Beaver Builder Doubles Down on Serving Power Users in Response to Gutenberg

At WordCamp US I had the opportunity to chat with Beaver Builder co-founder Robby McCullough about how the page builder is navigating the Gutenberg era. The proliferation of blocks for the new editor has made it easy for non-technical WordPress users to add things like pricing tables, maps, tabs, accordions, and other UI elements. Future iterations of Gutenberg will soon tackle layouts. These improvements to core will radically change how page builder products are marketed to WordPress users.

“One of the decisions we made in response to the news of Gutenberg early on is that we wanted to double down on our professional power users,” McCullough said. “It took us a long time in our growth as a business to figure out who our customers were. We realized there were two distinct camps: one that was like a do-it-yourselfer type, someone who maybe had a small business or a hobby website who wanted to use WordPress but wasn’t familiar with writing code. The other was more of a freelancer – maybe a one or two person agency, people who were building lots of websites and had development and frontend skills. We see that as the space where we want to live now. We’re hoping to continue solving problems and making the experience better for folks with a few more skills in their tool belts.”

Following up with McCullough later, he said that applying this new direction to Beaver Builder is already translating into the features they are prioritizing for the plugin.

“For example, in our latest major release, we added percent, em, rem, and viewport-based units for things like font sizes, margins, and padding,” McCullough said. “Without a basic understanding of CSS, this feature wouldn’t be too helpful. We also added dozens of pre-built row templates. So, instead of creating single-page designs, our goal was to create a modular system of rows that can be mixed and matched to build out sites. We’re working to build features that better enable folks who build lots of websites.”

In the interview below we discussed the current integration between Gutenberg and Beaver Builder. McCullough said his team is considering bringing blocks into Beaver Builder or bringing Beaver Builder content into Gutenberg; both are possibilities. His team has been waiting to see how quickly the community adopts Gutenberg before making any major decisions.

“My hope is that there’s still going to be a place for page builders, Beaver Builder and everyone in this space, to have a little bit more agility,” McCullough said. “We can see Gutenberg kind of be like Instagram in that it’s going to appeal to a mass audience. We like to live in the Photoshop space where you’re going to get a lot of fine-tuned controls, solving problems and creating features that are going to help people build websites every day.”


23 responses to “Beaver Builder Doubles Down on Serving Power Users in Response to Gutenberg”

  1. I like and use beaver builder .

    And i hope they don’t stop supporting wp sites with classic editor for a long time.

    Because i think like many wp lovers, gutenberg thing is not the future of wordpress , and should not be.

  2. I used to really dig Beaver Builder. I feel squarely into the camp of “I can do it myself but my people I build for want an easy way to do things without touching HTML.”

    Wasn’t a hard sell to show them the two minutes it takes to, say, put two images side by side.

    It started out great, and then there were a couple weird bugs that were related to things like false positives for security; modsec hiccups on shared hosting when trying to add a video. No biggie, couldn’t find any info on it but it was early days and they explained the issue great. After more people ran into it, though, it lingered for a really long time.

    Then, weird stuff would happen, even on clean installs. Page editor wouldn’t load, people would be locked out of access based on user roles when either nothing was prohibited or the setting was accurate and shouldn’t have allowed for it. Paid support would be three and five days between, and when you’d get an answer, it would be something that almost sounded like it willfully ignored or misunderstood what you said (it wasn’t the case but it came across like that), maybe wrote a sentence or two, and then off to the races again to hurry up and wait. Then, there’s the collection of evidence, logs, sharing username/password (or making one), reproducing the problem, and on 60% of occasions, just…dropping the thread. Leaving it be. Not responding to further inquiries.

    I remember when it seemed like every couple months or every month even there would be updates, amazing great new features (I think it’s still that way) and I was so impressed by getting to keep the same thing for the same money you paid except it just improved while you had a subscription. Everyone there believes in the product and everyone there seems to work really hard.

    So I peeked a few weeks ago, to see where they were at. Must be leaps and bounds, there were even big rewrites and the second major version was a huge improvement over the first, which was not bad at all.

    Instead, I saw teasing at stuff that other page builders were doing when they first came out a few years ago. I saw theme building for one site offered at a higher price than unlimitedsite/dev/pro licenses for other builders. Then, the capper, someone was a bit of a prat in the comments of a blog article and a “bot” scolded the person on their behalf. Not a human being going, “Hey, sorry you had a bad experience, but that was uncalled for, we’re just trying to help, please refrain for that so we can have a civil discussion and get you some help/answers/solve things.” No, like a cartoon mascot, hiding behind a veil, a post about hurt feelings, like a kid raised on the internet who didn’t learn about human social interaction or basic life experience.

