Top WordPress Content Builders
Having an online presence is the most effective way for you to build your brand. Regardless of whether or not it’s a personal or business site, constructing a recognizable face on the internet is the fastest way to gather friends and influence people. You don’t have to be a celebrity to have followers or a fan base; all you need is a kickass website to showcase engaging and original content.
Thanks to WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) page editors, you can make one all on your own even if you know diddly squat about coding, HTML5, and all the rest.
The best WYSIWYG page editors plug straight into your WordPress theme. For those who are really new to this, you need to know that WordPress is free to use, and if you don’t want to pay for web hosting, it will even let you publish your website on theirs for free. It comes with all the basic tools for making a website, but of course it has limited features, so if you want your website to pop, you will have to invest in more advanced page building tools. (And you really ought to invest in your own web hosting service and domain name.) How to make a website or how to start your blog using WordPress and helpful easy builder follow those tutorial.
Below are some of the top WordPress content builders out there that anyone can learn to use.
If you’re after uber-simplicity, you should check out ElegantBuilder. It has a super user-friendly graphical interface, that wouldn’t deign to intimidate even the most clueless of amateurs. When creating your first layout, just drag and drop your columns into the layout editor and then choose from one of the 17 customizable elements (or modules, if you wish) to tweak your theme to perfection.
But it’s not all roses. To keep ElegantBuilder so easy to use, there are some important features and functionalities that aren’t available. There are no social media sharing icons for one thing, although there is a workaround to this problem using widgets.
Themify works both as an independent page builder, and as a WordPress plugin. So if you want to test a different CMS, this is a good builder to try out. It’s easy to use and comes with 18 different standard elements that you can add to each page.
Like ElegantBuilder, it doesn’t include social media buttons, but you can add sliders, maps, and widgets. Also like ElegantBuilder, it has a user-friendly interface, and making a customized layout takes only a short time. However, you cannot create templates and there is no import/export option, so you have to build each page from scratch. You can duplicate a page but any changes to the original page won’t be reflected in the duplicates.
As one would expect, layouts for this builder are completely responsive, and will render well on any device. A very useful web builder for any designer who values flexibility.
The keyword when examining this web builder is usability. MotoPress Content Editor is a true drag and drop system, as it completely eliminates the need for using adjusting code. Here’s a short list of some of its more outstanding functions:
It has a handy preview feature so you can see how your page will actually look on the backend
Compatible with all WordPress widgets
It comes with premium support as well
MotoPress’ user interface is a bit different; in the layout editor your working area is in the center and the 25 available elements for use are displayed in the column on the left. These include social media sharing buttons, and the usual images, video, and sliders, plus custom menus. To customize elements, you click on it and the options appear on the right.
In general, creating a page in Motopress takes a bit longer than most other WYSIWYG drag and drop plugins, but it is still very easy to use.
Visual Composer is a page builder plugin from CodeCanyon which came out in 2011. It gives you a choice of more than 40 content elements to use. Examples include:
Social media sharing icons
And easy translation for mobile devices
Visual Composer makes it really easy to create outstanding looking layouts with minimal effort. The layout menu allows you to play around with the look of page; simply drag and drop rows and columns that you want to add anywhere on the page. Once you get the look you want, you can save the layout as a template, so you can easily duplicate it for other sections on your website for a consistently branded aesthetic.
Visual Composer also has visual query builder. In case you’re unfamiliar, a query builder is just a set of instructions which tells your program to retrieve media from a given location and display it on your website according to your specifications.
With WYSIWYG the interface is all visual, so you’ll be able to customize your layout quickly, and with only the smallest bit of panic-stricken hair pulling. Just kidding (mostly).
Visual Composer is a good mix of ease and function. Click the link above for a deeper look.
And then we come to PageLines DMS. Unlike the first four plugins which are easy to understand from the get go, PageLines DMS is a bit alarming. You will need to do some to-ing and fro-ing before you get the hang of it. But once you do, the work goes much smoother.
The major problem with PageLines DMS is that it tried to be all things to everyone. It falls a bit short in the ease of use area, because while it is possible to build a page without using code, customizing some of the essential elements still requires some coding knowledge.
For the development educated, however, the plugin provides a wide range of features that would do any halfway decent web designer proud. The drag-and-drop experience can be a bit unwieldy because the pages in question will change sizes depending on the item being dropped. This can displace the other elements you’ve already set on the page.
But if you don’t plan to monkey around with the elements and are happy to just add them to an existing layout, this can be a fantastic way to build templates in WordPress.
Each of these plugins have one thing in common: they are easy to use for someone who is not code-savvy and have little ambition to set the world on fire. The added features in the more complicated plugins that may need some code intervention are there but need not be used, so that is not a drawback.
Some are easier to use than the others, and that can work for a no-frills website project. In other words, the plugin that will win the award will depend on the needs of the user.
If you are having a hard time deciding, don’t sweat it. These plugins have a free trial period so that you can check them out without committing any of your hard-earned cash. When you find the one that works for you, take the plunge. Enjoy!
Zack Rutherford is a freelance copywriter. He contributes web content and especially snappy articles to TemplateMonster.com. Combat sports enthusiast and poetic soul, Zack endeavors to create beauty through syntax, sentence structure, and the liberal use of hyperbole. Follow him on Twitter (@zack_rutherford) or visit his website (Zackrex.com) to read all of his innermost thoughts and unfounded opinions.