Although we only took a look at a selection of the best page builder plugins for WordPress last year, things have moved on since then and there are a number of quality new products available.
While Visual Composer is still topping the best seller lists over at Code Canyon, there are a few new options available that are doing things differently. In today’s post we will take a look at three of the best page builder plugins for WordPress in 2014, and see how their features stack up, what they are like to use, and which one is best for each type of WordPress user.
If you’ve ever wanted to create varied post or page layouts, with columns, rows, and a whole lot more, read on to find out which is the best tool to help you get more out of your WordPress layouts and present your content in a better way.
What are WordPress Page Builder Plugins?
Unlike theme builders, these plugins work on top, or inside, of the active theme on your site. Their main purpose is to create layouts for your posts and pages. By adding rows and columns, you can then insert the modules that are included with the plugins.
These modules typically include elements such as buttons, forms, icons, sliders, videos, galleries and much more. These plugins often also let you insert widgets into your post content, giving you unlimited possibilities for how you publish content with WordPress.
The page builder plugins in this article all come with a selection of high quality layout temples, allowing you to really change the appearance of your site, creating effective homepages, landing pages, and more.
If this all sounds appealing to you, here are our top 3 page builder plugins for 2014 so far.
This drag and drop page layout builder from WP Zoom, a team that are well known for their WordPress themes, allows you to create layouts with multiple columns and rows. These layouts can then be filled with more than just text and images.
The Zoom Builder claims to work with any WordPress theme, taking on the styling and formatting of the active template on your site. If the theme you purchased or designed didn’t come with a page builder tool, as is becoming an increasingly common feature on premium themes, then this plugin will let you rectify that without spending too much money.
Once this plugin is installed, the builder interface is added to the WordPress post or page editor, allowing you to create new layouts and then add the available modules to them. The modules cover a range of purposes including pricing tables, media sliders, buttons, forms, and testimonials.
As well as the bundled modules, with Zoom Builder you can also drag any widgets into your post or page content, including any widgets that are part of the other plugins you have installed on your site. This gives you countless options for creating interactive and dynamic posts and pages that are capable of displaying content from many different sources.
This WordPress page builder tool also comes with a stack of great looking layouts, allowing you to quickly create something attractive by working from these templates. Zoom Builder includes such popular layouts as landing pages, magazine homepages, contact pages, and pages for promoting apps.
The layouts can all be edited giving you a great platform to work from. By setting a layout as your site’s homepage, you’ve quickly transformed your theme into a powerful online presence, which is of course responsive to work on portable devices.
You also get the ability to clone your layouts for use on multiple pages or for using them as templates for a quick start. Unfortunately it is not currently possible to export the layouts for use on other sites with this plugin installed but hopefully this feature will be included soon.
Although the number of modules isn’t as extensive as some of the other page builder plugins, the included layouts are some of the best on the market.
This drag and drop frontend page builder for WordPress comes in three varieties: free, standard and developer. It’s one of the newest page builder tools on the market and its already proving a popular choice.
While the free version gives you access to the core page builder functionality, allowing you to add columns and rows to your WordPress posts and pages, the premium versions are the options we are most interested in.
With the standard and developer licenses you get access to a large selection of modules which can be dragged and dropped into your post and page layouts. These modules include elements such as buttons, tabbed interfaces, accordions, calls to actions, icons, and much more.
Each of the elements of the modules can be modified in many ways, all by using the visual settings to change the colours, sizes, fonts, and more.
As well as the modules, the other key attraction of the FastLine Page Builder plugin is the layouts that come bundled with the tool. These layouts cover a range of uses, from homepages, galleries, about pages, services, meet the team, and advanced contact pages.
All the layouts can be modified so you can just edit the text to suit your site, or give them a complete overhaul, moving things about, adding and removing modules or whatever else suits your needs. They are all responsive too so your site won’t have any problems being viewed on a mobile device.
While this drag and drop editor will work with any WordPress theme, both the premium versions of this plugin include the Automator theme, also from FastLine Media. This is a great looking theme and by combining it with the page builder plugin, you can create some stunning layouts for your homepages and the internal pages of your site.
Another key selling point of this plugin is that it’s a frontend builder and editor. This means the action takes place on the frontend of your site, rather than in the post or page editor. By adding a text or HTML module to your layout, you can then enter the text and other content for your post, from the frontend.
While it’s not quite as frontend or inline as something like the Barely incline content editor for WordPress, this is a step in the right direction when it comes to making the process of editing WordPress posts and pages more intuitive and user friendly.
This plugin is really easy to use and includes a set of useful modules and attractive page layouts, making it a great value choice.
Velocity Page takes the concept of frontend inline editing for WordPress and runs with it. Not only can you build custom post and page layouts, and then add almost any type of content to them, but you can do it all through the frontend of your website, via an inline editor.
If you ever find yourself writing a post, and then previewing it, only to find that the paragraph breaks, pull quotes, and other types of formatting doesn’t look like you expected on the frontend, Velocity Page can prevent you having to keep switching between the post editor and the post preview pages. This saves you time and effort making the whole process of publishing with WordPress less frustrating. Just try the quick start demo to see what it can do.
Even if you aren’t that interested in creating media rich layouts, the fact that you can just click on a piece of text on a published post or page and begin editing it or repositioning images, without having to visit the WordPress backend makes Velocity Page a great choice.
However, when you add in the ability to insert a wide range of elements into your posts and page, such as newsletter forms, shortcodes, videos, and social media buttons, you get a really powerful and useful tool.
While the inline editing abilities are worth highlighting, that’s not to say this plugin does come with a selection of great looking templates. While there might only be four available at the moment, which are included with all versions of the plugin, they are attractive and can be edited to create your own designs from.
Velocity Page has also received the nod of approval from WordPress power user Chris Lema. This is thanks in part to its lack of lock in should you decide to leave this plugin at any time in the future, and the minimal effect that decision will have on your existing content, especially when compared to some other page builder plugins.
If the idea of a real time preview of what your content looks like as you are editing it appeals then Velocity Page is a must have plugin. However, the higher price than some of the other options might be prohibitive for some users.
These three page builder plugins that I’ve looked at recently are just a small selection from the many other plugins of this type that are now available. However, I think these plugins cover a good range of options, and present a varied choice for the end user who is looking to start creating page layouts for their WordPress site without the need to edit any code.
While they all add a page builder to your site that will work with almost any theme, they work in different ways, and come in at a range of prices, spread across many packages. They also offer a varied selection of bundled modules and layouts, which will need to be compared before you make a final decision.
I love the layouts of Zoom Builder, and appreciate the frontend interface that comes with FastLine Page Builder, not to mention its great looking layouts and useful modules.
However, the inline editing abilities of Velocity Page, as well as its page layout builder functionality and its admittedly small, but great looking selection of layouts make it my recommended choice, provided your budget permits. Otherwise you can still spend just $50 and get a great page builder plugin from FastLine or Zoom and that won’t disappoint.