Given WordPress’s popularity, it’s little wonder that people flock to the platform in their droves to satisfy their website needs. No longer simply a blogging tool, hundreds of thousands of fully functional websites are being created daily to serve their customers.
Building a WordPress site with all the bells and whistles that readers come to expect, is still a task many people find difficult. Instead of creating their sites themselves, most users and businesses outsource their site build to more qualified developers.
The landscape however has been changing for a while. Page Builders have introduced the average WordPress user to a less complicated, more intuitive way of getting their sites to look and function well. And there’s one in particular that’s getting a huge amount of attention.
Page Builders Are Increasing In Popularity
First let’s take a moment to explore why WordPress Page Builders are becoming so popular.
Probably one of the main benefits of these plugins, is that they can be used pretty much straight out of the box. A simple upload of a zip file into your WordPress dashboard and you suddenly have a whole lot of functionality at your fingertips.
More exciting however, is the fact you don’t need to know how to code to use them. Many Page Builder plugins include pre-built modules that can be inserted into a page using a drag and drop interface. This almost eliminates the need to hire a professional to organize the layout of your pages – the features are right there.
With a little practice, even users with a basic understanding of WordPress, can create beautiful page layouts with ease. For visual designers this is a game-changer in terms of time and efficiency, while bloggers and small businesses don’t necessarily need to spend extra on outside help.
The question remains, how do you choose which Page Builder is the right one for you?
One that stands out almost immediately is Beaver Builder. Still fairly new to the marketplace, it’s a feature rich option that (I personally believe) out-rivals the competition. I’ve used it on many of my own client projects and it’s the Page Builder I turn to repeatedly. Today I want to introduce Beaver Builder to you, with the aim of making your workflow that little bit easier.
Beaver Builder Review: Overview & Features
Beaver Builder for WordPress is a complete website builder that incorporates front-end live editing into the mix. Via its intuitive drag and drop interface, users can design, develop and build visually stunning pages, right there in real time.
The beauty of a system like this is that it almost eradicates the need to keep switching between the default WordPress editor and the preview screen. There’s no need for it, since you can see what’s happening on your page as you make the changes.
User-friendliness is also at the heart of this plugin. Clearly labelled and simple in its design, the interface is easy to get to grips with for the first-time user. With no code to wrestle with, it removes a huge obstacle that prevents and frustrates many users from creating the kind of look they want.
Because Beaver Builder was created by experienced designers and developers, it’s also remarkably free of bloatware. This is different to many of the Page Builder Plugins on the market, which often come bundled with a number of features most people simply won’t need.
Instead Beaver Builder prides itself on its clean and optimized code and the use of WordPress best practices. It’s light and uses far fewer resources than you might expect, making the whole experience for both developers and end users that much more appealing.
Further features include:
- Responsive design, enabling your content to adapt to multiple screen sizes
- Unlimited site licenses mean you can use the plugin on as many sites as you wish, without being penalised by expensive subscriptions
- Beaver Builder is translation ready, especially useful for website that are multilingual
- WooCommerce support enables it to work with eCommerce stores
- Multi Site capable and developer friendly, supporting pages, posts and post types
- Re-use your templates by saving them as a custom template for use on another page or site
- Import and export features enable you to quickly set up your favorite layouts on multiple websites
There are also a number of pre-built Beaver Builder templates, ready to use straight out of the box. This cuts down on developing time for small sites that require basic structures and customization.
What Makes Beaver Builder Different?
One of the great selling points of Beaver Builder is it’s ability to be used in conjunction with almost any WordPress theme on the market. Regardless of where your theme is from, Beaver Builder should work seamlessly alongside adding a swathe of functionality to your existing website.
Similarly because Beaver Builder has so much functionality pre-built into handy modules, it can cut development time for the average website by hours. This not only makes you much more productive, but means you can deliver your work ahead of schedule, with plenty of time for testing, troubleshooting, or to simply move on to the next project.
For non developers and bloggers, it provides a handy, time-saving way to get to the heart of creating beautiful content. If you ever decide to stop using the plugin, your content is automatically ported back into the default WordPress editor. There’s no messy shortcodes to delete and no content to reformat.
