Using a drag and drop page builder is the easiest way to customize your WordPress site. These tools are also known as WYSIWYG (pronounced “wussy wig”) editors – which stands for “what you see is what you get.” These type of web page editors enable you to create, edit and customize your site without having to know HTML, PHP or CSS. This article will compare 3 of the most popular WordPress page builders: Avada’s Fusion Builder, Elegant Theme’s Page Builder and Visual Composer.
Why Use a Drag and Drop Editor for WordPress?
Are you wondering if you need a drag and drop editor? If you aren’t well-versed in HTML or CSS, you will most likely want to use a drag and drop editor. Even those of us who are can utilize them to speed up the coding process. If you are a beginner, a drag and drop page builder is going to be your new best friend. Otherwise it will be very tough to design and customize your website.
Many people don’t want to use WordPress because they are intimidated by the user dashboard and the text editor. There’s no reason to forego all the benefits of WordPress simply because it doesn’t come stocked with a drag and drop editor. A lot of people don’t realize that WordPress has some great drag and drop editors that rival those of other CMS solutions like Wix or Squarespace. Use them to customize everything in WordPress without touching the backend.
Benefits of Drag and Drop Editors
- You don’t need to know how to code
- Heavily focused on visual design – which gives you more creative control
- Save time and effort – speed up the design process
- They are responsive
- Build things like tables quickly
- Drag and drop functionality
- Put up professional looking website yourself
Cons of Drag and Drop Editors
- Can be overkill for small sites
- Problems switching between platforms
- Known for creating sloppy code
- Some bugs with third party plugins
- Limited functionality compared to HTML editor – you have less control over certain page elements
- Still takes some coding to make a perfect website/complete website
As you can see WYSIWYG editors are great, but they do have some limits. You can get the best of both worlds by using a visual editor in conjunction with an HTML/CSS editor. And if you want to take things even further you can set up your site and hire a professional developer to help you. Another good reason to use a visual layout builder is that they can help you learn about website design.
It can be a gateway into more formal coding using markup and high level programming languages. Start with predefined layouts until you are comfortable enough to create your own from scratch.
This includes things like adding columns, full width images, video backgrounds, sliders, maps, contact forms, shopping carts and more.
I rated these 3 page builders based on a 5 star system, with 5 being the best and 0 being the worst. My ratings are based on ease of use, flexibility and design output. Each one will have a description, a rating and what I like or don’t like about it.
Visual Composer has been a staple for WordPress users from its release in 2011. Since then it has developed into one of the most comprehensive WYSIWYG editors around. There are over 40 elements to choose from including galleries, grids, tables, sliders, parallax backgrounds and more. Every element is optimized for mobile devices.
Visual Composer is a no nonsense WYSIWYG editor that gets the job done. It’s very intuitive and easy to build unique layouts. A great thing about this editor is that you can build your own queries? What are queries you ask? Say you wanted to generate dynamic content based on post type or category. You could setup a page full of posts that in the category “product reviews,” that would pull every post with that category and display it on your page. This is a great way to build portfolio as well. You can quickly put up a page like this in a few minutes that looks like it took hours to code.
I think that of all 3, Visual Composer is the best drag and drop page builder overall. It’s easy to use and has more than enough useful features to build your site.
- Very simple and intuitive.
- Standalone WYSIWYG editor
- Front and Back end editor
- Standalone page editor – use it with any theme
- Solid documentation
- Lots of elements to choose from, giving you endless possibilities
- Fair price
- Licensing is a headache – add-ons and pricing schemes can be confusing
- At times the user interface can seem a little disorganized at first
- It will take time to learn all the features and functions
- Upgrading can lead to bugs
Elegant Themes Divi Page Builder
We are basing our Elegant Themes page builder review off our experience with the Divi Theme, which is one of their best selling and most popular themes. Please don’t confuse the Divi pagebuilder with the Elegant Themes page builder.
The Divi Theme has a unique page builder that originally only came with Divi. Since October the Divi pagebuilder was released as a standalone plugin for any theme. Right away we notice that the Divi page builder is a little different than the other two drag and drop builders. Divi has a colorful interface that allows to add elements to a blank canvas.
To use the page builder, click on a module you’d like to insert, then drag the element around to customize it. There’s a lot more to it, but that is a basic explanation of this page builder. This slick page builder is a very good reason for checking out the Divi theme. Lets look at what we liked and didn’t like about this page builder.
- 19 demo layouts to choose from and counting
- Customize elements such as buttons, lists, drop down menus etc
- Colorful user interface
- License gives you access to all 88 themes by Elegant Themes
- Create custom templates
- A large selection of blocks and styles, which means it’s very flexible
- Standalone plugin
- You’ll lose a lot of functionality if you need to move your website to a new host or theme
- The price is a bit high but you do get every theme in the Elegant themes collection with
- The builder only works on the back-end of your site
- Not completely responsive
Avada’s Fusion Builder
The developers over at Avada work hard to keep their benchmark status when it comes to theme development. A big part of that is the Fusion Builder. This powerful page builder also enables you to build some awesome looking pages in minutes.
It’s way faster than using Dreamweaver and checking things locally, which I prefer at times. Simply drag and drop the elements on your page and edit them to your liking. There is plenty of demo content – you can load one of the pre-built templates with a single click and fill it in with your own content.
This builder is available when you purchase Avada. One thing I noticed about Fusion is that it comes stocked with sliders galore. If you are a fan of building interesting slides to showcase on your site you’ll love this builder. It comes with Fusion Slider, Revolution Slider, Layer Slider WP and Elastic Slider. The user interface is intuitive and there is a visual shortcode editor to customize shortcodes. This builder has come a long way since its release and is still evolving.
- Quickly delete all content
- Some nice pre-built page templates
- Very expansive – contains lots of features
- Create custom templates
- Simple and intuitive to use
- Minimal and lightweight user panel
- Takes a bit of time to learn all of the features
- Only comes with Avada, not standalone
- May be more than you need for a simple website
- Bugs with third party plugins
Visual Composer vs Divi Page Builder vs Fusion Page Builder
Many web design newcomers don’t realize that with a little bit of time, probably less than a day, they can use a WYSIWYG editor to build a modern website. If you need a website you can do it yourself without having to code. In all fairness it takes a real developer to take your site to the next level, but that’s not always necessary. Using a webpage builder is like having a designer at your disposal. You can save time, money and even learn something by putting up your own site.
Using any one of these page builders will speed up the design process and let you build complex web pages with ease. Visual Composer offers the most flexibility in my eyes because it’s been proven to work with any theme. There are lots of add ons for it, and overall I think it’s the strongest of the three. If you want you can even run it with Avada or Divi.
|Ease of Use||Flexibility||Design Output|
|Divi Page Builder||
|Fusion Page Builder||
I like Avada’s page builder second best out of these three. It’s very straightforward and lets you build a wide range of pages. Last but not least is Divi. Divi is great as well, but I noticed that some of pages I built weren’t completely responsive when I tested them on my mobile device. You can build a killer site with any one of these to tell you the truth.
Remember that when you use a visual page builder you’ll run into trouble at some point. Luckily all three of these page builders are still very popular and it’s not hard to get support from the developers or other users. Let us know in the comments section if you have any favorite page builders or if we left anything out worth noting.