A lot of websites companies promise a “drag and drop” website builder, but what does that mean? Does your church need it? And will it make your job any easier?
Drag and Drop Page Builders are systems that offer a graphical interface where you can drag different elements onto your website page, and then move the elements around until they are in the position you like. For example, say you want an image on your page. You can “grab” the image element and “drop” it on the page where you want it. If you don’t like where it is, you can then drag it to a new position.
Here’s an example of Aboundant’s drag and drop page builder, called Divi:
Front End vs. Back End Page Builders
Divi is a “back end” page builder. It’s used in your website’s dashboard. Front end page builders are actually more popular. They allow you to modify a realistic representation of your site on the site itself. Examples include: Weebly, Pagelines, Squarespace, Clover, and many others. Each of these come with their own strengths and weaknesses.
What Makes a Great Page Builder?
1. Ease of Use
While Page Builders give you more flexibility in how your site is laid out, that doesn’t mean they are any easier to use than a static website theme or template. In fact, it often means they are more complicated. The good news is that most companies will let you demo their page builder before you use it.
2. Module Selection
In addition to allowing you to drop in text and images, some builders have a wide selection of elements you can drop in. This is why we chose to go with Divi. It has a Mail Chimp Mailing list signup form, a Countdown Timer that can be used to countdown to worship or another event, a user module that can be used for directories, and a blog module that allows you to drop different types of media (like sermon posts) wherever you want. In other words, Divi has most of the modules that a church would need. Divi is not the only Page Builder, but it offers a good mix of the right modules and simplicity of use.
A big complaint that has been leveraged against Page Builders is that it’s hard to change themes later or to export your pages to another site. This is because page builders have a proprietary way of storing data that can’t easily be read by other systems. Though if you like your page builder and it’s kept current, you may never have a need to switch.
It’s hard to imagine a church website platform being worth it without a page builder feature. You’re just too limited in how you can organize your information without one. While it’s nice to have one, not all page builders are created equal and/or good for every situation. Keep this in mind when choosing your next church website service or theme.