When WordPress page builders became big a while back, I was skeptical to say the least. How could these page builders compete with clean HTML and lean code? What I learned is WordPress page builders have come a long ways and continue to improve. Once you realize some of their web development benefits you might find yourself using one in the near future. Below I highlight a few of the benefits of using these visual page builders and why we use WPBakery in a majority of our sites.
Many page builders allow you to assign ID’s and classes to the page elements, rows, and columns. This allows you to do styling and CSS updates outside of the editor, saving time when applying styles across several pages. Don’t have a child theme stylesheet? You can still style elements using the builder including colors, fonts, margins, padding, borders, columns, backgrounds, and more.
A big time saver I’ve found in these visual builders is the ability to quickly display or hide page elements based on the user’s screen size. For example, you can set items to show or hide on desktop, tablet, or mobile with the click of a checkbox. You can also quickly adjust spacing and padding of items to appear differently depending on device. Page columns are responsive out-of-the-box so page designs stack beautifully on phones. All-in-all, you can layout and design a page for both computers and mobile devices in less time.
In viewing some of our websites’ source code, we realized the page builder plugin was adding the appropriate ALT and Title tags to images dragged on the page. This alone is a time saver. Builders also allow you to assign ID’s and other SEO-related items to your page content. Need more control? You still can access the built-in WordPress ‘Text’ editor for adding or modifying HTML/CSS.
Page Load Speed
One of my biggest hesitations with WordPress page builders was fear it would slow down my sites. After testing and building sites with and without page builder plugins these past few years, I learned a lot. First off, web servers are much faster today so extra inline CSS doesn’t seem to phase speed much. Second, themes with page builders are getting better at minifying code and caching items. Third, the proof is in the pudding – many of our new sites with page builders score in the high nineties on Pingdom, not an easy feat.
In summary, I think page builders started out with a bad rap and were seen as clunky drag & drop editors. They’ve come a long way since then. Many of our sites are now built in a third to half the time by utilizing these great plugins. I invite you to try one out on your next WordPress site. Who knows, you may end up using it on all your future sites.