A page builder is an indispensable tool for a website developer (especially newbies). It helps in figuring out the layout of a website and determine which component goes into which slot. It is also useful in preparing what can be loosely called the blueprint of a website. With a page builder, you can imagine a layout for your site and build it by simple drag and drop. In less than a quarter of an hour, the layout for your website will be ready.
The pioneer in drag and drop page building is Visual Composer, a plugin from WP Bakery. It works well with most WordPress themes, so you are not restricted in your choice of themes. It also comes with many premium themes, and is a major selling point with these themes. According to statistics from builtWith, there are more than 3.5M active websites that installed Visual Composer. So, it is really not up for debate whether Visual Composer is among the top ranking WordPress plugins.
What does Visual Composer do?
Using the plugin’s powerful Editor, you can adjust settings so that your page appears in a particular fashion. You can do this by choosing Options in the settings panel, or with the help of a Drag and Drop Page Builder.
There are many bits and pieces that make up content on a website. These are referred to as ‘content elements’ in Visual Composer, and they can be dragged and dropped anywhere on a page. There are 40 content elements in total, and all are responsive and adjust to meet the screen size of any device. You can hide specific elements for specific devices or even turn off this feature, if you wish.
The Skin Builder is helpful in designing the appearance of the website, especially if you have no programming knowledge. Building a page can be done from the frontend without having to mess with the admin panel. To display posts, portfolios and media in an organized way, Visual Composer includes Advanced Grid Builder. Gaps, filters, width, pagination can all be inserted. Or, you can pick from the predefined layouts and adjust as you wish.
With Visual Composer, you can also add CSS codes under Settings. Coders can add elements and modify content directly from the function.php file and then instruct Visual Composer to work with that content. Even if you are not a developer and want to add code, the Shortcode Mapper will help you add third party shortcodes.
Visual Composer is also multilingual ready and compatible with Yoast SEO and WooCommerce. You can purchase Visual Composer for $34 and also avail of a lifetime of free updates. If in doubt, you can always choose to go with their free trial.
Let us take a look at some websites that have used Visual Composer.
CrowdStrike is a company that tackles cyber intrusions in real time. They can investigate and quickly respond to any incident involving a breach. The drop down menu has been designed to occupy almost half the screen. Small, boxed images appear within the menu. These image boxes carry relevant call to action buttons. This helps you go directly to the page you want from the menu, without having to wander all over the site.
Wise Awards is the forum of a group of education professionals who work collectively to make a positive impact on education in the United States and elsewhere around the globe. While all the pages carry a full-width image below the header, the grid layout varies for individual pages in keeping up with the requirements of these pages.
Innovative Labs is an effort of the New York Daily News to provide a platform for New York’s startup community. To help them keep this goal in sight, they have placed the text “Transform Media Together” in a small content box within the full-width image that appears on all the pages.
MyZen by ASUS
MyZen by ASUS is the website catering to the growing fan community of ASUS devices. The content elements have been laid down to follow a pattern in all the pages, with a broad footer and a sidebar placed to the right. The sidebar carries social media buttons with social count, contact details, a subscription option and a small area for advertising ASUS devices.
Lakers Nation is the website for followers of Lakers Nation Basketball Club. Match schedules, news, records and trivia about the team are placed on the website for the benefit of more than 90,000 subscribers. Trending news is seen on a ticker at the top.
Liquid is in the business of reliable data collection and analysis that you can use to deliver advertisement products for brands and agencies. The website uses full width images on all the pages, separated by text that is sometimes full width and sometimes divided into columns.
Sweet Secrets is a cake house in New Zealand supplying birthday cakes, wedding cakes, mud cakes and desserts. The Products page displays delicious cakes in a grid that uses only thin white lines to separate them. This ensures that the maximum number of cakes is displayed per screen view.
Simon Barnett is a web designer and developer; one look at his homepage will tell you that he is into design. The homepage features a plain white background with no header or footer, or anything else to distract from the blueprint that occupies the center stage.
Lenderink Technologies is a family-owned business dealing with materials for interiors. The homepage displays their product line in a neat grid in which white borders separate the images.
