Should You Dump Your Page Builder for Gutenberg? 12 WordPress Experts Provide the Answer

The Gutenberg block editor is nothing short of a disruption in the evolution of WordPress. For far too long we relied on the TinyMCE editor aka the Classic editor to create content in WordPress.

So when the block editor was introduced in WordPress 5.0, it was the perfect storm the WordPress community was anticipating for some time. Now you could create eye-catching content without being a designer or hiring one.

With every release, more features are being added in the Gutenberg editor and the bugs and problems that marked its initial release have been resolved by the developers.

Now you can edit practically every aspect of a block from its color to the typography, background, and much more. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the block editor is approaching the core features offered by 3rd party page builders like Thrive Architect, Elementor, Beaver Builders, Visual Composer, etc.

Many WordPress users are now wondering whether they need a page builder plugin at all now that the block editor offers similar features? To get answers to this dilemma, I asked 12 WordPress experts one question:

Do you feel WordPress page builders are still relevant in view of the rapid development of the WordPress block editor?

Here is what each one has to say on this matter. (FYI, this post is created using the block editor).

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Adam Connell

Adam Connell is the founder of BloggingWizard, the go-to blog for actionable blogging advice.

Here is what Adam has to say on this issue:

The block editor is changing a lot about how we work with WordPress but the whole point of page builders is to put advanced customization in the hands of the masses. The block editor isn’t there yet.

And even when it reaches a point where full website development is available – it won’t be able to offer the same level of customization that page builders offer. And that’s ok – some people will want the simplicity of the block editor and others will want the granular control without having to learn CSS – there’s where page builders come into their own.

Ultimately, forget what works for other people – if the block editor works for you, go with that. If page builders fit your needs better, go with those.

Adam Connell
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Charlie Livingston

Charlie Livingston is the founder of aThemes, a premium WordPress theme developer.

Here is what Charlie has to say on this matter:

Page builders will have a place no matter how advanced the block editor gets just because there will always be a market for doing something in a different way. Page building is a complex problem with many different possible solutions. Some people will prefer the block editor way, while others will prefer the “insert your favorite page builder here” way. We can already see this from how many competing solutions already exist.

The block editor has two challenges ahead of it: number one, it is way behind in terms of features and ease of use compared to the top builders. And number two, millions of users are now using third party solutions and will stick with what they know unless there are clear benefits to switching.

Charlie Livingston
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Andy Feliciotti

Andy Feliciotti is a WordPress developer who provides WordPress tips and tutorials on SmartWP.

Let’s tune in to Andy’s views on Gutenberg vs Page Builders:

I think page builders are currently still relevant for WordPress, especially as people seek different features and experiences. That in itself is the beauty of WordPress if you don’t like how something functions you can swap it out for something that fits your needs!

I still think Gutenberg has some catching up to do on the ease of use side compared plugins like Elementor. Since page builders can be more rapidly developed vs Gutenberg since they are independent I think we’ll always see a list of running pros and cons.

Andy Feliciotti
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Santanu Debnath

Santanu Debnath is a developer and blogger whose passion for WordPress led him to launch BloggingJoy where he shares exciting blogging tips with his readers.

This is what Santanu has to say on the PageBuilders vs Gutenberg issue:

The way Gutenberg is evolving it is clear that the entire website creation process has changed now. The aim is to provide the end-user an interface that is very much interactive, easy to understand, and quick design-friendly.

Page-builders are amazing as they give huge power in the hand of every website owner. Gutenberg will definitely grow, but I believe paid page-builder tools will have advantages as they offer more features & power compared to Gutenberg.

In fact, theme builders are doing an even better job. Recently I have started using Thrive Theme Builder and I have realized that it is so easy to create an entire website using a Theme Builder.

There is no doubt that Gutenberg is changing the entire WordPress experience, but the Page Builders & Theme Builders are providing some amazing interfaces on top of that. It is really worth investing for a Page Builder or Theme Builder to create a conversion-optimized website.

Santanu Debnath
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Rob Powell

Rob Powell is the founder of Rob Powell Biz Blog where he provides valuable traffic and SEO tips to budding bloggers.

