How to quickly build client websites with a WordPress page builder
Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from our friends at Beaver Builder. Looking for more tools and resources to manage your web design & development business? Join GoDaddy Pro for free.
Web developers often scoff when they hear the words “page builder,” because they’re used to coding their own customizations on top of WordPress sites.
However, page building tools are now full-fledged solutions for creating free websites, and they’re getting easier for beginners to use than ever before.
If you’re proficient with a specific tool and know when to pull it out of the toolbox, you can build entire websites in a matter of hours.
Finding the right WordPress page builder is key
WordPress has plenty of great page builder options to choose from, and we’ve posted before about how to use Beaver Builder to create your own great-looking site.
In this article, we’re going to talk about why you should consider using page builders for client websites, with examples from Beaver Builder. Then we’ll list five ways that WordPress page builders can make your work much easier. Finally, we’ll discuss how the Beaver Builder plugin and GoDaddy can help.
Let’s dig in!
Page builder plugins compared to the WordPress Block Editor (Gutenberg)
WordPress took a huge leap at the start of 2019 by integrating the new Block editor into the core. This editor was called Gutenberg during its development, and it still tends to go by that name.
The Block Editor is WordPress’ attempt to enhance the User Experience (UX) with WordPress by offering a more visually based drag-and-drop editor.
Related: Why you should use the new WordPress Gutenberg editor
For page builder users, the Block Editor should feel somewhat familiar. It uses a system based on rows and columns, where you can place “blocks” with specific functions and then edit their content and configuration.
This screenshot shows a Cover block, which lets you add a background image and invites you to add a title:
However, the WordPress Block Editor – while certainly powerful – is not yet as polished as most existing WordPress page builders.
After all, page builders have had years to improve and polish the experience they offer, whereas the Block Editor is still new to the field. This means if efficiency and a wealth of features are what you’re after, page builder plugins are still the way to go.
Related: WordPress page builders – 5 alternatives to Gutenberg
Page builders help with quick project turnaround
If your work involves building websites, every project you deliver should be of the highest quality possible. You also need to complete each project in a reasonable timeframe to maximize your earning potential.
This becomes even more important if you’re a one-person team, because you can’t delegate work or search for new clients while you’re developing websites.
Out of the box, WordPress already provides functionality to help cut down your site development time. You don’t need to create your own systems to manage website functionality such as blog organization, user registrations, and login functionality.
However, it pays to optimize the content layout system with the right page builder plugin, because then you can create a full website in a matter of hours or days.
Let’s say a client wants a simple website for their business, including basic information, galleries, contact forms, and maybe a map to show their location.
Most WordPress page builders include these features out of the box as modules or blocks. This means you can simply add them to the layout and configure them.
This screenshot shows a portion of the content panel in Beaver Builder:
You can drag in rows and columns, then drag content modules or even WordPress widgets into the rows and columns, then edit the content directly in the layout.
Beaver Builder is a front-end editor, meaning what you see when you’re editing is pretty much what you’ll see when you view the published page.
Page builders help with complex projects
Page builders can also get the job done when it comes to more complex projects, such as online stores. You just need to make sure whichever tool you choose is compatible with your WordPress eCommerce plugin.
Related: 5 of the best WordPress eCommerce plugins
WooCommerce is a popular e-commerce solution, so finding a page builder that’s integrated with it shouldn’t present a problem.
Once again, using Beaver Builder as an example, there’s a special WooCommerce module that lets you add certain aspects of your products to your regular pages.
For example, you can display a row of the most popular products on your home page. With the Beaver Themer add-on product, you can create custom layouts for the individual product pages and product group (archive) pages, as shown in this screenshot:
Beaver Builder even has a Responsive Editing Mode, so you can check how the site appears on large, medium, and small devices, and tweak settings specifically for one of those device sizes, without ever leaving the editor.
Compare this to the alternative, in which you code each feature and create manual customizations, then test the result on all device sizes.
This is where the real power of page builders becomes evident. By enabling you to cut down on the time you spend coding and testing simple functionality, you can focus on the bigger picture and deliver better work faster.
5 ways WordPress page builders can help you deliver client work faster
Let’s talk about specific functionality with page builders that can make your life easier, starting with layouts.
1. Access to pre-built layouts
Many modern websites have similar layouts. This isn’t a bad thing, as some layout styles are applicable to multiple types of sites. Take home pages, for example – many have big hero sections with information such as what services are offered and contact data.
Most page builders capitalize on these common layouts by offering you access to prebuilt page layouts or templates. They’re great to use as a foundation. Then you can customize or switch up any elements you want.
This screenshot shows several different layout templates in Beaver Builder:
Templates eliminate one full step of the page building process, namely placing all the key elements into a row and column layout.
You can also use prebuilt layouts for simple prototyping and sending potential ideas to clients to speed up the process of understanding the design and content they want.
Related: Creating website prototypes to avoid scope creep
Of course, this only works if the page builder you use includes a broad enough selection of layout templates to use. The more options you have, the easier it becomes finding one you can use as a foundation.
2. Drag-and-drop functionality makes development happen faster
Without a page builder, you have to write code for each website element that you add.
WordPress makes the development process one step easier because its platform gives you access to plugins and the Block Editor, which provide some built-in functionality.
However, WordPress is still lacking the number one element that makes page builders so user-friendly: drag-and-drop functionality.
As we’ve mentioned, page builders enable you to use blocks and elements to add the features you want within rows and columns. However, you might want to try various layouts and configurations, which means moving elements around.
Drag-and-drop functionality enables you to move those elements in your layout by selecting and moving them with your mouse. You can try various layout combinations in a matter of minutes, letting you find the perfect one faster.
