Elegant Themes is one of the most popular WordPress Premium Theme providers. Well known for their beautifully designed themes and plugins, Elegant Themes has so far released 75 WordPress themes and more than 130,000 satisfied customers. We have reviewed many of their themes on WPLift, and a couple of months ago, Oli interviewed Nick Roach, founder of Elegant themes.
Recently, Elegant Themes released “Builder Plugin”. Its a drag and drop interface to create beautiful pages with WordPress. This tool was previously part of their Convertible Theme, which was designed to create great looking landing pages with WordPress. Now this tool is available separately and it works with any WordPress theme. I tested and tried this plugin on a fresh WordPress install with the default Twenty Eleven theme.
The installation was like the usual WordPress plugin installation, I uploaded the plugin zip file and activated the plugin. After that I looked at the menu bar, trying to find some new tab added by the plugin where I can review its awesome features. But there was none, so don’t be surprised if you don’t find a shiny new tab in your Admin menu after the installation.
So where is the plugin? The plugin works with your individual posts and pages, and allows you to drag and drop modules and use the post or page area as a canvas to create beautiful pages. So there is no additional item in Admin menu. The Builder appears below your posts and pages.
How to Use Builder Plugin
It is one of the easiest drag and drop design tool I have used with WordPress. Builder Plugin adds a drag and drop edit area below your posts and page edit screen. In this Canvas area you will see three options:
1. Add a Module
2. Add a Column
3. Sample Layout
Builder Plugin comes with several built in Modules for you to use in your layout. Each module is an element that you can add to your layout. Like, videos, images, textboxes. buttons, sliders, etc. Clicking on Add a Module will show the available modules. Simply drag and drop a module on the canvas to create your layout.
You can create more advanced layouts by creating columns and adding modules to these columns. There are different sizes of columns available for you to add. Like, ½ column ⅓ column, ¼ column, ⅔ column and resizeable columns.
The sample layout button allows you to drag and drop a sample layout created by Elegant Themes team to showcase the features and capabilities of this powerful plugin. I would recommend that you first add this Sample layout to a new post or page and then see how it looks. This will help you learn what each module does and how you can use it on your own layouts.
Builder Plugin Features Overview
It works with any theme
Builder Plugin uses the post or page area as the canvas to create the layout, without making any changes to your theme. So it works out of the box with most themes.However, depending on colors and style of your theme certain elements may not match with your own styles. In that case you can take advantage of the additional CSS class available with each module.
Modules and Settings
Each module is an element which you can place on your canvas. Some of these elements are quite complex and you probably used plugins or lots of handcoding to implement these elements in your themes. Like for example, the slider module, which adds a beautiful slider and give you control to select animations, images, and other stuff. Each module in the Builder Plugin comes with its own settings. Some of the available modules are:
With this comprehensive collection of modules, I don’t think one would need any more modules, but what if someone wanted to create their own module and add it to the plugin? How they can do that? I was unable to find the answer, but I am sure that its entirely possible.
I particularly loved the way, I can just drag the elements to resize them, place elements side by side, or in columns.
Image Slider and Simple Slider Modules
Builder Plugin comes with two types of slider modules. The first one is image slider which can be used to create slideshow of images and the other one can be used to create slides with images and text. This is a very useful slide and can be used to create highly interactive landing pages. Particularly useful to showcase features of a product or service.
Resizeable Video Module
Like rest of the modules, the video element in Builder Plugin is also resizeable. Which means that you don’t have to adjust your layout to accomodate a video instead the video is adjusted to your layout.
The Builder Plugin also comes with five Widget areas which can be added to your modules. But these widgets are maintained in Appearance > Widgets. There you can add Widgets to the Builder Plugin’s widget areas and then use these widgets inside your layouts.
Buttons play a very important role on landing pages. How many times visitor click on those call of action buttons is decisive to measure the success of any landing page. Builder Plugin makes it easy to add the beautiful buttons with different color and sizes with your call of action text and link. These buttons can be dragged and drop anywhere on your layout which makes them more useful and effective.
Support and Pricing
Elegant Themes has this yearly price structure, which gives members access to all their plugins and themes. The builder plugin comes with the Developer Plan, which costs $89 per year. As for support, Elegant Themes provides technical support to all their members. They answer queries really fast and their support staff know their stuff. Overall, I think with this many plugins and themes, updates and tech support, the price is just right.
I think Builder Plugin is an amazing tool for people who need to create instant pages with different layouts. It can be used with any theme, or with a very basic minimal theme to create wonderful pages. I believe that the plugin’s target market is developers, however it is so simple and easy to use that almost anyone can use it without knowing any CSS or HTML.