In the last few years, several successful Page Builder Plugins for WordPress have appeared on the market:

Divi Builder, Beaver Builder, Elementor, Page Builder by SiteOrigin, Conductor, Themify Builder, Visual Composer and Thrive are just some of the the most popular.

Millions of websites have been built using page builders.

Many successful themes integrated with a page builder or created their own. For example Avada and its Fusion Builder.

Page builders lowered the barriers of entry to the websites development business for designers that didn’t have coding knowledge.

They also increased the number of WordPress users exponentially.

These are all clear signs that WordPress needed its own default page builder. Especially to provide a standard for users, but also for themes and plugins developers.

I’ve read many articles and notes about how Gutenberg will affect the page builder market.

Most people agree that Page Builders will stick around for a while, after Gutenberg will be released. Because Gutenberg can’t currently compete with their features.

In my opinion they are not seeing the big picture and they are missing 4 points in particular:

  1. Gutenberg will be installed by default on millions of websites when WP 5.0 will be released.
  2. There are countless Open Source developers ready to contribute to Gutenberg success (and get their share of the pie).
  3. Plugin developers will ALL integrate their plugins with Gutenberg, while NONE really did the same for other Page Builders.
  4. Theme developers will create Gutenberg oriented themes

Smaller Page Builders will be gone very soon. The bigger players will resist longer, before seeing a big decline in revenues. After that it won’t make sense to continue developing and supporting their products.

Either they’ll port their unique features into Gutenberg, or they’ll disappear.

This will happen in 4 stages:

Stage 1 – Resistance

When Matt Mullenweg announced Gutenberg and the first BETA release, the community reacted with a lot of drama. The drama is still going on now and I personally believe resistance to change is the main reason for it.

  • Some Users don’t want to learn a new interface and new ways to do things.
  • Some developers don’t want to learn ReactJS or JavaScript in general.

Many complain about UX, but in my opinion their judgment is obfuscated by prejudice.

Gutenberg is a work in progress. It can be improved and it will be improved. Giving a 1 star review after giving it only few hours (or minutes) of testing is very shallow.

Most of the negative comments appear to be undeserved, because all of the problems that have been raised, can be fixed and most likely will be fixed.

The vast majority of users though, are quiet. Many probably don’t even know what’s going on.

Out of +8000 active installs of the Gutenberg BETA plugin, only 415 users submitted a review so far. 203 of them rating it 1 star.

A lot of WordPress businesses are working hard to be ready for the Gutenberg release (like us).

Those who are not, will be losing the biggest opportunity to become relevant, in WordPress recent history.

We are still going through Stage 1, but we are quickly approaching Stage 2.

Stage 2 – Acceptance

Gutenberg, while still in BETA, is already growing faster in terms of features, than any commercial page builder ever did.

Every new release brings a lot of improvements. It won’t take long before it will become as good as any other page builder.

Some of the best developers of this community are working on Gutenberg.

An army of open source developers will soon start releasing their contribution to Gutenberg development too.

They will create plugins to extend it. They will develop Themes built with Gutenberg in mind and we’ll see more resources to develop custom Gutenberg blocks.

Several Gutenberg plugins have been released already and new plugins are added to the WordPress plugin repository daily.

The first boilerplate for Gutenberg blocks is Ahmad Awais’s Create Guten Block. Other tools will follow.

During this phase, the number of positive reviews submitted will start equaling the number of negative reviews. We are already seeing a lot more positive reviews than few months ago. That’s why I think we are very close to enter this phase.

Stage 3 – Adoption

When Gutenberg will be finally released, it will be already almost as good as most commercial Page Builders.

Whatever will be missing, will be seen by developers as an opportunity to fill a void.

However, the biggest difference with commercial page builders will be the level of integration that major plugins will offer spontaneously with Gutenberg.

I see this as the biggest competitive edge.

For example, we never had the time nor the desire to offer some kind of integration with any Page Builders. The highest level of integration that we offer are shortcodes.

You can use them with any page builders, but you have to write the shortcodes in text blocks.

As soon as Gutenberg has been announced, we immediately started thinking on the best way to integrate GeoDirectory with Gutenberg.

Here you can see a description of what we are doing: GeoDirectory V2 Roadmap for Gutenberg integration.

We didn’t only create a custom block for every single GeoDirectory front end element. We are making it possible to design and customize the GeoDirectory templates, using Gutenberg.

