arrow51 Comments
  1. CodeSplash
    Apr 19 - 14:38

    There is another wordpress page builder called “aqua page builder”, its not the best page builder BUT its free and I use it for some of my wordpress themes.

    • Elaine
      Jul 11 - 20:52

      If you want free drag and drop themes, check the free themes at http://themify.me. They just released a new frontend Drag and Drop. You can edit and build content with live preview on the frontend.

      • Lilipop
        Aug 09 - 09:18

        Thanks for the link. Themify is indeed very good. The best user interface of all in my opinion.

  2. sunriseweb
    Apr 19 - 18:10

    I’ve used iThemes Builder, Headway and ElegantThemes Builder, and have settled on Visual Composer. My most recent choice as a developer is to use Visual Composer with the Genesis framework, although I have used it with child versions of several ElegantThemes themes in the past.

    For example, the home page of this Genesis WIP site is set up completely with Visual Composer with custom styling.

    • Jean Galea
      Apr 21 - 11:12

      That’s an interesting combination especially for those who would love to try Genesis but feel daunted by the fact that it doesn’t come with a builder in-built. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Vivek Kumar Poddar
    Apr 20 - 05:38

    Simply amazing collection. Glad you haven’t added thesis 2.0 ” drag and drop ” theme. Personally I wish Genesis would also introduce drag and drop functionality to their framework. It would be really great for all 80,000 plus users.

    Thanks for this post.

    • Jean Galea
      Apr 21 - 11:10

      I doubt Genesis will ever introduce drag and drop, the guys at StudioPress have taken a different direction. However you can still use the Dynamik theme for Genesis which gives you point and click functionality, as well as the Visual Composer or Ether Content Builder plugins.

  4. We used to use a drag and drop builder at UnitedWayofEastCentralIowa.org but it was creating more issues than it was helpful. Would be nice if you could test them first.

    Now we use graphic elements on several static pages to redesign our homepage based on a month’s topic. Examples: http://unitedwayofeastcentraliowa.org/implementing-a-topical-homepage-strategy-to-build-community-in-the-non-profit-world/

  5. johnpent
    Apr 25 - 01:28

    I have had Headway since early on, however, I really started using it in June of last year when they went 3.0 version. I now use it on everything I do. It is truly awesome.

    • Jean Galea
      Apr 26 - 15:43

      Good to hear some positive feedback about Headway John, thanks for sharing your experience.

  6. Vadim
    Apr 26 - 09:47

    I was hoping to find some info about the number of queries executed on the database for each, or at least some, of the block elements of those plugins. I had a very bad experience in the near past when I customized a premium theme that had build in page builder.

  7. Diana
    Apr 26 - 15:39

    Can use any of these drag and drop builders to build themes ready to sell in themeforest or mojothemes?

    • Jean Galea
      Apr 26 - 15:42

      No Diana, that’s not really the purpose of these plugins, they are targeted towards end users.

  8. Umer
    May 04 - 19:43

    PageLines seems like the best one, and they have a marketplace where you can build and sell your themes if thats the business you want to do. Theres also a builder called Lubith, which allows you to download your built theme as a fully installable wordpress .zip file, which you can then sell on various sites, including themeforest.net

    • Jean Galea
      Jul 26 - 18:45

      Be sure to check out the PageLines DMS which has just been released.

  9. smallo
    Jun 09 - 01:58

    I have a print background so my biggest concern is which of the above, if any, are most similar to InDesign or Quark?

  10. Patrick
    Jun 09 - 16:53

    I’d like to add another free alternative to Visual Composer and Ether Content Builder from the WP repository: Page Builder http://wordpress.org/plugins/siteorigin-panels/

  11. content builder
    Jun 11 - 10:46

    Content Builder is a WordPress Plugin which lets you feel free to create any page layout that you can imagine, and it is simple as drag & drop. Plugin will improve your website functionality and save your time with content managing.

  12. Jerry Davis
    Jun 13 - 17:01

    What about ThemeFrame? I want to design my own themes for my clients, and also sell the themes on ThemeForest and elsewhere. Any comments on ThemeFrame? Any experience with it?

    • Jean Galea
      Jul 26 - 18:53

      I’m not sure it’s a project I would bank on Jerry, although I could be wrong.

  13. Brian
    Jun 13 - 23:33

    I’m looking for a theme that will allow me to place images on a page feely without having to follow allignment rules. I’ve been trying several themes that look like they might work but when I install them they crash the site and give me a blank white screen, both the site and admin pages. I’m only able to go to WP 3.1 do to hosting server limitations, which could be some of the problem. Anyway, any suggestions?

  14. Emily Williams
    Jun 21 - 17:45

    Just want to add MotoPress to your useful list. Sure, that it will came in handy. http://wordpress.org/plugins/motopress/

  15. Shahnur Alam
    Jul 15 - 15:41

    Hopefully the Minimax page layout builder plugin also will be a good addition to this list.

