For a long time I have disliked Page building tools, specially the Visual Composer. Visual Composer, now called WPBakery Page Builder was one of the earliest ones of the kind and came with almost every second premium theme on themeforest. So no matter what you bought, you’d be getting Visual Composer prebuilt. It had a little or no competition in the market with only SiteOrigin Page Builder being one of an alternative at WordPress repo. There have been reasons why page builders are loved and professionally accepted as a page layout design solution even for the enterprises. But I had a different persona of such tools in mind.

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First Visual Composer isn’t free and costs around 45 dollars if bought separately on codecanyon. It has extensive community support with plenty of free and premium add-ons. Now, on the other hand, other page builders like SiteOrigin Page Builder were free to start and use, with fair amount of community support and add-ons.

I started using SiteOrigin PB in 2013 and to be honest, I loved how simple it was to use. I designed most of my pages, including About, Contact, Advertise etc., using it, tried several add-ons like those from LiveMesh, SiteOrigin itself etc., which were available for free in the WordPress plugins directory. In a year, I was almost an expert around page building. But still I couldn’t get my head over Visual Composer. A mental satisfaction was missing and that feel was not going anywhere any quick. SiteOrigin Page Builder isn’t perfect and if compared to modern day competition, it lags way behind. In couple of years, I started to feel like restricted with the amount of designs I could make – the variation was limited and the plugin itself didn’t see much development during the time being. I tried switching to other options like Beaver, Live Composer, King Composer, Divi Builder etc. All these were better than each other in some or many aspects but none were perfect.

Why I hated Page Builders at all?

Currently I use WPBakery Page Builder which comes pre-packaged with superb Total WordPress theme and also, the Elementor page builder which is fast and free and better in some aspects to any pagebuilder in the market. But as said earlier, things weren’t always the same. I really deferred using page building tools due to number of reasons.

Issue of speed

First reason was the issue of speed. A page builder plugin comes with plenty of files which increase load on your site’s server. Especially when you are hosted at slow shared hosts like GoDaddy, things are most probably going to go south. WPBPB never worked properly on GoDaddy. Other builders had more or less the same trouble. SiteOrigin Page Builder worked, but only to some extent. If I installed extra functionalities, called add-ons, it failed to perform well. Not just this, page builders were unoptimized at that time and came with (too many) unnecessary js and css files. As a speed cautious blogger, I had to find ways to remove such files, if I was using a builder.

Usages

Second reason was the use — itself. I preferred using shortcode tools like WordPress Canvas to divide content into columns, insert buttons, add maps etc. Using shortcodes, I could get my work done just by applying one or two shortcode plugins, which — even when combined — consumed not even half of the resources that page builders were using.

WordPress TinyMCE Editor

Third reason was the increased functionality of WordPress TinyMCE Editor and introduction of Live CSS in customizer. It had become more powerful than ever and was more WYWIWYG eliminating need of builders even more.

Traces of Page Builder

Fourth reason was the strongest one. Every time I switched away from a page builder, post content was wasted with unreadable, user unfriendly shortcodes causing even more trouble.

Leftovers of Visual Composer

This issue has been solved by many of the modern WordPress page builders like Elementor, SiteOrigin etc., which do not add shortcodes but add .classes so that the content remains user friendly and readable even when the page builder is removed.

Should I use a page builder?

I use page builders and you should too but only if that is extremely needed. Page builders can help you design better lead generating pages, beautiful homepages and much more. With page builders all these can be achieved by just drag and drops – even by just click of a button. Page builders are being used by all types of sites – from blogs to magazines to professional homepages. So, I can definitely recommend you to try building tools. After all, today the scenario has completely changed and Page Builders are faster, smarter and easy to start-off.

Gaurav Tiwari

A designer by profession, a mathematician by education but a Blogger by hobby. Loves reading and writing. Just that.

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