5 ways Page Builders are going to radically shake up WordPress!

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.


6 responses to “5 ways Page Builders are going to radically shake up WordPress!”

  1. Robert Schopen Avatar
    Robert Schopen

    Interesting piece Jamie, but I think you need to distinguish between the tools and the skills. Typewriters didn’t make everyone Ernest Hemingway or video cameras Alfred Hitchcock. Likewise DTP didn’t make us all designers – though some tried!
    I think there are three classes of people who attempt web design – interested amateurs (like myself), graphic designers and web developers. In my experience – as someone who employs designers and developers – although there are rare exceptions, their skills are:
    Amateurs – can’t code or design
    Graphic Designers – great at design but lousy at learning code
    Developers – great at coding but lousy at design
    So although it might be easier for amateurs such as me to do a half decent job, we still won’t have the eye or skills for design – but as you experiment with Dave the Designer showed the group to benefit the most are skilled designers who struggle to code but know what a website should look and work like.
    This might put pressure on smaller web design shops by making it easier for more solo or small design outfits to add web design to their skill set.
    Point 4 is interesting for Woothemes of course as I though that was the way they were travelling as they take functions out of themes and replace them with custom post types – not the widgets which power page builders.

    1. Jamie Marsland Avatar
      Jamie Marsland

      Hi Robert,

      Really like your analysis – I also think that Page Builders will really help ‘Amateurs’ have much more flexibility within the pages on their websites to make changes once the overall design of the website has been done.


  2. I think this only drives the price substantially lower in some instances. The truth is, page builder or not, most people have 0 idea what makes a good website that converts. If you have proven skills in this area, referral business will be willing to pay the premium for great design work. Bargain basement people will not, that is fine, it is less competition in the long run. People will be clicking off their sites in 2 seconds and coming to your client’s site (maybe?)

    1. Jamie Marsland Avatar
      Jamie Marsland

      Hi Rober,

      Yep the market is more nuanced than my short blog describes 🙂

      But the overall direction of WordPress is that it is commoditizing certain bits of web development.

      We see this is ecommerce at the moment with WooCommerce. A few years ago building a top notch ecommerce website was out of reach for many small businesses. Now we are building them in 1 day. It will be really interesting to see where the technology is in 3 years time.


  3. hi – you mention custom post types. can this be used to create a custom post style? can it be used to pull in blog posts?

  4. Jamie Marsland Avatar
    Jamie Marsland

    HI bb,

    Yep take a look at this website. Shows how you can bring posts in to different areas, using different categories 🙂