If you’re doing data management or some other type of complex process in a CMS like WordPress, you need a web developer. If you want your site to look completely unlike any other site out there, you need a web developer. But what about managing content—perhaps creating pages or blog posts? Do you need a developer for that?
This is where page builders and block editors come into play, such as Gutenberg, Elementor, Divi and Beaver Builder (to name a few). A page builder, also known as a drag-and-drop theme builder, lets you easily structure and design content within your site.
Before page builders, which started emerging around 2014, pretty much all you could do in terms of building pages was adding text in WordPress’s “Classic Editor.” If you wanted a visually stunning website, you needed a developer to write code.
That all changed with page builders. One of the most popular type of page builders is known as the block editor. The core idea of the block editor is that every piece of content within the post or page—copy, photo, headline, quote, video, form—is a “block,” with its own properties, features, and abilities. You build a page block by block, with a live preview so you can always make sure it looks good as it grows. You no longer need to know code to adapt your website to your needs. Page builders allow you to create landing pages, add headers, adjust layouts, insert widgets—all without entering a single line of code.
These page builders are pretty easy for non-developers to use. You can get yourself up and running by watching a few YouTube videos along with some trial and error. But a word of warning: if you run into problems—and you certainly will, at least in the early going—you’re going to need some expert help.
With their ease of use, page builders are a great solution for small businesses. For example, you can set up an online store without any technical know-how.
However, a proviso: The solutions they provide are pretty cookie-cutter so your site may end up looking like a lot of other sites, meaning you aren’t providing a unique or memorable experience to site visitors.
Once you master your page builder, it’s actually quite fun to use—which can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing—no need to pay a web developer! A curse—it’s too easy to over-build or go down rabbit trails. This makes for unattractive sites—and slow sites, which can drag down your SEO.
An experienced developer is going to create a page that is mean, lean and optimized—and customized specifically for your business.
It’s best to be honest without with yourself. How technical are you?
If you don’t really know what you’re doing, a page builder just helps you screw up more spectacularly. And then, when you decide to stop using the page builder and go in a different direction, you’re content is left stranded in scrambled code specific to your page builder that someone—an expensive web developer—must clean up.