Firstly, unlike most posts on my website here, I this post will be more of a review than a how-to. I want to show you exactly why Beaver Builder is the absolute BEST WordPress Page Builder.
In this review, I’ll approach it from how I use Beaver Builder so it is best for me to outline this first and then continue with the review.
How I use WordPress will influence my personal review of Beaver Builder
I run a web agency and also build personal websites for myself, so the main things I am concerned with when choosing a Plugin or piece of software are:
- Solution: The software or plugins needs to be a solution to a problem I am having.
- Stability: I want to know that the products I am using for my web agency are going to be around for a while. The last thing I want to do is build WordPress websites with a particular software and then have it be discontinued or not supported. Building on this idea of stability, I also need a plugin that won’t break when I update it. Imagine having 10, 100 or even 500 websites break because a plugin update failed due to an error in the update. What a nightmare! (TIP! Don’t install any unnecessary plugins and always consider if you really need to install the plugin you’re thinking of installing).
- Support and documentation: One of the challenges of owning a web agency is scaling up and getting more clients. With more clients comes usually more problems and requests and sometimes you need to go and ask the developers of the software you’re using if something can be done and (if it can) how. For this reason, I need to ensure that when I have questions to ask about the software and plugins I use to build WordPress I can get answer quick. Me getting answers quick means my clients get answers quick and everyone is happy.
- Lightweight code: AKA lightweight. I hate heavy plugins like Visual Composer as they really do add overhead to your website. This is especially concerning for web agencies who run websites on shared hosting with the more limited resources. If you’re just starting your first website chances are you’ve purchased Shared Hosting and this should matter to you. KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
- Straightforward to use: If it’s easy to use, I get less support and my clients are more confident in using the product.
- Extendability: The ability to take a plugin you purchase and manipulate it through using your own code to meet your specific needs is incredibly powerful. Things like action hooks and filters allow you to add your own customizations in your own Theme or Plugin and still update the plugin and this is something I like to be able to do.
- Integration: Does the product I am using work well with the other Plugins and Theme I am using in the website.
And, although all the tools and plugins I use are either FREE of very affordable, I can’t stress enough that I put the above before any low price tag.
If I have a product that is FREE and last updated 12 months ago with a 3-star review or a product that’s $99 and updated yesterday with a 5-star review average, I will go with the $99 product.
It makes my life simple, will likely cause less problems and my clients will be happier.
In terms of Page Builder plugins for WordPress, Beaver Builder goes meets all these criteria and much more.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Beaver Builder is the absolute BEST Page Builder plugin for WordPress.” quote=”Beaver Builder is the absolute BEST Page Builder plugin for WordPress.”]
In the following review I will introduce you to Beaver Builder and show you how it lets me build websites ridiculously fast while meeting all the above criteria.
Beaver Builder is the Best Page Builder for WordPress 2016
Beaver Builder is both a Theme and a WordPress Plugin
And that is important for you to know. The Beaver Builder Plugin is a drag-and-drop Page Builder and what most of this review will be focused around. There are 3 different paid version of Beaver Builder – Standard, Pro and Agency, and when you purchase the Pro or Agency versions you get the Beaver Builder Theme (more on these packages later). For now, just know that there is a Theme and a Plugin for Beaver Builder.
The Beaver Builder Plugin
The Beaver Builder Plugin is a frontend drag-and-drop Page Builder for WordPress and can be purchased by clicking here. Because it is a plugin, it works with any WordPress Theme you install. It works really well with Genesis by StudioPress and, of course, with the Beaver Builder Theme.
The Beaver Builder Theme
As discussed above, Beaver Builder Theme comes with 2 of the 3 paid version of Beaver Builder and I personally use it in nearly all the websites I do for my clients and my own personal endeavors. This website you’re on now is actually built using a Child Theme for the Beaver Builder Theme and the Beaver Builder Plugin (a combination I recommend for people who are just building their first WordPress website right through to people who run web agencies).
As with most WordPress themes, you create your own Child Theme for the Beaver Builder Theme (or pick one of the ones we offer here specifically for the Beaver Builder Theme) and then build your website. NOTE: A bare-bones Child Theme is included with the Beaver Builder Theme.
