One of the most common issues we encounter when our clients ask us to rebuild or fix their websites is the use of theme builders. Many WordPress website owners and developers use theme builder plugins (or drag-and-drop themes) that allow building page layouts by simply dragging and dropping. Theme builders such as Divi, WPBakery and others are popular because they seem so easy to use that even a non-technical person (or a web designer who doesn’t know how to code) can use them to build page layouts. Who wants to pay a professional web developer if you can use an automatic theme builder to design your website yourself, right?
Later on, however, you may wonder why your website is broken. It is because theme builder plugins cause significant problems.
All WordPress website designs (themes) are created by writing code. A professional developer will write the code manually and optimize it to ensure that it is efficient and clean and does not slow down your website performance. When you use a drag-and-drop interface to design your layout, the software auto-generates the code for you in the background. The resulting code is heavy, bloated, and inefficient. Why should you care? Because bloated code severely slows down your website’s speed and performance. Your patients and Google will not be happy about your sluggish website. Code bloat and the resulting performance issues will negatively affect your brand image, your conversions, and your search rankings.
Your design will only work for as long as the theme builder plugin is installed and active. If you uninstall the plugin or if the plugin becomes no longer supported by the manufacturer, your design will be ruined. By contrast, if you invest in creating a custom-coded design with a professional web developer, your design will be there for as long as your website is active or until you want to redesign your website. In most cases, your custom design will be easy to maintain, modify and build upon.
Your theme builder plugin may interfere with other functionality on the site. For example, an online form may be incompatible with your theme builder plugin. Such plugin conflicts can ruin your website functionality. By contrast, a custom theme is usually compatible with most WordPress plugins because a professionally-designed custom theme has lean, minimal code which reduces the risk of the theme code interfering with a plugin. As custom theme developers, we have never had any issues with plugins – all plugins that our clients ever install have worked with our themes just fine.
This is the worst nightmare of any website owner and developer – one that we see often when clients ask us to rebuild or fix their sites. As mentioned, a theme builder plugin auto-generates lots of code, and some of this code is inserted into your website content as snippets of code, or shortcodes. While the plugin is working normally, these shortcodes are invisible on the page, but when a plugin malfunctions or gets removed, these shortcodes appear on the page in a very unsightly manner, such as this:
This is not what you want your patients to see when they read your website pages, right? Cleaning up these shortcodes is a very tedious, time-consuming job which involves going to each page and carefully removing the code while trying to keep the content intact. It’s best to avoid the issue altogether by getting your website custom-coded.
Design Should be Left to Professionals
Just because you can design a website with a plugin doesn’t mean that you should. We often see disastrous drag-and-drop designs that look cluttered and messy, with colors that don’t match, with spacing that’s off, with images that are too large and break the layout, with fonts that don’t fit properly, and with text that’s unreadable. If you want your online brand to look professional and trustworthy, hire a designer to create your website.
Using a drag-and-drop theme builder in the hopes of creating a professional-looking business website is cutting corners that can turn out costly in the long run. Don’t hire web developers who do that and don’t try to do that yourself. Rather than trying to make it work with a theme builder and dealing with all the issues that can happen as a result, focus on growing your business and hire a professional web designer to custom-code your website design for you.