I’m positive that many WordPress developers are working in the same direction.

After the release of WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg will be installed by default on millions of websites.

Most plugins developers will have created custom blocks for every bit of their plugins, making Gutenberg the most comprehensive and desirable Page Builders of all.

This will happen quite rapidly.

Stage 4 – Domination

1 year after the official release of WordPress 5.0, the authors of most minor Page Builders will have stopped developing their plugins.

Gutenberg will have hundreds if not thousands of extensions built by the myriad of developers that gravitate around WordPress.

Some will be excellent, some will be really bad. Some will be free some will be premium.

A new economy will grow around Gutenberg. It will revitalize the WordPress economy, opening new opportunities for those who are smart enough to seize them.

In a couple of years, only hard-core fans of commercial page builders will still be using them, while the vast majority of the community will have switched to Gutenberg.

Because it will offer a lot more and commercial builders won’t be able to keep up.

The fall in revenues will force their owners to slow down their development and support until they will eventually lose all their market shares and disappear.

The only way I see them surviving is if they use their experience to build whatever users might want to see in terms of Gutenberg premium features.

I’m sorry if this is not what you want to read, especially if you have stakes in a successful Page Builder, but this is what I predict, based on my personal observations.

Of course I could be totally wrong πŸ™‚

What do you think will happen? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments down below!

20 thoughts on “Gutenberg vs Page Builders (will they survive?)

  1. Gutenberg is a good thing for WordPress. I’m glad WP is moving forward. But the documentation for developers for Gutenberg is still very limited. For many developers’ building block will be a challenge.

    • I’m sure documentation, tutorials and examples will start flooding the internet very soon, however we agree with you. Today they are lacking…

  2. Like most things WordPress I look at it from a user not a developer perspective. Will this save me time? Will this make me more productive? My business is not developing or maintaining WordPress sites. My business happens to use a WordPress powered site. If Gutenberg allows me to more easily modify and develop my site (I like to get my hands dirty and not rely completely on outside developers) then I am all for it. From what I can tell, that is exactly what it will do (eventually). Until then I will wait and see. I have done some evaluations of it and from what I can see it is pretty effective (except for adding an image for some reason). Most business owners are very conservative and tend not to be too cutting edge. I certainly won’t activate anything that has not been thoroughly tested by the community and myself. The last thing I need for my business is for my site to break.

  3. Gutenberg will likely improve over time, but if you think it’s going to kill the page builder market, I think you’re mistaken. For Gutenberg to compete, it has to multiply it’s current state many many many times over. It will be forced to take a “jack of all trades” route and satisfy dozens of developers. It will take YEARS to even get features that rival the more simple builders currently available. And it will also need to switch to a fully front-end experience, which isn’t even on the radar.

    To suggest that page builders like Elementor and BB will just go away is naive at best. First, they both have already announced they have plans to utilize Gutenberg WITHIN their builders. But next, they really aren’t built with the same purpose. Gutenberg is simple, and it will likely always remain simple in comparison. Third parties will definitely add to it, and then you’ll be dealing with having to rely on multiple developers to maintain a pieced together experience, instead of a builder like Elementor that offers dozens of times more, all integrated, from a reliable developer.

    I’m just getting started. The reasons are numerous why this article is missing the point. No offense, as I know it is really just opinion. But I don’t believe you fully understand the builder market and WHY people chose the current builders, and what purpose Gutenberg is designed to fill. The major players aren’t going anywhere. I’m talking about Elementor, BB, DIVI and unfortunately, WP Bakery Composer. Some smaller builders might fall away, but those actually trying to lead the industry are all so many lightyears ahead of Gutenberg is both features and user experience, that Gutenberg will likely never become worth of replacing them. And that’s fine. Gutenberg really isn’t designed to fill the same space anyways.

    Brent

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion Brent, however let me explain why I don’t agree with you.

      At the beginning of last year Beaver Builder looked invincible and it appeared to be the only one who could compete with Divi.

      Elementor was a good prospect with barely 30k installs and was way behind Beaver Builder that had 200k.

      Now Elementor has over 800k, Beaver Builder 400k.

      Today Beaver is growing at 1% weekly in negative trend, while Elementor is growing at 4% weekly with a stable trend.

      All this to say, things can change very rapidly.

      My prediction is that by the end of next year, both will be around 0% and in negative trend.