    Really rubbed me the wrong way. Almost creeped me out.

    Beaver Builder is the reason I know flexbox. Beaver Builder hit the ground running, right out of the gate, offering a means for a dev and mod community. I am 95% they have all English as a first language support, at least in terms of written language. They are good and talented people, and the whole point of this is showing that they’re open to change and accomodating. But it feels…lost…lagging behind. Stagnant is the wrong word but…in need of an injection of life? I hope they can turn things around because we all benefit from the competition. Perhaps this visibility and endorsement will give them the means to do that.

    • Agreed. I’ve used a bunch of page builders and own licenses to two of them. Yet, after playing around with Gutenberg and some really useful block plugins, I’ve been able to do many things with Gutenberg alone that I could previously only do with page builders.

      Gutenberg has potential.

  3. We’re power users with several 100 WordPress business sites we’ve built and manage.

    Gutenberg is useless and worthless for us and our clients, and I would image anyone else that has the amount business we have.

    We’re moving all of our Woocommerce sites away from WordPress because of Gutenberg and not trusting WordPress anymore. It’s a lot of work for us, but we’re not going to let our clients down because of someone else failures.

    Sad to say after relying on WordPress for so many years it looks like we’re going to have to abandon it, as many more are doing it.

    Make it a stand along plugin and the ratings would probably increase dramatically.

      • Correct. We’re in the process of moving all of our Woodcommerce sites off WordPress. As far as the Classic Editor, we have it installed, and according to what we’re reading, it too will be gone in 2 years. We’re a large business and got started in 1999. We’ve seen a lot of messes over the years but nothing as bad as Gutenberg. Because we had Gutenberg, more or less, shoved down our throats, we don’t trust WordPress anymore and we’re doing what’s called preventative maintenance, keeping things running smothly with our clients before we get something else thrown at us. Our clients come first, not WordPress and Gutenberg, and there are other solutions that work for us where Gutenberg has failed us. Sorry your don’t belive me, everyone has their own opinion and you have yours. It’s useless to us trying to build business and corporate websites and manage them with Gutenbeg. I do wish you the best if you’re a lover of Gutenberg and hope it satisfies your needs to the highest of your developer needs, it you are a developer.

      • Seems a bit of an overreaction, but I wish you luck!

        You do know that the Disable Gutenberg plugin (and others like it) will continue to be supported indefinitely, I’m sure. Plus, as happened with the Customizer (remember the fuss over that?) this will likely sort itself out.

  4. WordPress 5.0 one gigantic leap backwards.
    Used previous versions for years, unless they fix it soon I’ll also be looking for an alternative very soon.

    I use a lot of shortcodes to add custom apps. Blocks – well what can I say !

    Awful !!!

    Not managed to get a single custom block to work. Its the rise and the fall of the Roman Empire

    • I agree. Gutenberg can be cumbersome for writing. You can use the Disable Gutenberg plugin to disable the Gutenberg editor selectively. For example, you can disable it only on posts, which would prioritize simplicity over block arrangement.

      Alternately, you can just use the Classic Editor block for posts. But I’d just install Disable Gutenberg and set it so that posts use the Classic Editor and pages use Gutenberg.

  5. I find this kind of thread very interesting. Responses seem to be in 2 camps: 1. We like Gutenberg and can use great plugins and see potential; and 2. We hate Gutenberg and will stop using WP or try to alleviate any Gute issues for our users etc..

    My position is that our WP usage falls into 2 camps also, but in another context, but one camp is totally outweighed by the other. Firstly our use of WP whether via BB, Elementor or Gute is OUR use (ie. internal use as an agency) where we are working on client sites from site map through to release using our preferred PB. The 2nd use is purportedly so clients ‘can edit their own websites easily’ and therefore we should use the best Gute or Page Builder solution for that.

    In all the years we have worked with WP (around 7), we have had only 2 clients who actually edit their own content in any meaningful way. 2 (Two)! That’s out of around 120 clients over 7 years. So in that sense, for us anyway, any conversation around Gute and Page Builders is only relevant for us as an agency and what serves us best. The ‘client can edit their own website more easily’ argument is theoretical for us now, rather than practical.

    I know this isn’t the main theme of this thread but thought I would throw this in as small part of the discussion.

    cheers all


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