In this tutorial I’ll discuss how the Beaver Builder Theme allows you to easily build great websites without knowing design or code further on in this review.
Beaver Builder: Beaver Builder is compatible with all Themes and most Plugins
Beaver Builder works with most plugins (except for these ones here) but I have not had any problems with any of the plugins I have used.
In regards to Themes, the Beaver Builder Plugins works on All Themes (as they state on the Beaver Builder website) but you may need to make some tweaks here and there. For example, for some of the Genesis Child Themes you may need to force the content area of pages to be full-width. Here is a FREE WordPress Plugin that can help you with using the Beaver Builder Plugin with Genesis.
I use the Beaver Builder Theme that comes included in the Pro Version of Beaver Builder and it works flawlessly. I made the switch from the Genesis Framework to the Beaver Builder Theme a bit after finding Beaver Builder, however you can stay with whatever Theme you prefer and use the Beaver Builder Plugin within it to build your pages and content.
Why the best Page Builder for WordPress 2017 will be Beaver Builder
I’ve really taken the time to go through and explain why this is the best page builder for WordPress 2016. Again, the above explanation of how I use WordPress and what I consider important to me has influenced the below.
Solution: The Beaver Builder Page Builder Plugin is the solution to my problem. I need to build responsive websites really fast and it makes this very easy to do
As a web agency and someone who builds website for myself and the constant ideas I have, I need to be able to build great WordPress websites really fast.
Beaver Builder allows me to do this. And it does it well.
I don’t have to write code: The page builder allows me to build a mobile-friendly website by dragging and dropping modules, clicking and typing. It’s that easy. This is a massive time-saver.
Not based on shortcodes: The code is well written and based off of Twitter’s Bootstrap and does not rely on shortcodes. This means you can deactivate the plugin and your content is all untouched.
[clickToTweet tweet=”“You’ve baked a really lovely cake, but then you’ve used dog shit for frosting.” ― Steve Jobs” quote=”“You’ve baked a really lovely cake, but then you’ve used dog shit for frosting.” ― Steve Jobs”]
Pre-built Page Templates: Beaver Builder comes with lots of incredible pre-built page designs (click here to see these templates) that you can use as a starting block when building your pages. There’s Home Page designs, Contact Page designs, About Us page designs and a lot more. This is great for people who aren’t designers as Beaver Builder have professional designers who have dedicated many hours to making great layouts that you can quickly customize to your own content without much thought. There’s layouts for Home pages and content pages like your About Page, Contact Page and many others. How it works is that when you create a new page, you select one of the great templates, click to use that template, edit the text and images and colors to match your content and you’re ready to go. Do this 5 times and you’ve great a stunning 5 page website. I can create a great 5-10 page website in a matter of days using Beaver Builder and the pre-built designs that it comes with.
Excellent modules: The Beaver Builder Plugin comes with great Modules that you can drag and drop to quickly build your web pages. It has modules for testimonials, call-to-actions, slideshows, social media icons and a lot, lot more. (to play with the demo of Beaver Builder click here and then click the DEMO button on the home page).
Responsive out of the box: Everything in Beaver Builder is mobile-responsive right from the get-go. There’s also responsive settings such as the ability to change column widths at 3 different breakpoints AND also show / hide columns based on these same 3 breakpoints. Very powerful stuff.
Stability: The Beaver Builder team have proven themselves as a very reliable company who thoroughly test their products before releasing new version to the public
The Beaver Builder Team don’t rush putting out updates to their Page Builder for WordPress. They test their new features thoroughly, then release an Alpha to a select number of people like those in the Beaver Builder Facebook Group, then test some more, release a Beta, test some more and make updates based on user resting results and then once fully tested they release the new update for the Plugin.
The thorough testing of the Plugin and the way they release Alpha, Beta and then the final Plugin update is something I really like for three main reasons:
- My websites don’t break when I update them for my clients and myself. This is particular important for myself because I have lots of websites and they are set to auto update plugins (I do this as I limit my plugins very strictly to a select few so I can be sure there will be no problems – more on this in another post to come).
