Creating a website with multiple pages used to be a huge trouble in the pre-plugin era. You either had to be a developer and mess around with HTML and CSS syntax that looks like gibberish to most people. Or you had to hire a developer and pay dearly before you’ve even earned a dime from your website. Thankfully, the majority of those issues belong to the past now. You can find and install a page builder WordPress plugin and solve the issue within minutes.
However, as all of us know, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Even if most page builders are intuitive and easy to use, finding the perfect one still requires some grinding and hassle. Does it fit your budget? Is it simple enough for you to use? (And how simple is simple enough? We know those categories aren’t universal.) This blog post aims to help you with that troublesome business. First, I will outline all the features you should look for in a modern page builder. Then, I will show you some of the best options you can buy – or even download for free.
What Are WordPress Page Builders?
Even though WordPress is famous for its ease of use, don’t be too quick to think you will never break a sweat over it. Not many people will admit this: even with such a user-friendly platform, you might be in for a lot of confusion. Especially if it’s your first time creating a website.
So, let’s take an example. You’ve just purchased a professional theme for your website. As soon as you log into the dashboard, the theme will show as a mere layout, with various preset elements, colors, fonts, widgets, and pages. And lots of dummy text. Your job now is to customize the theme, so it doesn’t look generic, and adjust it to suit your needs. But how to do that without messing up with a bunch of shortcodes? That’s where page builder plugins come into play.
Most modern page builders function by drag-and-drop method. All you need to do is take up different elements, drag them with your mouse and place them wherever you want, and customize them. Even better, some of the plugins eliminate the need to go backend, to that overwhelming dashboard swarming with all the different options on the left. Instead, you can sit back and manipulate the elements in frontend, while observing the changes in real time. The logic is simple: what you see is what you’ll get. (That phrase has even become an official acronym for the method: WYSIWYG. Now that’s a mouthful!) And any changes you make will be effective immediately.
Top 8 Website Builder Plugins
No need to use any shortcodes when you have this plugin – not today, not ever again. You can manipulate and take control over any or all elements on your site. As you hover above an element, a menu will show up, with gazillion of options to choose from. Change the color, style, or font by choosing from hundreds of ready options or customizing new ones. Add columns, photo, video, audio, sidebars. If you want to purchase the premium version, you will get a bunch of additional modules for contact forms, tabs, sliders, pricing tables, maps, social icons. Even better, you can save and export any layouts that you’ve already customized, so you can use easily repurpose and use them on another website.
All the elements you add or design will be fully responsive on any device, adding to your site’s overall SEO score. If you know what you want, a new landing page will take minutes to create. Even if you’re there to experiment, it still won’t take up much of your time. They have a wonderful, handy demo for you to try out before buying.
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The array of features you will get free of charge is amazing with this plugin. Naturally, the first is a drag-and-drop page editor. You can even switch to mobile view and edit your pages from that perspective. Or even directly on mobile. The plugin will also bring you over 300 designer-made templates, adaptable to any niche. Over 90 widgets include buttons, headlines, forms. Whatever you do is shown and published in real time, so there’s no need to ever refresh your site. Unless you want to step back for a moment and admire your work (ehem). The process gets even simpler when you get used to keyboard shortcuts. And, should you need a reminder about your hotkeys, you will get a popup window with a full list.
The premium version, which starts at $49 per year for a single website, offers additional functionality. Among other things, you can customize header and footer, build great popups and powerful animations. And of course, there’s no need to freak out if something goes wrong, as you will have 24/7 premium support.
Behold the famous Divi, a comprehensive solution for your website. That is, if you haven’t already purchased a theme, because that’s what Divi is, among other things. It’s both a flexible theme and a complex and powerful page builder that functions by drag-and-drop method. Divi features real-time visual editing, but also custom CSS control for those of you who have a penchant for coding. It means that you won’t ever be restrained in your efforts to make a completely unique website. Don’t be afraid of the fact that all changes you make are instantly incorporated, as you have undo and redo options to revise your changes. There are modules for calls to action, sliders, blogs, galleries, forms, testimonials. Plus, you can take advantage of whopping 800 pre-made layouts.
