There are many different PageBuilder programs available, such as Elementor and Divi for WordPress, or Shogun and PageFly for Shopify. However, the common denominator among all of them is that they are downright awful!
Yes, I really hate PageBuilders! It’s like going shopping at a discount store and expecting to build your own house without any construction experience. Sure, you might be able to do it, but it will definitely turn out to be a mess.
In this article, I will explain why I think PageBuilder programs are generally so poor.
How to design your website
When it comes to designing a new website or revamping an old one, there are essentially three options:
- You can find a theme that works well as is or with minor adjustments.
- You can modify or extend an existing theme, create your own custom theme, or hire a web designer/developer to create something entirely new.
- You can use a so-called “PageBuilder” extension for your platform.
The first option doesn’t require any specialized expertise as a web designer or developer. For most platforms, there are many good themes available that offer simple customization options for pages and features.
If you choose a theme from a reputable provider, you often get a solution that has been thoroughly tested, optimized for conversions, and equipped with the necessary tools. You can see what you’re getting before you buy, and the risk is minimal.
The second option provides greater flexibility, but it also requires knowledge of web design and development. If you need entirely new templates and features, they must be created correctly to function as desired, be mobile-friendly, fast, and search engine-friendly.
The question is, is it worth it?
I understand that many people want to appear completely unique online, but that’s rarely what convinces customers to make a purchase. In fact, familiarity with the layout and features of your website is often better. Few customers want to spend time figuring out how your website works; they are far too impatient. If your website’s structure and functionality resemble something customers are already familiar with, they can focus on making a purchase.
The last option – PageBuilders – tempts many people. With this approach, one might believe they can enjoy the benefits of option 1 but without the requirements and expenses (web designers and developers) associated with option 2.
But it’s simply not that straightforward…
The problem with PageBuilders is…
The biggest problem with most PageBuilder programs is that they try to solve everything for everyone. This makes the programs themselves complex and, in fact, a bit difficult to use.
However, even worse is the fact that this desire for almost unlimited flexibility means that a tremendous amount of code needs to be loaded onto the pages to make all the possible functions work.
The result is that your pages become incredibly heavy, which makes them slow for both users and search engines to access.
And speed is one of the most important factors for a good website.
A fast website sells better. It’s well-documented. Consumers are generally very impatient and don’t want to wait for slow-loading pages. Speed is one of the crucial technical SEO factors. A fast website simply ranks better in Google, all other things being equal. For example, let’s look at one of the most widely used PageBuilder programs for Shopify: Shogun. They themselves refer to several “good” case studies on their website, including the Ridge.com online store.
Here are the results of a speed test using Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool…
It takes over 22 seconds to display the complete “above the fold” content (what you see before scrolling), and a whopping 32 seconds before you can interact with the page!
An overall PageSpeed Score of 16 is ridiculously poor!
And it’s not just Shog that create such slow sites. The same goes for other PageBuilders.
Here’s an example from Elementor – the webshop smokenstore.ro, which they highlight on their site as a good example.
And I could go on. There are plenty of similar examples – also from other PageBuilders, with excessively slow websites. In fact, it’s hard to find anything else!
Can’t you create a fast PageBuilder?
Yes, in principle, you can. I have personally been involved in creating simpler and more specific PageBuilder solutions for WordPress that were lightning-fast.
But the big, all-encompassing PageBuilder solutions on the market are simply incredibly slow.
Creating a fast PageBuilder requires it to be very specific – including only the elements needed for the specific page type or taking a lot of precautions in the coding, so that ONLY the functions, CSS, and design elements that are actually used are loaded. But none of the major PageBuilders do that.
My clear recommendation – perhaps not surprising – is to steer clear of the big and heavy PageBuilder solutions.
If you can’t work with a standard theme and the customization options it offers, I strongly recommend getting a skilled web designer and possibly a developer to create your design.
And no, I’m not saying this just to have more work. I don’t offer web design services at all. I confidently leave that to those who are good at it.
If you have your own theme or make significant modifications to another theme, you need to be aware that you’ll be responsible for ensuring both user-friendliness and search engine optimization. It’s certainly not without its challenges.
So, I would advise you to think carefully. Do you really need to create something completely unique? Or is it just your own vanity playing a role?
Very often, a standard theme with the customization options it offers is the best choice. It takes less time to set up, you know what you’re getting before buying it – and if it’s a good theme, it will be fast, user-friendly, search engine-friendly, and optimized for sales.