A pet peeve of mine has always been designers and developers who claim websites they build completely with page builders are custom. Technically, yes, they’re made for one person so they’re custom, but it’s just the wrong terminology when it comes to selling your services.
However, recently I’ve had a bit of a change of heart, so today we’ll dive into how I’ve started incorporating page builders into my custom WordPress websites.
Beaver Builder Plugin
Not too long ago, a friend introduced me to the Beaver Builder plugin. I was a bit hesitant at first, but after trying it out and learning about it’s flexibility and that no shortcodes are left, like with Divi or Visual Composer, I knew I had to start incorporating it into my custom projects.
The fact that it’s a drag-and-drop builder has made it so much easier for my clients to update their websites. Especially those who don’t consider themselves very tech savvy.
Rather than having to avoid messing up some HTML in a page template or sorting through extra fields created by Advanced Custom Fields, they can simply click on an area of their website and start typing.
Create a Solid Framework
An important thing to note though, is that I’m not building an entire theme with this plugin. I always start by developing an actual custom theme to make sure they have a solid framework in place whether they decide to use the builder in the future or not.
Generally, I start a project by doing the header, footer, and sidebar in a custom theme, either from scratch or on the Genesis Framework. From there, I create any extra page templates that are needed without using the page-builder, being sure to get headings, links, buttons, and form fields taken care of. After that I dive into responsiveness.
Then, when all of the essential parts of a theme are done is when I go back through and create any remaining pages with Beaver Builder.
From there on it’s so easy to finish things up. Since all of the heading, link, or button styles are already taken care of, it really is a lot of drag-and-drop.
With more custom pages, I still end up writing a bit of CSS, but it really simplifies the process both for me and my client.
When Should You Use Beaver Builder?
Now, you might be asking, okay this sounds great, but how do I know when to use Beaver Builder and when not to?
There are definitely times when a builder isn’t the best option. For example, if something needs to appear on every page, like a header image or opt-in form above the footer, those are things better left to widget areas or the WordPress customizer.
There will also be times where you’ll want to give your clients extra options on different pages. In those cases, you’ll want to use Advanced Custom fields instead.
But when you’re creating a page with custom styling, sales pages are a great example, Beaver Builder can really make that process easy on you and your client.
Getting Started with Beaver Builder
In case you’ve never tried Beaver Builder before, I’ve got a few tips.
Start by downloading their free version and installing it on your own site. Practice different kinds of layouts or even make yourself a new sales page. It takes a while to get used to the options that are available and how to customize things, but after that it’s a breeze.
Then, start customizing things with CSS. On any type of module you can go to Advanced and add a CSS class. From there, you can add that class to the theme’s CSS file just like you’re used to.
That is the perfect way to add custom styling without your client having to worry about deleting something they shouldn’t.
No matter how much you love custom design or development, I think you’ll find that Beaver Builder is a tool you’ll go back to again and again. You might find yourself loving it even more than your clients.