- I feel apart of the development process. I can provide my feedback and also see what others are saying in the Facebook Group. It feels as if I am apart of the actual development of the plugin which is empowering.
- I see new features before they are released. While lots of people are running the most recent stable version of the plugin, I can play with the Alpha and Beta releases of the plugin and see what is to come before others. This is really fun.
Support and documentation: I get my Beaver Builder questions answered faster than any other WordPress plugin I have ever used
There are WordPress plugins out there with good support and there’s definitely more with terrible support. Take for instance the WordPress Plugin Store Locator Plus and their support page. Sending them an email takes them up to 5 days to reply? Holy cow. Imagine saying that to a website client. “I have messaged the Plugin developers a question and they’ll get back to us next week” and then I can provide you the quote. You’d lose the sale. Also, what if you’re running your own website with this plugin and it stops working and you’ve got a non-working Store Locator for 5 days. People are trying to use it so they can go to your shop and give you their money. And they can’t do this easily for 5 days.
Beaver Builder firstly had BBPress running for their support forums but it got too hard for the team to manage due to their increase in customers, so they swapped over to HelpScout and created a KnowledgeBase with Video tutorials and written content that answers a lot of the commonly asked questions. It is also updated regularly.
But where Beaver Builder shines is in the Beaver Builder Facebook Group.
[clickToTweet tweet=”My favourite facebook group is the #BeaverBuilder facebook group. I could not live without it!” quote=”My favourite facebook group is the#BeaverBuilder facebook group. I could not live without it!”]
There is a never-ending list of reasons why I recommend you join the Beaver Builder Facebook group, but here’s a few:
- I get answers fast: There are some very talented people in the Beaver Builder group and I get answers to my questions within the hour, if not faster. This allows me to move on and progress with whatever I’m doing and not have to wait days.
- The Beaver Builder team are active in the group: While the group is not owned by the Beaver Builder guys, they answer important questions people ask them and also keep the community updated with what’s happening behind the scenes.
- Everyone is super-friendly and in the same boat: Everyone is using WordPress and trying to create beautiful websites that just work really well. There’s a mix of web agency owners to people creating their first website so it makes for an interesting mix of comments and questions. Above all, everyone is super friendly.
Lightweight code: The Beaver Builder plugin is incredibly light-weight in code so my websites load fast
If you’ve every played around with other WordPress Page Builders like Visual Composer, you’ve probably noticed how incredibly resource hungry the plugin is. I’ve built many websites with many different WordPress themes in line of work as a WordPress designer and developer. An appropriate project to discuss right now would be a clients’ website I originally built with Visual Composer and the popular Bridge Theme.
I built the website using one of the out-of-the-box website templates that you can choose for the Bridge Theme and it did look good. But the website was just extremely slow to load. Not only that, but I looked at the code it was producing and it was just extremely over the top and unnecessary in my eyes.
And the client complained about the slow speed pretty quickly.
I was also not overly confident that the theme wouldn’t break on update. There was just something about the Theme and Visual Composer that made me feel uneasy. Maybe it was all the shortcodes Visual Composer output into the page and how slow the website was loading.
I actually ended up re-coding the whole site using a Genesis Child Theme and Beaver Builder and the website literally loaded in less than half the time it was taking with the Bridge theme. I wish I had taken screenshots of the before and after tests.
After spending an extra 2 days doing the transfer across to Genesis + Beaver Builder, I had to be optimistic and consider that “Hey, at least I have experienced first hand the difference in speed of Visual Composer vs Beaver Builder and don’t have to wonder it anymore”.
Straightforward to use: The Beaver Builder Plugin has a very intuitive interface which means my clients can easily edit their content without asking me endless questions
Beaver Builder is very intuitive which benefits me (and will also benefit you) in two ways:
- My clients are able to start editing their websites right away. They don’t need to ask me 10 questions about how to change an image. Once they log in and edit a page, it’s simple – and my clients just “get it” right from the get-go.
- I can build websites ridiculously quick because everything in the interface and how the plugin works makes sense. A good user interface is one where you can do what you’re needing to do without really needing to think about what you’re clicking on. I want to edit a column – great! I hover over the column, it lights up with a blue overlay to show me I am going to edit the column, and then I click the settings icon – appropriately, a wrench.
