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.”
Beaver Builder is one of the few page builders I’ve recommended. I’m sure it will continue to be a good alternative for certain use cases. Nice article.