There are several available WordPress page and site builders, but just a handful of them that I consistently hear friends and colleagues talking about. Visual Composer is one of those and its newest version has been out for more than a year now.
Years ago, when I first started exploring site builders, I was a designer, not a developer. And as the market grew, it gave us the option to build sites from scratch without knowing code. For designers and users, that ability has changed the game in the WordPress space.
In this post, I’ll go over the premium version of Visual Composer. Watch the video or read this post to get a good idea of what you can expect when using this builder on your WordPress site.
In this video, I highlight a few of the features you will find in Visual Composer:
Visual Composer Premium: A WordPress Site Builder
As with most builders, VisualComposer’s outs a lot of power in the hands of the user. Some of its most prominent features are based around the simple drag and drop Frontend editor, which helps you work with the content areas, headers, footers, and sidebars. One of the pieces is the Visual Composer Hub. With this, you can download many elements, templates and extensions. I don’t have the space here to go over each one and what they will do for your site, but this overview should help you decide whether Visual Composer is the right choice for you.
Post or Page Options
As with most WordPress builders, your settings are minimal and you can toggle pages or posts off and on:
And when you are choosing to create either a new page or post, there is an option in your sidebar menu to do it either with or without Visual Composer:
Creating a Page or Post with Visual Composer Frontend Editor
Choosing to create a page with Visual Composer takes us to the Frontend Editor with the option of starting with a blank page or template:
If we roll over any of the blank page layouts, we get a brief description. And if we select the box with the “T” in it, that will define the layout according to the theme we are using:
Next you will start building your page, which includes the ability to custom build your header, footer and sidebar.
If you select either your header area, footer or sidebar you will get these options:
The cool thing about Visual Composer is the choice to create a custom header or footer or use one of the layouts. A lot of users want the extended ability to get in and do something with the header that some builders may not allow or flexibility when creating and header or footer. It also gives you the option to create a custom header for any specific page or post:
Or footer layouts:
And if you create your own custom build header or footers, you can also save those to be used on other sites.
Also, in the frontend editor, you can build your page or post out by adding these different design options:
When I worked with a lot of WordPress users who go the route of page builders, I discovered that often instead of building pages from scratch, finding templates to work with made getting started much easier. With a template, they had something in place and they could tweak it to their own needs.
Visual Composer includes some great templates to make your life easier. These are the free templates you can choose from:
Additionally, with the premium version, you get a larger collection. What I like about the templates that come with premium versions is that they are not all automatically added to your own library. You simply add them as needed:
In this example, I chose the Digital Business Homepage template so I can add it to the new page I am creating in the Frontend Editor:
Now that I’ve loaded the template, I can start working on the page:
You can see, just on this part of the template, how each area can be set up, edited, moved around, or deleted. And how each has its own options and settings:
And here are the expanded menus for the rows, columns and image areas:
To give you an idea of the control you will have, let’s look at the Design Options for columns:
Elements for Visual Composer
As you can see in the screenshot above, you can add an element to your columns. That’s like having a widget dropping into the area to do something specific. From the listed free and premium elements, you can see all the optional features you can add to any part of your site. Some obviously require that you are using a specific plugin, as it expands the functionality that plugin. A good example: the premium elements for WooCommerce, which give you more control over where you can place features of your store throughout your site.
Visual Composer comes with several free elements:
And several more Premium Elements. Like the templates, with the premium elements you only download and install what you need:
I cannot show you how each element works, or their specific options, but let me show you three of them:
Google Fonts Element
This element gives you a chance to use Google Fonts for a good variety of options for a heading or some simple text you want to stand out.
Your Site’s Tree View
As you are building your site with one of the templates, you can easily access the Tree View. This not only gives you an overview of your structure, but helps you to interact with the content. If we look at the site with the template I used in the previous screenshot, this is part of what the tree view shows us. In the first screen shot, I hover over a column and it shows which column it relates to in the site preview:
Or to highlight and locate an element:
I could go on and on with all the features that Visual Composer brings to you as a site builder. Whether it’s your personal site, business site or online store, it gives you the ability to create the site you want. I recommend getting the Premium version Visual Composer to start building your own or your client’s next site.