      Not everyone use all their features and the majority aren’t definitely paying for their pro versions. That’s how the freemium market works.

      Gutenberg will be there by default and it will serve the needs of plenty of users that today are installing any page builder to edit their pages and posts.

      There will be several plugins adding to Gutenberg all the features that you can imagine and probably all you’ll need is to select 1 plugin to get all pro features of Elementor, so you’ll still be dealing with only 1 developer, just like with Elementor.

      Most theme and plugin developers will be building around Gutenberg extending it through their options. Avada, Divi, Elementor and Beaver Builder that are now prominent, will be looking at a lot more competition.

      An example, while Elementor is tightly integrated with basically only WooCommerce, Gutenberg will be integrated by the vast majority of plugins available on wordpress.org and through premium shops. All plugins with millions of users like WooCommerce, Gravity forms and Advanced Custom Fields just to name 3.

      Plugins developers will integrate with Gutenberg, not the other way around. How can Divi, Elementor or Beaver compete with that?

      The idea of using Gutenberg inside another Page Builder doesn’t make that much sense, but if that is what they think it’ll allow their business to keep growing, I think they should think twice.

      Especially if I’ll be able to do everything with Gutenberg in the 1st place.

      Even though the initial scope of Gutenberg isn’t to provide a full website building experience, it could almost be used for that already. We integrated it to allow users to design our plugin templates with it. WHich means you can use it to design any kind of template.

      To be honest with you, I can’t think of anything that you can do with Elementor or Beaver Builder that Gutenberg couldn’t be set to do with some custom code.

      With custom blocks, I could easily see it used to design the header and the footer of a theme and everything in between.

      I also believe that the discussion to add some sort of front end like editing experience will be re-opened.

      The scope of WordPress was to be a blogging tool, not a CMS and today is the most used CMS of all.

      Gutenberg could easily represent for Page Builders, what WordPress represented for Drupal and Joomla.

      # CMS Market Share
      1 WordPress 59.7%
      2 Joomla 6.7%
      3 Drupal 4.7%

      We’ll see what it’ll happen…

    • I’ll make this point first, and also make it again at the end. But the team behind Gutenberg are NOT attempting to make a builder that replaces all other page builders. In fact, due to the nature of WordPress, it will be near impossible for that to happen even if they wanted to. But they don’t. That’s not what Gutenberg is designed to do. Period. But let’s take some of your points in line.

      Elementor taking over Beaver is different from Beaver going away. Markets do indeed fluctuate, and better products come along. But Gutenberg is not a better product. Not for what Elementor and BB were designed for. Look at how long it has taken just to get people to agree on where Gutenberg is today. And it is still a simple tool with simple powers compared to the top builders. If you think Gutenberg is overtaking them any time in the next several years, I think you’ll find yourself mistaken.

      I am fully aware how the freemium market works, but as somebody who has spent a LOT of time (more than most) researching, testing, talking with developers of these tools, and USING these tools heavily, I think you are vastly underestimating just how entrenched the market for these tools is. And you are vastly underestimating why these tools are superior.

      Gutenberg will indeed serve the needs of many users. And just as with all other parts of WordPress, it won’t serve everyone. It can’t. It NEVER will. For those who want a basic layout and don’t care for advanced features, Gutenberg will be fine. But there is no way on this planet that Gutenberg is going to offer the experience and features of Elementor (or BB, or DIVI) for a very long time. Not even with third party addons. Because Gutenberg isn’t designed for the same purposes.

      And don’t forget, that as Gutenberg slowly develops, Elementor, DIVI and others are quickly getting better and better. Gutenberg isn’t going to keep up with that. Elementor 2.0, which is in beta, already allows you to design the entire site, from header to footer to archive pages to everything else, and is already compatible with custom fields, has a VERY rapidly growing set of addons, has LOADS of support from third parties, is compatible with all WordPress widgets, shortcodes, etc., etc., etc. I sincerely believe you don’t fully see what Elementor and BB and DIVI are capable of. Your suggestion that Elementor is basically only integrated with WooCommerce proves this point, because it has far more third party support than you seem to believe. It’s far more reaching than you give it credit for. (I do keep speaking of Elementor as it is my personal favorite, but you can apply most of these points to BB and DIVI as well).

      Gutenberg is nowhere near that. And suggesting that by the end of next year, other builders will be gone and Gutenberg will take over is naive and absurd.