While the WordPress Block Editor does include basic drag-and-drop functionality, WordPress’ grid system is still not a match for modern page builders, so they still take the win in this case.
3. Common features are included as out-of-the-box modules
Imagine you want to add elements such as a simple contact form, product box, and Call To Action (CTA) to your website.
Without a page builder, you have to install a plugin or code new elements for the Block Editor. It’s not complicated, but the entire process is still a hassle, and the more elements you want to add the more tools you’ll need to install.
WordPress page builders, on the other hand, often include dozens of modules out of the box.
In our experience, they all tend to include common modules, such as a contact form, product box, and CTA. They often include additional modules that let you create objects such as an audio or video player, a button, or an image.
Here’s a screenshot of the Basic tab of Beaver Builder’s standard module group, showing the most frequently used modules out of its entire set, including an HTML module that lets you enter code that’s inserted directly in the HTML output:
By installing a single tool – the page builder – you get access to a large amount of functionality that might take a dozen other plugins to emulate. And you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues because they all work together in the same plugin.
The broader the range of elements you have access to, the more types of websites you’ll be able to build.
As page builders have gained more and more functionality, the range of projects they can handle has become much broader.
Besides WooCommerce, the Beaver Themer add-on currently has integrations that let you style pages for Easy Digital Downloads and The Events Calendar, plus it works with Advanced Custom Fields and Pods to style custom post types and display custom fields.
4. Easily teach clients how to maintain their websites
One of the hardest parts of WordPress web development is that your work isn’t finished once you turn a website over to your client. In most cases, there’s a lot of back and forth as they learn the ropes of how to run their site on their own.
Related: How to perform a website launch & handover
You want your customers to give you glowing reviews and recommendations, so it’s in your best interest to keep them happy, but the more time you have to spend holding the client’s hand, the less time you have to work on new projects.
If your client can navigate through the web and solve basic technical issues, they’re probably able to use a modern page builder. This means that your clients might not need to turn to you as often to solve problems down the road.
If they do run into problems, you can always refer them to the specific documentation provided with that tool.
Consider using the documentation for your page builder to create a simple guide that covers the basics of what each client needs to know when you hand a website over.
Related: How to train your client after a website launch
For example, if you’re working with someone who’ll only want to add new images now and then, or publish posts on a regular basis, you can include some screenshots to cover the process, such as the following screenshot, which could be included in instructions for how to add an image:
Admittedly, this can be a lot of extra work if you’re a solo WordPress developer. However, it’s something a lot of clients will appreciate, which is sure to pay dividends down the road.
It’s also a good idea to check the documentation for the page builder you choose to see whether it would be useful for your clients, and how much you can repurpose, if you decided to create your own guides.
5. It’s much easier to visualize your progress
Here’s a very approximate process of developing a WordPress website without a page builder:
- Fiddle around with the editor, theme, and plugins
- Check the changes you’ve made on the front end to make sure everything looks as intended, in all browsers and on all device sizes
- Repeat the process.
This can go on ad infinitum as you try to get every single aspect of the project you’re working on just right.
Page builders, on the other hand, rely on a much more visual approach to web development. In a lot of cases, they enable you to see exactly how the page you’re working on will look once it’s live, while you’re still tinkering with it.
We mentioned that Beaver Builder is a front-end editor, so what you see during development is pretty much what you get after you publish the page.
This screenshot shows three Beaver Builder Number Counter modules with a Text Editor module under each one. The toolbar for each module lets you move the module, edit it, duplicate it, change column settings, or delete it:
For a web developer, a front-end editor means you can cut down massively on the back and forth between creating and checking the layout. Instead, you can simply focus on adding the elements you need, customizing them, and arranging everything so it’s just perfect.
With Beaver Builder’s Responsive Editing Mode, you never have to leave the editor to check how the site appears on large, medium, and small devices. You can tweak the settings for specific device sizes, or even change the width breakpoint that defines large, medium, and small devices.
With a visual page builder, you can spot mistakes quickly if something looks out of place, making it less likely that you’ll run into situations where you deliver projects with glaring mistakes in browsers or device sizes you forgot to check.
How GoDaddy and Beaver Builder make WordPress development easier
GoDaddy offers best-in-class hosting for WordPress websites. This provides thousands of web designers & developers with rock-solid server space for their client projects, plus other benefits.
In order to get you up and running, there are both Quick-Start and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) wizards to help tackle the biggest time killers when creating a site.
There’s also a simplified, GoDaddy-specific version of the Beaver Builder plugin included, so you can try out the basic features of Beaver Builder.
This means you not only get GoDaddy’s dependable infrastructure and reliable hosting, you also can also harness the power of Beaver Builder to create your layouts and simplify your WordPress development.
If you want more of the features described in this article, you can upgrade to a premium version of Beaver Builder or even add Beaver Themer to customize the parts of your page normally controlled by your WordPress theme.
Having practically everything you need under one roof is always going to be a timesaver. In our opinion, using GoDaddy and Beaver Builder together is the ultimate pairing of time-saving tools.
WordPress page builders fill a specific role
Many people look at page builders as hammers, with every project being a nail. But WordPress page builders fulfill a very specific role, which is to help you build websites with relatively basic functionality faster than you could otherwise.
Page builders may be simple but they’re also highly sophisticated. Let’s break down some of the ways they can make your work easier:
- You get access to prebuilt layouts.
- Drag-and-drop functionality makes development go much faster.
- Most common features are included as modules out of the box.
- It’s easier to teach clients how to maintain their websites.
- It’s much easier to visualize your progress.
Looking for more tools to help you quickly build and manage your client websites? Join GoDaddy Pro for free.
Image by: Startup Stock Photos
The GoDaddy product information in this article is outdated and currently under review for accuracy. For the latest up-to-date product information please visit godaddy.com