WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world and supports more websites than any other platform. So, it makes sense that you’re interested in using WordPress to create your business’s website. What you may have found, or may find, is that WordPress isn’t the most accessible platform for beginners.
WordPress isn’t as easy to use as Shopify, Wix or any other drag and drop website builder made for people who don’t know how to code. Although WordPress has implemented a system similar to drag and drop editing with Gutenberg blocks, it doesn’t provide the same level of customizability as page builders.
To make the platform more user-friendly to non-developers, the number of WordPress page builder plugins has skyrocketed. A WordPress page builder is a plugin that allows you to build a website by dragging desired modules onto a web page to fill in with your own content. This enables you to create pages visually in the frontend without any web development experience.
Page builders are best for when you don’t have a budget for your website, you don’t know or have an interest in learning code, you don’t need custom site capabilities and you have a simple website that you don’t plan on updating or personalizing too much. If this sounds like you, be sure to read up on the business risks associated with WordPress page builders before committing to one.
If you decide to move forward with a page builder, it’s vital to choose the right one for you as they can damage your website when deactivated. You want a page builder that:
- Will create a good user experience
- Is compatible with your WordPress theme
- Is mobile-friendly and responsive
- Includes all the functionality you need
On Free Page Builders: Free Is Never Truly Free
You will notice that some of the following popular page builders come with free plan options. Undoubtedly, these free plans play a role in their popularity – who doesn’t love free? It’s important to note that with page builders, free doesn’t really mean free. They still have to make money, and they will find other ways to make it that impact you.
The two most common ways for free page builders to make money is to advertise on your website or sell your information. Your and potentially your users’ private contact and personal information can be collected and sold to third parties.
If the builder advertises on your website to make money from advertisers, your site becomes distracting, unprofessional and can even lead people away from your products when they click on an ad.
With free page builders, you’ll also soon notice upon use that the best, convenient, and sometimes critical features are limited to paid plans only. Free plans may come with other limitations or hidden fees that would otherwise be included in the paid plan. Over time, this works to wear you down until you upgrade.
Another sad feature of many free plans are unprofessional domain names that look akin to companyname.pagebuildername.com. This is harder for your customers to remember, dampens the experience and limits your credibility.
Before succumbing to the appeal of “free,” be sure to give careful thought to these threats.
With over 4 million installs, Elementor is one of the top WordPress drag and drop page builders available. Elementor provides the option to edit your pages in preview mode, so you don’t have to switch back and forth between the editor and preview. It’s also known for its extensive library of widgets and the ability to add widgets from other plugins.
Other bonus features of the editor include several templates and modules to work with, a popup builder and a theme builder that lets you edit elements of the website outside of the page, including the header and footer.
Elementor is also said to leave your website code completely intact once disabled, which is rare.
Price: Free or Premium plan for $49/year
The Avada web page builder is best paired with the popular Avada theme, coming in at 668 thousand installs. This drag and drop builder comes with 80 website templates that you can customize with over 70 design elements. Better yet, Avada provides a Global Styling tool, giving you the option to implement an edit across your entire site. Pages made with the plugin are mobile-friendly.
Price: $60 with unlimited updates and six months of support
The Beaver Builder plugin is a premium drag and drop builder that’s great for beginners. It comes with customizable templates, including 30 templates for landing pages alone, and claims 100% responsive pages. Beaver Builder comes with the ability to save page designs for reuse in the future, saving you a lot of time.
Like Elementor, it comes with a theme builder that makes editing website elements outside of the page possible. It’s also believed to leave behind clean code when disabled.
Price: Plans range from $99 to $399
Cornerstone is a page builder from Themeco that’s compatible with all themes. One of its most unique features is a live CSS coding feature that lets you see your results as you work. It also comes with five different products to choose from: X, Pro, Care, One and Elite.
Price: Varies based on product, ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars
Themify is another WordPress theme shop with its own drag and drop page builder. The Themify page builder is compatible with all Themify shop themes, but you can get a plugin to use it with themes that aren’t theirs.
Some benefits of the Themify builder are frontend and backend editing options; greater customization, including a column and row generator for grid formatting; animation elements; and clean code when disabled.
The downsides to Themify are a higher learning curve and some modules that require installing extra plugins.
