Page builders have become the standard for creating WordPress websites. They provide a range of design options and flexibility typically unavailable within themes or WordPress itself. However, those options often come at a cost. Not only a monetary cost, but a significant cost of time and performance. As a result, Organic Themes was reluctant to jump into an already saturated market of WordPress page builders.
If we were going to enter the market, it needed to be done the Organic way — Meaning, a clean, simple, and intuitive approach to building pages using existing WordPress tools. That meant analyzing the perceived problems with other builders, and creating an easier alternative.
Problems With Page Builders
The goal of a WordPress page builder is to make the process of creating a custom page quick and easy for the average user. However, most builders lost sight of that goal. They try to be everything to everyone. As a result, they often fall victim to the same problems. The common problems we found among many page builders are as follows:
- Many builders provide an interface that is a significant departure from the WordPress user experience. As a result, an additional steep learning curve is required.
- The sheer size and complexity of most WordPress page builders pose serious problems to website performance.
- The options are often overwhelming and confusing.
- Many builders create conflicts with other popular plugins such as WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, Jetpack, Gravity Forms, etc.
- They come at a steep price, and lock users into a system from which there is no easy escape.
Creating An Alternative
We set out to solve those problems when releasing the free version of Organic Builder Widgets over a year ago. The result is a plugin that can be used to build dynamic pages with practically any WordPress theme. Additionally, it’s all accomplished using widgets within the familiar WordPress customizer interface. It’s fast, easy, and there is little impact on the performance of your website.
As with everything we’ve done, we didn’t throw a bunch of marketing dollars behind Organic Builder Widgets. We released it, recommended the plugin with our themes, displayed its power within the StartUp Theme, and watched its popularity grow organically. We believe that is the true way to test the validity of a product.
After a year, the free Organic Builder Widgets plugin has over 10,000 active installs, great reviews, and is showing no signs of slowing. It has proven to be an excellent alternative to other WordPress page builders on the market.
The feedback has been phenomenal. Testimonials like the following have kept us excited about the potential of this product:
“Ho Li Chit! I love this plugin.
I’ve bought or played with virtually all the other WP page builders out there… ones worth using are expensive, most even require annual payments to use their best features or get updates. Some try to be all things to all people and trade the problem of effectively designing a WordPress webpage with the problem of a steep learning curve.
To be honest, I haven’t found “the one” page designer that effectively balances simple with effective. I believe all page builders will be of the drag-n-drop, full-width, content-block variety in the near future, so you guys are right in the sweet spot…
Thank you for such an elegant solution to a wide-spread WP problem. Can’t wait to see where you take it from here.”
Organic Builder Widgets Pro
The free plugin proved the model. So, we improved upon it. Now, we are excited to announce Organic Builder Widgets Pro!
We listened to the requests of our free users, and built the premium version with their needs in mind. The premium version includes 4 additional widgets, new options for existing widgets, and compatibility for the widgets of popular plugins like WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, Gravity Forms, Give, and more.
4 Additional Premium Widgets
The 4 new widgets included with Organic Builder Widgets Pro include an Events Widget, Business Info Widget, Image Slideshow Widget, and Split Content Widget. Each new widget adds a range of new capabilities to the plugin.
The new Events Widget is a great solution for musicians, entertainers, speakers, venues and more. The widget provides options to quickly create and manage events within a single and easy-to-use widget. Plus, it looks awesome!
Image Slideshow Widget
The free Organic Builder Widgets plugin provides a Content Slideshow Widget, perfect for displaying slides of featured posts. However, it’s not ideal for displaying a slideshow of only images. That’s where the Image Slideshow Widget with Organic Builder Widgets Pro shines. Whether you’re a photographer, or just sharing a slideshow of family photos, the Image Slideshow Widget is perfect. Additionally, you can optionally add a title and link for each slide.
Business Info Widget
Displaying the contact information of your business is a necessity for any business website. After all, the purpose of a business website is primarily to gain more business. There seemed to be a lack of options available for readily displaying business contact information in one section within a WordPress website. So, we created the Business Info Widget to remedy the situation.
The widget can be used to display information about your business, hours of operation, address with a map link, phone and fax numbers, email, and social media links. Additionally, it’s all displayed in a single page section with the custom background, colors and fonts of your choice.
