What are the pros and cons of using a page builder with WordPress?
Let’s start with the “Pros”:
- Easily bootstrap new landing pages.
- Create dynamic and appealing sections with no code.
- Create content spread across multiple columns (unlike the full-width WYSIWYG editor).
- Cheaper and faster than hiring developers.
And here’s why page builders aren’t the default solution for most sites:
- Speed — most of them have a notable impact on performance, both front-end, and back-end.
- Stability issues — ongoing updates are not guaranteed to retain the same markup or visualization of your sections.
- Security challenges — building a powerful drag-and-drop builder supporting dozens of components is far from simple and often relies on 3rd party scripts and libraries, leading to occasional vulnerabilities.
- Inconsistent designs — professional organizations actually care about design and understand how crucial user experience is. Page builders can only do so much and lead to compromises when it comes to the finer details (and responsive design).
- Limited sections — again, a 5-page business website may do just fine with a predefined slider/gallery and a couple of non-standard sections. Try building a professional single page application for a funded CA startup with a builder. Let alone an enterprise-grade solution pulling data from a CRM or an ERP and filtering components on the fly with live charts. Good luck with that.
- Additional complexity in extending sections — once you have to build 4–5 custom sections not supported by the builder, you may end up spending more time in extending sections or sticking to the coding standards and APIs of the page builder compared to building everything from scratch (or even with Advanced Custom Fields).
- Migration lock-in — most page builders use their custom markup formatting to identify their blocks and sections and parse them. Trying to disable it would either hide all of your content or retain random snippets that don’t make sense. Migrating to a different one is usually a horrible adventure.
- Component storage — reusing components is one of the key selling points of the new editorial experience called “Gutenberg” that’s shipped by default with WordPress. When you have thousands of pages that are expected to support 50 reusable templates, you want to make sure that a lot is already predefined and reusable as best as possible, especially when you fetch data from different sources.
Page builders are fine for solopreneurs and 5-page business websites, photographers’ portfolio sites, and other things like that.
When you run an actual business that serves a good chunk of traffic or depends on sales through the platform, you’re competing with the top players, and they understand user experience, performance, conversion rate optimizations, marketing funnels, and a lot of other paradigms that rely on scalable and flexible tech (and page builders don’t fall in this category).