Here is what Rob has to say on this matter:

The WordPress Block Editor, previously known as Gutenberg, has made great strides forward since it was first released. And it’s a huge improvement on the previous WP editor. But the WordPress block editor still offers nowhere near the flexibility and functionality of commercial page editors.

There are two main areas where the WP block editor is lacking.

(1) Not a True Front-End Editor

The WP block editor is not a true front-end page editor. In the WordPress block editor, what you see on the screen is an approximation to what your content would look like when published. But it is not an exact ‘front-end’ view of your published article or page.

(2) Not a Page Builder

The WordPress block editor is a page editor but not a page builder. You can create a rudimentary landing page using the WordPress block editor. But it doesn’t offer anything like the layout and styling options available in commercial page builders.

Rob Powell
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Biljana Jovanovic

Biljana Jovanovic is a content team member at WPKlik, a comprehensive database about everything WordPress.

Let’s read Biljana’s take on the debate about Gutenberg versus WordPress page builders:

While the Gutenberg block editor has certainly affected the way we create posts in WordPress and made that whole process a lot easier, I think comparing it to page builders is somewhat of a long shot. With each new update, it’s becoming more and more obvious that Gutenberg is an improvement on the classic editor, but it’s still nowhere near even the less powerful page builders.

It just doesn’t have the capabilities necessary to create the types of page layouts we’re used to working with and viewing. It might get there someday, but I think there’s a whole lot of work to be done before we can even start comparing Gutenberg to some of the best page builders available today. So yes, I think page builders are definitely still relevant and will be for some time yet.

Biljana Jovanovic
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Jasmeet Singh

Jasmeet Singh is a veteran blogger who provides practical blogging and WordPress advice at Blogging Unplugged.

I summarized Jasmeet’s in-depth views on this issue below:

Even after the completion of phase 2, Gutenberg won’t be able to compete with or give us an alternate to features like theme editor or building pages from scratch as it will remain theme style dependent.

You will be able to customize the site with ease, but it won’t allow you to make changes to the layout of the theme or create pages by breaking the layout. Now, it is important to keep in mind WordPress in its current state does offer site customization features and for beginners, it can be a bit challenging.

That is why, to ease out the site customization process and to make it more visual, WordPress is extending Gutenberg’s block style editing feature to other parts of the website. Also, it is important to understand, companies consistently evolve their products to help its user base navigate the landscape efficiently and also to allow businesses associated with it to grow easily.

Development of Gutenberg will only allow users to create better-looking pages more efficiently in collaboration with these visual page builders
Having said that, Gutenberg in this stage is an exceptional editor and nothing more. It offers way more features than its predecessor. And in all of this simplicity there is an advantage that one should be aware of and
that is, it can help you create better content quickly.

Jasmeet Singh
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Jose Gomez

Jose Gomez is into WordPress development since 2010 and is currently the technical lead at Evinex.

Jose provided the following take on this question:

Although WordPress block editor is fantastic and it is something we all where expecting. In my opinion, it is not as flexible as page builders in terms of custom layouts and styling. In the WordPress Roadmap, we can see that the block editor is one of the priorities for this 2020, so it may become an excellent replacement for page builders like Beaver, Elementor, or Divi soon.

Saying that, if WordPress continues to develop its block editor like it is doing, I believe that most page builders may become irrelevant. But we cannot underestimate customer loyalty, some of them will remain no matter what.

Jose Gomez
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Khris Steven

Khris Steven is a long time WordPress user and marketer. He shares interesting marketing advice on his blog Khrisdigital.

This is what Khris has to say on this matter:

I would say that there’s no way Gutenberg could be a full replacement for specialized page builders like Elementor or Divi. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. However, generally, the Gutenberg block editor can be a substitute for just basic content layouts and simplicity for most users, but software like Elementor or Divi Builder gives more flexibility, spacing, controls, styles, and greater intuitive and user-friendly interface.

These special page builders are far more sophisticated than the Gutenberg block editor if you want the best in features and design power.

So in my opinion, the block editor can’t serve as 1-on-1 replacement for page building plugins which are still relevant.

