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MotoPress Content Editor vs Visual Composer vs SiteOrigin Page Builder vs Beaver Builder vs Live Composer

The standard structure of WordPress content is just boring. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s the case.

And don’t get me wrong, please, I still love WordPress. It’s the most awesome content management system for the web in the history of ever!

That being said, there’s only limited joy you can draw from putting one paragraph after another with some images in between (and an option to align them to left, right or center).

Good content presentation is often about a lot more. Just take a look at Medium. Those guys have the content presentation part of their platform pretty figured out. Or, you know, a more humble example, what we’re trying to do here at CodeinWP with those full-width posts of ours (like this).

Anyway, WordPress is not entirely fit to let you build this kind of content easily. To make it a possibility, you need yourself a plugin. More specifically, you need a drag-and-drop page content builder plugin.

So today, we take a closer look at 4 popular solutions and point out which is best. The lineup is: MotoPress Content Editor vs Visual Composer vs SiteOrigin Page Builder vs Beaver Builder. We discuss the features, the pros and cons, what makes each of them different and which is going to be the best choice for you individually.

Full review comparison of the top drag-and-drop page content builders for WordPress

Overview
MotoPress Content Editor is a WordPress plugin that hooks up to whatever theme you’re currently using, and then lets you add some flare to your blog posts and pages.

It’s a drag-and-drop content editor, which means that you don’t need any source code or web dev skills to use it. Because of this, it saves you a ton of time while you’re working on your website content.

The plugin integrates with the standard editor screen in WordPress, and it can be enabled for every post or page that you already have on the site.

On top of that, MotoPress (the parent company) also offers custom WordPress themes that come with even more integration for the MotoPress Content Editor plugin.

Main features
  • Drag-and-drop content building.
  • Works with existing posts, pages and also custom post types.
  • Compatible with all WordPress themes.
  • Built-in elements to create complex layouts (columns, rows).
  • A big set of content blocks (such as text, buttons, images, videos, quotes, lists, etc.).
    • Also, content blocks that aren’t as obvious, like service boxes, calls to action, splash screens, charts, countdown timers and more.
  • The possibility to lock parts of the content and make it members only.
  • Responsive and mobile-ready layouts.
  • WPML compatibility.
Price
  • $29 – 1 website license,
  • $79 – 5 websites,
  • $139 – unlimited websites.

There’s also a “lite” version of the plugin available through WordPress.org.

Pros
  • Can be enabled for any existing post or page. (That isn’t always the case with the other plugins on the list.)
  • Intuitive drag-and-drop interface. It recognizes where you want to put each block, and it snaps right in the right place. It also lets you create multi-column layouts easily (you just drop a new element next to an existing element).
  • No website dev skills required.
  • There’s full support.
  • The cheapest premium solution on this list.
Cons
  • It’s shortcodes based. If you uninstall the plugin, the content you’ve built will stop working. Also, to edit your posts using the plugin, you have to click the MotoPress Content Editor button every time you go to the editing screen (not a big deal but can be confusing for newbie users).
Who’s MotoPress Content Editor best suited for?
Get MotoPress Content Editor if you:
  • want a drag-and-drop content builder that has no learning curve and just works properly,
  • want to use it with your current WordPress theme,
  • want access to a set of not-so-obvious content blocks (like charts, countdown timers, etc.).
Overview
Visual Composer is currently the bestselling WordPress plugin over at CodeCanyon, and it powers more than 1 million sites.

Like the name suggests, it’s a visual content builder with an easy to grasp interface, a ton of features and some drag-and-drop functionality (just for aligning the elements that you’ve already placed on your page).

In a sentence, Visual Composer offers everything you’d need from a visual builder, and it works with your current WordPress theme. Plus, everything’s at an affordable price.

Visual Composer also doesn’t have much of a learning curve. You can add new elements to a page by clicking the plus button and then picking what you need from a wizard.