Split Content Widget
The new Split Content Widget was created purely for design flexibility. It displays content within one frame, and an image with a title in the other. Also, the position of the tiles can be flipped, which allows for the stacking of alternating Split Content Widgets on a page when showcasing various features, amenities, services, etc.
New Options For Existing Widgets
Organic Builder Widgets Pro features several additional options for the 12 existing widgets within the free version. The options include the ability to change fonts, layouts, backgrounds, and styles. Additionally, options for creating a filterable portfolio, adding blog pagination, scaling images and icons, and more are available in the premium version.
A limitation of the free version is the inability to choose custom fonts. We remedied this within the premium version by hand selecting the best Google Fonts to choose from. So, on a per widget basis, you can change the fonts for the title and body text. Additionally, you can adjust the title font size, weight, heading tag (for SEO purposes), and letter spacing.
The free version of Organic Builder Widgets is great for stacking page sections vertically, but what if you want widgets displayed horizontally? This is now possible with Organic Builder Widgets Pro. Set custom widths for your widgets, and they will display side by side within a clean and responsive flexbox grid.
Additionally, the premium version provides options to define custom widget heights, padding, the positioning of elements, and several other layout options.
Many widgets within the premium version provide the option to select from multiple available styles. For instance, the Blog Widget has styles for displaying posts with a number of stylish presentations.
A filterable portfolio option has been added to the premium version of the Portfolio Widget. It provides the functionality to filter portfolio posts based on sub categories. Additionally, the widget can display the Jetpack portfolio custom post type, and categories can be added to the post type for filtering.
A limitation of the Blog Widget within the free version was the inability to display post pagination. As a result, we’ve added the option to display pagination in the Blog Widget within Organic Builder Widgets Pro.
A common request of free plugin users is the option to toggle the display of elements such as post meta or content backgrounds. By request, we’ve added this capability for premium users. So, post meta, authors, background tiles and more can be optionally displayed or hidden within relevant widgets.
Before digging in to the development of this plugin, we had to ask ourselves some key questions about the future of WordPress. When asking ourselves these questions, we thoroughly tested Gutenberg and poured through Github conversations on its development progress. As a result, we came to have a good understanding of where Gutenberg is, and where it’s going.
Is Organic Builder Widgets Compatible With Gutenberg?
With Gutenberg on the horizon, some have questioned the plugin’s compatibility with the new WordPress editor. Well, we have thoroughly tested Organic Builder Widgets with Gutenberg, and while we have made updates to account for changes in Gutenberg as the editor has evolved, we are proud to say that Organic Builder Widgets works as seamlessly with Gutenberg as the classic editor. Additionally, we are experimenting with other ideas to marry the power of the Gutenberg editor, the WordPress customizer and Builder Widgets into a cohesive page building experience.
Will Gutenberg Replace Page Builders?
Depending on your outlook, you may have embraced Gutenberg or shuttered at the very mention of it. While Organic Themes has embraced the change, my first reaction was that Gutenberg was going to replace the need for WordPress page builders. Through my extensive testing, development and use of the new editor, I’ve come to realize that this is not the case — at least not any time soon. Gutenberg is a fine improvement to the content creation experience, and that’s up for debate among many users. However, it is long way from being a page builder.
Will Blocks Replace Widgets?
Blocks are the new way of adding content within the Gutenberg editor. While the use of blocks may eventually replace the need for sidebars, that is entirely theme dependent. Also, the use of widgets will remain necessary within theme sections outside of the content — such as headers and footers. Since WordPress 4.9 introduced 2 new widgets within core, we so end to widgets anytime soon. Widgets should remain alive and well as WordPress progresses into the Gutenberg era.
We believe Organic Builder Widgets is a much needed alternative to the other available WordPress page builders. While many builders have their merits, our plugin provides a different approach to building pages using existing WordPress tools. We believe the result is a fast, intuitive page building solution that will appeal to many users.
Organic Builder Widgets Pro is still in its infancy. We are looking forward to the feedback from users as we grow and improve this product. As good news to many of our existing customers, Organic Builder Widgets Pro is available with our All Access and Developer Memberships. Take a look at our pricing page to see what option works best for your needs.