One of the best aspects of building a website with WordPress is the number of options you have at your disposal. You can use the tools WordPress provides, or you could also use a website builder to do it. It really comes down to personal preference.
Yet, there’s no denying that one may be a better fit for certain web developers. So, let’s analyze which one may be better for you.
Website Builder vs WordPress: Overview
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a look at what each one offers users. Just keep in mind that not all platforms support website builders. WordPress is not one of those platforms, you can use website builders and the default tools without issue.
Website Builder Overview
Website builders come in a variety of formats. Typically, it’s a third-party tool that provides you with the necessary tools to build on a specific platform. In most cases, users agree that these are typically easier and give more features than default tools on a platform.
Other times, it can be its own platform and provide other services like web hosting at very high rates. These types can be classified as Software as a Service (SaaS) and normally compete directly with each other.
We will be covering the third-party tools that work in tandem with WordPress. Thus, you will need the website builder and a WordPress install. The good news is that WordPress is home to a huge library of website builders.
Is WordPress a website builder?
No, WordPress is an open-source CMS that has risen to the top of the industry. It dominates the industry with a market share of over 40% and offers users a lot. However, let’s just focus on what it does from a design perspective.
Themes act as the main backbone of WordPress design. These are collections of stylesheets and templates that dictate the appearance of your website. Essentially, you choose one you like and install it. Each one can be further customized with various settings.
You can also add extra features with plugins. For example, if you want to add a slider, you can install a slider plugin. It’s pretty straightforward. However, one of those plugins could also be a website builder, thus, you have a ton of options.
What’s the Difference?
To put it simply, WordPress is the platform you build on, while the website builder is the tool you use to build on that platform. While you can build on WordPress without a website builder, many might find it harder than if they used a specialized tool.
These tools are also built with far more options than default to justify anyone purchasing them.
Ease of Use
Beginners will immediately ask if it’s easier to use the default tool or if they should use the website builder. While it largely depends on the website you are building, generally speaking, one is easier than the other by design.
Website Builder Accessibility: Winner
Website builders come in a variety of forms with different interfaces and toolsets. Thus, it’s pretty hard for me to get into specifics. However, at their core, they are tools designed to help users create better content in an easier way.
In many cases, these tools utilize a drag and drop interface that allows you to quickly build pages by using predesigned elements that can be customized once they are added. On top of this, most editors utilize a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) design philosophy.
Or in other words, the page you are seeing while editing is exactly what a visitor will see when they visit. Due to the nature of these tools, they are normally equipped with more than double the features of default WordPress.
In many cases, they even have add-ons you can buy to add more features.
WordPress is one of, if not the easiest CMS on the market. And creating pages and posts is really simple on WordPress. This is all thanks to the Gutenberg editor, which is block-based. This just means you add the block you want to use and then fill in the content.
If that sounds hard, be assured it is not. For example, if you wanted to add a slider on a page, you would just add a slider block. Need to write a paragraph? No problem, start a paragraph block. It’s intuitive.
While you can get some awesome results, there’s no denying that there is a slight learning curve. Yet, most of that just stems from the number of options at your disposal. Once you know where everything is, it’s pretty simple.
This is pretty simple. Website builders are built to be easier than the default WordPress tools, thus it shouldn’t come as a shocker that a premium tool is easier to use. That said, not all website builders are created equal.
Some may actually be harder due to bad interfaces.
The main reason many WordPress developers use a website builder plugin like Elementor is to gain access to more options. Similar to accessibility, these tools are built to allow users to build more unique designs. You can probably guess who the winner is.
Website Builder Design: Winner
Website builders are designed to build websites in a more efficient way than the platform they work on. They include way more customization options, more features, and many come with templates that are ready to use with just a few tweaks.
Unlike default WordPress, you are not limited by the theme. Most website builders will override themes to ensure you can do whatever is possible with that tool. This allows you to create pages that look very different from the rest of your website.
Even the standard tools are enhanced on a website builder. For example, if you choose to add an image, there are probably twice as many options available for you to tweak it with. That said, the results may vary due to the differences between page and website builders.
WordPress provides users with a ton of customization options. And if you don’t have the tool you need, you can add it by installing a plugin that has the feature.