Often combined with the Divi theme, the Divi builder also allows visual frontend editing or backend editing. It comes with over 20 templates for websites in different categories and niches and 46 content modules, including audio and video carousel modules. Special features include A/B testing options and the ability to control user access.
The downside to Divi is that it may affect your pages’ code if disabled.
SiteOrigin is another of the top WordPress drag and drop plugins with over a million users. Pages built with the plugin are responsive to mobile devices and can use all standard WordPress widgets.
Despite its popularity, SiteOrigin doesn’t have as many non-CSS styling options as others and may remove some site code when disabled.
Price: Free with Premium plans ranging from $29 to $99 a month
Thrive Architect is unique in that it specializes in websites for businesses with a focus on conversion rate. Some exciting features include the ability to edit any element by clicking on it directly; the ability to integrate with Thrive’s other products, including A/B testing and lead opt-in plugins; and clean code when disabled.
Price: $19/month or a one-time fee depending on your needs
With 60,000 active installs, Brizy is another popular WordPress drag and drop plugin. Like Avada, Brizy implements a global styling option that gives creators the ability to implement a change site-wide, saving time. It also stores all versions of your pages, giving you the ability to revert back to older pages later.
Other fun features of Brizy include a popup builder, global banners and theme building. The main downside to the plugin is that it may delete some of your code when deactivated.
Price: Free or Pro plans ranging from $49 to $299
A premium drag and drop builder, SeedProd provides users with the option to create their layout or use one of over 100 templates. Two unique bonuses to the premium builder are that you can favorite individual block templates to easily reuse them throughout your site and a focus on site speed – a vital metric. You can also build pages in a live preview mode, and all pages are responsive.
WPBakery is one of the more well-known page builders out there, supplying mobile responsive, detailed pages and complicated layout options. WPBakery permits frontend and backend editing and works with any theme, though some come with styling limitations. The editor is particularly known for having over 250 3rd-party add-ons.
Unfortunately, there’s a high chance that deactivating WPBakery will mess with your code.
Price: $45 for one website
12. Visual Composer
Visual Composer comes with theme building options that allow you to customize any part of your website, so the makers call it a website builder instead of a page builder. The plugin leaves code clean and is one of the more simple options for beginners. While it comes with templates, you may have to connect to the Visual Composer Hub to access them.
Price: Single websites start at $49/year
13. WP Page Builder
Not to be confused with WPBakery, the WP Page Builder is a plugin developed by WordPress developer Themeum. The builder creates responsive pages and gives you the option to hide specific elements on certain devices. It also comes with prebuilt templates and allows you to save layouts you like. With the free version, you can get more add-ons and templates than most other free options. While it doesn’t come with popup or theme building, it does allow creators to resize columns and adjust spacing for additional customization.
Deactivating WP Page Builder can remove content and your code, so be sure to save your content elsewhere. Though, if you reactivate the builder, the missing code and content will reappear.
Price: Free or Premium plans from $39 to $99
Oxygen is a mobile-responsive drag and drop builder that will work best for someone with some coding knowledge. While it allows frontend and backend editing and comes with several templates and tools, the editor has a more advanced learning curve. A potential fix is the option to use the editor alongside other page builders.
It is possible that deactivating this plugin will impact your code.
Price: Basic plan for $99 or WooCommerce plan for $179
15. Live Composer
Live Composer is another option that works for beginners who want simple functionality. A frontend drag and drop builder, it comes with two themes, 40 modules and ten templates to choose from. All designs are responsive, and you can save all your layouts for future use. Live Composer’s drawback is that you have to pay for a Premium plan to use certain beneficial extensions, including video embedding, animations, and Google Maps.
Price: Free or $49 for a Premium plan and $49 for WooCommerce
Is a WordPress Page Builder Right for You?
WordPress page builders exist to make developing a WordPress site faster and easier for individuals who don’t know how to code or use HTML. If this describes you, naturally, you’ll want to use one.
The issue you might run across is that page builders often come with their own faults (bloated code, poor SEO and limited functionality, to name a few), and they aren’t always a long term solution for a business that needs an efficient, custom website designed to adapt and meet goals.
If you’re unsure whether a page builder is a robust enough solution for your needs, reach out with your questions. The web design and development experts at Laughing Samurai are more than happy to provide answers.
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