As a web developer transitioning from Ruby on Rails to WordPress, it took me awhile to adopt page builders. Coming from the startup world where we coded everything by hand and frameworks, page builders were an alien concept.
Why use a page builder, when we can code, right? Plus, page builders were slow, messy and just frustrating to use that I couldn’t understand why anyone in their right frame of mind, would use. That was what I erroneously thought.
Page builders have come a long way, since arrival of Beaver Builder and Elementor on the WordPress scene. Alongside the newer entrants such as Oxygen Builder, Brizy Builder and the long standing Divi Builder, they constitute the five page builders that every WordPress web developer, web designer and Digital Agency consider having in their website building kit.
But should Web Developers use Page Builders?
If you build websites for clients, a page builder does a few things that a custom coded front end does not. Let me list them down below, in no particular order of importance:
1) Page Builders Ensure Faster Development
Now, how about redeveloping that site a couple of times more in the same month as the client had a case of indecisiveness? What more if the client is on a very tight budget? Would you redevelop the site again?
You see, when I first started, I was building WordPress websites for as low as RM 1,300 (USD 325). All of them were custom coded by hand with either Underscores or the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. Sure, StudioPress has beautiful child themes, but most clients back then had a particular idea of the sites they liked. And by hand-coding the frontend, the amount of work was tremendous, for very little pay.
In comparison, by adopting the various WordPress Page Builders into my workflow, design changes are done within minutes. Want a fancy layout? I can do that on the spot without the need for fancy CSS like CSS Grids or Flexbox.
This improves development time, and impresses the client on the spot. Win.
2) Page Builders Let You Focus on the Design.
Modern WordPress Page Builders lets you drag and drop your way to a beautiful layout. Compared to coding by hand, you get to focus on designing, instead of developing the site.
Sure enough, some features might only be available if you code it out, but for 90% of sites out there, the page builder is enough.
3) Page Builders Lets You A/B Test Easily
Sure, you can do so with expensive solutions like VWO and Optimizely, but why do that when you can just have SplitHero and the page builder of your choice do all the heavy lifting?
And the best thing is, SplitHero is still an affordable USD 27/month for three campaigns. Additional campaigns only cost USD 5 each.
4) Page Builders x Pre-Built Templates Helps You Churn Out Sites
I was never a fan of pre-built templates, as most sites would end up on a multi-purpose theme with dozens of built-in templates. And sure enough, these sites were a monstrosity to take over or extend.
But pre-built templates are different nowadays on modern page builders. Rather than being loaded on a heavy multi-purpose theme, we can now import them in via a json file, ensuring quick deployment while retaining all the advantages of modern WordPress page builders.
5) Page Builders Allow Clients to Takeover Easily
Have you heard of friends who pay their web developer to make changes to the site? Where changing a paragraph or uploading a photo would mean say, a princely sum of $20 or 50?
For many SMEs without an internal IT team, this is a reality, rather than a choice. While we do uploads and updates for certain clients who prefer that arrangement, building our sites on page builders mean they can easily takeover. Especially for simple sites.
Conclusion: Get Started on WordPress Page Builders if You Are Not
If you haven’t adopted any page builders in your web design / development workflow, perhaps now is the best time for you to do so. While we usually recommend Elementor or Beaver Builder as our first choice, Brizy’s Lifetime License is selling out soon.
Grab yourself a copy before it is sold out for good.