Beaver Builder Review

Beaverbuilder logo.

There are loads of WordPress based website builders on the market and they all claim to be “drag and drop simple” and super fast loading. Most of them also claim to integrate seamlessly with everything from your favourite autoresponder to e-commerce faves like Shopify. Obviously this makes them very attractive to your average non techie business owner who needs a website. But how are they in real life? I’ve tried a few in my time and have found they offer varying levels of frustration. How does Beaver Builder – recently added to SFM members’ Digital Business Lounge (DBL) suite of tools –  compare?

Most DIY website builders start with a basic free WordPress theme. WordPress is the perfect base platform as it is very Google friendly. There are also many plugins available and they are generally pretty good. Trouble is they are template based and a little restrictive in terms of customisation. As your business grows and possibly diversifies you need a website that can adapt along with you. This is why SFM co-founder Stuart Ross sees Beaver builder as a big win for SFM members.   

I’ve just started using Beaver Builder to create a site for my partner’s new business selling hand made lampshades. My own sites are built  Optimizepress 2 and 3. I have also worked with Divi  and Convertri. The latter (also available to SFM members in DBL pro) is my favourite so far although its not great for full websites with posts pages.  All of these builders work along similar lines – presumably they have coding in common. So whats important for me is how easily you can get things done. 

Comparing WordPress Page builders 

What Divi, OP3 and Beaver have in common is the building blocks approach they all take. Starting with a blank page you add modules, rows, columns and elements in that order. Convertri on the other hand is much more freehand. You really just have elements and you can put them pretty much wherever you want. 

My initial impression of Beaver Builder is good. Once you get past the initial learning curve common to all these things it’s very easy to build pages and flesh out a site. My one frustration was the lack of a simple “undo” process. Every piece of software I have ever used offers the ability to undo something you have just done by clicking an icon. With Beaver you have to open a History window and revert to the last revision. This a WordPress function and its a little clumsy till you get used to it.

That being said it’s nothing compared to the nightmares I have experienced with Divi and Optimizepress 2 (3 is much better) To be fair to Divi’s creators I didn’t build the site in question myself – I just worked on it.  It basically resisted even the smallest of edits. It failed to update, nothing ever stayed the way you set it on a page and it crashed endlessly to the point where literally nothing got done. The friend I worked with on this project remotely was literally in tears of frustration every time we tried to do anything. It eventually transpired that the hosting provider was the root of the problem. 

Changing Themes

These though are not the sort of problems you should experience when building a site from scratch. You can expect them though if you are doing a complete theme change on a site built on another theme. I experienced this when I added OP2 to a site built on a free WordPress template. I didn’t want to have to rebuild every single page but to use OP2’s full features I had to. The problem is that you are moving from a template to a modular system. Things like menus, headers, footers and sidebars don’t automatically slot into the new theme. Some of the site is governed by the WordPress structure and some by the theme. It can take a while to get your head around it.

Optimizepress 3 isn’t an upgraded Version 2, its a full rewrite. It looks and feels quite similar to the others in this review. We have the familiar modules, rows, columns and elements scenario. I’ve added it to another established site and am experiencing the same problems. That said the builder itself is much easier. 

Beaver Builder From Scratch

The site I’m working on with Beaver Builder is fairly straightforward. It has a home page, about page, contact page, lamps for sale posts pages. Just to be clear Digital Business Lounge has incorporated some additional plugins to Beaver’s basic builder along with some tutorials which really help. Basically this means you can start with a template which you can edit to suit your needs. 

It’s a modern looking basic site which has a few prebuilt pages populated with placeholder sections and images. It’s a great way to start and just by replacing and editing what’s already there  you can have a basic site published very quickly. OP3, Divi and Convertri offer similar templates but these are landing pages and sales funnels rather than full sites.  

I was able to quickly create a new page (Lamps for sale) and import all of my partner’s images of her wares into a gallery module which looks very cool. To do this I simply copied and renamed one of the pre built pages. I then replaced all the main body content with the gallery which is a collection of thumbnail images. The visitor can click on each which expands to a larger image with a description and price. 

For our purposes at present purchasing from the site is via a contact page. Over time I will add a payment processor and delivery options to enable purchase direct from the site. This looks quite straightforward with Beaver’s tools. As does integration with Aweber so that she can start building a subscriber list. 

Getting Things Done

All in all this was a simple process. I do have to get used to the undo thing as I mentioned earlier but that’s just a learning curve. Where OP2 and Divi had me close to throwing my laptop through a window at times, Beaver builder hasn’t so far. 

Don’t ask me why some of these broadly similar programmes work better than others. As I understand it coding is the key but I have zero desire to go deeper than that. I’m a busy entrepreneur who needs to get things done with minimum fuss and maximum speed. I build websites myself because I know that if I outsourced I’d have to pay for the software anyway. I also know that building websites is really not very difficult – frustrating at times yes – difficult, no. 

As an addition to the already excellent Digital Business Lounge, Beaver Builder is fabulous. The pro version of DBL includes hosting of multiple websites, SSL certificates, Convertri and now Beaver Builder. All this and a raft of design, marketing and tracking tools costs about the same as buying any of these builders separately. Pretty amazing. If you don’t need all the other stuff I’d recommend you go with Beaverbuilder