Online Market is full of DIY (Do It Yourself) visual page builder for WordPress CMS. Popular ones like Visual Composer, Beaver Builder, Divi Builder, Avada Fusion Builder etc. are having thousands of downloads. It means lot many people are using these plugins or probably themes with which these builders are shipped with. In this article, I am trying to find out whether the page builders are solving a short term problem or may create long term issue on your WordPress site.
Why People Install a Page Builder?
The basic feature of any page builder is to allow you create a nice looking, multi-column pages with different elements without writing any piece of code. If you are a non-technical person, still you can use the drag and drop method to create nice landing pages with these builders. Visual Composer plugin is having limited elements whereas Divi builder comes with more elements including Pricing Table, Multiple Circle Counter etc.
So basically people who are not comfortable with coding or don’t want to invest time on designing a landing page, use page builders. It helps in putting call to action button, maps, accordion text, sliders, multi-column feature showcase by just dragging these modules and configuring the same.
What are the problems of using a Page Builder?
There is no doubt that a Page Builder makes life easy for newbies or people who do not want to hire someone for designing a page. But at the same time there are few important cons of using a page builder. For example,
- Compatibility Issues with other plugins
- Theme Compatibility Issue
- Page Load Time
- Not Future Proof
Now I will explain each points individually.
Compatibility Issues with other plugins
Page builders are one of the most reported plugins for compatibility issues. When Elegant Themes released Divi 3.0 recently with Visual Page Builder, many Divi users reported compatibility issues with other plugins. Divi Team released 5 updates in just 10 days and mostly to fix the compatibility issues with third-party plugins.
Theme Compatibility Issues
If you are using a Page Builder which was shipped along with the theme, you may find less compatibility issues between the builder and theme. Developers test the scenario in most caes before releasing the theme to make the builder more compatible. For example, Avada theme is having less compatibility issues with Fusion Builder. But in most cases, people use a Page Builder Plugin on their old WordPress theme of course because of the benefits of a builder. It is very common ti find people reporting about CSS or JS conflicts on their site.
Not all themes are compatible with Visual Page Builders and they may break the pages because of the JS and CSS conflicts.
Page Load Speed and Time
All the fancy things come with a price. Page Builders allow you to create a nice landing page but at the same time, it loads multiple scripts and functions on the page too. Everything that you drag and drop creates a shortcode and it takes time and effort from server side to execute the same and load the page. For every 1 second that your page takes to load, you lose 7% visitors on your site. There are certain ways to make your WordPress site fast but still, these page builders can be a culprit behind your slow page load speed.
Not Future Proof. What If.
Think of a scenario when the Page Builder you are using is no more. All the Page builders put multiple shortcode inside the page content area. If the developer of the particular page builder that you are using is not in business anymore and stops releasing updates, what will happen to the pages created using that Page builder. Initially you will start facing compatibility issues and then it will start breaking the page. You can not just copy and paste the content as it must be full of shortcodes. One should check the “Text” tab of the editor to see the exact content of the page created using Page builder. You will find too much HTML for a simple content area.
I have seen people creating posts using a Page builder to make that look good. What if you have hundreds of such posts on your blog and you start facing issues with the Page builder. That situation may create panic for you and in that case, probably you will have to hire a developer.
Founder of Easy Digital Downloads and WP Affiliate, Pippin Williamson feels that almost all the Page Builder WordPress plugins are terrible and creates more problems than solving one.
I’m sorry is this hurts anyone feelings, but seriously, all of the majorly popular page builders for #WordPress are terrible.
— Pippinsplugins (@pippinsplugins) September 14, 2016
Syed Balkhi, founder of WP Beginners and OptinMonster came in defence of Page Builders by saying that Page Builders are solution for those who want to build pages by themselves without hiring a developer.
Read the complete conversation between Pippin, Syed, Brian Gardner and Nathan Rice here,
Yes to everything in this thread.
— Nathan Rice (@nathanrice) September 15, 2016
@pippinsplugins I disagree entirely. It comes from users wanting to build a website themselves without hiring a developer.
— Syed Balkhi (@syedbalkhi) September 16, 2016
Should I Use a Page builder?
A nice landing page converts very well, its a known fact. If you don’t have budget to hire a developer to create such a page, you can use a Page builder to start with. Once you start getting good conversion and revenue with the page, hire someone and get out of the Page builder plugin. For blog posts, never use a Page Builder. Utilize the features available in WordPress editor to create a nice blog posts but do not depend on a Page builder for posts.
Page Load Time is very important, so install these recommended plugins to make your site load faster. Also make sure that you check all the pages created with Page builder once you update the plugin or theme.
Lot of discussion happened on the Advance WordPress group on Facebook and also received many comments on this topic. I really like to thank community members for discussing this thread positively and putting your views in ethical ways. Based on the discussion, Beaver Builder seems to the best Visual Page Builder for WordPress as of now. It doesn’t populate the content area with shortcode which will help in migrating the content to other platform or even you can discontinue using Beaver Builder anytime. Apart from that, Beaver Builder is also recommended in terms of performance as compared to other Page Builders for WordPress.