No looking back (at unnecessary plugins)

Yesterday I spent about two hours converting a client’s site from a popular page builder plugin to using only the WordPress block editor. Aside from a few minor design changes, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference.

The reason behind this change is simple: I don’t want to pay for upgrading unnecessary plugins and neither does my client. Emphasis on the word “unnecessary”.

Since later 2018, I’ve been using the WordPress block editor, often named Gutenberg. When I started using it, I saw its potential, but still hung on to page builder plugins like Divi and Elementor for “professional” work.

The hidden costs of page builder plugins

Using these page builder plugins came with a cost:

  • Being “locked” into a user interface radically difference from the WordPress experience, which had a nasty habit of running slow or not working at all (I’m looking at you WP Bakery)
  • Having to pay a premium price to keep upgrading

I’ve noticed clients often don’t care about the backend UI of a site. But they do care about recurring costs. I’m not against paying premium prices for premium services, but when the extra cost is unnecessary, I balk.

In the case of this particular site, I had two plugins with duplicate form-building capability: JetPack and another popular form-building plugin. I decided to switch to JetPack since I had it installed for some other reasons, and because I could replicate the form easily without having to renew a paid subscription.

As for the page builder plugin, converting the pages to the WordPress block editor was simply a matter of having the existing page on one side of the screen, and rebuilding another page on another side of the screen. Like I said, it took only a few hours, since after using the block editor for several years, I can look at a page and say to myself, “That’s a Cover block, and then there’s a Columns block which I can put in a Group block to change the background color…”

Now I don’t have to worry about upgrading the plugin anymore. I can just update WordPress itself and the necessary plugins.