WordPress builders VS Custom themes
Hello there! It’s Paul:)
We hear a lot from people around us that building a website is a piece of cake, because there are tons of builders that you can use and have your site ready in a few minutes. So the only thing that you should worry about is the content. Well… this does sound great and moreover this is indeed true! But.. yeah.. there is always a but here…:) Since we’re deeply specializing on WordPress platform and WordPress powers about 30% of sites across the globe, we decided to compare all pros and cons of WordPress builders.
So… Builders…. You might have already heard of some of them, just to name a few – Divi, Elementor, VisualComposer, etc. No mater how they are called, they all work the same way. You create a page, create sections, then you create rows in sections and then you add components into rows (or widgets or modules.)
So components are ready-made blocks with certain logic, i.e it can be a WYSIWYG editor, it can be a carousel or a slide-show, an accordion for FAQ section, image module, form module, etc
a) You don’t need a developer to create your site.
You can just grab one of WordPress themes that supports builder and use builder to create each page of your site. Frontend should look fine given that the theme you chose is optimized for the selected builder
b) Some customization tools are available.
Builders allow you to adjust basic styles in components of your site. Fonts, font sizes, background colors, margins, paddings. Even more advanced styling is available through custom CSS section.
All that does give you a nice set of tools to launch your website, especially when you’re low on a budget and you simply can’t invest money into building a custom website. You can launch your website without developer’s help
Now the scary part:)
a) Website Performance issues
Builders are designed to serve as a universal solution for each website. This makes the actual code of the website complicated and not optimized. Thus browsers take extra time to read it and render your page. Ideally it should take your site less than 3sec to load a page for user to give him the best user experience. Unless your page is super easy you won’t be able to hit this with builders. You will need to build a custom theme to achieve the best load speed.
b) Not Flexible
Builders work great as long as your stick to the “templated” behavior. Meaning you can use all those ready-made components that have certain structure, but if there are no components for the structure you need – your hands are tight. You will need to create a custom component and to do that you’ll need to hire a developer. That new component won’t be easy manageable as it’s not a core component of the builder. You will need to deal with the code each time you need to tweak that component.
Problems with custom integrations
Let’s say you want to add a custom functionality to the site. Maybe install a new module for slide-show or events calendar… There is a hight chance you’ll run into issues integrating that part to your site as the custom code will be conflicting with the builder code and your theme. So you’ll either need to “hack” the code of builder, theme, plugin you’re trying to use or give up the idea:)
Finally, if you have managed to add that custom piece of functionality on your site, there is a high chance it will get broken after builder gets updated or your theme. So you might want to constantly have a developer on a speed dial to keep things fixed all the time.
The “battles” of developer with builder based websites trying to customize it are very time consuming. So in the long run you might end up paying more for a builder based website than for a custom website.
To conclude, a builder-based website is a good start for your business, but the more your business grows the more it demands from your website. You’ll most likely rebuild your website and escape from a builder solution later down the road due to the fact that builder won’t meet your needs.
Have a nice day everyone!