This builder is by Elegant Themes, and requires a subscription. For $89/year you get access to all their themes and plugins.
When you have subscribed, go to the members area to download the Elegant Builder plugin. It may be installed and used with any theme.
The layout is created in rows and columns with modules inserted in. The modules can be switched around easily by dragging them.
This is the sample layout that comes with the plugin, as shown in the WordPress admin:
This is the configuration for the Button module:
Here is part of the end result, shown in the Wilma theme:
- good looking user interface
- 17 modules to choose from, including testimonials and pricing tables
- can change button sizes (small, medium, large)
- uses in-built WordPress visual editor
- add CSS classes to modules
- use on unlimited sites
- can’t buy separately
- need to renew subscription yearly for ongoing support, though you can buy lifetime access to all Elegant Themes’ products for $249
- no gallery module or carousel
The Visual Composer plugin seems the most versatile, and is reasonably priced. I like the fact that you can edit in both the front and back end, i.e. on the page or in the wp-admin. The chance to try before you buy is also a plus. The main downside is its single-site license.
What do you think? Have you used any WordPress page builders and what did you find good or bad about them?