WordPress is one of the most flexible website platforms available. It offers tons of features for building and maintaining a site. With a WordPress page builder plugin, those features can start before you even launch your website.
In this article, we’ll explore what a page builder is, how it can help you build your WordPress site, and how to choose the right one for your needs. Let’s get started.
An Introduction to WordPress Page Builders
A page builder is exactly what it sounds like: a tool that makes it easier to build a WordPress page (or entire site). Most feature a drag-and-drop interface and a number of prebuilt themes, modules, and templates to make the site-building process easier and more enjoyable.
WordPress page builders most often come in the form of a plugin. This has a few advantages:
- You can easily use the same builder on multiple sites.
- You can also easily switch to a different builder if you don’t care for your first choice.
- You can completely remove all builders and just go back to plain-old WordPress anytime you like.
While it’s true that these days WordPress technically has a built-in page builder (in the form of the Gutenberg block editor), it’s still very limited and not always intuitive to use. It also falls far short of basically any of the third-party page builders on the market.
Benefits of a Page Builder
Why use a page builder? We hinted at the primary reasons above, but let’s take a look at them in a little more detail. First of all, they make it much easier to put together the elements on your page.
Most page builders feature drag-and-drop editors, also known as What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG), which means that what you see on your screen during editing is what you’ll get when you take your site live. You can easily edit the elements with your mouse and see the changes in real time. This greatly simplifies the process of building a website and removes one of the largest barriers to entry with WordPress.
While the WordPress block editor does technically feature drag-and-drop, it’s quite limited in terms of both positioning and the types of blocks available. Many page builders come with dozens (nearly 100, in the case of Elementor) of modules, blocks, and templates you can use to build your site, and they’re often highly customizable, as well.
That’s really the main idea behind page builders: they provide a dramatically streamlined experience compared to trying to piecemeal a site together using the default tools and standard themes. A good page builder can help you get a more functional, more attractive site up and running in a fraction of the time.
How to Choose a Page Builder Plugin For Your WordPress Site
Now that you know what a page builder offers, your next challenge is choosing one. As with most things WordPress, there are lots of options available, ranging from simple and free to feature-packed and priced to match.
There are three main factors to consider when choosing your plugin:
The first and most important consideration is whether a builder offers the theming and module options you need. If you can’t get the final product you’re after, it doesn’t much matter what builder you use!
Some options are definitely more feature-packed than others. As mentioned above, Elementor offers almost one hundred prebuilt theme templates and dozens of modules and widgets, making it easy to put together almost any layout you can imagine. It also introduced Full Website Kits in a recent release (Elementor 3.3), which makes it easier than ever to get a new website up and running.
Others, like Beaver Builder, are more barebones and focus on delivering fewer, more streamlined choices. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it can make building a site even simpler. However, if those choices don’t work for you, you’re often out of luck.
The next major consideration when choosing a page builder is performance. We’re not actually talking about performance when building the pages, though.
While it may seem counterintuitive, the page builder you choose can actually have a lasting impact on your website performance after it’s gone live. That’s mostly because of the way the elements in the builder are coded.
Elementor is one of the most performance-focused builders on the market, with the last several major releases dedicated to speed. The result is a page builder that’s incredibly feature-rich without sacrificing usability for the end user, which is rare.
The most recent version, Elementor 3.4, kicks things up a notch (again), improving server response times by over 20 percent and reducing memory usage by up to five percent. It also adds a few new features that are sure to please experienced web developers and newcomers alike.
These improvements, plus a continuing focus on reducing overhead and improving speed, make Elementor a top pick for anyone looking for a performance-focused WordPress page builder.
Finally, price is always a consideration. Some options are quite a bit more expensive than others, particularly if you want to unlock all the features or use it with multiple websites. While many plugins offer a free trial or limited free version, most of them do require a license to fully utilize — typically in the form of an annual subscription.
Beaver Builder tends to be one of the pricier builders, at around $200 per year for the full feature set (including theme support). Elementor falls in a much more affordable bracket, with prices starting at $99 per year for full features on up to three sites.
WordPress page builders can turn the process of building a site into something anyone can do. In more capable hands, they can also be used to quickly create beautiful websites for clients using advanced features. Choosing one of the many plugins can be tough, but if you consider the features, performance, and price of each plugin, you’ll arrive at the right one for your site.