Khris Steven
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Stacy Caprio

Stacy Caprio is an experienced WordPress user who provides practical entrepreneurial tips at her.ceo

This is what Stacy has to say on this matter:

The new WordPress block editor has many of the functions a basic page builder also has, making the most basic page builder elements irrelevant for those who know how to use the block editor. Learning the block editor still has a learning curve, so for those who may not be adept at learning new technology, they may prefer to stick with what they know and what is easy for them within their old page builder.

Additionally, just because the block editor has the ability to edit a page in the same way a basic page builder does, you still have to install additional block plugins such as Google maps if you want to add that to a block, and some page builders come with these types of blocks preloaded.

At the end of the day, the new block editor has a learning curve and does not come with every desirable block preloaded, but it does make some page builder features irrelevant.

Stacy Caprio
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Daniel Florido

Daniel Florido is the lead developer at Pixelstorm and is a WordPress Trainer, teaching people how to use WordPress and manage their own websites.

Let’s hear Daniels’s views on the Gutenberg vs Page Builders debate:

Page builders like Elementor are still relevant for time being but will diminish over time as Gutenberg becomes more feature-rich, bug-free and the overall UX improves.

Page builders like Elementor, Divi Page builder, and Beaver builders have their own community, and its that community element which is what made WordPress the powerhouse that it is. I imagine the Elementor community will be slow to adopt Gutenberg.

Elementor enthusiasts love building sites with Elementor, they have developed a deep understanding of Elementor and therefore can build sites efficiently. Switching page builders to use Gutenberg would surely impact development time, the developers’ own user experience would suffer, and ultimately the developers’ bottom line.

Daniel Florido
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Andreas Johansson

Andreas Johansson is a UX specialist with good experience in WordPress page builders.

Here are Andreas views on Gutenberg and page builders:

I think WordPress page builders will continue to be relevant for some time (at least give or take 1-2 years). WordPress is moving towards having more and more power within the Gutenberg editor, but it is not powerful enough yet to replace a page builder such as Elementor.

At this point in time, I still recommend using both Elementor and Gutenberg. However, it will be very interesting to see what the future holds, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Gutenberg starts catching up to other builders more and more.

Andreas Johansson

Summary

From the above insightful opinion of these 12 WordPress experts and users, we can reach the following conclusion on the question of relevance of page builders in light of the rapid development of Gutenberg block editor:

1. The block editor lacks advanced customization

Gutenberg is evolving fast, to be sure, but it currently lacks the advanced customization offered by various WordPress page builders like Thrive Architect, Elementor, and others.

2. Gutenberg is not very user friendly

The reason why page builders are thriving in the WordPress ecosystem is due to the ease of using these page builders. Gutenberg has a long learning curve and is not as user friendly as some of these page builders.

3. Gutenberg lacks front page editing and is more of a page editor

Gutenberg does not offer live front-end editing experience like the advanced page builders. There is also no drag and drop block support at present. It seems more like an advanced page editor rather than a page builder. Also, you cannot create landing pages using the block editor like those possible with landing page builders.

4. Gutenberg is an improvement over the classic edior

To compare Gutenberg to WordPress page builders is a long shot at present. But the block editor is definitely a huge improvement over the TinyMCE editor or the classic editor.

5. Gutenberg could become a replacement for page builders in future

Even though Gutenberg has a lot of catching up to do, it’s important to remember that its still in the 2nd stage of development. In the 3rd stage, site editing features could be introduced and at that stage, Gutenberg could give the page builders a run for their money.

6. Gutenberg is a good alternative for users looking to create regular content

Gutenberg may lack the advanced features of the landing page builders, but it is a good editing tool for users who are looking to create regular posts and pages in WordPress. If the goal is to create content with simple customizations like multi-column layout, font, and background colors, styled images, etc. then these can be achieved using the block editor easily.

With the help of free block editor plugins, Gutenberg’s functionality can be extended significantly.

So, it’s clear that even with the advancement of the block editor in WordPress, page builders serve the unique requirements that Gutenberg is not designed for. Even so, the block editor is a much-needed improvement over the classic editor and an exciting phase in the WordPress journey.

What is your take on this?

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About Trishan Mehta

Trishan loves to dig into all things WordPress and SEO. When not blogging, he loves exploring the mountains to get a dose of fresh air and new insights on life. Recently, he has published an ebook with actionable tips on WordPress SEO. You can grab the ebook here.

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