Main features
  • Works with existing posts and pages.
  • Compatible with all WordPress themes.
  • More than 40 built-in content blocks (rows, columns, text blocks, buttons, charts, social media icons and more).
  • Responsive and mobile-ready layouts.
  • Front-end and back-end content editors available.
  • 60+ predefined layouts built-in.
  • SEO-friendly.
  • Comprehensive knowledge base and video tutorials.
  • Multisite support.
  • Compatible with qTranslate, mqTranslate and WPML.
Price
  • $34 (CodeCanyon Regular License)
Pros
  • Can be enabled for any existing post or page.
  • There’s front-end editing, so you can see what your content is going to look like on the website exactly.
  • There’s also back-end editing – through the standard editing screen in WordPress – if you prefer to keep things in one place.
  • No web development skills required.
  • The customer support has a very good reputation.
  • Works with WooCommerce.
Cons
  • Creating rows and columns is a bit more manual than with MotoPress Content Editor. That being said, for some users this might be an advantage.
  • It’s shortcodes based. If you uninstall the plugin, the content you’ve built will stop working.
Who’s Visual Composer best suited for?
Get Visual Composer if you:
  • want to use a plugin that’s been tested by hundreds of thousands of users and has great reviews all through the web,
  • want something that allows you to edit your content both in the wp-admin and on the front-end (while looking at your live site),
  • want to use the plugin with your current WordPress theme.
Overview
SiteOrigin Page Builder is an interesting visual content builder plugin that delivers a load of features and is quite easy to use at the same time.

However, by far the most interesting characteristic of it is that it’s completely free. There’s not one locked feature and nothing behind a freemium gate.

SiteOrigin Page Builder integrates with your current WordPress theme and lets you use the plugin for your posts and pages. The editing happens on the back-end (through the standard editing screen in WordPress). You add new blocks by clicking either the “Add Row” or “Add Widget” button. There’s also some drag-and-drop functionality for realigning the blocks.

In a nutshell, SiteOrigin Page Builder will give you a possibility to build your site’s content in a visual way and for free.

Main features
  • Can work with your existing posts and pages.
  • Compatible with all WordPress themes.
  • Has version control.
  • Responsive and mobile-ready output.
  • Can use WordPress widgets as content blocks.
  • There’s a set of built-in content blocks, and an additional set of blocks you can get from an add-on plugin (also free).
  • Back-end content editing (from wp-admin).
  • Available in 17 languages out the box.
Price
  • free
Pros
  • It’s 100% free.
  • It allows you to use the widgets you already have on your WordPress site (including widgets from other plugins).
  • Works on any post or page.
  • No coding skills required.
Cons
  • It’s only slightly more difficult to use than the others on this list. And that’s very slightly. For instance, to add any element to your page, first you need to create a new row and only then pick a block/widget to place in it.
  • You can’t import layouts from pages you built previously (at least it didn’t work for me).
Who’s SiteOrigin Page Builder best suited for?
Get SiteOrigin Page Builder if you:
  • want something that’s free,
  • want something that will allow you to use widgets as content blocks (this means you can display recent posts, popular posts, the search field, etc.),
  • want to use the plugin with your current WordPress theme.
Overview
Beaver Builder is an advanced visual content builder with full drag-and-drop support. What sets this plugin apart is its custom content editing interface. It’s on the front-end, and it gives you an exact representation of what your page is going to look like when you publish it.

Beaver Builder also delivers a set of built-in templates for various pages. For example: landing pages, services page, “about” page and more.

Everything you build with the plugin is going to be mobile-friendly, and it’ll work with your current theme. Also, you get to reuse your designs by exporting them.

Main features
  • Works with any WordPress theme.
  • Works with posts and pages.
  • Responsive and mobile-ready layouts.
  • Good customer support.
  • Full drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Front-end editing.
  • Multisite capable.
  • SEO-friendly.
  • Compatible with WooCommerce.
  • Import/export features.
  • A nice set of built-in content modules (headings, text, photos, icons, maps, videos and more).
  • Built-in page templates.
  • WPML compatibility.
Price
  • $99 – Standard,
  • $199 – Pro,
  • $399 – Agency.
Pros
  • No coding skills required.
  • Lets you work with WordPress widgets as content blocks.
  • Very easy-to-use interface.
  • Works with any theme.
Cons
  • Expensive compared to the other plugins on the list. The cheapest license is $99.
Who’s Beaver Builder best suited for?
Get Beaver Builder if you:
  • want a tool that’s truly easy to use,
  • want a full drag-and-drop support,
  • want a set of built-in page templates,
  • want something that allows you to edit your content both in the wp-admin and on the front-end,
  • want to be able to import/export your layouts.
 UPDATE (March 2016).  There’s a new player in the game:
Overview
We’ve decided to include Live Composer here simply because it’s a really cool solution.

First off, it’s a front-end page builder, so you get to see the changes you’re making in real time. Secondly, it’s completely free.

If you prefer to work on the front-end, rather than on the wp-admin side, this makes it a viable alternative to SiteOrigin.


Conclusion

The world of drag-and-drop visual content builders for WordPress has surely grown a lot in the last couple of years. And, to be honest, I’m really amazed at what’s possible these days vs. how reasonable the price is.

