WordPress is the world's favorite content management system. It's free, user-friendly, and excellent for businesses looking to roll out their first website. Users can quickly learn the fundamentals of web design and build effective web pages to host their content.
However, once you nail down the basics of creating web pages, you might realize that the native WordPress page editor doesn't include many customization options. If you want to fully customize your web pages on your WordPress website, you'll need to integrate a page builder with your account.
In this post, we'll break down how to use a WordPress page builder as well as the best options available for download.
How to Use a WordPress Page Builder
By default, WordPress provides pre-designed themes that can be used to style your entire website. While these templates give your web design team with a place to start, they aren’t easily customizable. With the default themes, your developers won't have much flexibility when it comes to making design or functionality modifications on your WordPress pages. This is where a page builder comes in handy.
A WordPress page builder is a plugin that lets you build and customize your page layouts in WordPress. They are installed into your account and used to design and develop new pages based on your site's theme. Even if you don't have any experience in web design, page builders make it easy to add a unique look, feel, and functionality to your website pages.
Since a page builder is foundational for your site creation, you need to pick the best option for your needs. If you're new to WordPress or page builders, there are a few factors to keep in mind when shopping around.
Below are a few details you should consider when adding a page builder to your website.
One of the first things you'll want to check is whether the page builder is compatible with your current WordPress theme. If not, you'll need to change your site's theme, which can be costly and time-consuming. If you're having issues with theme compatibility, look for builders that work with all WordPress themes so you can change your site’s look with minimal trouble.
When picking a page builder, there are two primary types of building methods to choose from. The first option is a drag-and-drop setup, which gives users a set of modules that they can click and drag into their layout. Depending on where they drag the module, the builder automatically adjusts the page and adapts the design. This method is very user-friendly and makes web design easy for users with little or no web design experience.
The other builder type is an HTML builder, which requires users to input HTML code to design their web pages. While this requires a solid understanding of coding and web design, this option allows you to customize every detail of your website to your liking.
Just because a builder is easy to use and simple to integrate doesn't mean that it's responsive on a mobile interface. Make sure that the builder you choose has options to view the page in a mobile preview. This way, you can double-check whether your web design carries over to phone or tablet devices. If not, choose a different builder that can accommodate different screens and make your design more responsive.
Now that you know what to look for in a WordPress page builder, let's break down some of the best options available for 2020.
Elementor is a free and widely-popular drag-and-drop page builder. One standout feature of Elementor is that it allows users to test their page layouts in a mobile view. With Elementor, you can even make edits to your design while working in the mobile preview mode. This means you don't have to waste time switching back and forth between the editing view and the preview.
Avada is a website builder with an intuitive drag-and-drop visual interface that makes building websites super easy. In addition to being SEO and mobile-friendly, Avada is compatible with many popular plugins like WooCommerce, Slider Revolution, WPML, ACF Pro, Convert Plus, and more.
There are dozens of pre-built websites included with Avada that you can fully customize with a wide variety of options and design elements. Furthermore, you can design and build any number of dynamic layouts for each page of your website without any programming knowledge.
Price: $60. This includes 6 months of support, which you can extend to a full year for an additional $18.
Beaver Builder is an exceptional premium page builder for beginner site administrators. Its drag-and-drop page builder that comes with pre-made and customizable templates. This way you don't have to start from scratch when creating a new website or page. After you’ve finished customizing your template, you can save your new design to be used for future pages that you create.
Additionally, Beaver Builder comes equipped with modules for adding useful page elements like special buttons, image sliders, accordion menus, and more
Cornerstone is Themeco’s trademark page builder. This easy-to-use builder provides over 40 page elements that form building blocks of beautiful website pages. It's compatible with all themes and provides the foundation for the X theme, one of the fastest-selling themes on Themeforest of all time.
For more advanced programmers, Cornerstone includes a feature for live CSS coding — as you make changes in the CSS editor, you’ll see them reflected on your web page in real-time.
Price: $39. This includes 6 months of support, which you can extend to a full year for an additional $12.75.
Even though it's a drag-and-drop setup, theThemify builder lets you customize nearly every aspect of your web page. One handy feature that it includes is a column and row generator for stacking modules on your page in a grid formation. This tool is incredibly helpful when designing product pages because you can group content together into neat, visually-appealing clusters.
Another great feature offered by Themify is animation modules. You can add dozens of different possible animations to your pages using these pre-designed modules, which can help give your CTA or content offer some added pop and enhance your visitors’ experience.
