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Page-Builders on WordPress are awesome. They make building your website’s pages so much easier than when you have to get down and dirty and code everything by hand.
If you’ve been doing your research on the best themes and/or page-builder plugins there are to use for your website or your clients’ sites, you’ve probably come across this argument for and against certain page-builders or themes.
These thoughts aren’t necessarily true: “If you use a shortcode-heavy page-builder like Divi, you better be ok staying with it for life. If you ever want to switch themes or page-builders, you will be left with a big short code mess! Also, websites that are short code heavy will slow your site down.”
Let me tell you now, most page-builders use short codes to be able to give you the extra functionality you need on your website. There are a few like the Beaver Builder plugin, which I also like to use, that don’t leave this short code mess. I like to use Beaver Builder for sites that don’t have their own page-builder plugins built in – usually Genesis Child Themes or other themes from smaller companies that offer what I call fill-in-the-blank themes.
For other sites – especially sites that will need to be built or redone from the ground up, I usually like to build with Divi because it has more features than Beaver Builder. I can build faster because of Divi’s Visual Builder and it’s shortcuts, they have third-party add-ons to extend functionality and can even do split testing and conversion tracking within your site.
I don’t worry about the short code mess for these reasons:
- It’s only important if you want to keep switching themes
- people often switch themes because they want the look of their website to change and changing your website’s look is pretty easy using Divi without having to change themes unlike fill-in-the-blank themes like many Genesis Child Themes.
- When you’re switching themes and because you want a new look for your site, you will probably want to redo your pages anyway.
- Switching themes will mess up your site no matter what.
- I find that a lot of WordPress sites that don’t use feature-rich page builders like Divi tend to have other plugins installed to get the same missing functionality AND would also often use short codes in order to display what you create with them.
- As for speed, I’ve actually seen Divi listed as one of the faster WordPress themes out there. If optimization is done right, it can be pretty fast. BTW. I’ve worked with sites that have pared down themes that run really slow. Guess what the culprit is usually? HUUUGE image sizes!
If you’re still worried about the short code mess, consider these points and best practices:
- Always use the WordPress editor for your blog posts. This will ensure that your content will translate very well between themes no matter what.
- For your pages, if you don’t really have that many pages, they won’t be as hard to redo and when you’re changing themes, and like I wrote before, you’re changing themes usually because you want to redo your pages anyway.
- If you have a whole lot of pages, and don’t want to change them when you switch themes, then go with a different page-builder like Beaver Builder. But I want to caution you on thinking this will solve your problem. Just because Beaver won’t leave the short code mess, doesn’t mean your pages will look the same once you change your theme. This is especially true if you use a theme that isn’t built specifically to work with Beaver Builder.
- For speed, make sure your images are not only compressed, but also the right height and width, run your site through Google Page speed Insight and try to address the issues they list which usually includes having to minify and optimize your site’s code.
No matter what, switching themes will cause display issues anyway whether or not you use a short code heavy plugin. And if you decide to use a page builder plugin on a theme that was not built for it, expect to have some compatibility issues which you will still have to address.
If you decide to use a page builder plugin for your site and you don’t already have a theme you love, stick with a theme that was built for your plugin. So if you decide on Divi, use both the Divi theme and plugin, and if you decide on Beaver Builder, use both the Beaver theme and the Beaver plugin.
Some other things to consider, Divi has a lifetime membership and you can use it anywhere with no limits. Divi is also WooCommerce ready and has so much built-in features, you will have to see for yourself. With Beaver Builder, you have to pay yearly and you get less features, BUT they do have much better customer service and compatibility. No WooCommerce integration yet last I checked.
If you want to read more on how to pick your themes. Check out a previous blog post I wrote on how to choose a good WordPress theme here.