When deciding what template and / or pagebuilder for WordPress you want to use, you have a difficult choice to make. Your decision can leave you short-changed and unsatisfied with the results you obtained.
But there's a new kid on the block to help you make a good decision - it's the CornerStone WordPress PageBuilder brought to you by ThemeCo, the makers of one of the best selling WordPress premium themes X. In this post we're going to dig deep and give you a full CornerStone PageBuilder review and how the results
Want to decide whether or not you should use this plugin? In our review, we will dig deep into the benefits offered by this plugin and the related theme X to help you decide whether you use this product for designing pages for your website.
We'll start this review on CollectiveRay with a bit of history about CornerStone PageBuilder and the X theme which goes so well with it. As you might know, ThemeCo has been selling the X theme like hot cakes, it has pushed the company to become a Power Elite Author on ThemeForest. The theme has to date sold more than 100,000 copies. When something sells at such volumes, there must be something good about it.
Yes, X as with most premium WordPress templates still had one drawback. Flexible as it may have been, there was only so much you could push the theme. Something had to be done about that.
Version 4.0 of X, was when X took the crown of premium WordPress themes. X has become the second most popular selling theme across ThemeForest. And what was it that made such a difference? It was the introduction of the CornerStone page builder.
Users and clients went crazy. Ratings and reviews of the X theme and the page builder soared. Let's just see why ThemeCo managed to achieve these amazing results.
The perennial problem - creating complex pages quickly
How many times where you designing a web page using a premium WordPress theme, only to find yourself boxed into the "predefined" layouts offered by that theme? Don't you really hate it when you have to face a client and say "Sorry, we can't do that - the theme we are using does not allow that".
Ready-to-use themes are awesome when you are really sure of how you can use the WordPress theme without making a lot of changes...they are not so good when customization demands are higher and the design requirements are comples. Yet people use them because they are the easiest, quickest and possibly the most affordable way out. You see, that’s why they are awesome!
However, when we really need to push customization up to the highest level, themes start to fail. That's why PageBuilders are all the rage these days. They give you the beauty of a theme, whilst not restricting your customization in any way. But where else do most other WordPress Pagebuilders fail?
How can you design a WordPress page if you don't know what it looks like?
One of our pet peeves which have always made us want to scream with pagebuilders is the fact that most of them actually work through the backend. That way, whilst you are designing, you are not really sure of what the design actually looks like. In essence, you are still coding, and have to refresh the frontend every time to see what the actual design looks like.
This has been something which eventually becomes a nightmare to work with. So what's the difference with this page builder?
Whilst working on a WordPress page or post in the CornerStone plugin, you are actually looking at the end result. You are working and building, seeing the actual design. And that, of course, is something which makes us happy to work with. There's something amazing about seeing the page come together as your work.
Backend Access - not for everybody
WordPress Page builders have another drawback. Most of the current WP pagebuilders require you to grant access to users in the WordPress administration backend. This, of course, is something which you might want to avoid, especially if you will be granting access to people who might (how can we put this mildly?) break stuff. Roles in WordPress are great but sometimes giving certain people access to the backend is not a good idea. It's inviting problems.
Enter CornerStone PageBuilder - contrary to other plugins, this PageBuilder is based 100% completely on the front-end. You will not need to give users of the pagebuilder access to the backend of your website. Webmasters, especially those who are control freaks with their beautifully created sites will love this.
So the claim is that this PageBuilder is "Built with you in mind". The claim is that they have truly achieved a fully functional frontend page builder which is "Simplicity is best". But does the PageBuilder live up to these bold claims?
Our own experience with CornerStone PageBuilder
Of course, we've already experienced the magic of working with the X theme. It was already a pleasant experience, so we were looking forward to the release of X bundled with CornerStone. It was always going to be an improvement on an already wonderful product. As it turns out, we were not disappointed.
The last time we had finished working on a website without a PageBuilder, there were always times when we had to make a compromise. Given that you save a good amount of time, there's always going to be some give and take. It gets frustrating, irritating and extremely monotonous when you find out that you have to rework on the same piece of code just because the client’s requirement shifted a tiny tad.