Luke Luxham is a New Zealander who has made Japan his home. He makes short films for advertisers and his strength lies in capturing an emotion and conveying it effectively in his films.
Nancy’s Sweet Shoppe
Nancy’s Sweet Shop makes chocolates and other desserts. The layout is feminine and distinctive with page titles carried in a mauve band, just below the plain white header. All pages carry vertical borders in the signature mauve color.
The Search for General Tso
Any one who likes Chinese food must have munched on General Tso’s chicken at some time or the other. The Search for General Tso is a documentary film that traces the origin of this dish and through this search, also delves into the experiences of the Chinese immigrants into America. The recipe for this dish is made available on the website.
Insight Realty Group
Insight Realty is a real estate team that helps to locate properties and to conclude real estate transactions in the Greater Boston area. The text information contained in a boxed area is set against a grid carrying images of properties. All the pages around the boxed content carry the grid in the background.
NOXEL is a multi dimensional business with interests in building automation, venture capital, IT development and digital marketing. Each functional area has it’s own page in the website. The vision of this business group is to use technology to simplify the lives of people.
Swanepoel T3 Summit
T3 Summit is an annual real estate conference of CEOs to meet and discuss the trends and issues facing the real estate industry. The website is information packed and sectioned neatly.
Passports Online functions as a resource center for all information pertaining to US passports. The sidebar in the left gives you quick access to all the information you need.
Heart and Hands Wine Company
Tom and Susan Higgins manage the Heart and Hands Winery. They are extremely focused on quality and produce only around 2,000 cases every year. All the pages carry a full-width image and a footer with a broad section.
Stretch is a clothing brand catering specifically to athletes. The material used is antibacterial and odorless. The layout of the website supports a well organized display of products for a viewer to browse.
Marta Rocha is a paper artist. She works with paper from magazines and newspapers, and uses skill, scissors and glue to convert them into objects of art. She uses a part of the screen to the left to carry the menu and uses the rest of the screen to display the paper art.
Media Hoarders is an entertainment blog that carries information, news, music and interesting information for Nigerians all over the world. All the pages have broad borders on the sides that serve as a good relief background for the content heavy website.
Harlem Yoga Studio
This studio attempts to make yoga accessible to everybody. They conduct classes for kids, as welll as pre and post natal women, to make them feel comfortable about childbirth.
Whiskey Ginger is a London-based eatery that serves burgers and cocktails made from local ingredients. The menu appears in a horizontal strip in the middle of the homepage, but shifts to the top in the inner pages.
The Design Boot Camp
The Design Boot Camp is an online program that will teach you to design in six weeks. A mentor will guide you through the program.
Arseblog News is the one place where you can get all the news and up-to-date information about Arsenal Football Club. The website sells merchandise and club-related paraphernalia.
This website offers a number of web-based, easy to use applications. Small business owners and accountants can access the content of this website. In addition, the pages are all Cloud-based.
Paradise Helicopters is a company engaged in conducting helicopter tours to remote places in Hawaii. They have a team of top class pilots who are familiar with Hawaiian culture and landscape.
InPlay King is a mobile game for sports enthusiasts. Fun credits are collected by predicting the outcomes of games and comparing with other players. This is a one-page website that is split into three horizontal sections.
Sentinel Vaults is an Irish company that offers to keep belongings safe. The safe deposit facility is located inside an original bank vault. The website has also used horizontal sections, grids, and carousel and sliders for display of text and images.
Noel Scales is a 24-year old American performing artist. She has realized the power of her voice to help people overcome personal feelings, and is using music to express social and emotional concerns. The footer in the website is carried on all pages and contains links to Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud.
StateWide Mobility provides mobility and accessibility solutions to help people live an independent life. You can buy mobility scooters, ramps, lift systems and powered wheelchairs on the website. They offer equipment on hire and also undertake repair and maintenance services.
The layout in the illustrative websites may have given you a fair idea of Visual Composer’s functions. The frontend/backend editor, 40 content elements, skin builder, advanced grid builder and extendable functions, combined with a little imagination, means you can have a very pleasing layout for your website.