Page builders like Elementor or WPBakery have made working in WordPress even easier than it already was.
And they’re fun to work with.
Not to mention, you can use page builders to make a very high-quality website.
And even beginners can knock out a decent looking page in a matter of hours.
So what does this mean for professional web designers?
Can page builders replace them?
What New Developments Mean For Old Markets
When the steam engine rolled around, factory workers feared that their job was on the line.
Fast forward a few hundred years and we still need people operating assembly lines.
When 3D technology was pioneered by Toy Story, animators feared that their job was on the line.
Fast forward a few decades, and we still need animators just as much as before.
If there’s one thing we learned in hundreds of years of ever-evolving technology is that new innovations rarely replace humans.
The reason for that is twofold.
First, a professional will always use the new technology better than a person that’s uninitiated.
Page builders don’t work on magic dust.
They’re as much HTML and CSS based as any coding playground for building websites, which means that deep knowledge of those languages and an eye for the right hover in the right place is just as valuable as before.
Innovations almost always build on the technology that came before.
Second, because new technologies usually sacrifice something to become mainstream. In the case of page builders, it’s customizability and control.
Page builders are limited.
But let’s see how.
The first reason page builders can’t replace pro web designers is that they’re limited. A drag-and-drop builder will never be as customizable as a coding playground, because you’re working in a predefined set of rules.
Design wise, the first limitation you’ll notice is structural.
There is a limited amount of elements you can arrange in a predefined way.
But it goes further than that.
Elementor or WPBakery work on pre-made blocks that you drag and drop.
Sure, their variety is often impressive.
And for the regular elements of a site like buttons, testimonials and even carousels, you’re covered by page builders.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll always have what you’re looking for.
Sure you can add hovers, shadows and resize your blocks, but only to a certain extent.
And if you want to take it a step further and insert an adaptable block that shows your user’s IP for example, you’re out of luck.
On the backend, you don’t have as much flexibility in how you customize a page.
Coding is tough, and it’s great that you can improvise a page with builders even if you don’t know how to code.
But if you have compatibility issues with your elements, or just want more flexibility in how a certain block is displayed, Elementor won’t be a huge aid.
You can edit in a little bit of CSS on specific elements, but you don’t have access to the full source code.
Even if you did, it’d be a mess, much harder to navigate through than something written by a human from the beginning.
Let’s say you work with a web designer on a long sales page.
It’s always easier to retouch fine details like the display of an offer or a pop-up to gather email subscribers.
With page builders, display options can be spread around, and you’ll probably need additional software (which is an added, recurrent cost) to customize pop-ups exactly the way you like.
(Your) Human Limitations
Let’s say we give Elementor 5-10 years to evolve, integrate with a lot of other tools, and overcome (almost) all of the problems explained above.
Even if that happens, it’s not like anyone can just drag a few buttons and expect the same results as a web designer with 20 years of experience doing the same thing.
And that’s a very important aspect of why page builders can’t replace pro web designers.
Steep Learning Curve
Elementor is easy to get into.
Watch a quick tutorial, play around the tool and you’re comfortably on your way to building a good-looking website.
Where do you go to change the typography?
How do you add more columns?
Wasn’t that testimonial supposed to show images below text?
These are just very few of the questions (please read – frustrations) I had when I first used Elementor.
And it’s not like I don’t get any more questions now.
Yeah, page builders are easy to get into.
But if you want to master them, prepare to spend long hours learning CSS, Java and visual communication theory.
(and if you actually master those, you’re not far from being a web designer yourself)
Page builders have a steep learning curve when you try to do more than a simple home page and blog.
Let’s say you did spend the time to become good at everything needed to make the most out of page builders.
Unless you become a professional web designer yourself, you won’t have the time and money to pour into creating stunning websites.
There’s a big difference between what amateurs can do:
And what a professional can do with Elementor:
Let’s drive the point home.
Imagine you run an affiliate marketing site.
You need to worry about content, backlinks, affiliate campaigns, SERP positions, even social promotion in some cases.
And there are so many hours in the day.
So 10 times out of 10, it will make more business sense to just hire a professional website designer than to take a few months (or even years) to master Elementor yourself.
Speaking of – if you really are an affiliate marketer, don’t miss our piece on the best affiliate programs, and don’t forget to get inspired by these successful affiliate websites examples.
The Benefits of Working With Professional Designers
We spent some time outlining the disadvantages of page builders.
So what’s the alternative?
Working with professional web designers, which has a few distinct advantages:
- You get expert input and consultancy.
- You get the attention to detail needed for the right symmetry between letters in your logo and your site’s typography.
- You get more than just a nice looking page. Professional web designers will provide clear branding guidelines when revamping your site, which helps you communicate with your audience better than any page you could knock out in a few days on your own.
- You stand out in the market. Customer service and sales are important, but design matters a lot when making a first impression on your potential clients. That “wow” feeling when browsing a well made page can only be achieved by a professional web designer.
But all of those benefits may beg a question:
Should You Use Page Builders?
They’re easy to use, and for any bootstrapped website they’ll go a long way in cutting marketing costs.
If you want a stunning website…
If you want your potential customers to go “wow” when they end up on your home page…
They’ll always do a better job, with or without page builders.
Which is one of the many reasons why page builders can’t replace pro web designers.
The views included in this article are entirely the work and thoughts of the author, and may not always reflect the views and opinions of Regex SEO.