PB101: L01 – Choosing the Right Page Builder

More about this video

Before we start learning, we must get on the same page about the term “professional.”

What is a professional web designer? What is a professional page builder? Do these things actually exist? Is there a fundamental distinction between “professional” and “non-professional?”

Is it true that any page builder can be a “professional” tool as long as it’s used by a professional?

Should you just choose the page builder that gives you the warmest fuzzies on the inside and is the “easiest” to get started with?

Should the project dictate the builder you use? We will clear all that up in this video and quickly cover the 20 fundamental features a page builder should have to be considered a professional page builder.

Warning: Some people get very caught up in their feelings whenever this topic is discussed. You must go into this course with the least amount of emotion possible. We’re not talking about your family members — we’re discussing web design tools.

If you truly want to hone your craft and work to a high standard, you need to know the limitations of specific tools and why some builders are much better than others.

Video Transcript

Welcome to lesson one of page building 101. We’re gonna get things kicked off with some fireworks. I don’t know why it’s fireworks, honestly. I don’t know why people get all up in their feelings when I start talking about professional page builders versus non-professional page builders. But this is a very important topic, choosing the right page builder for your workflow. And really what I say is choosing the right page builder for a professional workflow. I’m not going to ask you to choose a specific page builder right now.

You don’t have to make that decision at this point in time. You can start this course using any page builder you currently happen to use. But what you’re going to find, I want you to just be as objective as possible, as unemotional as possible as you go through this course. And I want you to start to recognize the fact that not every page builder allows for a professional workflow. Not every page builder has a professional output. And as we go through the different lessons in this course and you try to replicate what I’m teaching and I’m even gonna show you in some circumstances, hey, this builder allows this, this builder does not allow this.

And you start to add things up and you’re going to come to the conclusion that there is a difference. There is something this should be referred to as a professional page builder. And there are page builders that should not be referred to as professional tools. And I don’t know why this is controversial, but you’ll hear a lot of people say You can use any page builder use whatever page builder is most comfortable for you There’s no such thing as a professional page builder and I think people make these arguments because they emotionally have to they use a page builder that is not a professional page builder.

And if they acknowledge that there are professional page builders and non-professional page builders, they would have to admit that they’re using a non-professional tool. And I think if you compare this to any other industry, this makes perfect sense that there would be professional tools and non-professional tools. I think photography is a perfect metaphor for everything that we’re going to talk about in this lesson. I’ve been in photography for 15 years. I know a lot about photography, I know a lot about cameras, I know a lot about professional photography, commercial photography, I know a lot about photography. And it happens to be a perfect metaphor, I believe, because we can all agree that there are professional photographers and there are non-professional photographers.

And I think we can all agree that there are non-professional photographers charging money for photography services. I looked up the definition of professional and I wasn’t very happy with it. I don’t know that there’s another better word that we could be using. And that’s why we’re doing this lesson, because we have to clear this up. We have to all be on the same page. So professional is defined as somebody who engages in a profession. It’s basically somebody who charges money for a service is automatically a professional. But you know and I know that if we’re going to hire a photographer, even to shoot our family portraits for our Christmas cards, we want to hire a professional. In that context of the word, we’re hiring somebody who has a certain level of skill set and knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of photography. Somebody who has experience. They’ve done this over and over and over again. Somebody who has shown great work in the realm of photography time and time again, somebody who’s going to show up on time who has a fantastic reputation, these are all the things that go into our decisions, right?

It’s not somebody who bought a camera on Amazon, a DSLR, and decided to start charging to do family portraits. That doesn’t, buying a DSLR does not make one a professional. Learning how to use the DSLR, reading the manual and saying, ooh, I know where all the buttons are. I can put it on auto. I can snap photos. I can get those photos printed at Walgreens. That does not make one a professional.

Just like signing up and downloading any random page builder and learning how to assemble a page doesn’t make you a professional web designer. It doesn’t matter if you’re charging money or you’re not charging money. From a client’s perspective, they wanna know that you know what you are doing fundamentally, you understand exposure and ISO and shutter speed and aperture and bokeh and lighting and on and on and on. The fundamentals of photography is what makes one a professional photographer.

