Jeff over at WPTavern has just published this post “WordPress Visual Page and Website Builders Make It Easy To Create Ugly Sites“. It’s a really interesting point Jeff makes.
The same argument was made when desktop publishing arrived in full force in the 1980’s. Back then typesetters argued that the flexibility and power of desktop publishing would cause a massive reduction in the quality of printed output. Whether they were right or wrong the fact is that there aren’t too many typesetters left in the world!
Could it be that many small web agencies are the modern day typesetters?
Update: I received an email last night saying I was attacking small web agencies. That’s certainly not my intention. This article is trying to highlight where I believe the technology is heading. Hopefully if agencies understand the direction of travel of the technology then they will be able to adapt their businesses accordingly. But I would love to hear you view if you run a web agency :)
The fact is that If you want to create beautiful layouts the WordPress Editor remains a weak link.
Page Builders let you construct highly complex page layouts without having to know any code.
And once you’ve used a Page Builder you’ll never want to go back.
Over the past 6 months a number of really great Page Builders have been released, including VelocityPage, Divi from Elegant Themes and our own PageBuilder for WooThemes Canvas.
Page Builder for Canvas demo
Not only are Page Builders great, but they are also going to have a profound effect on WordPress. Here’s my view on the impact they may have.
1) It will be much much easier to build WordPress websites. Agency
costs will fall.
Recently we’ve built a number of customer websites using a Page Builder. It reduced build time by at least 50%. As the market becomes educated then costs charged to customers will have to fall. Companies that cling to old charging models will suffer.
2) Support costs will have to fall as well
It you’re an agency that charges for updates and changes you’ll need to rethink your revenue model. If creating a cool WordPress website becomes as easy as updating a Microsoft Word document – which it will – customers won’t pay the old rates!
3) Themes will radically change
When you’ve got a Page Builder you don’t need the bloat the currently gets shoved into Themes. Themes will be able to go back to what they should be doing i.e just the design. All the options that theme developers currently cram into their themes will become redundant.
4) No more need for too many custom post type plugins
We see so many sites that are burdened with loads of custom post types. In most cases the custom post types aren’t adding any semantically meaningful content to the website. They are just being used for presentation. Page Builders will make most of these redundant and give end users greater flexibility to make changes.
5) Page Builders will make it into the WordPress Core!
Page Builders are going to be huge. Users are going to love them. At some point in the future I’m sure that WordPress will have front end Page Editing and Page Layout functionality.
That’s my view on how Page Builders are going to change WordPress. I’d love to hear yours.