Extendability: I can easily customize the Beaver Builder Plugin AND Beaver Builder Theme to meet the specific needs of each website
Let me break this one down into one section for the Beaver Builder Plugin and then another section for the Beaver Builder Theme.
Some of the things I discuss below are great features for developers, however, if you are not a developer yourself, it is still good to understand what is possible so that you can then hire a developer to implement your idea if you do not have the necessary skill-set yourself.
WHY IS EXTENDABILITY IMPORTANT?
Being able to extend a software like Beaver Builder means that you can customize it to better meet the needs of a project. Instead of saying to my website clients “Sorry, this cannot be done” I can say “Yep, sure, I will get a quote for you to do this”. It is incredibly empowering for people like myself and should be for yourself, also.
EXTENDABILITY IN THE BEAVER BUILDER PLUGIN
You can create Custom Modules for the Beaver Builder Plugin using the Module API: Using some PHP code you can register your own new modules. If you’ve ever done something like register your own Custom Post Types using PHP it is similar to this. You create some arrays, create some folders in your Theme or Plugin and you’re good to go. It is very straightforward once you’ve done it a couple of times – I promise. We created some Custom Modules for our FemiBlogger Child Theme.
TIP! Please don’t register these in your Theme as that means you cannot change themes at a later date. In FemiBlogger we created a separate plugin that registers these modules so that our users can still swap Child Themes later on and not lose the Custom Modules (and information in these Custom Modules).
This is extremely helpful for when you need to create a module for a specific project. For example, we recently completed the client website Mildren Events and on this page http://mildrenevents.com.au/go-series/go-tri/results/ they needed a table for the results. Currently, this is a HTML module with a table in it, but if the budget had permitted, I could have created a Custom Module for the Beaver Builder Plugin called Results Table (or something similar) and registered the necessary fields for the table and then output this data from the module into a table. (I may do this as a separate tutorial just to show you guys how this works. Please comment below if you’d like to see this tutorial 🙂 ).
You can override the core Beaver Builder Modules: The Paid version of Beaver Builder comes with a great selection of modules, everything from call-to-actions, to buttons and subscribe forms. They’re all really useful. But sometimes you might want to extend one of the included modules and add your own setting. A great example of when I have needed to do this is on the Photo Module. The Photo Module comes with a setting for Alignment and you can set the alignment to left, right or center. I actually wanted to add a new setting to this field called “Full-width” and any photo with this align: full-width should stretch out of the content area and become full-width. This was simple to do using the Beaver Builder Plugin’s Module API.
EXTENDABILITY IN THE BEAVER BUILDER THEME
The Beaver Builder Theme uses the native WordPress Customizer for all of its Theme Settings. Because it leverages the native Customizer API of WordPress, you’re able to extend the Beaver Builder Theme and register your own Settings Panels and be confident it won’t break with WordPress updates because it’s native WordPress.
For example, in the BeWell Beaver Builder Child Theme I registered a new setting that is important for the Transparent Header effect of the BeWell Theme. I did this using the native WordPress Customizer API – very powerful stuff.
Integration: Beaver Builder works well with lots of other plugins AND (even better) you can use Beaver Builder to build your Custom Post Types
EXAMPLE: WOOCOMMERCE PLUGIN INTEGRATION
Beaver Builder also works with the popular Ecommerce plugin WooCommerce. In fact, the Paid versions of Beaver Builder also have WooCommerce specific modules! This means you can add products to your pages using drag-and-drop.
On the Beaver Builder Settings Page you can also choose what Post Types in your website can be edited using Beaver Builder which is incredibly useful. For example, if we run with this WooCommerce integration example, you could select to use Beaver Builder on your WooCommerce Product pages. This means you can build your WooCommerce pages using Beaver Builder Modules and the drag-and-drop beauty of the Beaver Builder Plugin.
Beaver Builder: Pricing and Licensing
Beaver Builder Pricing
You can click here to review the pricing packages for the Beaver Builder page builder plugin. In summary, here’s a cheat sheet of which package is right for you:
- Beaver Builder Lite: This is the free plugin that is available on the WordPress Plugin repository here. You can get a feel of what it can do by installing it and having a play but to be fair you really need a paid version so you get the better page builder modules.
