Raise your hand if you’re a blogger with the chops to design and code beautiful pages from scratch…
That silence is the sound of both my arms remaining tightly pressed against my sides. And you know what? I know I’m not the only one sitting here looking like a penguin.
I think most of us don’t have the necessary code skills to create truly attractive pages without help. Or, even if we are multi-talented code geniuses, we just flat out don’t have time to code everything up from scratch.
That’s where page builder plugins come in.
They allow absolutely anyone to build beautiful pages with simple drag and drop functionality. Yes, that’s right…all you need to create gorgeous pages is the digital dexterity to click, hold, and drag.
If that sounds like something up your alley, join me as I dig into all the best WordPress page builders.
Whether you want to create a blog welcome page, a landing page, or just make all of your WordPress posts and pages look…better, you’ll find a premium or free plugin that can help you out.
And at the end of this post, I’ll give you all my picks for which builder is the best choice for your specific needs.
What to look for in a page builder
But first – there are a few key factors you’ll want to consider when picking a page builder:
Are you team back-end or team front-end?
I’m guessing some of you are asking:
“What the heck are back-end and front-end?”
They’re the two standard design interfaces page builders offer.
Basically, back-end deals in abstractions. You arrange generic boxes and rows and columns. These boxes represent beautiful elements, but you can’t see the final design while you’re editing. Back-end editing makes it easy to lay everything out, but you can never be sure how the final product will look until you hit the “Preview” button.
On the other hand, front-end deals with the real thing. The images, the number counters, the CTA buttons…you’re seeing them all exactly as your readers will. By the time you’re done with your edits, you already know exactly how your page will look.
Which is better?
It really depends on your preference. I prefer front-end editing because I loathe repeatedly hitting the “Preview” button, but I know plenty of people who prefer back-end editing for its easy organization.
Includes all the design elements you need for your pages
Elements, also known as “modules”, are the building blocks you use to construct your page. I’m confident enough in saying that all page builders include the basic elements such as text, image, video, and buttons.
But if you want specific elements like pricing tables or contact forms, you’ll need to be more discerning about which plugin you pick. Not every page builder includes these detailed elements and some lock them away behind premium add-ons.
User-friendly, non-glitchy interface
While many page builders will make some variation of the claim that you can “build a page in minutes, not months,” I guarantee you’ll be spending more than single digit “minutes” in your page builder’s interface.
So, you definitely want a page builder that’s easy to use and, most importantly, non-glitchy. Some page builders have a tendency to lag or glitch when creating complicated pages. If you’re building a lot of pages, this can get frustrating fast.
With those criteria explained, let’s get into some of the best free and premium page builder plugins…
1. Thrive Content Builder – Versatile + landing page templates
Thrive Content Builder is a powerful front-end builder that offers true “what you see is what you get” functionality. You’re not dragging around abstract “elements”. Instead, you build your pages exactly how your readers will see them.
The plugin works with any theme and lets you build beautiful posts and pages using an intelligent list of elements.
Thrive also includes a bevy of elements that marketing-oriented bloggers are sure to love. You can easily add social proof, call-to-action buttons, pricing tables, and much more.
If you’re focused on maximizing conversions or otherwise convincing readers to take specific actions, these elements will save you time and make your pages more effective.
And here’s the part marketers will love even more:
Thrive Content Builder comes with Thrive Landing Pages built in. That means you get over 150 landing page templates included with Thrive Content Builder.
Unlike many other plugins, these templates are actually designed to convert and themed together to make it easy to create conversion boosting sales funnels.
And best of all, Thrive Content Builder is constantly being updated. The feature set and template lists have only grown substantially since it was first released.
If you want to learn even more, you can check out Adam’s detailed Thrive Content Builder review.
Price: $67 for the standalone plugin or included with $19/month Thrive Membership.
2. Beaver Builder – Plugin and theme builder
Beaver Builder is a front-end editor that also gives you true what you see is what you get editing. When building your pages, you see the same view as your future readers.
Because you’re editing the front-end view, it’s easy to get pages looking exactly how you want them.
The included modules (or elements) let you add contact forms, CTA buttons, videos, and lots more.
You also get powerful controls for when these modules display. You can choose to only display each module for certain devices or user roles. All Beaver Builder pages are responsive by default, but this feature will help you build even better mobile-optimized pages.
And if you don’t want to start building from zero, Beaver Builder includes templates for both landing pages and content pages. One thing to note, though, is that the landing page templates are not themed like Thrive Content Builder.
And here’s something you should definitely consider:
Beaver Builder will work well with whatever theme you’re using, but it really shines when you use the included Beaver Builder Theme (only included with Pro and Agency plans). This theme utilizes a combination of the regular Beaver Builder plugin with the WordPress Customizer to give you full control over every aspect of your site.