There is no shortage of plugins as there are thousands to pick from.
For example, let’s say you want to build a contact form for your business. You would install a contact form plugin like Contact Form 7 to get the job done. And that applies to just about every situation in WordPress.
Themes also play a major role in the design, and there are over 4,000 free themes to choose from. WordPress also has thousands of premium themes available. In many cases, premium themes come with a page builder installed.
This greatly expands what you can do in WordPress.
This is pretty similar to the chicken and the egg. You can’t have one without the other. In this case, website and page builders are designed to get better results than the default WordPress tools. Yet, these tools are useless without WordPress.
Website builders will create a higher quality result than default WordPress tools, so I give it the win.
If there’s one thing that keeps every website owner up at night, it’s SEO. Ensuring that your website will rank highly is critical for success, but not every platform offers you the tools necessary to do this.
Let’s see which option gives you better control.
Website Builders SEO
Website builders focus on the design of your website, so they don’t have a suite of SEO tools at their disposal. They simply were not made for that, however, they can still have a very strong impact on your SEO rankings.
One of the negative aspects of using a website or page builder is that these WYSIWYG editors are typically loaded with extra code. This will sometimes make your pages load slower. Ultimately, they will lower your page rank potential.
When you compare website builders to the HTML generated from CMS or even better, hand-typed, there can be some serious gaps in speed.
However, it’s not all bad. Being able to create a really great navigation system can definitely aid SEO. They just don’t have dedicated SEO tools.
WordPress SEO: Winner
WordPress is a full CMS, in fact, it’s one of the best CMS because it gives you complete control over your SEO. Everything from backend code to URL structure is customizable in WordPress. And the best part is that there are so many plugins that can help for free.
For example, it’s hard to not mention the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin will help you optimize WordPress for SEO in just about every area. It automatically creates a sitemap you can submit to Google, provides helpful tips while you are writing content to not only improve SEO, but readability as well, and so much more.
Yoast is just one of the tools at your disposal. There are hundreds of free SEO tools you can choose from in WordPress. And the default tools themself are superb. There’s a reason 40% of the internet builds with WordPress.
There’s really no contest here; WordPress will help you rank higher than using a website builder. That said, using a website builder in tandem with WordPress is a great way to get amazing results.
One of the biggest factors in any business decision is the price. While you can often justify the price, that doesn’t mean you have the resources to cover it. Let’s see which option is better for a website on a budget.
Website Builder Pricing
The price of a website or page builder depends on the tool itself. Generally speaking, they are pretty reasonable for what you can do with them. They can range from free to several hundred dollars. And many of them also sell additional add-on packages.
While I have focused on website and page builders that work in conjunction with WordPress, there are many that don’t. This is a good time to really highlight the problem with them.
They are overpriced.
Most will force you to pay for their web hosting services which are typically two to three times more expensive than regular web hosting companies. On top of that, they may have multiple tiers to the plans.
For example, eCommerce features may cost several hundred dollars extra.
WordPress Pricing: Winner
WordPress is open-source software, which means it is completely free to use. The only actual price associated with using WordPress is the web hosting services that are required. However, you can pick anyone you want.
Even better news, web hosting is really cheap. In most cases, you are going to spend more money on a cup of coffee than a month of web hosting. The only catch is that web hosting companies typically charge you for a year or more all at once.
That said, there’s a lot of value in a quality web hosting company because they also provide customer service to help you get started. Apart from web hosting, you can also end up spending money on premium plugins or themes, but prices are dependent on the packages themselves.
This is pretty cut and dried. While there are some free website and page builders out there, most of them will end up charging you money, while WordPress is free to use. Thus, WordPress gets the win in this category.
For exact prices, please refer to the tool itself as these prices are not universal.
Website Builder vs WordPress: Final Results
Using a website builder and WordPress together will get you amazing results. The real question is what website builder should I use in WordPress? And that really comes down to personal choice and the website you are building.
My recommendation is Elementor because it offers a great amount of customization and integrates with most WordPress themes and plugins.
Do you get better results when using a website builder alongside WordPress? Are the default tools in WordPress enough?