An often overlooked yet important question many marketers should be asking is “What should I use to build my B2B website?”
The answer to this question can have an impact on your business and growth goals, and even to some extent what your B2B website will look like.
This article will help you decide if a WordPress Page Builder or custom-built WordPress site powered with ACF (Advanced Custom Fields) is the best option for you.
We’ve also created a handy visual guide:
What should I consider before hiring someone to build a WordPress Website?
As a business owner or marketing manager, the initial buildout of the website often doesn’t make a big difference. This is mainly the case because this phase is typically managed by your B2B web design and marketing agency.
Still, there is one key difference to highlight before the project begins.
Building a B2B Website with a WordPress Page Builder
During the design phase of any website, the tools being used to create it are considered during this process. While each page builder excels in different areas, they cannot match the customizability and potential of a completely custom-coded B2B WordPress site.
While page builders increase the freedom for non-developers, it limits the scope of what developers can create without extensive tricks. Often, these tricks either make the page builder more difficult to use or make it so that specific features can only be modified by a developer going forward. When choosing a page builder over a custom-built solution though, being restricted from that element can defeat the purpose of choosing a page builder in the first place: modifying and maintaining the B2B website in-house.
Read more: WordPress security tips for B2B websites.
Building a B2B WordPress Website with ACF and Custom Theme
Staying on the topic of B2B web design, custom-coded solutions unsurprisingly provide the most freedom both in terms of look and feel, as well as functionality. While the best page builders can handle almost any challenge, most B2B firms do have a specific need that a page builder is not suited to handle.
What Is the Difference Between Maintaining a WordPress Website with a Page Builder vs a Custom Theme with ACF?
The most vital aspect of your B2B website is how it will benefit your business in the long-term.
Can your team make needed changes or additions to the B2B website?
Is the website built to complement and enhance your business’ growth goals?
In this case, page builders or custom themes are not objectively better or worse – they provide different answers that accomplish different goals.
Maintaining a WordPress Website with a Page Builder
- Flexibility: Page builders allow your in-house B2B marketing team to make necessary modifications to the website without touching a line of code or requiring a third-party vendor or dedicated developer.
- Ease of Use: While your team has the capabilities of making advanced changes to your website’s layout, each page builder comes with its own learning curve. With all this customizable power, there is also a bigger risk of damaging the website design. These can normally be fixed easily, or an expert can fix only when necessary. Additionally, a quality managed WordPress host like WP Engine creates daily backups that can be used to revert any damage in minutes.
- User-Friendly Interface: With all the different features and choices for every tiny piece of your B2B website, they can be overwhelming at first to new users. However, most page builders have a clean, consistent, and logical interface that greatly reduces the learning curve, increases productivity, and allows previewing the page in a WYSIWYG window before the changes are saved.
- Website Speed: Most page builders (with some exceptions like Oxygen or Live Canvas) struggle to load quickly enough to meet Google’s Page Experience guidelines. Although this is just one of many factors that go into SEO rankings, webpages may need to be shorter with fewer dynamic features to get Google Page Speed scores at or above 85 for mobile.
- Community Support: Despite page builders being much more niche than WordPress, or coding languages like PHP and SQL that WordPress uses, they still have a large and skilled community that can provide expert assistance or inspiration.
Maintaining a WordPress Website with ACF and Custom Theme
- Flexibility: In terms of maintenance, websites designed with a custom theme and advanced custom fields greatly restrict what non-developers can do with the website. This is not inherently bad though! With a strong vision and established brand, a more structured approach to making changes to your website can be beneficial. For websites that need little more than ongoing content, or existing page content and image modifications – this structured approach helps keep your processes streamlined and your branding intact.
- Ease of Use: There is a much smaller learning curve with a well-coded WordPress website powered with ACF. Your gated webinars or upcoming events can be added and edited with ease. Content changes are also much simpler and less prone to causing unintended side effects. That said, creating new pages, or changing the layout of existing sections may not be easy or viable without assistance from an expert.
- User-Friendly Interface: It can be easier to get lost in the interface with this route. It can be unclear exactly what part of the website you’re editing at first glance. It is much more difficult to imagine what your edits will look like on the front end. The interface also tends to “jump around” on your screen when adding new sections or exploring different options, which can occasionally cause you to lose your bearings.
- Website Speed: A well-coded custom-built solution nearly always outperforms page builders in terms of website loading speed. Alongside general best practices, it is much easier to get 90+ Google Page Speed scores for mobile, further aiding your long-term organic growth goals.
- Community Support: While there is a much wider community, it is more separated and less focused. By itself, ACF has an equally sized, if not greater community of both peers and experts. Other communities like general WordPress groups, or PHP programmers play a role in finding the information you may need. While the wider audience may seem nice, it can sometimes cause the issue or topic you’re searching for to be buried under less relevant subjects. It is also worth mentioning that the only qualified party for asking questions regarding your custom theme is the vendor that initially created it. Other experts or vendors can assist but often would require full access to your B2B website.
You’ve Got Options
Bop Design is experienced in building B2B websites both with fully custom WordPress solutions and WordPress, with Elementor as our preferred builder. Our custom-built solutions give you the foundation to succeed and expand while giving a strong structure to adhere to your brand and other guidelines. On the other hand, our page builder projects put the power in your hands to rapidly evolve or go above and beyond.