If you aren’t sure whether it fits your purpose, there is a demo you can use to get a feeling of the process. As for the price, it’s very affordable for all the features you’d get, especially if you haven’t bought a premium theme yet. But even if you have another theme, the page builder will be fully compatible with it. You can either buy it for $89 per year, or get a lifetime access for $249.
Formerly known as Visual Composer, this is one of a couple plugins from our list that enable you to add and edit content both from backend and frontend. Thus, it’s ideal for those of you whose habits of dealing with backend die hard. Another extra feature that isn’t common in page builders is that you can even edit elements like logo, menus, headers and footers. It will work with any theme, and allow you to change skins to match your brand. There’s also an advanced grid builder, with over 40 predefined styles, so you can display your posts in any style you like. Use or build custom post types, create awesome parallax effects, map the shortcodes or add your own.
Recently, some users have reported that WPBakery didn’t work with the new WordPress Gutenberg editor. Here is a solution to this problem, if it happens to you too.
A very handy tool for creating responsive, grid-based page content, this plugin works like a nice extension of WordPress itself. A great thing is that it will work with any theme, as well as with all WordPress widgets that most people are used to. There’s a row builder that allows you to choose preferences for your rows and columns, adjusting their weight and proportions. Unfortunately, there isn’t a live editor, but there is a live preview. That means you can’t make changes in real time, and what you see isn’t what you get. But you’ll see in the live preview what you’re about to get. There is also a history browser, so you can easily restore any of the previous versions of your content. No matter how many pages or elements you have, they won’t affect your site’s loading speed.
The best part – this plugin is completely free, as well as the support for it on the official forum. And, according to the creators, it will always be free.
For entry-level users, there’s a whole host of predesigned layouts they can choose from. Just load a layout of your choice, and you’ll get the basic design that you can now easily modify and customize. Everything is already there – buttons, social media icons, text, backgrounds, images. Whichever module you want to edit, just hover over it and doubleclick. You can also animate any of these modules with a bunch of awesome effects. And if you don’t like a particular element but aren’t sure you’d never need it again, just hide it. What I really like is that you can choose the type of device that won’t show this element. So, if you only want to hide it on mobile or tablet but still need it to show on desktop, all it takes is a single click to do it.
Modules include accordion, map, menu, box, button, plain text, divider, slider, tab, gallery, video, widget, and many more. And all of them will be readily accessible from the bottom menu. Another thing that I like is you can easily import or export your layouts for later use.
Everything is drag-and-drop today, my friends. Or at least it should be, as folks who created Brizy were quick to understand. Even though it was only developed this time last year, it has already managed to gain a respectable and numerous customer base. You won’t have to look for your editing options up and down, left and right. They are right there, close to the corresponding element. All you need to do is hover over it and the editing option will pop up. You can take advantage of over 150 predesigned blocks or content elements. That will save you tons of time, while still allowing for customizations further down the road, if ever needed. Another feature that stands out is global styling. It means you can change a particular element (such as color) in batches, so that you don’t have to go from page to page and change them manually.
Plus, you can switch to mobile view and make changes that will only appear for mobile users. And there’s a cloud that will auto-save any changes you make, so you can restore or access them later. Lastly, there’s no backend option in this page builder. No return to the old ways!
With Thrive Architect and other Thrive products, everything is about conversion. So, if your main orientation is sales, you should definitely consider giving it a try. It’s a frontend editor that reduces your editing workflow to a very simple process: click an element and edit it directly. Sales mean landing pages, so you will have access to over 160 predesigned landing page templates. All of them are fully responsive and mobile friendly. At the beginning, you will have a lot of work to do – just like with any other page builder. However, as you save more and more edits, it will literally take seconds to load and use them again. Advanced users will be able to build their own layouts with completely unique looks and functionality. There are options to make adjustments exclusively for mobile or tablet, ensuring perfect customer experience across all devices.
You don’t have to use other Thrive products, but your experience will become even better if you do. If you are only just starting a business, maybe it’s better to start with a single, powerful and captivating landing page than a complex website that takes forever to fill with content.