Page Builder Plugins & Why I Use Them

Featured Image for Page Builder Plugins

Websites sure are cool, right? I might be biased to think so since I design and develop them for a living, but I know I am not the only one who thinks this.

Let’s play pretend here for a bit

Icon of TristaMeet Trista. Trista is a small business owner. Trista paid to have a really beautiful website made. She loves it, it matches her brand, and it fits her business perfectly. The site goes live, and boom she is off and running.

But then one of her office assistants moves away, and his photo and short bio are on the team page. Surely this isn’t tough to fix, right? So Trista logs in with the credentials her designer gave her, and after spending some time finding the page, she clicks edit, and there is a bunch of text but it looks nothing like the page that is on her site. In fact, it looks like it is in a completely different language. Oh boy. She doesn’t know what she can touch, so Trista calls her designer, and sure they will look at it and it’s going to cost her, because that is how designers make their money, right?

Now if Trista wasn’t technically savvy or didn’t have time to deal with it and wanted nothing to do with site changes, then she should definitely just pay to have it changed. But that’s not Trista. She is a quick learner and is technically savvy, but she was only trained on how to post blogs, not how to edit content on the pages. She did specify to the designer she wanted to be able to make the changes herself. Trista is slightly frustrated. She spent good money on this site and now, for small changes, she is going to have to pay more money.

[END SCENE]

DIY Websites and all that jazz

These are the type of scenarios that send people running to these DIY website builders. I know from talking with clients that tried to make their websites by themselves using Wix, Squarespace, MotoCMS that they saw the drag and drop builders and thought, “This should be easy.” And it turns out that they were wrong.

“But Brett Favre made it look so easy!!” Yeah, well, Brett Favre also wears wranglers, gets caught in compromising positions, was one of the best quarterbacks but ruined it by deciding to stab Green Bay in the back. (No, I am not a bitter Packer’s fan…oh wait, yes I am.) Let’s not be like Brett Favre.

I love WordPress but it’s still not as easy front-end wise as the previously mentioned content management systems (CMS), but in WordPress’s defense, it’s because it’s built to be a blogging platform and has come a long way since it was first launched. There are plenty of plugins that extend WordPress that allow it to have functions that the other content management systems have. I don’t want people to think that the only way they can have a website that they have control over is by using DIY websites systems.

This is where page builders plugins come into play

Think back to that award winning day time drama scenario from earlier. That was a completely made up scenario, but like most Law & Order episodes, I am sure they happened somewhere to someone.

Now I have to ask, what’s the point of having a website if you can’t use the website?

This is why I use page builders. I do not use them for my benefit. Actually, they tend to slow me down. Something I can do in a style file in 1 minute can take 5 minutes to implement on a site using a page builder. But as I have been told time and time again, the world doesn’t revolve around me.

My goal as a designer/developer/web person is to make well built websites that my clients can use. We web people kind of have a bad rap for over selling and then not delivering and I want to change that. I am not going to be showing clients the inner workings of WordPress and how to edit files that could break a site. I show them how to edit their pages using the page builders.

Not All Page Builder Plugins Are Built Alike

When I first started using WordPress, the themes that we used from Themeforest (do not start with me) had page builders built in, and those were not very user friendly. Then Visual Composure came into the picture. It was kind of a game changer and even though it had some things I didn’t love about it, it helped clients and was pretty easy to use.

After going freelance, I spent an entire day researching page builders, trying to figure out what one was the best option. That is how I stumbled upon Beaver Builder. It had great reviews and there were some pretty big names in the WordPress community using it. Beaver Builder is more front end based, really easy to use, and they have a full functioning lite version that’s free. I purchased a license so these guys get some money for making a pretty killer product. I have been giving it a shot and trained a client on how to use it and they seemed happy with it.

I even had to migrate that site from one hosting provider to another. It got sticky and it didn’t load correctly when I used MySQL queries to change the database, but after confusion and a couple swear words, I dropped tables and tried again. For attempt number two, I used the InterconnectIt Search and Replace tool that does better with serialized data and is actually what Beaver Builder recommends using (dur Stace), it migrated just fine.

What exactly am I getting at?

I get a fresh start with going freelance. I get to do it my way, and yes I am still figuring out what ‘my way’ is and it’s a work in progress. What I do know is that I want my clients to be happy with their end product. If they want to be able to have full control or if they want nothing to do with it is completely up to them.

My mission is to help people realize that getting a website built doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. You can have a well built, well designed website that is SEO friendly and you can be comfortable using it. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

Thoughts, Questions, Feedback?

Do you use another type of page builder? Or do you have a bad experience and have an opinion on why I shouldn’t use them? Tell me in the comments! I love hearing feedback, advice, and life lessons from other people. Let me hear it!

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