With this page builder though, that compromise is no longer something which we have to live with. And that is something that as somebody who works with websites a lot, we find as a huge relief.
This frustration no more, has to continue!
ThemeCo has always focused fully on X. Just to use a bit of an oxymoron, X is the CornerStone of Themeco. Rather than trying to support hundreds of templates, they embarked on a mission of creating the very best WordPress theme on the market.
The results speak for themselves, and we do strongly believe this is one of the very best themes you can get your hands on.
Their only 3rd party plugins which they have created are created solely with the intention of making the X WordPress theme better. This time, it is CornerStone PageBuilder, something that the folks at ThemeCo and at Envato are describing as a 100% frontend complete drag and drop WordPress PageBuilder.
Oh yes - that sounds like the bee's knees! But are we to believe every word of the description when we go through the features. In this review, we're going to show you why we believe that this new WordPress pagebuilder is great.
CornerStone WordPress PageBuilder Review: A summary
The issue which pinches most
The problem occurs when everything is said and done, and at the last moment change erupts from nowhere. Every small change might look small, but somehow it ropes in a lot of your time, effort and energy.
How ThemeCo CornerStone Plugin is bringing about a change
CornerStone PageBuilder comes loaded with a lot of features, some of which, we are listing as below:
- 100% Frontend - rather than have to work in the backend and not know how your results look on the frontend is one of those nags about WordPress pagebuilders that we have had to come to terms with. It is 100% frontend. You know exactly what your site is going to look like as you are working.
- Simplicity - there are many people out there who don't use their website on a day-to-day basis. For those people, overwhelming them with options just creates a confusing experience. ThemeCo has focused on creating a simple two-sided interface. A work area and a preview area where you see your design come to life. Of course in the work area, you can edit all of the text on the fly without having to revert to the back-end.
- Extensive pre-built elements - of course, the "cornerstone" of every WordPress pagebuilder is the ability to use pre-built elements to construct a page with as little effort as possible. As the time of writing this article, there are 42 elements you can work with. Of course, this number is ever increasing. If you want to have specific custom elements which you want to reuse, you can always create your own elements.
- The Inspector - learning all of the parameters of shortcodes specific to a particular theme is another of one those which we love to hate. The Inspector eliminates this problem through creating a visual interface with which to change the parameters of a shortcode. No longer do you need to remember and relearn shortcodes.
- Live-code editing - a great design always requires you to tweak things here and there. Only with that attention to detail can you take a good design to greatness. For developers and designers, you can tweak code based in ways similar to SublimeText
- Compatible with any WordPress theme - although the page builder has been built with the X WordPress theme in mind, it works well with all themes. You can edit posts and pages as necessary in any theme into which you install it.
But how will it make your life easier?
Let's just see a few examples and use-cases of how this page builder can make a real difference in your setup.
First of all, setting it up takes 5 minutes and then you are good to go. Just like we highlighted earlier, the editor is really simple to use. Every feature has a very clear function, you don't have to guess…and you are bound to find it to be a pleasant experience working with this tool. You can set up a page in literally minutes and before you know, it is all set to dazzle your clients.
It is amazing value
First of all, CornerStone Pagebuilder is free if you have already bought X, or are planning to buy it. If you're already working with other WordPress templates, you can take advantage of the pagebuilding capabilities by buying it by itself for $35. Of course, given the hours you are bound to save, this will pay for itself long before you've finished your very first project.
You get the luxury of custom templates in the convenience of ready-made ones
There are even more ways of getting value out of the X theme and CornerStone plugin.
Let's start with X the theme. X comes integrated with more than 30 variations of layouts which we can use as a starting point rather than starting from scratch. We've always found this as an excellent shortcut to produce great results. You start from an existing demo and then tweak to suit the needs of your current website project. This is one of our best time-savers.
When you choose to work on a particular layout, there might be elements which would just add an aura of excellence to it. That aura mostly goes unworked for because it is a headache for both the client and the developer to sit and tweak the codes of a ready-made template. The CornerStone plugin does away with this headache. It’s just about selecting an element that you would want to add to the page, and then drag it down to where you want it to be. Editing each element is practically effortless.