That being said, I do have my winners. Please pick the persona that describes you best:

A)

  • I want a great content editor that just works properly.
  • I want to be able to just use it without having to spend hours learning all the ins and outs.
  • I want to get access to a complete set of content modules/blocks (including the standard ones, such as text or images, but also less obvious things, like charts, counters, etc.).
Click Here to Reveal

B)

  • I want something that’s free.
 
What do you think? Have you experimented with any of the plugins from this list? Which is the best one in your opinion: MotoPress Content Editor, Visual Composer, SiteOrigin Page Builder, or Beaver Builder?

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by MotoPress and contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own, and I’d still recommend these tools every day of the week if I wasn’t affiliated. Remember that it’s always important to ensure that any tool is a good fit for you before hitting the buy button.

 
Karol K :Creates content, manages CodeinWP's team of writers and makes sure that every piece of content you see on this blog looks great! / Author of "WordPress Complete" / Professional yerba mate drinker / @carlosinho

View Comments (58)

  • I played around with most of these builders on this list (and some others, too), and would like to offer my two cents:
    It all started with Visual Composer: I put it through many paces in effort to emulate pages I liked. It works beautifully, and will help you build your dream page/site, animated content, reusable templates and many other useful things. My peeve with VC is the time I spent staring at the cubes dancing while it loads (the back end for instance)... So, for one simple edit you have to wait for the load, then you have to click on the element to open it and THEN start editing (cubes dance at every step). Hit update and wait some more... The problem that is marvelously missing from Beaver Builder - you can start editing after one click on front end (test that Thrive builder also fails while boasting the directness of the approach).
    Another annoying thing about VC is new element placement: Let's say we're looking at the top of the page and hit "new row" that we want to place on the top. But the new row is invisible until you scroll down to the bottom of the page: more time consuming dragging ensues across all other content while they wiggle around every time our new row passes over them on its way to the top. Some basic functions should come with the builder instead of separately sold extensions (copy/paste for Pete's sake?)
    Siteorigin builder came with a theme I bought, but I only used SO widgets and shortcodes before I realized it is full-blown builder. Free and intuitive is the way to go if you're just getting into all this.
    If you want to go for the best and the fastest builder regardless of the price I would go for BB. Much less learning and waiting involved as compared to VC. If you go for VC make sure you customize your own templates for repeated use. That should cut down on production time.
    I haven't seen Cornerstone in action yet, but I'm sure I'll get to it some time.

    • Have you tried a localhost like XAMPP? You will save a lot of time developing offline first then use a plugin like duplicator to load it on your server.

  • Great, although some points, Live Composer is weak compared to the other runners but a free option, also Visual Composer, does not work with every theme, in some themes it is just a nightmare to adjust the structure and also a lot of CSS to keep it aligned. in this case, Site builder works much better than VC, although of course has less features, I going to give a go now to Beaver Builder.

  • Site Origin . your comment 'You can’t import layouts from pages you built previously (at least it didn’t work for me)' On a row, add widget 'Layout Builder'
    edit the widget, and choose 'pre built templates' you can add Clone Pages or Post. I like this facility, although I would also welcome a way to edit the original clone page and then dynamically update the clone where it is used in other pages/posts.

  • A lot of decent competitors has joint the battle recently fyi : KingComposer (free), Cornerstone (premium), Divi builder (premium)

  • Thank you for this article! I've tried 3 out of 4, and my personal choice is SiteOrigin. Best things in life are indeed free! :)

  • I've just read this article. I have found another huge difference between the FREE ones. Please, answer back if I am confused:

    - SiteOrigen Page Builder works only in the BACK-END >> "The editing happens on the back-end"
    - Live Composer works only in the FRONT-END >> it’s a front-end page builder.

    Is that correct? Does in this case BACK-END stands for "on the wp-admin side" like all the pluggins?

    Thank you.

  • I admit I'm new to Word Press, but I have to say that Site Origin's FREE Page Builder is very difficult to use, customize, even when I've used their website themes. I spent the weekend with it, and I definitely want to try something else. Perhaps it's true you get what you pay for (or don't).

  • Mobi Man, you hit the nail on the head with VC. Very frustrating to use.
    Just did a site that uses Live Composer built in... it is VERY slow (much to my chagrin as the designer). Speed tests of sites built with these builders would be hugely helpful.

  • It might take me more time to get my site fany but I prefer to have a better SEO ranking and speed, siteorigin and other composers/builders might have "easy to built" features but they have issues with SEO plugins ,cache plugins,minify plugins ,Java etc
    Also , Themes-builders plugins updates are not allways synchronized with WP or other plugins updates installed on your theme

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