  16. Gert-Jan Bark
    Jul 27 - 13:25

    Hi Jean, in case you will update the comparison list of drag’n’drop site builders with WP, it would be cool if you take into consideration one of our themes at NexusThemes. Send me a msg on Twitter @barkgj and I will provide you with a free theme.

  17. Sabine van Erp
    Jul 27 - 15:42

    For all the Dutch websesigners and users of WordPress: Let’s not forget we have a wondefull free drop-and-drag framework. I know a lot of duch people don’t know there are a lot of pre designed themes made by nexusthemes.nl
    Easy to use with front-end exiting.
    A lot of my customers use one of these themes and are able to maintain their website by tbemselves.

  18. will knight
    Jul 28 - 20:15

    I have used Headway 3.4.4, Pagelines ( not tried DMS though ) and Catalyst. I think headway is much better, but there are certain limitations with it like some of wordpress plugins not working properly but still Headway is the best Drag N Drap Frame work especially if you want to do psd to wordpress conversion. I really enjoyed this post. Thnx

  19. Bill
    Sep 03 - 09:59

    Hi,
    This new one is free:
    http://www.FreeThemeGenerator.com

  20. Johan van den Outenaar
    Sep 05 - 12:31

    I’d like to adjust almost-perfect premium designs working around the ugly WordPress interface. Seems that all the here mentioned options are for building from scratch. Right?

    Is there an interface tool to just adjust existing themes or wouldn’t that be possible?

    PS Great post!

  21. I’ve tried most of these builders and have found several to be good solutions if you’re building a website for yourself or your own business. When it comes to building sites for clients, however, I’ve found that hiring a developer to do the job is the only way to avoid a whole bunch of headaches along the way. If you don’t know how to code, there are some challenges that are really tough to overcome when you’re building a solution for a client. Most of us who’ve tried end up buying just about every solution on the market before coming to that conclusion.

    • skyboro
      Mar 22 - 07:41

      Furthering my comments about Artisteer – I have not had any problems with creating a theme for clients. If there is a problem with **client expectations** it has to do with their not understanding that WP uses a highly structured webpage schema and it is very hard to violate that environment (coder or not) without a lot of fuss and high risk of not succeeding. My rule of thumb is: **do not include any functionality within the theme itself.** With 14,000+ plugins available often for free or for reasonable costs, always opt for functionality via plugins and that way you accomplish two things: 1) design is not affected by functionality and visa versa, and 2) all CMS facilities built into WP remain available without fussing with theme-specific ways to edit the page – which in my opinion are NOT worth the loss of using WP’s normal CMS editing facilities. Theme-specific editing means the client cannot us WP’s CMS built in editing and explain that to them…!!

      Also, you **really** have to keep in mind that having unlimited design control for desktop may not translate into responsiveness at all. So, the design looks great in desktop and turns into confusion in mobile. This is very true when attempting to use Adobe Photoshop “slices” of an image. They may work in desktop size and the slices wind up all over the place in mobile.

  22. James
    Oct 10 - 18:40

    I am really banging my head to go with Elegant Themes which has the Builder plugin or Themify which also has a Builder plugin. Both are a drag n drop style post/page editor that can be used on any WP theme. I plan to purchase the Developer plan for either one. Any input would be helpful?!?

  23. Giuseppe Calamita
    Oct 17 - 13:09

    Hello, great article on this crucial topic for any WordPress theme customizer/developer :) After having read all of the article I still wonder which is the one that is capable to take a freely available theme, edit only its home layout (editing the related admin pane settings too), and deliver it to a non-profit as .zip file? For example: take simplebright theme for doing something like this: http://i.imgur.com/PY147Li.png two content area where displaying two posts or article (depending from the admin panel settings). Bye the way, what about: themify “builder plugin* that is missing in your article? Thank you.

  24. Cameron
    Nov 18 - 06:51

    Anyone tried Artisteer (www.artisteer.com)? WYSIWYG page builder for WordPress, DotNuke, Joomla, etc.

  25. David
    Feb 12 - 09:43

    Yes, I work with Artisteer regularly and have for several years. It is an excellent program for creating themes (I have only used it for WordPress, though.) It is a “designers” program and not a “coders” program. There is no opportunity to do any coding whatsoever. As I am a designer, that is A-Ok with me. Artisteer gives you design-control over every aspect of a WordPress page (you can create Html designs too but it is not really well suited for that but can get you off-and-running with Html designing, though.)

    I have found that CSS coders and theme creators via-coding are highly critical of Artisteer and offer up obtuse criticisms (“code is not efficient” – I know what those words mean, but, so what??? It works excellently and flawlessly so, so what?… assuming that that is true in the first place!) I never tweak CSS in WP themes because the CSS is very complex and easy to break (considering my non-coder-skills). I merely go back to my Artisteer design-file and tweak it there and then upload the new theme to replace the one needing tweaking and that is fine, works, and I avoid brain damage due to staring at code-text-in-an-editor.

