Maybe your web design skills are not that great? Or maybe you just don’t have the time to code web pages all the time.
Either way, you are probably already aware of amazing time savers like WordPress to help you create your websites in half the time
But maybe you can do even better?
I have been coding websites for nearly 15 years, and every time I discover a simpler, faster or more elegant way to create stunning websites I jump up and down with excitement.
Of course I can hand code everything, but I have done all that before. What I want now is amazing sites, not wasted hours.
That is where WordPress Website Builders come in. Have you used one yet?
What Can A Website Builder Do For You?
The great thing about a website builder is that you can visually create your pages without having to jump between views or guess what it will look like.
That’s right, they are designed so you can change, resize, drag and drop to your heart’s content, without having to code anything. And the final page is generally the same (or similar) as you see in development.
Not only does this make development simpler and easier, but there are a whole range of pre-built elements in these tools that can accelerate website creation too!
Structural Elements For Layout
So what kinds of design elements do they have, and why are they so useful?
Well, it starts with more structural things, the ones that can assist in creating a page layout.
The most helpful elements are things like:
Columns: Normally floated divs to help you space your content out in a specific way.
Containers: Again a div to help place your content in s specific position, with padding and alignment.
Full Width: if you are doing something like a homepage, full width elements can really stand out.
Horizontal Dividers: a basic part of building pages is putting in a divider every now and again.
More specific things that many of the top builders use include:
Tabs: allows you to place content in vertical or horizontal tabs to save space.
Accordion: another popular space saving element that collapse content.
Content Elements For Style
Of course nothing is complete without the actual content, and there is always a need for well styled elements to help here too.
By having an arsenal of styled boxes, image holders, buttons and other commonly used elements, we can really save time too.
Here are some of the elements that website builders might provide:
Image and Videos: these days images and videos need to be responsively displayed.
Buttons: placing Calls To Action within your content is common, and buttons should be easy to create.
Text: Of course we need text in various formats too, like lists, columns and so forth.
Lists: Simple or styled bullet lists.
Depending on the builder, there are other more specific elements available like:
- Google Maps
- Click to Tweet
- Post Grids
- Guarantee seals
And a whole lot more I a not going to bore you with here.
You Need The Fundamentals As Well
Having all this power in your hands is great, but sometimes the elements or structure just does not fit what you are trying to do. So it is important that these builders also give you backend access to all the things you are used to being able to change like:
- margins and padding
- colors, fonts and icons
- full CSS and HTML control
There are even builders that allow you to template things so you can reuse them again and again, which can really save on development time when you find you have come up with the perfectly tweaked element and want to reuse it all over the website.
WordPress Website Builder Options
Now that you know what these builders can do for you and how simple your web development life could be in the future, let’s take a look at some of the options.
A powerful website builder that has a whole range of options including different modes. You can read a more detailed review here, but some of the highlights are:
- Simple drag and drop interface
- Options for a visual or code based editor
- Multilingual and mobile ready
- Ability to template things
- Add-ons available if required
- Leaves shortcodes behind so you must have the plugin at all times
- Add-ons can be expensive
Website: Visual Composer
Thrive Content Builder
The Thrive Content Builder is quite new on the scene, but they are constantly extending and adding features to improve. A thorough review of the features is available here, but the following are the main things to note:
- WYSIWG Content Builder
- Also comes with landing page templates and popup/lightboxes
- Custom Fonts and Icons
- Range of content elements to chose from (no add-ons)
- Very good support
- Mobile responsive
- Quite new some still some bugs and plugin conflicts
Website: Thrive Content Builder
Price: from $59
Velocity Page Builder
Velocity Page Builder is the simplest of the three, but the least powerful with the least amount of elements. If you are just looking for an easy way to creating content in a nice layout then this is for you , but most developers would be frustrated. The easiest way to see what it check out this review. Here is the short version:
- Simple row and column editor
- Limited elements, but simple to use (eg. images, text, media, headings, optin forms, video)
- No dependence on the plugin if you remove it
- Limited elements
- More costly than the competition
Website: Velocity Page
Price: from $97
More Page Builders
There are a whole bunch of page builders out there for WordPress and I have not tested them all. But if you would like to see what another reviewer has said about a few others you can see Chris Lema’s post on the subject for more details.
Final Thoughts on Page Builders
Depending on what you need a page builder for, any of the above WordPress plugins could help you create websites better and faster than ever before.
Technology is always improving and as web designers we need to use what we can to get ahead.
Have you used a WordPress Page Builder before?
Photo credit: Grattachecca & Fichetto Show via photopin (license)