I get it. Your website is due for an update. You’ve spent weeks, maybe months, designing what you’d consider the best web design to ever bless the internet. You want to share this design with the world and have them bask in its eternal glory.
The problem is, you don’t know how to code.
You’re scared of having someone else build your design and ruin all your hard work due to a crappy implementation, so you decide to take on the build yourself by using one of WordPress’ page builder plugins. You think to yourself, “Hmmm, the marketing site for this plugin says it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.” or “it’s the most popular WordPress plugin. It has over 1 million downloads. This has to be a good decision.”
Well, I hate to rain on your incredibly misguided parade but you’re dead wrong. Page builders are a plague. Not quite the bubonic plague, but a plague nonetheless, and in my opinion, they are ruining WordPress.
How are they ruining WordPress you ask? Well…do you have all day? I’m guessing you don’t, so I’ll supply you with a few of the more catastrophic problems.
1. They are ruining your data.
Page builder plugins use a series of tags called shortcodes which return HTML. These shortcodes are placed alongside your data in the database and only turn into code when the site is served up in a browser. Why is this bad? Because now all of your data is cluttered with a bunch of different shortcodes. You’re essentially mixing presentation, layout, and content, which is a huge no-no in the web development community.
After using these shortcodes in your content, when you want to migrate all of your content over to build a new site, there is no easy way to grab the data you want without also grabbing the page builder shortcodes – which may not work with your new design or build. You are now stuck with stripping out all those shortcodes and then going back through to make sure all of your content still works and nothing else was removed by accident. This can easily triple the amount of time it takes to migrate over content.
2. They can slow down your site.
Shortcodes have to be parsed every time a page is loaded, and that operation is very processor-intensive and can take a long time. If your layout requires a lot of shortcodes – which most layouts do when using a page builder – your page is going to require a lot of processor time which will increase the load on the server immensely.
3. They don’t have design restrictions.
You spent all this time building your awesome design and it looks perfect. You go on vacation, come back, and notice someone added some new pages to your site….and they look AWFUL! This is because page builders let people do anything they want, without restrictions. Some co-worker who decided to become a designer the week you were gone has now destroyed all your hard work. You now have to go back and re-do all their work instead of doing something productive with your time.
I could go on for days about why page builders are not the best thing since sliced bread, but I’m hopeful these reasons will be enough to change your mind on using one. My advice? Find a developer that has a good track record of producing quality work that you can trust, and have them build you a custom WordPress theme to the exact specs needed. It might be a more expensive route, but it’s the best route to take if your website is important to your business.