    It is not a drag-n-drop program but rather a menu-choice approach. It takes a while to get used to the extensive menu and remember where some things are… not always obvious and it takes regular use to remember stuff – but that is true of most programs anyway. It takes regular use to be fast with it and to know “where you are going” but that is true no matter how you get there.

    Artisteer is building into the theme creation process **functionality** too and I highly recommend that you **NOT** put any functionality into your theme – use Plugins instead and Plugins are quite better, more flexible, and enable you to change themes without screwing around with your functionality at all. Sliders are a case in point. I use plugins for sliders (www.wowslider.com is one I use a lot). Once **functionality** is built into the theme you get other problems down the road – as in: now the content of a WP page is no longer accessible using the WP Admin/Page/Editing process and that is not good at all.

    It includes a host of pre-built, pre-designed theme/ideas/templates which you can use or modify as you wish **or not**. Some criticize the program for these pre-designs saying that you get an unimaginative result. Well, that is not so. But, you can change anything at all and make their “starter” designs into whatever you wish. They have a bevy of GREAT designs that sure get you off and running. But, add to that that each part of a page has a “SUGGESTION” button where you can rotate through a wide variety of design ideas for that portion/piece of the page… just like that!!! I will say, though, that you really need a thorough knowledge of how webpages work to know where you are going with Artisteer and how to prepare images (sizes, and types) in Photoshop beforehand.

    And, you can always preview your work in the browser at any time to see what you are doing right from within the program (no need to stop, save, and then preview.)

    The recent versions of Artisteer now include ** page-specific-sidebars** where you create the sidebar’s contents as you normally would do in WordPress but then get the option to assign that set of sidebar options to whatever pages you want (one, some, a bunch… whatever.) Combine that with the Plugin **PAGE THEME** and you have total design control over the entire website. (“PAGE THEME” – search for it using that phrase, and you can assign a different theme per WP-Page – that is NOT “template”, it is **page themes** as many as you wish per website and as you can create/tweak your themes yourself using Artisteer then you open a door to having lots of design options.

    AND, they have very responsive tech support and really pay attention to your questions and problems if you have them. I am a huge fan of Artisteer and highly recommend it. Also, lots of Youtube videos on Artisteer but a lot of them are not so good at all… and watch out what version of Artisteer those videos are showing you.

  26. TerryC
    Mar 22 - 06:40

    If a theme is created with Artisteer, can some of the other plugins mentioned then be used to arrange and add content? (I was thinking of Visual Composer).
    I am not a designer of any sort, just a small business owner on a very tight budget looking for the best solution to build and manage my own website without being tied to the likes of 1 & 1 etc.
    I am looking to add Yoast SEO plugins and then use Google Adwords as well so need something that will work well with these.
    Any (helpful) thoughts greatly appreciated.

  27. skyboro
    Mar 22 - 07:26

    @My Previous Artisteer Comment: I have not come across any plugins that fail to get along with Artisteer created themes. There could be, but, I have not found one. Artisteer does have the option to add some functionality to the theme and I advise against using **any** functionality (whether it is Artisteer’s or some other theme provider – any theme that disables the normal WP add/edit facilities is not a good idea at all and most functionality contained within the theme does that… so beware. You can find plugins for almost everything you want anyway and they do not fight with normal WP editing. I have added lots of plugins covering all sorts of topics and they work fine with Artisteer created themes (not to say that there may not be some out there.)

    **MOST IMPORTANT** – Artisteer is fully **responsive** without your having to do anything at all and I like that a lot. Artisteer theme (has to be the recent version 4.2 though to provide that responsiveness, though) just includes that facility without further effort on your part (you can turn that off, though, but don’t know why you would.)

  28. Justin Busa
    Apr 03 - 00:16

    We would love any feedback that we can get on our builder. We’ve used many themes before crafting our own and came up with this in the process… http://themes.fastlinemedia.com/

  29. Hey!
    Apr 15 - 04:45

    What builder do you recommend for NON-Wordpress?

    • Jean Galea
      May 12 - 11:52

      This is a WordPress blog so we stick to WP builders.

  30. Tony Bui
    May 01 - 22:38

    There is a new guy in the town called IG PageBuilder. The plugin core is free http://wordpress.org/plugins/ig-pagebuilder/

    If there are more needs in addons there is a premium packages.

  31. Troy Templeman
    Jun 07 - 14:28

    I recently launched a similar product called LayoutPress at http://www.layoutpress.net :)

  32. Graffig
    Jul 24 - 00:53

    I’ve been using several of the above frameworks, Ultimatum, Headway etc but I use them as a starter theme and then couple them with Live Composer (http://livecomposerplugin.com) the support from the developer is first class.

    With both Ultimatum and Headway and now Pressworks (not supported anymore) they allow me to remove both the header and footer elements from my file and create a whole theme structure just with Live composer in realtime in the frontend – loving it

  33. Jean Galea
    Jul 26 - 18:44

    I don’t think that’s really on the same level as the products featured here Martin, sorry.

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