      Gutenberg might be “competition” to these builders, but competition doesn’t mean other options are going away. Can Gutenberg take market share from other builders? Of course it can. But that doesn’t mean the other builders won’t continue to evolve, improve, and stay light years ahead of Gutenberg.

      The FREE VERSION OF ELEMENTOR is already a free option that offers loads of things Gutenberg doesn’t currently offer. At the VERY least, for them to somehow take over the market, they would have to offer something better for free. And that is a VERY VERY long ways away, even if they were to attempt it (which they aren’t trying to do).

      You also said that you can’t think of anything Elementor or BB can do that you couldn’t do with some custom code in Gutenberg. Well………obviously. I can’t think of anything you can do in WordPress that I can’t do with a basic HTML site and some PHP/MySQL code. That’s kind of a silly point, isn’t it? Because the problem that comes is that there are HUNDREDS of things you can do with Elementor and BB that you can’t even get close to doing in Gutenberg at this point. It’s a pretty lopsided argument, really, to suggest that Gutenberg will be just as good because “you can do anything with some code”. Well, same goes for everything else in WordPress.

      Gutenberg has plenty of its own problems to work out. Saying that it is going to kill the page builder market before anyone even knows what Gutenberg will be like at release is silly. It might make for a good article, but it doesn’t make for a good argument, IMO.

      I get it, Gutenberg will be installed by default with WordPress, and that means many people will use it. But for those who want advanced layouts (Gutenberg is a disaster if you want anything fancy for your layout), more control, a true WYSIWYG experience (which Gutenberg is not), etc., there will still be a large market.

      Look, I actually don’t have a problem with Gutenberg. I didn’t like it at first, and while I still don’t like it, I “get it”. I know what they are trying to do, and I know the purpose they are trying to fulfill. I fully understand the concept and the reasons why they are doing it. It isn’t to replace the page builder market.

      They are adding Gutenberg to compete with other platforms. And they are adding Gutenberg to satisfy the basic needs of users who want to do more than the current editor can do. They looked at the popularity of the page builder market and that told them very clearly that people needed more than the basic TinyMCE editor was offering. But Gutenberg, as good as it might get some day, will always be a massive compromise. Any suggestion or idea that it is somehow going to do everything you can do with the current powerful page builders is misplaced. It will get better, but it can never be a full replacement because that would require the WordPress dev team (with devs who come and go, and all serve different markets and purposes) to agree on a workflow and implement HUNDREDS of features in a way that satisfies the overall team and doesn’t piss off users too much. It will never get to that point. Nor do they INTEND for it to get to that point. Let me repeat this. Matt and the Gutenberg team are not attempting to make a page builder that suits everyone’s needs. A dedicated and focused team of developers who are making good money on a plugin like Elementor will always create a better overall product.

      Gutenberg will share the space with other builders, but replace them? No way.

      Please understand that my post isn’t meant as personal. It is merely meant to give perspective. I’ve been around this game for a long time, and my strong words or points are meant for emphasis, and nothing is intended as a personal jab.

      Sorry for the length of this.

      Brent

    • suggesting that by the end of next year, other builders will be gone and Gutenberg will take over is naive and absurd.

      I’m sorry, but naive and absurd is commenting on a post without even reading it with attention.

      If you would have, you’d know that I predict minor page builders to disappear within one year of the Gutenberg release (some are already gone). While for the bigger players I stated that within 2 years, only hard core fans (such as yourself I suppose) will be using them. After that, the heavy reduction on revenues, will slowly force them to irrelevance.

      I know I could be wrong, but I tend to believe that will be their path in the near future. Page Builders fabulous growth isn’t going to last much longer and soon they’ll see a reduction of their market share, definitely not an increase.

      I understand that you don’t agree and I also understand why. Time will tell who was right and who wasn’t.

    • By the way, you said the thought of Gutenberg inside another editor didn’t make sense, but let me clarify. Elementor and BB teams have said they are going to have ways where the systems have some integration, but not necessarily Gutenberg INSIDE the other builders (my choice of words was wrong).

      For instance, Elementor is going to offer the option to WRITE your post or page using Gutenberg, and then DESIGN it using Elementor, as another way of working (since Gutenberg isn’t being designed as much of a design tool anyways). In various conversations around the web, they have said this and other statements about it. They are embracing the opportunity to find new ways of working.

