Lean Web Design for Good Rankings and Future Proofing

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WordPress is by far the most used CMS system for creating websites worldwide. And it is clear why: due to the ease of use, the free CMS has so popular that thousands of plugins have also been contributed by external programmers over the past decades, all of which extend the functionality and the look of websites, done with WordPress.

Design before 2020: WordPress Classic Editor, Themes and Plugins and/or Pagebuilder

Until just before 2020, the WordPress Editor was a functional, no-frills editor with a few extra features that WordPress designers had become accustomed to. The editor actually didn’t have much to do with web design, but was more responsible for writing and formatting content. The design of a WordPress website used to be implemented in different ways :

  • Use of professional themes (via e.g. themeforest), which have already integrated many design elements, partly with the help of PageBuilders and plugins.
  • Use of any theme with professional PageBuilder plugins, with which you build the design.
    No wonder PageBuilders have become so successful. Allegedly, more than 5 million websites use Elementor Pagebuilder alone. Especially in media agencies, the PageBuilders have become indispensable, since they can be used to implement almost any design and thus the customer gets completely individual website designs.

Design from 2021: Gutenberg Block Editor as a new big player for “Full Site Editing”.

Even though WordPress has intended to establish a kind of page builder firmly in the core of the system of WordPress, the previous development stages of the new Gutenberg block editor of WordPress were rather sobering. Reviews were initially extremely poor and due to the high number of negative reviews, the Gutenberg block editor is only slowly fighting its way forward in the favor of WordPress web designers.

But at least since WordPress 5.6 was launched, it is clear that the Gutenberg Blockeditor is developing towards a “full site editing” tool. Many negative experiences about the Block Editor and written in forums so far, can’t be criticized anymore.

In the meantime, the following advantages of the Gutenberg Block Editor over other PageBuilders have emerged:

  • Fastest operation: The Gutenberg Blockeditor (GBE) is directly integrated into the editor of WordPress and directly from it operable with the help of the “+” signs. The operation is much faster than with all pagebuilders.
  • Large toolbox: the design elements, which are usable “by default”, meanwhile go beyond the options of most pagebuilders.
  • Rapid development: WordPress itself wants to gradually expand its toolbox. If you see how quickly many improvements have been integrated since the introduction of the Gutenberg Block Editor (GBE), it will not take long anymore to catch with premium pagebuilders.
  • Extendable for free: many plugin providers specialized in extending the GBE and offer custom block extensions that are free to use
  • Loading time: one of the main advantages of the GBE over using an external page builder is the loading speed of the website. Since the GBE is anchored in the system of WordPress, no additional loading time for any external design tool is necessary. External pagebuilders can be optimized, but the complexity of code and plugins increases, making load time optimization more difficult.
  • Better SEO: Since 6/2021 the load time of a website is official ranking factor of google. Websites that are faster than comparable websites in the industry therefore have a competitive advantage in google’s rankings
  • No dependencies: The biggest problem with using external PageBuilders is the dependency on them. Especially with complex websites, it is not possible to transfer the website to another PageBuilder or even the GBE. Since the underlying systems have no compatibility with each other, changing the “builder” is not possible by automated processes.
  • Less update problems: After every major WordPress update, you can see it: the page builder providers follow suit with major updates after a few weeks due to incompatibilities. Stupid if this means the website has to be reworked for a few weeks. But that there will be more and more incompatibilities since the GBE and the pagebuilder plugins do the same tasks, there is inevitably more and more overlap.

Conclusion: be future-proof with a lean setup

As popular as external page builders are, we believe that survival time of PageBuilders is limited. More and more web designers will use the GBE for the reasons mentioned above. Expensive extensions of the page builders are no longer needed in the near future.

The majority of all websites will be done with slim, fast themes like Generatepress or Astra and the GBE. The trend towards lean, fast websites with clear structure and less design is clearly visible, not least due to the introduction of Core Web Vitals (CWV) by google in June 2021.

So if your WordPress website is still based on page builders, it is advisable to switch to a lean system with a fast theme and GBE-base as soon as possible. The effort of the changeover will only increase with the development of a website.

Therefore, web agencies like Robin GmbH in Wiesbaden, Germany will be happy to help you with switching to a lean WordPress Setup that takes the developments into account thus delivering modern, high-speed wordpress Webseites with minimum maintenance costs.

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