Divi is a powerful WordPress page builder with an array of customization options. One noteworthy feature is its video slider. Not only can you use this module to embed a video on your page, but you can also embed multiple videos together in a rotating carousel. Rather than having a long list of videos to scroll through, users can watch one video then quickly cycle to the next one using the video slider.
Another handy module that Divi offers is its audio player module, which allows you to easily embed an audio file into your web page. Visitors can then play the audio clip directly on your website.
With over a million downloads to date, Page Builder is a reputable, well-maintained, and responsive option for building out your WordPress site. Its drag-and-drop system paired with backend customization make it ideal for both beginners and advanced users.
Page builder seamlessly integrates with other themes and WordPress tools made by SiteOrigin, so this builder serves as a great foundation for an all-in-one system using their tools.
Price: SiteOrigin offers both a free version and a premium version with advanced features for $29.
Thrive Themes has developed a page builder focused on business websites, Architect. The software is highly intuitive, as users can "click-to-edit" anything on the page. Thrive Architect prioritizes speed — even those with no background in web design can publish visually stunning web pages in just minutes.
One notable module offered by this builder is a countdown timer. Your business can set up a promotional offer or launch, then create a timer that drives urgency around your offers and motivates your customers' buying decisions.
Price: Thrive offers a premium membership for $20/month, a one-time $67 payment for installation on one website, or a one-time $97 for installation on up to 5 websites.
Brizy is a drag-and-drop page builder for building clean, professional WordPress sites. It includes "global styling" features that allow you to change elements on pages across your entire site simultaneously. This way, you can launch full site redesigns without needing to address each page individually.
Brizy also offers an auto-save feature that stores variations of your page over time. As you work and redesign your pages, Brizy saves your previous versions in case you need to return to those layouts again. This makes it easier for your team to test your page layouts and ensure you're creating the most user-friendly design.
Price: Brizy offers a free version and premium plans starting at $49/year.
WPBakery makes one of the most popular page builder options on the market, and specializes in creating pages with detailed, complicated layouts. This plugin fits with any WordPress theme you choose, and allows for quick and easy page construction with an exclusive template library, grid builder, and mobile-ready responsive design.
While the WPBakery builder includes many features out of the box, another key selling point is the flexibility and quantity of add-ons: WPBakery also authors hundreds of tools that can be easily integrated into your existing site and add virtually endless functionality options.
Visual Composer’s capabilities extend beyond that of the standard WordPress page builder, letting the user customize the look of their entire website within the tool. You can modify not just page elements, but also your headers and footers, menus, and other visuals across your entire website.
While powerful, Visual Composer does not sacrifice intuitiveness for substance. The builder is acclaimed for its user-friendliness and learnability. Of course, you can change elements on specific pages with Visual Composer as well, anything from buttons to menus to other widgets — it’s all here.
Known for their professional themes and plugins, Themeum, now offers a free page builder for more site customization options. WP Page Builder grants users strict control over their page layouts with pre-made templates, customizable rows and columns, and even a library to save any layouts you create. Themeum’s layouts are responsive, and even allow administrators to hide elements on different devices — for example, if you wanted to hide a particularly intrusive menu on mobile.
Alongside close attention to layout design, the free version of WP Page Builder is packed with add-ons, more than most other free site builders provide. Simply install what you need and leave out the excess.
Price: For their page builder, Themeum offers a free version of their page builder, as well as paid versions starting at $39.
For a more hands-on try the Oxygen page builder. While still based around a drag-and-drop building approach, the interface includes some programming-specific terms that many first-timers might not immediately understand.
However, for those not afraid of a more technical piece of software, oxygen packs many key features including templates for layouts of different website pages or posts, and responsive modules that you can quickly add to enhance your site and engage visitors.
Price: $99 or users can pay extra for compatibility with WooCommerce and Gutenberg Blocks.
Live Composer might be free, but it’s proven a capable option for drag-and-drop page building, especially among beginners looking for basic functionality to start. The builder incorporates a classic drag-and-drop editor, along with an array of multiple page element modules and 2 basic themes to place them inside.
While somewhat limited in out-of-the-box capabilities, Live Composer offers a package of premium extensions and an integration with WooCommerce for an additional price.
Price: Free. Premium extensions and WooCommerce integration can be added, starting at $49 each for one site.
Without question, designing webpages is intimidating. WordPress can be especially challenging when considering the sheer amount of flexibility and customization it allows. The right page builder tool will save you the time of creating pages from scratch, the effort of learning your site’s backend, and the cost of a developer.
Originally published May 1, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated August 20 2020