A professional is one who works to hone their skills constantly, bettering themselves, bettering the work that they put out, working to a standard, making sure that my output is as good as it can possibly be and we can take something like this and we can prove this point because what people will say is any page builder can be a professional page builder as long as a professional is using it and This is where photography comes in perfect We all have one of these and my wife actually I mean, you know a camera phone the cameras on phones these days are fantastic. My wife can take what looks like on the internet is really, really good photos. I mean, it’s got, it’s blurring the background for her on stuff like in portrait mode.

And it’s got a lot of good stuff going on for an amateur and you don’t have to know what you’re doing. You don’t have to know what exposure is. You don’t have to set the shutter speed manually or the aperture or anything else. You could just kind of point and shoot and take really good photos. And, but a professional, a true professional can also pick up this camera. And a true professional can probably out shoot an amateur using this tool right here. But here’s the thing, here’s the rub.

When a professional gets hired, they don’t show up with this. They show up with a professional tool. So even though a professional can pick this up and do better than amateurs with it and put really good work out into the world with this, the minute they get hired, I guarantee you they’re not showing up with this. They’re showing up with a professional tool. Why are they showing up with a professional tool?

Well, sometimes when you use an amateur tool, you don’t even realize, especially if you’re an amateur, you don’t even realize the limitations until later on. Let’s say that you have been studying this phone camera thing for a while and you’re taking really decent photos with it and you decide, you know what, I’m going to make money. I’m going to be a professional at this. And you start showing up to shoots with this. And you know, you’re just saying, Hey, it’s I’m not shooting for Nike over here. I’m just taking family portraits. That’s this gets the job done, right? And you might think that okay, you take very, very decent looking photos of this family, or of any family. And they told you initially, hey, you know, all I need is Christmas cards and we’re gonna share this on social media.

You know, we’re not making billboards or anything. And so you’re like, hey, perfect. You know, this is the tool for the job. It’s the tool I love using. It’s easy, yada, yada, all the things that people say about non-professional page builders. And then this happens. The person actually really likes the photos that you took with the iPhone.

They like it more than they expected they would and you know they’ve decided, hey you know we would actually like these to be blown up and put around our house. I want canvases, I want metal prints, I want large format. And then you suddenly realize, oh no, I’ve used an amateur tool to take these photos. They aren’t really going to look that great once they’re blown up into this situation, once they’re scaled, right? And so what do you do now? Well, you shouldn’t have shown up for a professional job with an amateur tool. And we also have to talk about workflows, right?

It behooves you, if you’re a professional, to develop a workflow and stick to it. And that means choosing one tool and mastering that tool and using that tool for everything. This isn’t a situation where you’re like, oh well, it’s just family photos, so I’m gonna show up with my phone. But if Nike hires me, I’ll bring a real camera. Oh, why don’t you just bring a real camera to every shoot that you do?

Because if you’ve mastered that camera, you’ve mastered that workflow, it’s just as easy to use the professional camera as it is to use this. And you already know that you’re gonna get the best possible output, and you’re going to be able to create work to the standard that you have set for yourself as a professional. And that’s why professionals don’t show up with this. They always show up with a professional camera and clients expect them to show up with a professional camera, whether it’s Nike or whether it’s a local family just wanting Christmas photos for Christmas cards and social media because you can get the best possible output and play to your standard as a professional with a Professional tool so don’t allow people to tell you that any tool can be a professional Tool as long as a professional is using it So they’re basically telling you hey you can’t an iPhone is not going to output what a DSLR outputs any day of the week It’s just not happening so Same thing is true with page builders the output that you’re getting the workflow that you’re forced into the scalability the maintainability These are not comparable between Certain builders, so don’t fall into these traps I think objectively we can see just like in other industries like photography, there are professional tools and there are non-professional tools, and professionals tend to reach for the professional tools.

So what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna go over some features that a professional page builder should have. Again, I’m not asking you to choose your page builder right now. You should use whatever page builder you’re comfortable with to start this course. But keep that open mind, stay objective, don’t get caught up in your feelings. I’m not insulting your family members. We’re just talking about web design tools here, okay?

And as you go through the lessons, start to realize, allow yourself to realize, I should say, because if you’re biased, if you’re emotional, you’re not going to want to admit that, oh my gosh, I’m not able to do it like this in my page builder. My preferred, beloved page builder is failing me. You’re not going to be able to admit that if you’re all up in your feelings. So you need to be able to go through this course without a lot of emotion attached to what you’re doing and just say, okay, this is what we’re looking for.

