Page Builder Plugins for WordPress Super Heroes

Page Builders give us the tools needed to add content to WordPress pages and to quickly organise that content with greater layout precision than possible with the basic WordPress visual editor.

A good page builder is like a plugin pack. It provides the feature elements needed to add columns, styled separation lines, Google maps, testimonials, galleries, slide shows and much more. Everything most bloggers and business site owners need to use to structure page content.

In this post we take a tour of the top 4 WordPress page builders. 2 free page builders and 2 commercial page builders. Each one is unique in its own way yet neither is clearly better to use than the other until personal preference is taken into account.

Page Builder Quick Points

    • Page builders streamline WordPress page creation and content layout
    • They let us neatly position page elements with precision.
    • They usually come packed with features to embed image galleries, videos, estore products, maps, progress bars, post grids, sliders, carousels and more, and
    • They usually give us quick access to animations.

Page Builder Questions Answered

A plugin that makes it easy to build landing pages, to style regular content layout and to build pages like the one your reading now.

To improve content layout by using columns, accordions, tabs, tours, slideshows, FAQ sections and more.

Good page builders are coded to be efficient. Content elements added to a page by a good page builder are not usually more performance heavy than any other well coded plugin that might add similar features to a page. Well coded page builders restrict their code to load only on pages that use page builder elements.

Almost always. Page builders usually work within the content area of a page so work well with most themes.

Some page builders have their own theme framework which allows for maximum integration but such page builders can usually be used with any  theme whether built for the page builder or not.

Yes. Some page builders provide menu structures specifically designed for use with ‘one page’ websites.

4 Top WordPress Page Builder Plugins

Visual Composer

  • Mature plugin
  • Drag & Drop page builder
  • Frontend and backend editor
  • 40+ Content elements
  • Works with any theme
  • Extra addons available
  • Extensible
  • Templates can be exported and imported
  • Multisite ready
  • Responsive design
  • Heavy reliance on shortcodes
  • Used by JournalXtra

Beaver Builder

  • In development for several years
  • Drag & Drop page builder
  • Frontend editor only
  • 28+ Content elements
  • Works with most themes
  • Extensible
  • Multisite ready
  • Responsive design
  • Templates available
  • No shortcode mess when disabled
  • 30 Days money back guarantee
  • Unlimited sites usage

Live Composer

  • Released April 2014
  • Drag & Drop page builder
  • Frontend editor only
  • 31+ Content elements
  • Works with most themes
  • Dedicated Live Composer themes available
  • Extra addons available (free and paid)
  • Extensible
  • Free
  • Page templates can be saved, exported and imported
  • Multisite ready
  • Responsive design
  • Packed with custom post types
  • No shortcode mess when disabled

SiteOrigin Page Builder

  • First released in 2011
  • Drag & Drop page builder
  • Backend editor only
  • 13+ Content elements
  • Free SiteOrigin Widget Bundle adds 7 extra content elements
  • Works with most themes
  • Extra addons available
  • Extensible
  • Free
  • Free access to dedicated templates repository
  • Multisite ready
  • Responsive design
  • No shortcode mess when disabled

Our Opinion

We like both Visual Composer and Live Composer best.

Visual Composer’s backend editor is intuitive to use and the plugin is feature packed. Combine Visual Composer with one of the available addon packs like VC Extensions or Ultimate Addons and we have all the content elements needed to build almost any type of website and to display nearly any type of content. The frontend editor could be more intuitive to get to grips with.

Live Composer we like because it is free to download, easy to use and has more than enough element types to make it useful to many web masters and authors. This page builder works similar to Beaver Builder but has more element types and each element has a good range of design options.

Although the demo page for Live Composer is sometimes sluggish we have not noticed any sluggishness in the sites we have built with Live Composer.

SiteOrigin Page Builder has fewer features than the other 3 page builders but is simple to use and this simplicity more than makes up for the lack of features. We like SiteOrigin’s page template repository which makes off-the-rack page development quick and easy.

Beaver Builder is similar to Live Composer but with fewer pre-installed content elements and fewer content element design options. Beaver Builder has attracted a large number of WordPress developer users who are vocal about the plugin’s good feature set and code quality.

Visual Composer stores VC built content directly within the WordPress content editor. This is achieved by use of shortcodes. These shortcodes display when Visual Composer is deactivated. The other 3 page builders store content built with them in their own database tables. When the other page builder plugins are deactivated their content can no longer be seen or edited.

Both methods of storing page builder content have their pros and cons. With Visual Composer we can disable the plugin and still view and edit the Visual Composer built content but we need to use a plugin to hide the shortcodes. With the content storage methods uses by SiteOrigin, Beaver Builder and Live Editor, when the plugins are disabled content added with them is no longer visible or editable without plugin reactivation. The pros and cons depend on use case.

Most to least content elements

  1. Visual Composer
  2. Live Composer
  3. Beaver Builder
  4. SiteOrigin Page Builder

Most to least element design options

Which has most CSS and animation options.

  1. Live Composer
  2. Visual Composer
  3. Beaver Builder
  4. SiteOrigin Page Builder

Most to least intuitive to use

Which is easier to learn to use.

  1. Beaver Builder
  2. Visual Composer (backend)
  3. Live Composer
  4. SiteOrigin Page Builder

Summary

The default WordPress page editor is good to use when we write editorials that use a single column layout but we need the power of a WordPress page builder when we want to display neatly positioned and clearly separated columns and rows that respond well to the various viewport widths used by different website visitors.

Page builders streamline WordPress page creation and content layout. Page builders let us neatly position page elements with precision. Page builders provide content elements that allow us to embed image galleries, videos, WooCommerce products, Google maps, progress bars, post grids, WordPress widgets and more within the posts and pages we create without need to install further plugins or to know and understand HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript or jQuery.

As WordPress developers, bloggers and business site owners, we at JournalXtra find page builders invaluable. We like them. Our clients enjoy the content creation freedom they provide.

Download Links

Feedback

What is your page builder choice and why? What features do you look for in a page builder?

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