- Feb 13, 2017
- by Brad Litwin
Anyone who’s used WordPress knows how easy it is to pick up the platform. It makes creating posts and pages remarkably simple, and there’s a plethora of themes to choose from to help shape the design of your site. However, even with WordPress’ built-in functionality, it can take a lot of trial and error before you’re able to put together a stylish website. This is where site building plugins come into play.
Site building plugins are designed to help you bridge that gap by making the entire process as simple as possible. To that end, they often include drag-and-drop functionality, which should be easy for anyone to pick up and use effectively.
In this article, we’ll look at five of our favorite site building plugins for WordPress, what makes each of them unique, how easy they are to use, and how they compare to one another. Let’s go!
Although it’s most often associated with its parent theme, the Divi Builder is one of the most robust WordPress site building plugins out there. It works with most modern themes and its modular system is pretty intuitive.
- Comes with dozens of pre-built modules for popular features such as contact forms and galleries
- Uses a system of rows and columns to structure pages
- Supports drag-and-drop functionality
- Includes both back and front end editors
- Enables users to preview how their pages will look on mobile devices
Ease of Use:
Getting started with the Divi Builder can take minutes, but mastering it will require some effort. For example, every Divi Builder module comes with its own array of settings and there are often dozens of them.
This level of attention to detail gives you a lot of control over your site, but it can take some time to learn all the ins and outs of the tool.
Access to the Divi Builder – along with Elegant Themes’ suite of themes and plugins – will set you back $69 per year.
The Beaver Builder plugin has only been around for a couple of years, but within that time it’s made quite a name for itself. Much like the Divi Builder, this tool is based on a system of rows and modules. However, it works entirely on the front end of your website.
- Comes with a wide variety of easy-to-use modules
- Implements a simple row and column system to separate modules
- Works with the regular WordPress widgets
Ease of Use:
Learning how to use the Beaver Builder plugin is remarkably simple. Since the plugin works entirely on the front end, it enables you to instantly check out any changes that you implement.
Furthermore, adding new elements to your website – or rearranging them – is as easy as dragging them around. Once you’ve positioned an element, a single click will enable you to customize it to your heart’s desire.
Our first two picks are great if you need a site building plugin with advanced functionality, but they can be overkill for simpler sites. That’s where Page Builder by SiteOrigin comes in.
This plugin also uses modules in conjunction with rows and columns, but the whole experience is decidedly less flashy. It’s the perfect solution if you’re looking for a lean page builder.
- Works with the vast majority of WordPress themes
- Supports both back and front end editing
- Displays sites as they would appear on mobile devices
Ease of Use:
Out of all the tools we’ve featured so far, Page Builder by SiteOrigin is the easiest to use. While it doesn’t have as many features as its competitors, we consider the simplicity of the tool to be one of its best qualities.
This plugin is easy to use and includes all the WordPress modules you’re already familiar with, such as calendars and recent posts. If you know your way around the platform, it’ll take you minutes to pick up this tool.
The Page Builder by SiteOrigin plugin is 100% free.
Visual Composer is very similar to the Divi Builder in terms of features. However, this one is probably the better known of the two, and you’ll often find it included as a built-in feature in premium WordPress themes.
- Includes over 60 pre-defined modules
- Comes with dozens of ready-to-go layouts
- Supports over 150 add-ons for extended functionality
- Includes advanced user role controls to manage access
Ease of Use:
If we were to rate this plugin according to its ease of use, it would come out slightly ahead of the Divi Builder. On the other hand, if we’re looking at aesthetic design, it would fall slightly short.
Visual Composer relies on a system of modules, rows, and columns, like most of the other tools on this list. If you’re familiar with this type of system, using this tool will be a walk in the park.
Access to the Visual Composer plugin will cost you $34 for a single license.
If you’ve tried out the Beaver Builder plugin, then you’ll feel right at home with Live Composer. This handy little plugin also tackles page building entirely from the front end, albeit with a sleeker interface.
- A fully front end editor
- Comes with several pre-defined custom post types
- Includes several optional extensions (free and paid)
- Supports third-party collections of icons and other design elements
Ease of Use:
Despite being easy to use, this particular plugin suffers slightly due to its interface. While it does look wonderful – especially compared to those of Beaver Builder and Page Builder – it can be a pain to use.
The less than ideal interface layout results in you having to scroll back and forth along the bottom of any page you’re working on. Aside from that small downside, this plugin gets a thumbs up from us when it comes to ease of use.
The Live Composer plugin is completely free.
Site building plugins are a fantastic tool if you’re new to web design. They enable you to compose beautiful and functional websites without having to tinker with code, or figure out how to implement complex features.
If you’re looking to put together a simple WordPress website but you don’t have much experience when it comes to web development or design, a site building plugin may be just what you need. Let’s recap the five tools we introduced earlier:
- The Divi Builder: A perfect option for customization enthusiasts.
- Beaver Builder: This site building plugin mixes ease of use with a nice set of features.
- Page Builder by SiteOrigin: A lean site builder for straightforward websites.
- Visual Composer: This premium site-building plugin is an all-around solid pick.
- Live Composer: A free front end builder that packs several interesting add-ons.
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Do you have any questions about WordPress site building plugins and when it’s a good idea to use them? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.