Wish WordPress had a drag and drop builder? There’s a plugin for that! Actually, there are multiple plugins available to help you build your WordPress website or blog. The question is – should you use one? In this post, we’ll consider the pros and cons of WordPress page builder plugins, to help you decide if this type of web builder and design option is right for you.
What is a WordPress Page Builder?
In WordPress, a page builder is simply a plugin – usually one that adds drag and drop functionality to the backend of your WordPress site, so you can design the layout of posts and pages without any HTML or CSS coding experience.
Essentially, WordPress page builder plugins are designed to allow WordPress beginners to create their own post and page layouts without the need to hire a WordPress developer.
Why Use a WordPress Page Builder Plugin?
Wanting more flexibility than the standard WordPress template, but overwhelmed by the prospect of getting your hands dirty with CSS and HTML? Maybe you’re also looking at Wix, Squarespace, or other drag and drop website builder options because you are unsure if your WordPress template can provide enough flexibility.
The good news is that WordPress page builder plugins can put the power into your hands, providing much more flexibility on page and post layouts and allowing you to create the site you’ve been imagining in your head with little or no coding or design experience. That being said, they can have their drawbacks. So let’s take a look at the pros and cons before you go ahead and add one to your site.
WordPress Page Builder Plugin PROS
Here are the top 3 advantages of using a WordPress page builder plugin to help you build your website.
No Coding Knowledge Required
No coding experience? No problem! One of the key benefits of using a WordPress page builder plugin to create your website is that it eliminates the need for any knowledge of HTML or CSS code. Seriously – you won’t need to use a single line of code to build your site.
The majority of WP page builder plugins feature a user-friendly, drag and drop interface, designed to make it easy to add elements to your page, and then rearrange and resize them. Most of these plugins also offer front-end editor functionality, so you can play with the layout of your site in a ‘live preview’ and get a feel for how different elements and styles look among your theme’s existing design.
One Plugin to Rule them All
Another great advantage of using a WordPress page builder plugin is that it can offer all-in-one functionality – meaning you get access to elements such as social sharing buttons, image carousels, pricing tables and galleries without the need to download multiple single-feature plugins. This makes your builder a one-stop-shop for all of the elements you may be looking for – which can save you a lot of money if you’d otherwise be investing in premium plugins for each feature.
Instead of installing half a dozen dedicated plugins, you’ll only need the one. Perfect for WordPress newbies who want to keep things as simple as possible.
Super Simple Customization
While there are literally hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes available for users to choose from, the likelihood of finding one that perfectly aligns with the design you’ve been building in your head is pretty slim. Most WordPress users find they need to compromise on some design element of their site, or employ the services of a developer with coding knowledge to customize their theme and get things looking just right.
The third main benefit of using a page builder plugin is that you can quickly and easily customize the look, feel and functionality of your WordPress site or blog to match your creative vision. Start with a blank canvas if you have something very specific in mind, or one of your page builder’s pre-built templates as a starting point.
WordPress Page Builder Plugin CONS
WordPress page builder plugins can be useful – but they do have their disadvantages. Here are 3 drawbacks you may want to consider before adding one to your site.
You Have All The Power
Sure, this sounds like a pro – but sometimes having all of the control isn’t necessarily a good thing. You may fancy yourself to be a bit of a creative (and you probably are!) but that doesn’t mean using a page builder is going to magically transform you into a designer.
While page builder plugins empower us to build our own websites, this can sometimes yield disappointing results – especially if you’re starting entirely from scratch and you don’t have a clear vision or plan of how you’d like your site to look. Building your own website can be a cheaper option, but sometimes it’s far better to invest in some hours with a developer and leave the design work to the professionals… particularly if the site you’re creating is to promote your business.
You’ll Probably Be Tied to That Plugin FOREVER
WordPress page builder plugins offer awesome functionality by using shortcodes in the background of your website. Now, there’s nothing wrong with using shortcodes – but it’s important to know that they are usually plugin specific. This means that if, for some reason, you deactivate your page builder plugin, all of those shortcodes will stop working. And so will your website.
In short, if you use a page builder to create your website, you’ll be “locked in” to using it until the end of time.
Slower Site Speed
Remember those shortcodes? Well, these are basically like shortcuts for longer, more complicated strings of code. The more features and functionality you add to your site, the more code hidden code there is – which can result in slugging loading times and a slow-running site. Not only can this be frustrating for users – a slow website can also be detrimental to your site’s SEO.
To Drag and Drop, or Not?
WordPress page builder plugins can be a really great option for WordPress newbies looking for lots of cool features, custom design and a shallow learning curve – but they do have their drawbacks. Whether or not a page builder plugin is right for you really comes down to what you’re trying to achieve with your website or blog, how much time you’re willing to invest, and if you’re happy to continue using that plugin for the life of your site.
It’s worth noting that the developers behind some of the most popular WordPress page builder plugins are working to further enhance their offerings and solve some of their issues, which means future versions will be even higher in quality and even more user-friendly.
Want to try a page builder plugin but not sure where to start? Check our blog post, Top 5 WordPress Page Builder Plugins, for our top plugin picks.