Page Builder Tools 101: Exploring the Spectrum

January 7, 2021

In the world of web development, we are seeing increasing adoption of page builder tools that are both powerful and easy to use. This trend has been enabled by a rise in the number of options available to build a website. Drag and drop website builders, such as Wix and Squarespace have become popular options given their ease of use and ability to design visually appealing websites. No code builders like Google Sites, Webflow, and Dorik have also become popular options. Though these sites look nice, there are questions as to how they perform long term and what the pros and cons are to these alternatives compared to more mature Content Management Systems like WordPress and Drupal. This blog will examine a few notable options across the spectrum of page builders and educate you on which to use in different scenarios.

Drag and Drop Website Builders

First up are drag and drop page builders. Wix and Squarespace are popular options for those wanting a drag and drop experience. These platforms make it easy for people to create a website that looks nice and is responsive. They are a great option for beginners because you don’t need coding knowledge, and the design is pretty intuitive. However, if you want a complex site with different custom menus and pages, this option might not be the best. Drag and drop website builders are a good choice for small startups, entrepreneurs, and design professionals.drag and drop page builder pros and cons
Additional options for drag and drop include Weebly, SITE123, Elementor, Strikingly, etc.

Intranets

Similar to drag and drop website builders, intranets provide users with an intuitive way to build a web page. Intranets such as Google Sites and Sharepoint are best suited for organizations using G-Suite or Microsoft. Intranets are good options to use internally because they allow employees to collaborate. They are also good to use as a document repository and allow for discussion boards. They are not heavy on coding and come with a WYSIWYG editor so they are good for building school sites, online presentations, small portfolios, event sites, and most other small projects. Unlike drag and drop website builders, intranets should not be used for marketing websites, eCommerce, or large projects that require advanced features.
Other options for intranets include Workplace by Facebook, Simpplr, and Yammer.

Low/No-Code

Low/no-code builders are another option to quickly build web pages. Webflow is a popular option and is good for prototyping, as well as making sites with strong visual design. Some could consider Webflow a Drag & Drop Builder, but we categorize as a Low/No Code tool to distinguish that it offers more robust functionality. This is a blessing and a curse. For example, getting started with Webflow can be daunting due to the learning curve of the editor interface. That being said, Webflow offers much more granular control as well as strategically architected functionality so in the right hands it can be a very powerful and low-maintenance website builder. Webflow’s primary users so far have been marketing teams with some level of tech-savvy and a desire to control their website (not rely on IT), as well as startups.

low and no code page builder pros and cons

Dorik is also a popular option on the rise for low/no-code builders. Its advocates describe it to be “powerful like Webflow, but easier to use”.  It is worth keeping an eye on if you are interested in low/no-code builders.

Complex CMS

For complex CMS platforms, WordPress is typically one of the most popular options. Notable pros right off the bat are the fact that the possibilities are limitless for complex CMS platforms in terms of look, and functionality. WordPress is better suited for medium to large projects, as well as eCommerce. It is also great for SEO and has the potential to be low/no code with certain themes. However, WordPress has a slight learning curve and is not as intuitive as the other options. It also does not include hosting and you are responsible for your site’s security, making backups, installing updates (but we’d be happy to take care of that for you). Additionally, if you purchase a theme, you have to figure out how to set it up as well as perform ongoing security/stability updates yourself which goes back to the point of it not being as intuitive.
complex cms page builders pros and cons

Today, 38% of websites reside on WordPress, but there are other options as well such as Joomla! and Drupal.

Summing It All Up

page builders matrix

Overall, there are many different options to choose from when it comes to creating web pages. It is important to understand your business’ needs and goals in order to find the right fit. Page builders are not a one size fits all solution so it is important to understand the entire landscape before deciding on a platform. If you would like additional help on choosing a builder or comparing your options, feel free to contact us.

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