Okay what is a WordPress SiteBuilder? Shhh don’t tell anyone but this is the potent combo of a Multilayout Theme [think free Astra, Generate Press, OceanWP] with a top-end PageBuilder [like the free BeaverBuilder lite, Elementor or VisualComposer.io]. These combo tools have created a new category of WordPress Frontend UI development- the WordPress SiteBuilder. This combo can deliver a unique look and layout for any or all of your WordPress pages, posts, and custom post types. Even better these SiteBuilders also deliver:
- Frontend, drag and drop, WYSIWYG page/post layout and design.
- User designed headers, footers, sidebars, call to action strips, etc; replacing the standard ones if desired.
- The resulting pages/posts are fully responsive displaying well on desktop or tablet or mobile phones.
- The amount of design control for color, typography, layout even animation is breathtakingly easy to do.
- The tools provide complete website or page or section of a page import and export capabilities – great for reuse on your website[s].
So our latest WordPress Toronto Meetup had a Live Demo showing what was possible with the New Sitebuilders. At the same time we were able to explore some overall design questions.
The Demo Setup
It took awhile to get a volunteer for a free landing page design, but Makeup artist Mindy Bharji from Brampton volunteered her website BeautyBliss.ca:
This was the original Beauty Bliss website with six pages and lots of good images annd galleries.
And here is the desired website that was used as design template for the landing page that Mindy was looking for:
This design had a number of distinctive features and stylings including a sticky header, big Hero images, and distinctive 3 column sections for Portfolio, Testimonials and Pricing. Given the heavy use of images both on the original and desired websites media management was also a significant task.
But before revealing the Landing Page solution, a portion of the presentation was reserved for looking the latest PageBuilder, Brizy.io:
Brizy [pronounced Breezy] is the newest PageBuilder and in 2 1/2 months time it has garnered 20,000 active installs – double the count of Gutenberg. Brizy has all the basic features of the other top end PageBuilders including being able to work with MultiLayout themes. This means the combo of Brizy and OceanWP theme becomes a SiteBuilder. In addition, Brizy has 6-7 new functions that are very compelling and thus likely will be copied by the other top-end PageBuilders.
But what makes Brizy useful for training is that it makes for a great demo of SiteBuilding capabilities. So with Brizy we rapidly built a 3 page => 3 section website with its own unique header and footer. In addition, we changed the look and layout of sections with drag and drop operations adding images, maps, and various text blocks. Also we showed how easy in Brizy it is to convert a page into a second full page as a slider. And then using the Brizy Styling options it was easy to completely change the look and feel of that second slider page. So we performed other edits and tried new features before returning to the Beauty Bliss Landing Page.
The last 40 minutes were devoted to our Beauty Bliss Landing page. Here is what we were able to create in 5 hours:
In the next 40 minutes, with Mindy’s directions we made a whole series of fast styling changes to the landing Page. There is a complete write up of the detailed workflow here. This is the strength of Sitebuilders. There PageBuilder roots allow users to make detailed styling changes to a widget or the column containing the widget or the row containing the columns or up again to the section containing the rows. What is most interesting is that some PageBuilders like Brizy, Divi, and Elementor to a degree have really automated these styling tasks.
We had 39 people signup for this Meetup and 27 came despite the hot weather, the distraction of England Croatia in the World Cup and some outstanding Mens quarterfinals in Wimbledon tennis. Clearly there is interest in PageBuilders being enhanced by Multilayout themes to become SiteBuilders.