Installing & Using Beaver Builder
To begin using the Beaver Builder plugin, head to WP Beaver Builder, choose your purchase option and the download the .zip file provided after purchase. Head to your WordPress website and navigate to Appearance → Plugins → Add New and browse your files for the plugin.
Activate the plugin and be sure to enter your activation code in order to enable remote updates.
For this example I’m going to show you how to create a portfolio page, something many designers will find useful for showcasing their work. First go to Pages → Add New and give your page a title. Save the page as a draft.
Now select the ‘Page Builder’ tab. This will take you to the front-end view of your page. As you can see, you view the page as the end user would. The only difference is you’re editing on the fly.
To create a portfolio we’re going to use one of the pre-made content templates available as standard with the package. You can just as easily choose a blank template if you’d rather build it up yourself, however I find this is probably the easiest way to get started. You can always delete certain elements as you see fit.
You’ll notice that there’s a right-hand toolbar on the edit screen. This is where you’ll select different elements or ‘modules’ to drag onto your page as and when you need them.
- Image modules
And many other modules you’d normally need to code yourself.
You can further customise your layout by changing the color styles of each module, altering the padding and margins and by using different fonts. The only real block here to how much you can do, is the limit of your imagination.
Once you’re finished with your design, you’re happy with how it looks and you’ve personalized it with your own content, you can click publish. You’ll be prompted to make sure you’re happy to make those changes before being directed to the final version of your page.
The Beaver Builder Theme
Beaver Builder isn’t simply a Page Builder, something that isn’t obvious straight away. Users who sign up for Pro and Agency accounts also get access to the Beaver Builder theme. The theme works as a Framework almost, packed with features to enhance the design experience.
Some of these features include pre-built styles and settings. These can be selected and changed from within the WordPress customizer which allows you to live edit before committing to your changes. What’s great about this is that the presets automatically update the theme settings to create multiple styles.
The Beaver Builder theme similarly uses Bootstrap as its CSS base, creating a simple and clean canvas that can be used straight out of the box, or further built upon. Needless to say it’s perfectly compatible with the Beaver Builder plugin, enabling you to combine presets and layouts to create a site in minutes.
Pricing & Documentation
The Beaver Builder team use an interesting pricing structure that sets them apart a little from the competition. Instead of having to pay for a subscription, what you’re actually paying for is a one-off fee for the plugin (and theme if you choose a higher package) and then updates and support.
Purchasing allows you to use Beaver Builder for an unlimited period of time. You can use it on as many sites as you like, for as long as you like. The catch is for continued support and updates, all licenses must be renewed.
Licenses are separated into three categories; Standard, Pro and Agency. The Standard license includes the Beaver Builder plugin and pre-built templates, however it doesn’t include the Beaver Builder Theme and it’s not multi-site capable. For $99 it’s the cheapest of all three licenses.
The Pro license will set you back $199 and includes full features along with the theme. The only thing that doesn’t come with it is the ability for white labeling. Finally the Agency license costs $399 and is a feature rich package, with access to everything, including white labeling.
Although you’ll need to renew your license for continued support and updates, Beaver Builder does offer renewal discounts to sweeten the deal. To see these discounts, login to your account area for further details.
The documentation I’ve seen for Beaver Builder is probably the most extensive and detailed I’ve seen for a long time. The knowledge base is packed full of detail on everything from how to get started, to help for plugin and theme developers. Most articles are accompanied by screenshots highlighting relevant steps too, which is ideal if you’re a visual learner.
The Beaver Builder community is pretty active too. The official support forums are often buzzing with questions and prompt responses. The staff are always incredibly supportive, active and go out of their way to ensure you get the best possible experience. Their Facebook Group is particularly useful, while they’re also very active on the likes of Twitter.
What the team behind Beaver Builder have created, is a wonderful tool that’s incredibly useful to both website owners and developers alike. Designing and developing without coding always seems to be such a taboo subject, as if it’s cheating in a way. I have to disagree.
Beaver Builder makes the experience of creating WordPress websites much more enjoyable and productive. It frees up time which can be given over to creativity, enabling anyone to make a website that’s responsive, effective, and truly beautiful.