Does this page builder allow for this or does it not allow for this? And if too many boxes start to go unchecked, right? Oh, it’s not doing this, it’s not doing this, it’s not doing this, it’s putting this output instead of that output, then you have to start to just admit to yourself and just submit. Submit to the reality that, okay, the page builder that I was initially using is not living up to professional standards.

And if I want to truly be a professional and do professional work, I’m probably going to have to make a change. Now in this course, as it develops, I will make my recommendations. I will say, these are the page builders that I would recommend. It’s not just one, by the way, okay? I’m not married to any, I’m not affiliated with any page builders. I’m just telling you how it is. That’s it, okay? And so I’m going to give you a set of page builders that I feel are acceptable for professionals.

And then I’m going to tell you which ones are not acceptable for professionals. But we’re not doing that in this video. I want you to organically come to the realization as we go through the lessons. Okay. So here are the features. And I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this. I already did a detailed video. It was an hour long going over the details of all of these features. So I’ll link to that. If you wanna go watch that as bonus points, absolutely, you should probably do that.

But I’m just gonna go over the features. If you’re a beginner, if you have no idea what’s going on right now, you’re not gonna know what half this stuff means. And that should be another red flag, right? Where you can’t be in a situation where you’re saying, oh, any page builder would do if you don’t know what I’m talking about when I read this list. If I read this list and you’re like, I don’t know what that is, I don’t know what that is, or I don’t know why that’s meaningful, then you’re not in the position to say what a page builder can and can’t do, or if a page builder is suitable or not suitable for a specific jobs.

Okay, so let’s go through it. So a blank div, classes, pseudo classes, and pseudo elements, and specifically a class first workflow. Not just allows classes, but actually encourages a class first workflow. Section elements, properly constructed section elements. It’s gonna be one of the first lessons in this course is what is the section element? What should the section element look like? What is the responsibility of a section element?

What should a page builder output in terms of HTML for a section? How should the spacing of sections be managed? There is so much to talk about when it comes to just the basic section element. That’s going to be one of the earliest lessons in this course. Header and footer templates along with archive templates and you’re basically templating almost anything. custom HTML tags on elements, code blocks, a repeater or query loop, dynamic data, conditional logic, clean HTML output, Flexbox, CSS grid, accessible menu builders, reusable components, source set images, HTML attributes, there’s 20 things. Custom units, decent structure panel, and by the way custom units including support for variables, shortcode execution, and customizable breakpoints. Those are the 20 things that a page builder must have in order to be considered a professional page builder. Again I’m not going to go into detail you’re going to find out what all of these things are and why they’re so fundamentally important as we go through the lessons in this course. But I wanted to shoot this first lesson as an introduction to get on the same page of what is a professional, what does it mean to be a professional, what’s the difference between a professional and a non-professional, is there such thing as a professional tool versus a non-professional tool. And I think if we use that photography example we can all clearly understand that yes there are big differences between professionals and non-professionals even though anybody can buy a camera Anybody can buy a camera from Amazon and start charging for photography and call themselves a professional and say that a this camera that I bought And happen to use is a professional tool because I’m a professional and yada yada yada the same arguments that people are making with page builders because anybody can buy a page builder and anybody can start charging money to assemble web pages with that page builder and then start telling people there’s no such thing as professional tools.

I’m a professional. I use this one and it suits the job just fine. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They don’t understand the fundamentals of their craft. They don’t play to and so we have to be able to exclude the noise cut through all of the noise and get to the Signal this course is the signal all of the noise is gone this course is where you come to learn the fundamentals and actually know what a Professional is versus a non-professional and what professional work looks like versus unprofessional work, and what professional tools look like and do versus non-professional tools. That’s it.

How many people are going to get up in their feelings? This is like the cutoff right here, right? How many people are going to continue on with the course? How many people are going to be like, oh my God, you insulted my family member. I’m not going any further in this course. You’re all, you’re full of BS and here come the personal attacks and everything else. But for those that are objective and their skin is a little bit thicker and they’re not married to the tool they happen to use right at this current time, they will continue on and they will get tremendous, tremendous value out of the rest of this course. And I applaud anybody who is willing to do that.

All right, guys, on to the next lesson.