Let's mention some of the Elements which you will probably be using over and over again:
- Feature Box
- Call to Action
- Embedded video or audio player
- Google Map
- Social Sharing
- Pricing table
We could go on but here's a bit of an idea of what you may want to use:
You can do literally anything you want on a page just by using a simple ‘page editor’. And that includes stuff like adding a grid, a carousel or an attribute, removing any of them. Remember that making changes in widths, boundaries, padding, sizing, alignment, size of text, etc is all done via the inspector so things are as simple as they can get.
Here are a few features that we simply loved:
- It is developer friendly, no coding, no reworks, just grab, drag and drop.
- It works seamlessly with any theme that’s built in WordPress. I shall simplify it for you, it makes editing in WordPress websites, kind of standardized and systematic.
- It enables altering and adding content in any section of any page, in any form just in a few clicks. If you are NOT a web designer, you can use it to get pages done like a pro besides getting stuff done in absolutely no time.
- You can add extensions real time. I would say that’s a blessing because most frameworks sort of have bundles elements and features that can be used in a particular theme. With CornerStone WP PageBuilder, that is simply erased out because, say you are working on a theme and realize that a slider would fit better in place of a fixed banner, while the theme offers for the later, you can easily modify it. In a scenario otherwise, ouch! Jitters!
- We could go on and on, but somehow, we feel you would get a better grasp if you install ThemeCo's PageBuilder on your website and actually get started working with it.
Well, is there any room for improvement?
Well, truth be told we'd be hardpressed to find something to nag about. As we use it more, we are bound to find a few drawbacks and we'll get back to you on that.
A bit of a word about Shortcodes. There have been a few whinings across the WP world that shortcodes and PageBuilders embed shortcodes into a theme and tie you in with it. We find this is a bit of a non-starter. Any shortcode will make things simpler, at the "expense" of becoming embedded in your content. If you were to need to change that shortcode, you're going to have to go into your content and change it.
We hardly see this as a drawback. We wouldn't even dare call this a necessary evil. It's the reality of using shortcodes. Should you were NOT to use shortcodes, things would have been not very much different than this. You'd still have to find your content and change it. All in all, we really think that this is a non-issue.
How do you install Cornerstone?
Basically, you have an admin and then you have a front end. Your admin rights allow you to access the front end and the front end allows you to make limitless changes with simple clicks and drags. You can add pages, edit pages, add sections, edit them, add and remove elements, add columns and grids and boast of being the quickest WordPress pro just by using a single dropdown on the plugin’s front-end.
Once you install the CornerStone plugin, you can start using it as shown in the screenshot above. Interests you further?.
ThemeCo page builder, is the quickest and most user-friendly plug-in that WordPress has seen to date. For more features of the plug-in, visit ThemeCo's CodeCanyon page.
Have we used it? And what do we really think?
Oh yes, we have! And we're totally in awe of it. What did we love most out of all the things that we've mentioned? The extension thing! The pure simplicity of creating amazing looking web pages in such a little time. With most people wanting things done yesterday, we now know we can turn around great results in no time at all. That allows us to charge premium rates should we need to, without knowing that we have to stress out so much to arrive at an excellent result. This to us gives us an excellent opportunity and that is why we are so much in love with X WordPress theme and it's companion the CornerStone PageBuilder.
According to what my clients need, how creative he wants his stuff to be or how informative, in how much time and in what budget, we can quickly and easily get stuff done. The guys at ThemeCom promise to update the list of extensions with cool new ones often. So there is going to be a lot to choose from and consecutively, a lot of scope for beautifying whatever we do.
And, that’s it!
ThemeCo CornerStone PageBuilder has been officially launched on the 30th of March, 2016 and it has been installed considerable times since then! As a ThemeForest Elite Author, you can only expect the best from ThemeCo. You can do that too, provided you are using anything between WP 3.8 and WP 4.5. I am so sure you will thank ThemeCo for this revolutionary little plugin.
See what people are saying about it
We'd be happy to add more details should you require them to our ThemesCo CornerStone PageBuilder Review - in the meantime, enjoy using one of the best WordPress page builders around and creating awesome websites!