A WordPress page builder plugin is a solution if you want to be a professional web designer or web developer yet have no adequate programming skills. It allows you to create a unique, fully customized WordPress-based website without touching a single line of code. A page builder plugin comes with a visual editor that you can use to create the design of your website. Some page builders have the ability to add dynamic content which is crucial to create a dynamic website.
A page builder can also be a great solution if you want to create a website for your own business, yet have no idea of the theme you want to use. Most page builder plugins can be used on any WordPress theme — be it free or paid — so you don’t need to depend on a certain theme. You have the freedom to choose the theme of your choice. But wait. Choosing the right WordPress page builder plugin is another challenge as there are a bunch of options available out there. Each offers a unique interface and features.
We have compiled some of the key features you need to consider when choosing a WordPress page builder plugin. We won’t mention the editor interface as every user has their own preference about this.
1. The availability of design elements
The availability of design elements determines the kind of page (or website in general) you can create. In general, the design elements of a WordPress page builder plugin fall into 3 types:
- The actual design elements to create a page
- Column: A smaller container to host the actual design elements
- Section: A larger container to host columns and the actual design elements
Worth noting that each page builder may use different terms for those elements. For instance, Brizy uses the term “block” instead of “section” (the two terms refer to the same stuff). While to mention the actual design elements, Divi Builder uses the term “modules” while Elementor and Brizy use the term “widget” and “element”, respectively.
Elementor is the absolute winner in this area as they offer over 90 actual design elements in total. Not to mention widgets from add-ons like Happy Addons, Essential Addons, and so on. As a comparison, here are the total of the actual design elements offered by three popular WordPress page builder plugins: Elementor, Divi Builder, and Brizy:
- Elementor: 90 widgets
- Divi Builder: 38 modules
- Brizy: 42 elements
Even so, more actual design elements don’t always better. In some cases, it causes the editor a bit longer to be loaded. Everything is about the needs in the end.
On the other hand, you have more options to add creative elements to the page you are creating.
2. The ability to add dynamic content
You can be a professional web developer with WordPress, even if you have no programming skills, but there is one requirement you need to meet. You need to know the concept of custom fields, including how they work and how to create ones. By mastering WordPress custom fields, you will be able to create nearly any type of website without installing too many plugins. You can simply create custom fields according to your needs. Creating custom fields doesn’t require programming skills. You can use plugins like Pods, Advanced Custom Fields, and JetEngine (Elementor only) to do so.
Worth to note that not all custom fields are supported by page builder plugins. For instance, you can only use JetEngine on Elementor. So, make sure that the page builder you want to use support the custom field plugin you want to use.
In addition to custom fields, most page builder plugins also allow you to add default dynamic content of WordPress such as post meta, featured image, page title, and so on.
3. Theme builder
In the old days, you needed to master PHP, CSS, and HTML to create a WordPress theme. Today, you can create your own WordPress theme without coding thanks to the theme builder feature offered by a page builder plugin. You can create custom templates to replace the default templates of your theme. Most WordPress theme builder features of a page builder allow you to create the following custom templates.
- Single post template
- 404 page
- Archive pages (categories, tags, authors)
- Search results page
Elementor, Divi Builder, and Brizy. They all have a theme builder feature to create the custom templates above. You can create the custom templates using the visual editor offered by each page builder.
4. Global elements
The ability to create and use global elements is another crucial enough feature you need to consider when choosing a page builder plugin. Especially if you want to create a complex website that consists of lots of pages. With a global element, you only need to edit a single page to make a certain change to the global element on some pages on your website. For instance, you have a global heading — in which you have applied it to some pages on your website. For a certain reason, you want to edit the typography of the global heading. Instead of editing the heading on all pages, you only need to edit the heading on a single page and the changes will be applied to all pages where the associated global heading is added to.
The type of global elements you can use are varied, depending on the page builder you use. Elementor, for instance, allows you to create global colors, global fonts, global widgets, global custom CSS, and so on. While in Brizy, you can effortlessly turn a block into a global block.