- Beaver Builder Standard: Get this option if you’re using your own theme like a Genesis Child Theme and don’t need the Beaver Builder Theme. Also, get this option if you’re not going to be using WordPress Multisite.
- Beaver Builder Pro: Get this option if you’re wanting the Beaver Builder Theme. I have this package and recommend this package because I love the Beaver Builder Theme (for reasons I will outline further on) and I don’t like WordPress Multisite.
- Beaver Builder Agency: Get this option if you are going to use Beaver Builder in a Multisite environment. WARNING: If you are thinking you’re going to start your own web agency and use something like WPMU Pro Sites to auto create websites etc I know several people who have gone down this road and have abandoned it for better solutions because it is too complex. If you’re thinking of using Multisite you definitely need to weight up why you’re wanting to use it.
Beaver Builder Licensing
All Beaver Builder packages allow you to use the plugin Unlimited Sites which is great.
Beaver Builder: Addons for the Beaver Builder Plugin
The Beaver Builder core team are responsible for the Beaver Builder Plugin and the Beaver Builder Theme. However, because both of these are very flexible and able to be extended, third-party developers have released some very powerful addons.
Yep! The website you’re currently reading this article on. The products we’ve produced for you here at BeyondBeaver.com have one main focus – to help you build better websites ridiculously fast.
How do we do this? We offer an incredible range of Landing Page Templates for Beaver Builder that you can import in seconds.
We also offer a number of ready-to-go premium Child Themes for the Beaver Builder Theme.
Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder is built by the same folks who built the popular Ultimate Addons for Visual Composer that has over 28,000 sales and has maintained a consistent 5-star rating based on customer reviews which highlights that they know what they’re doing.
With 30+ custom modules and 150+ templates, and a history to back them, I went ahead and purchased their Lifetime License (I recommend you do the same if you’re serious about building websites for some time). They have really built some beautiful custom modules! But what sets them apart is something they call sections. Sections are nicely designed row templates that you can drag-and-drop into your pages.
Click here to read our previous post “Design beautiful Beaver Builder websites without knowing how to design using UABB” which runs you through how UABB works and can work for your business just like it is for mine.
PowerPack is an addon developed by a small but extremely talented team headed by Puneet Sahalot. With 30+ modules & 120+ templates that will boost your productivity, they also have proven themselves in the Beaver Builder community as being very helpful, knowledgeable and, above all, genuinely out to make their Beaver Builder addon the best addon available.
PowerPack has remained very popular to Beaver Builder users because it is lightweight and does what it does really well.
It also offers some unique modules that are not currently found in any of the other third-party addons available such as styling for form plugins like the very popular Gravity Forms plugin for WordPress.
Things you should note about third-party addons for Beaver Builder
When all these third-party Beaver Builder addons became more and more popular I saw many questions in the community revolving around how to do things that were really just not great UI. For example, I don’t like flipping boxes. Why? Because the backside of the card shows on hover and mobile phones don’t have a hover state so the content is not easily accessible. While this could be fixed with some CSS for mobile devices, it just isn’t great User Experience which is why I wrote (and advise you take the time to read) this post Is the juice really worth the squeeze? where I discuss not giving in to the shiny object mentality and putting effort into the things that don’t really matter in a website.
Beaver Builder is SEO Optimized and translation ready
I won’t go into too much detail here as I am no expert in SEO or translating products, but Beaver Builder does come in many different languages AND it also incorporates schema.org. Taken from the schema.org website “On-page markup helps search engines understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results”. Basically, Beaver Builder outputs code that can more easily be read by Search Engines and thus your website content is better indexed.
Beaver Builder allows you to import and export your templates between websites
This is one of my favorite and most used features of the Beaver Builder Plugin. You can design Pages using Beaver Builder, save them as Templates and then export them and import them into other websites.
