Page Builders

Knowing what a page builder is, is far from required-reading. But perhaps you're curious, yes? There's a chance you may get by without knowing any of this, although it helps a bit..

WordPress, themes and plugins

WordPress

.. is primarily a content management system. Its primary focus is back end functionality and managing your data, namely the creation, categorisation, storage and retrieval of your text and picture content.

The Theme
.. handles what gets retrieved, and how to display it.

Plugins
.. handle extra functionality outside of the normal scope of a website / blog of pages, and posts.

Templates
Technically not part of WordPress, the term "template" is sometimes used to describe a reusable layout.

That's the general idea, but there is usually much overlap between the three:

  • WordPress has plenty of built-in bells and whistles of its own.
  • Themes often include special functionality which "should" technically be in a plugin.
  • Some plugins can add theme-like options to your website.
  • Templates are for layout, and hence can also determine the look-and-feel.

I use a "blank canvas" type of theme and custom-build the functionality and look and feel, which is applied to the layout. The layout is handled by the Beaver Builder Plugin. You can easily build your own layouts and modify existing ones with the Beaver Builder Plugin. You can modify some of the styling - colours, fonts, margins, padding etc - without writing code by using the theme and plugin settings, while some of it is handled by code.


What is a Page Builder?

Page builders are plugins that add the ability to lay out your website, often without having to write code. In the past, many developers rejected the use of page builders for various reasons, including:

  • They can add "weight" to every page on the website, slowing it down.
  • They leave a mess behind when changing themes or when turning off the page builder plugin.
  • They can add too many options to an otherwise-simple system.
  • They put too much power in the hands of the client.. that is, to potentially mess things up.

2016

..otherwise known as "The Year of the Page Builder" saw a massive increase in the number of available page builders. The race was on. Still is, actually. Actually foreseeably it probably always will be, but 2016 was a big one.

Enter Beaver Builder, the plugin

One of the main front-runners is the Beaver Builder plugin. It is the one most-loved by developers for it's standards-compliant code, lightness of weight, and cleanliness
of operation. No mess when installing, using, or uninstalling. Users (you) love it's uncluttered design and carefully-selected range of options. If they are not enough, then there are several "power packs" of features that can extend it. Beaver Builder makes
it really easy to build pages using a WYSIWYG* interface.
* what you see is what you get
You will be using Beaver Builder in any case to work with
your content, so it benefits you to start learning it early on. It's super-easy. There's a demo here.

  1. Take the tutorial when prompted.
  2. Change the template they've chosen with the templates button at the top.
  3. Go wild.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!