The WordPress Block Editor vs. Page Builders - LearnWP

The WordPress Block Editor vs. Page Builders

WOrdPress Block Editor vs. Page Builders

With the release of WordPress 5.5, there are even more reasons to use the WordPress Block Editor instead of adding a Page Builder to your WordPress site.

What are WordPress Page Builders?

Page builders are third-party add-ons for WordPress. They are not part of WordPress. Builder plugins feature a drag and drop builder in the backend and a live editor on the frontend. The attractive prebuilt layouts that come with builders are appealing to some new WordPress users. Many Premium Themes (ones you purchase) rely on a page builder plugin.

Popular WordPress page builders include: WP Bakery Page Builder, Visual Composer, Beaver Builder, Divi Builder, Elementor, Themify Builder, Thrive Architect, SiteOrigin, and Avada.

Why We Don’t Recommend Page Builders

Here are a few reasons:

  • With Page Builders, content is added in a non-standard (non-native) way—the Builder may not be forward-compatible with future versions of WordPress. If the Page Builder author stops supporting their plugin, you will run into problems going forward
  • Page Builders are notorious for having messy code which results in a slow website – bad for your site visitor and bad for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Compatibility with other plugins is a common problem
  • It’s difficult to move away from the builder to a new theme. When WordPress users decide to move away they have to remove all the page builder code (see the screenshot down below). This is a lot of work.

Page Builders Are A Disservice To The End-User

So many of our students have come to our workshop completely frustrated with WordPress. But the problem has often been not with WordPress but that their website was built using a page builder. They thought they had hired a Web Designer or Developer, what they got was a person who only knew how to set up a Premium theme using a builder plugin.

You’ll often hear that Builders are intuitive and easy. But not everyone finds them easy to use. They’ve been created with hands-on business owners (DIYers) in mind, who don’t know or want to learn code. Still, they want to build their own site: either for cost-savings or to take control of their online content.

But our students tell us that they still have to learn a specific “builder” language to become adept at styling and formatting a page or post. Either way, you end up learning a new language—with all the downsides of a builder.

Page Builders Slow Down Your Site Speed

Page Builders slow your site down – bad for your site visitor and bad for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Ten years ago, Google began to include site speed as part of their algorithm. Why? Google cares about User Experience. And speed is about user experience.

Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.

Google Webmaster Central Blog

As reliance on the internet grows and the number of sites continues to increase, site visitors are much less tolerant of slow loading sites. Google knows this and therefore, boosts or penalizes sites based on their speed.

Why do Site Builders Slow Sites Down

When you install a builder, you add many, many files to your site—files such as scripts, font files and stylesheets.

Page Builders, trying to be an all-in-one solution, often offers features that not every user needs. Many of these extra resources are not used. They are included to support all the page builder’s additional custom post types, widgets and other options.

Developers refer to this as bloat – a lot of unnecessary code. This additional code significantly ups the load time for a web page. Bloat that slows your site down.

Now The WordPress Editor Can Do Everything A Builder Can Do

In the past, there may have been a reason to use a Page Builder but now you can accomplish the same thing with the default WordPress Block Editor without knowing code.

When you learn how to create content with the Block Editor, you can create a website identical to a page builder site without all those problems listed above! You can be sure that WordPress will continue to build and equip its Block Editor with new capabilities with each update to it.

For example, the Block Editor (version 5.5) has a new (amazing) pattern blocks feature. With it, you can add pre-styled and pre-designed blocks directly into your page or post without all the added code bloat. Patterns offers 10 styled blocks to choose from including:

  • Styled buttons
  • Heading and paragraph groups
  • Quote blocks with images
  • Cover images with many features to edit and style
  • Pre-set Galleries

These pre-styled block groupings are especially helpful to new WordPress Users without a lot of web design experience. And we’re confident that WordPress will continue to grow this library of pre-designed blocks.

Once You’re Using a Theme & Page Builder, it’s Difficult to Change Themes

Here’s a BIG downside to a page builder. Once a site has been built with a builder, it can be difficult to move to another theme. And when you do and you remove the builder, you are left with a LOT of short-codes that you have to remove page-by-page. Hugely time-consuming and taxing for the user. So your first problem is switching. Here’s a classic example:

Visual Composer Shortcodes

Tell me, where would a non-code WordPress User begin to decipher these short-codes?

We Recommend The WordPress Editor All the Way

Do yourself a favour, if you are about to build a site, don’t use a Page Builder, use the default WordPress Block Editor. And if you’re a frustrated Page Builder User think about moving away, reach out, we can help you with that.

Extend your Learning…

If you liked this post, you’ll love our WordPress Made Easy Online Course. Perfect for WordPress website owners and users who want the skills and knowledge to create and manage a WordPress website.

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