Page Builder is a fantastic drag and drop page builder from SiteOrigin that allows you to create beautiful posts and pages easily. It taps into the WordPress widget system to help you organise your content on pages better.
Let’s look closer at how you can use Page Builder to design unique pages on your website.
Using Page Builder
Once you have activated the plugin, you will see a new Page Builder option in the post editor. Many page builders force you to use the WordPress visual editor in order to use them; however Page Builder works even if it is disabled. This is something which I fully endorse as I always disable the visual editor while writing articles.
Page Builder first appears with one row and column. When you add additional rows, you can specify the number of columns you want that row to have.
Clicking on the + symbol brings up an option to add a widget. Default WordPress widgets will be displayed here along with any additional widgets you have added yourself via your theme, or via plugins.
Twelve additional plugins are included with Page Builder. This includes widgets such as a testimonial widget, video player, button, gallery, and price box.
Just like you would with your sidebar, you can configure a widget before it is inserted into a row.
Widgets can be moved to different rows and columns at any time. All you have to do is click on the widget and drag it to its new location. Rows can also be moved around using drag and drop.
The best thing about Page Builder is its simplicity. You can create a layout in seconds.
The screenshot below shows you a simple layout I created in less than a minute. All I did was drag some widgets to the layout area and linked to an image and video. Obviously, I could have designed something a little better if I had spent some more time with it.
Page Builder Settings
Page Builder has one settings page. The general settings area lets you enable Page Builder for posts and pages. Sadly, there is no option available for custom post types.
The copy content and animation features can be disabled too. There is also an option to remove the additional twelve widgets that comes packaged with the plugin.
Plugin Builder is responsive. From the display settings area you can define the width of your mobile layout and its borders. Inline CSS can also be disabled.
My Thoughts on Page Builder
Page Builder is free to download from WordPress.org. It is very easy to use and only takes a minute to add content in columns.
Its simplicity is its greatest strength and greatest weakness. It lacks the features that premium visual page builders offer. It also lacks the style. The plugin does not style any of the widgets that are added to your content area. They are just displayed as they are out of the box.
There are no styling options either. Most page builders allow you to customize the style through a visual editor. At the very least they offer a CSS box for you to add your own custom styling. Unfortunately, the only way to style Page Builder is to modify the CSS files contained in the core plugin files. This is hardly a practical solution as core files are overwritten every time the plugin is updated.
Last but not least, I found some of the packaged widgets a little too basic. For example, the image widget requires you to specify the image URL. It does not allow you to upload an image or choose an image from your media library. Premium page builders off many more practical and stylish modules.
However, basic widgets are not really a deal breaker. After all, Page Builder allows you to add any widget to your layout. That means that you can add any WordPress widget you like. You are not restricted to what they offer.
It is important to put my criticisms above into context. Page Builder is a free plugin, whereas most drag and drop page builders and visual editors cost at least $30. Therefore, it is a little unfair to compare it to premium alternatives. If anything, SiteOrigin should be commended for releasing such a great plugin free of charge.
Despite its imperfections, I think Page Builder is a fantastic little plugin. If you just need a simple way of dividing content into columns, I recommend you check it out. If you are looking for something more professional, I would choose a premium alternative such as Visual Composer.
I encourage you to try Page Builder yourself 🙂