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  1. What you have not mentioned in your article above is the clients who want to update or manage their own website after they are launched. The bulk of my clients are these type and expecting them to learn how to deal with “code” is not going to work. Been doing this for 20 years and I have been there and done that when it comes to teaching clients to use shortcodes and html language. The visual builders are there for the clients. Yes it is harder to build a site with a visual builder, however it is easy for clients to make changes to their own site and that is also important to google. I also used my theme framework to fast-track my development and learning curve when it comes to going responsive. My theme framework also keeps up with all the changes that WordPress likes to make to their code and how they do things. So I don’t have to go back through 50 different sites to apply the fix to work with the new coding whenever wordpress has an update. I simply update my theme. My theme framework developer has a whole set of skills and knowledge that I don’t have to have. Yes I am stuck in the same box, but a website can last easily for 3 years before needing a major style change and by then the client wants or needs something different anyway. Don’t pretend for a second with all the wordpress updates and CSS new styles and browser changes that any wordpress site that has been handcoded or is not theme-based will not require backend coding changes to keep it running because it certainly will. I think your decorating analogy is best. A web designer does not have to build the house from scratch and most clients won’t pay for that. They will pay for a decorated house, designed with skill and marketing expertise to ensure that the client website makes a great first impression and successfully sells their products or services.

  2. Also DIVI is not the correct term for this type of builder framework, DIVI is actually the official name of a visual builder based theme framework developed and sold by Elegant Themes. Divi itself is not a type of anything. It is a theme. The new Divi Builder is a plugin. Visual Composer is a very popular plugin that is added to most of the themes in themeforest to add the visual builder functionality. The term you should be using is Visual Builder or Drag and Drop design system. Not divi.

    Now if you are concerned about “code bloat” and speed then I would rethink using Yoast SEO plugin, this plugin adds significant code to a site and slows it down quite a bit, both on the front end visitor side and the backend administration side. I don’t use Yoast unless I have to.

    IF you are into building plain vanilla, looks like everyone else websites, than by all means continue to hand code and use “pure themes” but most of my clients want to look different than the rest, they want things to move and interact with a visitor, each interaction or animation requires underlying code which the builder provides automatically. I can’t expect my client to learn how to code these things by hand.

    Builders add extra options and features that plain hard coded websites cannot compete with. They add flexibility and the ability to change things without having to go back to the original designer.

    I have been doing this for 20 years, the goal posts always change, the technology moves faster than I can keep up, now when I have to update my static old fashioned html websites I can barely remember how to do it and it is way more manual labor intensive. I like visual builders so I can focus on the marketing and selling aspect rather than having to keep up with constantly changing code.

  3. This blog thread is a touch misleading…
    Agree, speed is definitely an issue to consider building a site, but our SEO projects, especially local biz seo clients, are doing just fine utilizing DIVI… as speed is only a ‘small portion’ of Google’s plethora of algorithms.
    And besides, there are numerous plugins that are now available for this platform that provide script compression and a work around for speed. Further, designing your site from the beginning with many element considerations is a foregone conclusion.
    Speak what you may about DIVI… all of our clients sites are built with this platform and we’re doing just fine with our SEO.

  4. I wonder if there is any difference i a SEO perspective between using Divi Theme or just the Divi Builder. I’m a new WordPress user, started using Divi, but i’m reading a big SEO book and now i’m a bit worried. The website i made so far seems very cool, but i’m not gonna use woocommerce and other stuff Divi comes with. I’m still not able to build a WordPress website from scratch, i was just wondering if transferring my theme site to a blank theme and then use only Divi builder could improve speed and quality of my website. Any tip would be really apreciated. Thanks for the great article!

    • We used the term “Divi” referring to a popular visual composer theme created by Elegant Themes. It has name recognition in WordPress circles, kind of like “Kleenex.” When we referenced “Divi,” we used the term to be synonymous with visual composers, page builders and drag/drop design systems in general.

  5. As a web developer with 18 years of experience, I can relate to some of the earlier commenters regarding how a theme framework such as Divi seems to offer a significant time-saving. It’s also easy to argue for the idea that clients don’t care about the code and they just want things to work. I had considered resorting to a visual builder from time to time when I took on clients who demanded a tight deadline.

    I found, though, that those were poor excuses for not building a website with carefully crafted code when it comes to building one as a professional web developer. Your clients might not care and know about how semantic their site’s code performs for SEO in a short run, but that does not mean that you should just cut every corner you can find. It’s like saying that a house builder should build a house by slapping together a bunch of junk materials so long as it looks great on the surface and it livable for the first few months until the builder is off the hook. It bothers me to no end that relatively few people seem to insist on craftsmanship and product quality nowadays. It tends to be all about how you could cut corners, and how sad to hear that from those claiming to be a professional developer.

    If you are not a developer but just someone who wants his/her business website to rank higher, you should at least pick a theme known to be coded relatively well (Genesis Framework is one example) and learn at least the bare minimum basics of how website and SEO works. HTML and CSS, while seemingly intimidating at first, are NOT that difficult to grasp. It’s just a set of markup rules, and there is no way around it if you care about SEO and want to take control of your SEO practice.

    Besides, Divi Theme and other so-called visual builders are NOT that easy to master. The biggest irony is that you can’t use visual builders properly unless you know how CSS box model works, how to utilize CSS classes and ID’s, how meta descriptions work, and so on. Giving a Divi-driven site to a client who has no clue about these things and telling him/her that he/she could edit the site any manner he/she wants is like giving a rope to hang themselves. He/she will surely break the site, will not know how to fix things and eventually come to a painful realization that he/she could not be effective with it unless he/she learns the conceptual basics of how a website is put together with CSS.

    In fact, it has happened with some of my clients in the past. I once gave in and used a visual builder for their WordPress sites. They all had the hardest time using it, they didn’t want to learn how to use it, either, and I ended up rebuilding their sites without any builder plug-in and theme framework. I utilized custom post types and taxonomy at the code level, just as the WordPress Codex instructed. The resulted websites were a lot better, a lot cleaner and lighter. And the clients were able to use their sites a lot more.

    Another problem is that visual builders lead people to believe that website is about appearance and not about contents. I see them as a major distraction in the development process because they tend to direct client’s attention away from the things truly matter in SEO.

    Anyhow, I hope that more people will consider this insightful article root for SEO craftsmanship.

    • Great analogy between building a home and building a website. Prefab and junk materials will never look “custom.” Glad to hear you’re a fan of Genesis too. Nothing beats clean code and a site that focuses on the user experience: content, navigation, responsiveness on all devices.

  6. I’ve built about 200 WordPress sites at the time of writing and personally I am a big Genesis/Dynamik fan. The reason is not necessarily site speed: as has been pointed out, there are numerous plugins or other solutions out there which significantly improve site speed whether a page builder is being used or not. Additionally, as has also been pointed out, site speed is a comparatively small aspect of the main search engines’ respective algorithms at this point in time. However, future-proofing websites is critical to me. Reliable, trusted underlying code which works with the majority of third party WordPress plugins is also important.

    Web design moves at ever increasing speed and the flexibility to update a site’s look and feel, without issues with other plugins, is likely to be increasingly important. Not being able to switch out from Divi to a non-Divi theme/platform without essentially rebuilding most/all of the site is therefore the reason I’m out.

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