Price: From $99. While there technically is a free version, you’ll be hamstrung unless you go with the pro version. The free version lacks essentials like contact forms, pricing tables, etc.
3. Elementor – Smooth interface with some interesting elements
Elementor stormed onto the page builder scene in mid-2016. Their claim to fame? One of the best free visual page builders, as well as detailed control over every single element on your pages.
And because you might not want to start from scratch every single time, Elementor also includes some beautiful pre-built page templates (even in the free version!).
Originally, there was just the free version. Now, Pojo has released Elementor Pro, which offers some truly unique functionality.
First off, it includes a visual form builder. That means you can create forms right in the visual page builder interface. You can either create regular contact forms or email opt-in forms that connect to external email marketing services using Zapier webhooks.
The Pro version also includes post grid widgets which make it easy to display both standard WordPress posts, as well as any custom post types that you may be using.
And it also includes this really interesting Embed Anywhere feature that lets you embed Elementor layouts anywhere in your site (sidebar, footer, and more!). You can do this either with shortcodes or widgets.
Overall, you can tell from Elementor’s feature list that they’re not trying to be just another page builder. Instead, Elementor is focused on offering features that truly set it apart from its competition.
Price: Very solid free version. Pro version starts at $49 for a single-site license.
4. Divi Builder – Powerful editing + A/B testing
Divi Builder is immensely powerful. It includes a bevy of options and modules that give you control over all aspects of your page.
Up until the recent release of Divi 3.0, my main criticism of Divi Builder was that it lacked front-end editing. Thankfully, that will soon no longer be the case.
Divi 3.0 brings a beautiful front-end editor that lets you design in the same interface your visitors see. And while this visual editor hasn’t been released for the Divi Builder plugin quite yet, it should be here within a few weeks. From my testing with the new Divi theme, the front-end editor is every bit as fluid as they promise.
With Divi Builder, you’ll get 46 content modules which allow you to add testimonials, portfolios, pricing tables, and lots more.
Thanks to the feature-rich back-end editor, it’s easy to tweak column and row spacing to get the perfect layout. And if you ever make a mistake, Divi Builder logs your actions so you can easily undo/redo.
Divi Builder also ships with more than 20 pre-made layouts, so you don’t always need to start building from scratch.
And every time you create a new design, you have the option of adding all or part of that design to the Divi Builder Library. This lets you quickly save and reuse designs – no need to duplicate past work! If you’re building lots of similar pages, you’ll save a ton of time with this feature.
One last thing – if you love split-testing, you’ll really enjoy this feature:
Divi Builder comes with Divi Leads built in. Divi Leads allows you to split test unlimited rows, columns, or modules to thoroughly optimize every aspect of your page. If boosting conversion rates puts a smile on your face, you’ll be in heaven with Divi Builder.
Price: Included in the $89/year or $249/one-time Elegant Themes packages.
5. Visual Composer – Affordable best of both worlds
Visual Composer is a behemoth in the WordPress page builder scene. The plugin’s 198,487 sales at Code Canyon are proof enough of that.
It’s included in so many premium themes and plugins that there’s a decent chance you’ve encountered it at some point, whether you knew it or not.
So why is Visual Composer so popular?
First, it includes both back-end and front-end editing to give you the best of both worlds. Jumping back and forth lets you take advantage of each format’s benefits. Unfortunately, this transition from back-end to front-end can be glitchy occasionally.
Visual Composer also ships with 40+ elements and 60+ templates. All the basics are included, but if you want to add more specific elements you’ll need to extend with one of Visual Composer’s 200+ add-ons.
And this is where Visual Composer really shines:
Its price. At $34, Visual Composer is one of the most affordable premium page builders on this list.
Price: From $34 for a single site.
6. Themify Builder – Animation and affordability
Themify Builder is another affordable option boasting both front-end and back-end editing.
You can get a high-level view with back-end editing and then go front-end when you want a live preview.
Like some other page builders on this list, Themify Builder ships with 40+ templates to get you started. Or, you can always create a page from scratch.
Similar to Beaver Builder, you’ve also got the option to improve mobile design by displaying/hiding modules depending on a user’s device.
One fun effect you can easily implement is animation. You can set any module to animate on mouse hover or scroll, which allows for attention-grabbing flyins and vibrations.
Unfortunately, much like Visual Composer, to get a library of modules/elements that rival the other builders on this list, you’ll need to extend the already premium plugin by purchasing an add-on pack. The add-on pack unlocks useful modules like pricing tables, contact forms, and counters.
Luckily, even with the add-on package, Themify Builder is still competitively priced.