This is exactly how our Landing Page Templates (click here to view our Landing Page Templates) work in our Shop here on BeyondBeaver.com . We built these templates using Beaver Builder and exported them. When you purchase from our shop, you then import the downloaded file and you will have the new Landing Page Template ready-to-use for your website in less than a minute (if that!).
Summary: The Import / Export feature of Beaver Builder is crazy useful!
RELATED POSTS! Here are two videos which show you this import / export feature as I run through how to easily create a Landing Page using Beaver Builder.
- Part 1: How to create Landing Pages with Beaver Builder the WordPress Page Builder
- Part 2: How to create Landing Pages with Beaver Builder the WordPress Page Builder
The Beaver Builder community will get you answers to your questions faster
As I have mentioned previously, Beaver Builder is growing rapidly in popularity and this means more questions need to be answered.
The core Beaver Builder team do an amazing job in answering questions but truth be told I have not had to ask them a question directly for the last year or so. Now, I’m not saying I have never needed to ask a question on how to do something; I’m just saying I’ve asked elsewhere.
I’ve asked other people in the Beaver Builder community over Slack, Facebook and even twitter. The Beaver Builder community is incredibly active and in the process I’ve made lots of friends – some of which are even on my personal social media accounts. I love it!
If you do go ahead and use Beaver Builder (or already are), here’s a few resources and people you should connect with to get the most out of the Beaver Builder product.
People, pages and accounts you should follow in the Beaver Builder community right now
David regularly interviews people within the Beaver Builder community to delve into how they’ve come to use Beaver Builder and start their online web endeavors. It’s amazing how interesting some people’s stories are and what they’re doing online.
- Website: http://davidwaumsley.com
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC57fQKQbBm5anoexOv8UJFA
- Twitter: @davidwaumsley
ProBeaver is a website solely dedicated to Beaver Builder. I’d suggest you subscribe to the mailing list to receive a monthly recap on what has happened in the Beaver Builder community that month – things such as new Beaver Builder addons released, new websites designed, new features released for the Beaver Builder plugin etc. It also contains a great list of Beaver Builder tutorials.
BEAVER BRAINS (IAN THOMPSON)
Ian runs beaverbrains.com which has a showcase section that lists websites which are done we Beaver Builder. You can use this as inspiration for design ideas, and also to see what is possible with Beaver Builder.
- Website: https://beaverbrains.com
- Twitter: @beaverbrains
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beaverbrains
LEE JACKSON DEV
Lee is active in the Beaver Builder community but also hosts the WP Innovator Podcast – The WordPress Podcast for Design and Web agencies. He interviews some people who have done some amazing things. You can get to know the Beaver Builder core team a bit more if you click here to listen Lee interview the Beaver Builder Team.
- Podcast: http://leejacksondev.com/podcast/
- Twitter: @leejacksondev
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wpinnovator (Podcast group)
I’ll be putting together a dedicated page on resources which I will add here once I have created it but the above should be a great place to start.
If you’re not already using Beaver Builder I suggest you click here to try the Beaver Builder demo and see just how good it is for yourself.
I am constantly reading and watching business related Podcasts, YouTube videos and content online and I hear regularly that one should always limit their costs no matter how successful a company is. I believe this is true, definitely, undoubtedly.
But there also comes a time during each purchase for you and your business that you must consider whether the thing you’re wanting to buy is going to save you money by buying it.
Beaver Builder did this for me and the other 100,000+ WordPress installs that are using the plugin today (especially with the third-party addons like Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder).
At this point in time, the Beaver Builder plugin is $99 for the lowest paid version.
I personally always take the price of something and divide it by my hourly rate to see how many hours I need to cover the cost. For most, $99 dollars will only be a bit of a day’s work.
If I consider half a days work vs the amount of time I have saved personally in client projects using Beaver Builder, I am ridiculously ahead.
I mean, even if you were crazy and were only charging $1000 for a website (please don’t – raise your prices!), I can pretty much guarantee you that you’ll push out client websites in half the time you’re currently taking if you use Beaver Builder.
These days I am using Beaver Builder for most of my client projects and am doing them in at least 50% of the time I used to do them in. 50% faster website creations with the same price point = better margins for myself and you can do the same by using Beaver Builder.
If you have any more questions feel free to comment on this post 🙂