5. The ecosystem
We are living in a connected era where everything is about collaboration. You can’t really work alone. Even if you are a freelancer. You will need support from other parties. In the context of web development, you will need resources from other developers to streamline your workflow. In the case of page builder plugin, you can install add-ons developed by third-party developers to add certain features or functionalities.
Speaking of add-ons, Elementor is superior to other page builder plugins. Due to its open ecosystem, many WordPress developers develop add-ons to provide features and widgets that are not available on Elementor by default. For instance, Crocoblock develops JetMenu to allow Elementor users to add a mega menu to the header template they create.
Divi Builder and Elementor are two page builder plugins that have an open ecosystem, allowing third-party developers to develop add-ons. Elegant Themes (the developer of Divi Builder) even provides a marketplace where developers can market their add-ons (as well as child themes and layouts). Choosing a page builder that has an open ecosystem is crucial for two main reasons: to enrich the functionalities of the page builder itself and to get supports from the community (other than the official support from the associated developer).
6. Payment option
Some page builder plugins — including Elementor and Brizy — are released as a freemium plugin. To unlock the offered premium features, you need to use the pro version. In addition to price (of course), the payment model option accepted by the developer of the page builder you use is also crucial enough to consider. Especially if you hate the subscription payment model. Divi Builder and Brizy are great options if you hate the subscription model as they accept a one-time purchase option. Elementor, on the other hand, only accepts a subscription-based payment model.
7. WooCommerce support
The vast majority of WordPress-based e-commerce websites are powered by WooCommerce. That said, if you want to create an e-commerce website using WooCommerce and a page builder plugin, you need to make sure that the page builder you use supports WooCommerce. What we mean here is, you can create custom templates to replace the default templates of the WooCommerce pages such as the single product page, product category page, and so on. Divi Builder, Elementor, and Brizy are examples of the page builder plugins that have support to WooCommerce by allowing you to create custom templates to replace the default templates of the pages we mentioned above.
8. Third-party integration support
In the context of web development, there are a bunch of services and tools you can integrate your website with. For instance, you can integrate your website with MailerLite or Mailchimp for newsletter needs. Or, you can integrate your website with Adobe Fonts to enrich your font collection. Just make sure that the page builder you want to use supports the tool or service you use or need.
9. Compatibility with other WordPress plugins
You might have a favorite WordPress plugin. For instance, you might always use Slider Revolution to add a slider to every website you create. Or, if you use Yoast, you might want to make sure that the page builder plugin you want to use allows you to optimize your page with Yoast. Being the most popular page builder plugin, Elementor is supported by most WordPress plugins. LearnDash for instance. The popular LMS plugin offers an official add-on to allow you to effortlessly add quizzes, courses list, lessons list, and so on to your Elementor page.
If your favorite plugin offers no official support to the page builder you use, you can use the embed feature (if it supports embed). Most page builder plugins — including Elementor, Divi Builder, and Brizy — have a design element to embed a content of WordPress plugins.
10. Supporting features (popup builder, responsive editing, custom CSS, and so on)
Some page builder plugins offer extra features for the sake of winning users’ attention. Elementor and Brizy, for instance, have a built-in popup builder that you can use to create beautiful popups on your WordPress site.
Most page builder plugins come with a responsive editing feature to allow you to design and preview a page on three modes: laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Just make sure that the page builder you want to use supports this feature if it matters to you. Some supporting features worth considering are:
- Popup builder
- Responsive editing
- Custom CSS
- Revision history
- Navigation (like Navigator in Elementor and Layers View in Divi Builder)
- Role manager
The bottom line
The era has shifted. You are no longer need to rely on a theme to create a unique, customized website with WordPress. Instead, you can use a page builder plugin. A WordPress page builder plugin allows you to be a professional web developer or designer even if you have no programming skills as it comes with a visual editor where everything is drag and drop. In order to be able to create a fully customized website, understanding the concept of WordPress custom field is a key.
There are a bunch of options when it comes to page builder plugin. With their pros and cons. The 10 features above are the crucial features you need to notice when choosing a page builder plugin for your projects.