Whether you’re having someone design your website for you, or you’ve decided to embark on the journey of creating your own website, you should know a little bit about page builders.
In the last post, I gave you some recommendations for WordPress themes. Sometimes, all you need is the basic theme to get started. They will often come with some page templates that you can plug in your text or images too, and it will be enough to get the ball rolling.
But when it comes to edit or customize your site more, using only a theme can be limiting. Enter your new best friend, the page builder. Page builders aren’t just for designers. While many web designers use them to create custom, responsive sites, quickly, even the average DIYer will be able to take their website to the next level with a Page Builder.
The invention of Page Builders have given us all access to drag and drop website pages with exciting features and time-saving actions, like making changes on one page that can be enacted across the whole site. Gone are the days of having to make a change on each and every individual webpage.
Again, even if you’ve hired out the creation process of your website, I urge you to talk with your designer about which Theme and/or Page Builder they may be using. Unless you want to have to hire out every little nip and tuck on your website, you should really take a little time to familiarize yourself with the back-end of your WordPress site, and get comfortable enough to make a few edits using the Page Builder. (Trust me, you’ll thank me later.)
Now for my favorite Page Builders for designers are beginners alike!
Elementor is my first choice of Page Builder. They offer a basic, free version that can take your website very far. While, of course, the Pro plan will over even more amazing tools and features, you don’t have to have it, especially to get started. And I always appreciate a plan that allows small business to get started for free and then grow, without having to make a shift to a new platform and experience a whole host of growing pains.
It’s also because Elementor offers a free plan, that is it so accessible. Designers and beginners alike are using Elementor to get websites up and running in record time. The free plan actually comes with some pretty great templates and starter blocks, and with a Pro plan, you’ll get even more choices. Beyond that, in the last several months, I cannot even tell you how many website templates I have seen, pop-up online, that all require the free Elementor plugin (sold by designers, not through Elementor). And I’ve seen them for multi-page websites, sales pages, and landing pages. You’ve got a lot of options this way.
Elementor is a true drag and drop builder. The dashboard allows you to easily see all the different types of blocks you can add to your pages. You can quickly choose whether you want to leave your header and footer, or start with a blank canvas: perfect for making landing pages. You’re also able to set your color palette and fonts for your entire website just once, so you don’t have to make changes on every single page. It really is so fast and easy.
To upgrade to the Pro plan, you can get a license for one site for $49 per year, or for three sites at $99. Designers will likely go with the Expert plan which offers 1,000 sites for $199 per year. They also offer an entire library of YouTube tutorials for those DIYers out there who are visual learners.
While Beaver Builder doesn’t offer a free starter option like Elementor does, for $99 for one year, you can install the plugin on unlimited sites. This is great if you’re a designer, but also, as many beginners know, sometimes small business will opt to have multiple domains and house things across multiple websites. It’s nice to have the option to use it across any of the sites you own without have to buy more than one license. (After the first year, you can auto-renew your subscription for a 40% discount.)
With the standard plan you’ll also get access to templates and modules, which will help you to get a basic, but professional page up and running in a matter of minutes. Using the builder, it really is as easy and dragging and dropping things into place. You’ll still be able to customize the size, shape, and placement of your blocks. Editing and duplicating are simple with one-click tools. You can work as fast as lightning using the Beaver Builder plugin.
I’m a big fan of using Beaver Builder, even if the name did turn me off at first. But don’t take my word for it. You can actually practice with a live demo right from their site.
Divi is a little bit different in that, it’s not a plugin like the previous two mentioned Page Builders, Divi is actually a theme with a Page Builder built in. While Elementor and Beaver Builder are designed to be used with basically any WordPress theme, Divi is an all-in-one tool. You will install Divi as the theme on your website, not as a plugin.
Divi may be one of the top recommended website builders for beginners. With the ability to make edits, visually, right on the front-end, may DIYers are big fans of Divi. For $89 per year or $249 for lifetime access, you will get Divi, some of it’s companions like Bloom, and a whole host of website template packs ready fro editing. I appreciate it’s built in visual front-end builder for that reason, but personally find it slow and cumbersome. I feel like it takes a long to load everything and you must tediously remember to click save it multiple places.
Still, it does allow you to quickly toggle through the different responsive modes like desktop, tablet, and mobile (as do the two mentioned above), which is a feature I can appreciate. Responsiveness across all devices is often an afterthought, but a good website should be built with that in mind.
When you’re working in Elementor or Beaver Builder, it’s a lot easier to see all their drag and drop options in their dashboards, I’ve always felt that with Divi, you either need to know what you’re looking for, and luck into finding it. It’s definitely not my first choice, but I can’t deny that it is still a pretty great one.
You can check out a live demo on their website, too.
Ultimately, if you or your designer chooses any of the three Page Builders listed above, you’ll have a good thing going. Before hiring a designer, be sure to find out what tools they are using, so you’re knowledgeable of what you’re getting into.
Typically, when a designer creates your site, they will hold licenses for certain builders. It’s always a good idea to double check to make sure who will be responsible for yearly costs, if there are any. If they ever choose to discontinue their subscription with the Page Builders, you may need to buy your own license, (it was a lifetime plan).
You should also check out the options and see which one you’re most comfortable with, or willing to learn. Then you can look to partner with a designer who works with that program. You’ll also be able to look for an assistant that can work on edits and updates on your chosen platforms.