Why a WordPress page builder might be the right choice
As a small-business owner on a tight budget, hiring a designer and/or developer to custom code a WordPress website from scratch (or any website for that matter) is almost certainly out of reach, as the costs can easily run into the thousands.
So it’s likely that you’ll consider using one of the many popular ‘build your own website’ platforms. This is what happens with many of my clients before they come to me. Wix, Squarespace and Weebly advertise heavily , they promise the world, and they’re a more affordable option in terms of how much cash they’ll need to part with each month.
In my experience, many people try this out but soon hit problems – they either can’t quite get the site to do what they want, or they can’t get it to look any good. Most of all, they find it takes a lot of their time and they generally struggle to get the results they want.
Time they could be spending running their business and actually making money.
The page builder option
WordPress page builders like Elementor, Divi and Beaver Builder also make it possible for non-coders to create a website. So, they too are options you can try yourself. But again, typically people find it still sucks up a lot of their valuable time, because however they approach it and whatever anyone tells them, there is still a learning curve to using these things.
It’s unavoidable – creating a website, however it’s done, still takes some work. And that’s before you’ve even got your head around the wonderful world of website hosting and domains!
Ok so eventually you just decide you need to get someone to do it for you – but don’t worry, this can still be an affordable route to getting your website done. The design and development time can be drastically reduced if the person you hire uses a page builder. They’ve already been through the learning curve so the time you need to hire them is significantly less. Yes, they could also use Wix and Squarespace too – but we’ll see below why the page builder option may still be a better one.
Four good reasons
1. Less of the design and heavy development work
Many optional pre-made templates are provided for those who want to get up and running as quickly as possible. This takes care of a lot of design work if you want to make use of it, but you don’t have to. Alternatively, you can build a page from scratch – entirely to your own design.
Recent versions of some page builders also include a ‘Theme Builder’, which allows you to really take full control of parts of the site that were previously limited to whatever the theme would allow – like the site header and footer.
2. A wealth of features and functionality
Whether you need a simple ‘one-pager’ or an all singing all dancing full-featured website, it’s very likely a typical page builder like Elementor will have all of the features you need. This avoids the need to buy additional plugins or services just to get a single new feature added. Need a fancy image slider? Want to add some social media share buttons? There’s a good chance the page builder will already have it available.
3. Almost unlimited possibilities
Using WordPress means that a lot more can be done to customise your site. There are almost limitless plugins for doing just about anything. This is one of the big advantages over Wix and Squarespace etc. – the option of not only building your site just as you want it, but of adding to its features in future in almost unlimited ways. WordPress is a constantly evolving eco-system of themes and plugins on offer, and with over 45 million websites running on it, it’s going to be around for a very long time.
4. Low cost
All of the above brings a WordPress page builder site into an affordable price range. For clients on very limited budgets and who don’t have the time or the technical confidence to build their own on other platforms, it gives you the best of both worlds – professional help while still leaving you able to make your own edits to content once its been launched.
And that’s not all
It’s worth remembering that, even with just a little bit of CSS know-how, it can expand the possibilities even further to ensure you get everything just right. That said, with the latest version of Elementor, for example, it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself in a situation where you need to use any CSS at all.
When I first started using page builders about 5 years ago, I was also typically writing hundreds of lines of CSS to customise it to my clients needs. In my latest project, there are fewer than 10 lines. So while my CSS knowledge can give me even more control and flexibility, I often find I don’t need to use it so much anyway.
Ok, it's not all perfect...but...
It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that the page builder world is an imperfect one. Talk to some web developers and they will recoil at the very mention of WordPress in general, let alone the use of something like Divi, Elementor or Ocean WP. Why? Because these systems can produce bloated, inelegant code, and if there’s one thing most developers get excited about – its elegant code.
But WordPress is very popular for good reason. For a small business owner who just needs a website that works – there is little concern about how ‘beautiful’ the code is. What’s going on underneath the hood is something my clients simply don’t concern themselves with, provided the site is doing its job.
Let the big-budget businesses have their perfectly coded-from-scratch websites – and good luck to them. Meanwhile, just know that if you’re a small business or individual, you can still get a great looking, secure, easy to use website that ticks all of the boxes – at a price you can afford.