I usually don’t bother to write reviews about 2 or 3 star-rated products unless there seems to be a special reason to do so.
If I feel a product is exceptionally bad or exceptionally good, I might write a quick and to-the-point review. This way, people like me can avoid the worst or choose the best for them.
The last 3 WordPress builders I’ve used were OK, which means they were good enough for most uses but had some shortcomings.
I should add that I am mainly a freelancer and I share ideas or suggestions with some of my peers over social media.
The latest bit of information I shared with someone got this response:
“You should let the world know about this!”
“This” happened to be my new WordPress Website Builder. And this one, as far as I’m concerned not only deserves a 5 (and high-5s for the authors) but is proving to be a game-changer for me.
What I always wanted in a WordPress Builder; and why it came as an unexpected surprise when I got it
I look for at least 3 key features in a WordPress builder. Of the three builders I’ve used before, all had one or two of these features, but none had all 3.
Ease of use – A flat learning curve would be nice though not always practical, so I’m more than happy if the slope is reasonably gentle. Steep learning curves tend to wreak havoc with my productivity and deadlines.
Responsive preview – I want to see what I’ve done as soon as I’ve done it, and it’s important to see how it’s going to appear on any device.
Free templates and elements – The more the better. I don’t want to sound greedy, but there should be at least enough of them so I can avoid having to code anything from scratch. The templates need to be easy to customize. If the elements can be customized as well, so much better.
The other builders
I won’t identify the other builders by name. I did receive value for my money in all 3 cases and they could function perfectly well for other designers. As I said earlier, each was OK (let’s call them 3-star products).
Ease of use wasn’t an issue with any of them, except for one that beginners could have problems with because of a lack of documentation.
All three had a preview feature but none of them featured a responsive preview.
Only one of the three, the builder I liked best, provided free templates, but the elements were a disappointment.
My deal breaker – The free version of the Visual Composer Website Builder
I should state here that up until very recently I knew nothing about the Visual Composer Website Builder. Still, I have been fully aware that many WordPress themes include WPBakery, formerly known as the Visual Composer page builder.
I decided to give the Visual Composer Website Builder a try, and that led to my Eureka moment. Given a choice between free and premium I’ll almost always go with the free version, knowing I can always upgrade if I like what I get.
Free versions of a product are sometimes nothing more than teases that try to hook you into putting cash on the table. Or, they have such limited functionality that you can’t do all that much with them and you either look elsewhere – or, pay for the premium version.
This free version was different. It has many more useful features than I really expected to find, i.e., it should take me a long way before I ever have to think about needing an upgrade.
With the Visual Composer Website Builder, I can build a website from top to bottom, header, footer, and everything in-between (it’s not just a page builder!). Since it doesn’t rely on shortcodes I’ve been able to avoid nuisance problems other website builder plugins sometimes create.
As far as the learning curve is concerned, this one’s slope is a gentle as can be.
Finally, I can test the responsiveness of my design without having to use a third-party tool or check it out on a variety of devices.
And by the way, the stunning parallax effects I can achieve are pretty cool too.
Is the Visual Composer Website Builder Perfect? Of course not, – but it’s close.
As I said, this free version can take me a long way. That’s because the bulk of my work involves rather basic websites and simple pages. The 10 free customizable templates and 50 free design elements you can access from the Visual Composer Hub give me more than enough to work with. Complex projects may or may not be possible, but I’ll have to leave that up to you.
Right now, I’m more than happy with the free version.
The Visual Composer Hub is the place where you can search for the design templates and elements you need. It’s but one of the things that sets this website builder apart from the others. This cloud-based marketplace of web design assets obviates any need for custom coding or extra plugins.
Give It a Shot
Someday, something better will come around. Something better usually does. Although in this case, it will likely be a new free version of the Visual Composer Website Builder you can download.
In the meantime, here’s the download link for the present version which I’m convinced will give you the same Eureka moment I experienced.
Full Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Visual Composer.