Background: I am a Graphic Designer with some knowledge of HTML, CSS and JS and currently teaching myself how to build websites with WordPress.
Back in the day when you had very limited editing capabilities and you had to rely on your Theme’s features, unless you knew how to code, I can understand why people went straight to Page Builders but what about now?
I found the Gutenberg block editor very user friendly and don’t see why you need to lock your website to a subscription when you can have the freedom to create your website with Gutenberg and choose any plugin you really need.
Is it just me and my limited knowledge thus far that is not so excited to go straight to using Elementor as everyone seems to suggest?
Gutenberg is the best user interface from the other builders, by a mile. I’ve had to suffer through many builders for clients. It’s also consistently faster on the front end.
What it misses is functionality some users like. Normally you could add any of these with plugins. If you keep these to a minimum and use well respected and secure plugins you are fine.
Myself I create custom blocks for client requirements and then it is just about all Gutenberg. Of course not everyone has that luxury.
TDLR layout and design Gutenberg is perfect. For some functionality you might need plugins or custom blocks.
Have tried to get on the Gutenberg bandwagon a couple times and I find it to be clunky and a lot more labor intensive.
I’d rather pay 200-300/yr and have access to numerous elements, woo, dynamic elements, ACF integration, Archive loops, mega menus, JS animations, and more. It saves so much time, and clients find it easier to work with when adding/revising content. Newer builders are fast, lean, and responsive. And they take care of the code for php or core updates.
Page builders where the best way for non coders to build sites, until Gutenberg came out. So if you like Gutenberg stay with it. Look into custom block development. It’s pretty cool!
I was a long-time Gutenberg fan and page-builder hater until I have tried Bricks. It is intuitive, great UX, fast, outputs clean code, supports variables, custom breakpoints, etc.
Gutenberg is great for simple sites, but combining block collections from multiple vendors is its strength and weakness at the same time. Bricks seems like a great solution, especially when one already knows HTML and CSS.
Wow, I just completely disagree about the block editor UI. It has way too much stuff hidden behind other things and a lot of the default blocks are very limited in their controls. I also dislike the whole theme.json and JS bent. Also, it’s a fair amount of work to get the editing view to resemple the front end view which isn’t a terrible thing but is more work.
Also, builders don’t limit your choice of plugins so I don’t get the “…when you can have the freedom to create your website with Gutenberg and choose any plugin you really need.” comment.
The only difference you can see is PageSpeed score. Some well built page builder could deliver 100% lighthouse and vouch by professional web designers.
But speed optimiser plugin does cheating at helping you with better lighthouse score at the expense of user downloading bloated page.
In reality, lock-in into WordPress ecosystem can be good and bad, you know that.
Gutenberg takes some getting used to. While there are a bunch of native blocks and excellent pre-made blocks and patterns via plug-ins; it’s real power is making custom block and creating patterns from those and existing blocks.
It’s ideal for WP as it’s native and, used correctly, helps with Core Web Vitals.
Page builders load all kinds of extra overhead like scripts and css that fires all the time.
The agency I work for is investing heavily in FSE via native and custom blocks. It’s pretty fucking awesome, so far. BUT requires a lot more technical know how than page builders so that’s why you see them used so much.
Get to know WP core. Learn how to properly build a site using blocks and how to build your own. ACF is now using the native method so that’s a great choice.
People like silly whizz bangs. As I’ve matured as a developer I’ve definitely learnt to appreciate going the way of keeping things clean and simple with basic/pure methods. Less is more.
Because Gutenberg is unusable. I have tried multiple times, most recently a couple of months ago, to try and bring myself around to using it, but I just can’t. It’s terrible.
Gutenberg still works better when you are a developer, unless your website is super simple. Other page builders can be more powerful out of the box.
Gutenberg is more performant.
Gutenberg is improving and is aajor focus of the development of WordPress, however it is not mature and full featured enough for people who have been building sites with other tools to abandon them for it.
If you are teaching yourself, it should be fine and probably useful to learn for the future. It is very dependent on your goals and why you are learning WordPress.