In this post we’re talking all about page builders for coaches. We’re covering what a page builder is and why it’s a good idea to use one for your coaching website. You’ll also learn which page builders are good and which aren’t.
Imagine that you start building your coaching website from scratch. You’re using WordPress because you’ve heard it’s the best. You also know you want to be able to edit it yourself, so that calls for some kind of tool to make it look pretty without needing to code anything.
You’re an action taker, so you buy a domain, install WordPress, and start playing around with the tech. You quickly realize that the standard design WordPress comes packaged with is pretty boring.
You’ve heard about the design magic of WordPress themes, and you figure that a fancy theme might be the perfect thing to jazz up your current dull WordPress install.
Page Builder vs WordPress Theme
Themes are used differently today than they used to be. Not many years ago, a WordPress custom theme was what took care of all the functionality and design on a WordPress site. But there’s not often a reason to build custom WordPress websites from scratch anymore, even for big companies. These days, we have plugins to take care of functionality and page builders to amp up the design.
You still need to use a theme, but the focus should be on selecting one that’s as lightweight, fast, and has minimal design to get in the way of our page builder. This theme is what I currently use for my client projects, though this one is pretty solid, too. Both have excellent free versions, so no need to dish out a lot of money for a great theme.
You might be thinking, “WordPress, theme, page builder, what’s the difference?” If you’re feeling confused, let me explain it a little more for you. If you’re already familiar with WordPress, themes, and page builders, you can skip down to my page builder recommendations.
What’s the difference between WordPress and a Theme?
WordPress is a content management system. That means it makes it easy to manage content on a website.
(You can click here to read about why I think every serious coach should go with WordPress.)
WordPress is kind of like the skeleton of your website. It doesn’t really stand on its own, just like a skeleton can’t really animate without some sort of muscle and skin to go on top of it.
A WordPress theme is that muscle. It’s the collection of files that gives some look and form to your WordPress website.
There are thousands and thousands of WordPress themes out there, just like there are billions of unique bodies on the planet. We all look different. Some themes don’t function nearly as well as others, just as some peoples’ bodies aren’t as flexible or functional.
But obviously, the more flexible the Theme (or body), the more desirable it is to have.
What’s the difference between a Theme and a Page Builder?
WordPress with a theme can stand on its own without a page builder. Just like a body can stand on its own with a skeleton and muscle and skin.
BUT what makes it really fun is when we can put some fancy clothes and makeup on our bodies — then we look really polished. Not having makeup doesn’t make a person less valuable, of course, but we certainly wouldn’t go to the Oscars without it.
Using a page builder is essentially like putting nice makeup and clothes on your WordPress theme. It’s what makes it look professional without having to use a ton of complex code. Here’s an example of WordPress’s (totally functional, but very boring) current default theme. Check it out and you’ll see what I mean.
As a contrast, here’s an example of a site I built for Anjanette Ludwig, certified life coach for teens. Using a page builder is what helped us achieve the beautiful look and feel. And as a bonus, it’s relatively easy for her to manage and easily edit the page builder content.
Now you know what a WordPress theme and page builder are, and why we use them.
You’re sold on a page builder, but which one to use?
So you’re with me on the usefulness of a page builder.
But the thing is, not all page builders are built the same. Some or great, some are fine, and some are a downright awful experience to design with.
Keep reading to find out which ones to use, and which to avoid. None of these links are affiliate, by the way. Most of them do include a free version as well as a paid, so again, no need to dish out a lot of money for a page builder.
Great Page Builders
Elementor. This is the page builder I use. Elementor’s functionality, design flexibility, and user interface are simply top notch. And new features are released every month with even more goodies to make my clients’ websites look amazing. (Link is affilliate.)
Beaver Builder. This is an old classic. Many of my peers still use Beaver Builder because it doesn’t make sense for them to jump ship just for the new hotness that is Elementor. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, as they say. Beaver Builder works great, it’s just not quite as easy to use as Elementor.
Okay Page Builders
Divi. Divi is unique in that it’s actually a WordPress theme and page builder all in one. It works just fine, though again, it’s sort of an old classic. I know a few people who prefer it over Elementor or Beaver Builder. But most who have switched to the great page builders above don’t miss Divi at all. And if you ever switch away from Divi, you’ll have a heap of shortcodes left behind you’ll need to manually eliminate.
Oxygen. This one is a wild card. I’ll offer it here for those of you who are really tech savvy. I hear great things about Oxygen from fellow developers, but most of them say it wouldn’t be suitable for any site that a client without tech knowledge will be editing themselves. So I include it here, but with reservations.
Stay away from this Page Builder!
WPBakery Builder (aka Visual Composer). WPBakery Builder, also known as Visual Composer, has a pretty nasty reputation in the web design community. Its design flexibility is extremely limited, meaning it takes longer to design a page with it than any of the other builders listed above. The interface for editing is slow and laggy, especially compared to Elementor.
You’ll also have the same shortcode issue if you ever move away from it, just as with Divi.
Why designers hate WPBakery Builder
I’ve consulted with dozens of life coaches this year alone, and I’ve found WPBakery Builder to be a surprising commonality among their websites.
I think this frequency is partly because WPBakery Builder comes packaged with many of the themes on popular sites like ThemeForest. Coaches buy a theme from one of these sites, install it on their site, and don’t even realize WPBakery is a page builder separate from their theme. They don’t realize they can choose a different one that’s easier to use if they want to.
Sometimes these coaches ask me to help them edit their sites. And while I want to help, I’ve simply learned that working with WPBakery Builder isn’t worth the time and effort required for me or the client. It’s simply easier for me to rebuild their site with Elementor than it is to try and edit WPBakery Builder.
And I’m not the only one to stay away from it. Here are some recent comments from my network of developers and designers when WPBakery Builder came up in our Facebook group:
If this is what developers and designers, professionals who build dozens of websites per year, have to say about a page builder…well, the comments speak for themselves.
But what if I’m already using WPBakery builder?
If you’re already using WPBakery Builder, don’t panic. If it’s working for you, and you aren’t doing a lot of content editing on your website (you know, just blog posts), then you’re probably okay for now.
But if you’re dealing with frustration every time you need to edit your website or add a page, then I would seriously consider rebuilding with a better page builder. The time it will save you in the long run (as well as the better design results you will get) will be worth the effort.
Now you know all about page builders for coaches
Page builders are what add the design magic to a WordPress website. Currently, Elementor is the page builder I recommend for quick and professional design results. Of all the other choices, just avoid WPBakery Builder.
I hope that was helpful.
P.S. Ready to build your website, but feeling lost with WordPress, page builders, let alone all the website strategy?
I help coaches with their websites every day. If you’d like my help to build a new website for your coaching business (or redesign an old one), you can send me your project details here.