      I don’t think you will see the three major players integrate directly into Gutenberg though, putting their elements as blocks, or whatever. Because that would be a big step down in usability and available functionality. Gutenberg doesn’t have the flexibility at the moment to even do everything that would be needed for that from a developer perspective.

      Brent

    • Absolutely yes, adapting their plugins to enhance Gutenberg, they basically became a Gutenberg extension and they will definitely survive as such.

  4. I think you are right, and I’ve been baffled at the level of denial in favour of page builders going on as if nothing much changes.

    Even the best page builders offer poor solutions for a huge problem in WordPress. It’s really not as if they are just a convenience for “people who lack coding knowledge.” Writing out a mishmash of HTML and CSS with shortcodes mixed in — inside a single field and data structure — is no picnic, nor a very useful, future-facing way to do content. If you get into custom fields, metadata, and additional post types to do serious CMS stuff, then you’ve got yourself into a corner, and it’s just not practical for most people. It’s also a dark, bespoke art. No one’s offered even a few standard how-tos for making WordPress do CMS on par with newer and even old peers. I find every one of their UIs frustrating, and many are downright excruciating. Once you learn one, there’s a strong incentive to stick with it. It’s just a bad deal in so many ways.

    Gutenberg, ultimately as a piece of the WP core, ought to displace the page builders because it’s good enough (and better than many of them) and it’s the native, default option. I expect its success will mean it becomes less and less optional. If it’s disruptive in a way that isn’t a net positive for market share and business growth — if it puts too many people off and out — and if there are compelling alternatives (maybe something with a fantastic front-end editing experience), it could land like a Joomla 2.5/3.0 or Drupal 8 and see a loss of market share. But even in that scenario, it’s the core that endures and adapts through the disruption it causes.

    What matters most is how the community and business ecosystem responds. How Gutenberg is sold to them is key. Will most see opportunity and value, as you do, or will they feel threatened, imposed upon, or just deny the reality of the changes coming at them?

    • Thanks for your comment! I think most will adapt, especially once all UX issues will be solved. At the moment I don’t see compelling self hosted alternatives around that could steal market shares, do you?

  5. If Gutenberg makes all these nasty page builders disappear or at least adapt to a more WordPress way of doing things is good news.

    • Thanks for your comment Mark, I agree 100% with you… Even if it’s not going to be a perfect solution for all, personally I’m very happy that we can finally have a standard to work with.

  6. Was a bit hesitant at first when I heard about Gutenberg but I think its actually going in the right direction. Been using Visual Composer on most of my sites which does the job but quite looking forward to the Gutenberg update, compatibility should be a lot easier!

  7. Don’t know exactly where to start, but here goes…

    “Many complain about (Gutenberg’s) UX, but in my opinion, their judgment is obfuscated by prejudice.” I keep seeing patronizing comments like this in the Gutenberg-boosting reviews on wp.org. You know what? It’s baloney of the first order. When an interface is truly intuitive to learn and use, you don’t get the kind of bashing you see in the strongly negative reactions to Gutenberg. You like Gutenberg? Good for you. But please, stop with the mildly demeaning “you-can’t see-the-big-picture-cause-you’re-so-far-down-in-the-weeds” comments about those who don’t.

    “It won’t take long before (Gutenberg) will become as good as any other page builder.” Wow, this is dreaming on a big scale. Hey, that’s fine. But the things is: the leading page builders were developed by some really smart, talented, creative people who were thinking outside the box long before Gutenberg was on the drafting boards. These guys are playing leapfrog with one another right now WRT improving their products and their capabilities while Gutenberg hasn’t even started its teething pains. These guys aren’t going to stand still while Gutenberg gets its act together. They are smart enough to figure out how to position their products to play nice with Gutenberg. And when (if) Gutenberg reaches a level of sophistication, power, and ease of use that the best page builders now offer, those same products are going to be that much further along in their development.

    But enough. We’ll see soon enough how this all falls out. But I’m putting my money on the leading page builders leveraging Gutenberg, not being overtaken by it.

    • Everyone is entitled to have his own opinion, I just expressed mine. Thanks for your comment! πŸ™‚

  8. I’m a bit confused. Gutenberg is only to be released with WP5 which seems quite a while away if you check the current status. Given that GD v2 is released in 1-2 weeks, will GB even be fully available/integrated and will there be any issues?

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