Price: $39 for just the plugin. $59 for the plugin + add-ons bundle. Alternatively, the builder plugin is included with any of their themes.
7. MotoPress Page Builder – Affordable premium builder
MotoPress Page Builder is another competitively priced front-end page builder.
The tradeoff for this affordability is limited elements . You’ll have to go to paid add-ons for common elements like pricing tables, and contact forms.
But the base plugin does include all the foundational elements you need for any page. You’ll have access to buttons, grids, sliders, and all the other basics.
And if you use a MotoPress theme, the builder integrates nicely to help you completely customize your theme.
Unfortunately, MotoPress’ front-end editor is not as fluid as some of the plugins higher on this. In playing around with the plugin, I experienced some minor glitches when manipulating my pages.
But again, the plugin costs less than half of what most other plugins cost. And while it’s not perfectly fluid, it’s still entirely usable…as long as you have a bit of patience.
Price: $29 for the basic plugin.
8. SiteOrigin Page Builder – The totally free page builder
You know what price is tough to beat?
That’s the exact price tag on SiteOrigin Page Builder.
Zero, zilch, nada.
So what does such an exorbitant price get you?
Front-end and back-end editing. Theme independence. Undo/Redo. Styles for rows/widgets.
Instead of custom elements or modules like other page builders, you build pages with widgets.
Unfortunately, while SiteOrigin offers a free widgets bundle to give you some much-needed flexibility, you still won’t achieve the diversity of elements offered by premium page builders or Elementor.
With that being said, if you don’t need diversity and just want a free way to build pages, SiteOrigin Page Builder is certainly worth a look. Over one million active installs don’t lie!
Price: Free plugin with free add-on bundle.
Which page builder plugin is right for you?
I know, I know. I gave you a lot of options.
Unless you’re trying to get featured on a forthcoming “WordPress Hoarders” reality TV show, you don’t need seven separate page builders installed on your site.
So, which one of these page builders should you choose?
I’ll give you some common scenarios so you can pick the perfect plugin for your exact situation:
“I want the best combination of price and functionality”
I’m gonna give you a few options here…
Previously, I only recommended Thrive Content Builder because getting a fully functioning drag and drop page builder with 150 landing page templates thrown in for the same price is too good of a deal to pass up.
Add on the facts that your purchase includes one year of support and Thrive Themes is constantly improving the plugin, and it’s a no-brainer.
But now that Elementor has released a Pro version for $49, I think Elementor Pro is another solid contender for this category. It’s affordable with attractive unique features in the form of its live form editor, embed anywhere, and post grid functionality.
The main limitation of Elementor being that it doesn’t integrate with any email providers. However, you can use Zapier’s web hooks to work around this.
There’s one caveat to this section, though:
If you’re already an Elegant Themes subscriber, or interested in some of Elegant Themes’ powerful plugins like Monarch or Bloom, Divi Builder also offers great value.
“I’m concerned with the conversion rate of my pages”
If you’re marketing-oriented and trying to squeeze every last conversion out of your pages, you really only have two options.
If you’re willing to put in the time to take advantage of A/B testing, going with Divi Builder will give you the built-in tool you need to maximize the effect of every single element on your site.
Thrive Themes does have plans to add split-testing to Thrive Content Builder, but that feature has yet to be released.
In the meantime, you could use a third party tool for split testing such as Google Optimize (it’s free).
If, on the other hand, you’re more concerned with quickly creating high-converting sales funnels, you’ll want to go with Thrive Content Builder for the included themed templates. You won’t be able to personally A/B test these pages from inside the plugin, but they have been designed with conversions in mind.
“I want front-end and back-end editing”
If you want to be able to edit in both front-end and back-end views, that instantly eliminates some options. With those remaining, the clear winner for affordability is Visual Composer.
It’s broadly documented and includes enough add-ons to help you accomplish whatever you need.
If you’re willing to go a little higher on the budget, Divi Builder is also a powerful option.
“I want a free page builder”
This one’s easy. If free is your key criteria, you should go with the free version of Elementor.
In my opinion, Elementor’s free version can even go toe-to-toe with some of the less feature-rich premium page builders.
“I want a page builder/theme combination”
All these page builders will work with any theme. But if you want your page builder to specifically be integrated with your theme, here are your best options:
Choose Divi Builder for the most features, but at a recurring (or higher one-time) price.
Over to you
Now it’s time to pick a plugin and start building some awesome pages for your site.
No developer. No code. Just you and your creativity. And maybe some eye-catching templates to help get you started (depending on which plugin you go for).
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we might receive a commission if you make a purchase. Our opinions are our own and we only recommend plugins that we believe will genuinely help you.
The post 8 Great Page Builder Plugins For WordPress In 2017: Design Made Easy appeared first on Blogging Wizard.