Zoom Builder is a drag and drop page layout builder plugin for WordPress. The tool has been developed by the WP Zoom team who have created over 50 WordPress themes.
However, this plugin has been built to work with all WordPress themes and frameworks so no matter what template you are using for your site, you can now create custom layouts using this drag and drop editor.
The plugin adds the builder interface to the new post and page screen in WordPress. This allows you to create your own custom layouts for each post or page. Through the interface, you can simply drag and drop modules or page elements into the layout.
While the plugin comes with its own modules, any widget from any plugin can be dragged and dropped into the layouts. This allows you to add virtually any type of element into your posts and pages.
To find out if this tool lives up to its marketing material, read our Zoom Builder review to discover what this drag and drop page layout builder can do and how easy it is to use.
Features of Zoom Builder
As previously mentioned this is a drag and drop post and page layout builder tool for WordPress. As it works with any theme and custom post type, the layouts fit in seamlessly with the overall design and structure of your site. The layouts won’t disrupt any existing formatting, or the header, menu, and sidebar areas of your current theme.
With Zoom Builder you can add custom layouts to regular posts and pages using columns and rows. Alternatively you can create a feature-rich page layout which can be set as the homepage for your WordPress site. By using the default WordPress full-width page template, you can opt to remove the sidebar for individual pages should you want to build a full-width custom layout.
This all gives you plenty of options for how you use this plugin and the types of layouts you create.
Although you can easily create your own designs and layouts with Zoom Builder, it handily comes with 10 pre-built layouts to help you get started. These cover a range of site types including:
- Landing page
The included layouts can all be edited, making them great starting points for building your own layouts.
All the layouts you create with this page builder can be saved and then reused and applied to new pages you create on your site. Once applied the layouts can be used as is, or modified to adjust the design. You can also clone the individual elements inside a layout to quickly make a copy for use within that layout.
Zoom Builder comes with 10 built-in custom modules which can be added to your page layouts. These 10 modules include:
- Call to Action
- Contact Form
- Media Slider
- Pricing Tables
- Team Members
These modules are displayed beneath the post editor in WordPress and can then be dragged and dropped into your page layouts and then edited to add your own content.
Add Existing Widgets to your Layouts
As well as adding the custom modules to your page layouts, you can also drag and drop any widgets that exist on your site into the layouts. This includes any default WordPress widgets, as well as those that come with the plugins you have installed.
With the style customizer, you can edit an individual section of your layout and customise its appearance. This allows you to modify individual parts of a page, such as changing the background colour or font colour, without those changes being applied to the whole of your site.
This is all done through a visual editor without the need to tinker with the underlying HTML or CSS.
Other Features of Zoom Builder
Zoom Builder has many other features and here is a quick run-down of what else you get with this plugin:
- Responsive layouts: all the page layouts you build are optimised for cross platform and cross device usage
- SEO optimised pages
- Works with any theme or framework
- Compatible with multi-site installations
- Large library of icons for inserting into pages and modules
As you can see this is a feature rich plugin which promises a lot. Keep reading to find out how easy it is use in practice, and what kind of results you can expect.
Using Zoom Builder
While the features of this page builder plugin for WordPress look great, this doesn’t mean much if it’s not easy to use and create great looking custom page layouts with. So in order to help you decide if this plugin is for you, here is our hands-on test of Zoom Builder for WordPress.
As this is a plugin, it can be installed alongside any theme, with the developers claiming it will work equally well on any WordPress theme or plugin. Once the plugin is installed, you can take a quick four-step tour to get familiarised with the different features and functionality you now have access to.
Taking the tour is recommended as it only takes a minute or so and really does enable you to get started straightaway.
Zoom Builder Settings Pages
Once you are ready to get started, the settings and options for the plugin can be found under their own top level menu item on the admin area sidebar menu entitled ‘ZOOM Builder’. The settings have all been built using the standard WordPress user interface so they are easy to make use of and seamlessly integrate with the rest of the default WordPress admin pages.
From the settings you can choose which modules are enabled, and for which post types the builder is enabled for. You can also exclude any widgets from being available for use with the builder. If there are any WordPress default widgets, or those that have been added to your site via a plugin that you don’t want to be made available to those using the drag and drop builder, then you can define them here.
Other settings allow you to set the position of where the layout will be displayed on your posts. They can either be positioned before or after the regular post content, or set to replace it entirely.
A further option allows you to change the layouts to use a dark theme on the frontend. This is useful for those who have a dark-coloured theme installed on their site and want their page layouts to blend in with the rest of the site.
Creating a Layout
Once you are happy with the settings it’s time to create a layout. As these are done at the post and page level, all the action takes place on the Add New Post/Page screen.
The plugin adds a new panel to the post and page editor screens and from there you can build your layout. The builder uses groups to organise the page layouts. Each group can then contain multiple rows, which in turn can be divided up into one, two, or three columns.
The width of the columns can also be adjusted by using the drag and drop interface. This gives you lots of control over how your layout is structured.
After creating at least one row, you can then begin adding widgets and modules to the layout. To do this you have two options. One is to drag and drop one of the available elements, which are all displayed on the same panel, into place. The second is to click on the row you’d like to add the element to and then select if from the list that is displayed.
Once a module or widget is added to the layout, the options panel for that element is displayed allowing you to add and edit the content. The element you create can then be quickly cloned at the touch of a button allowing you to make a copy with the same content.
This clone can then be edited as needed, while still keeping the rest of the customizations such as colours and sizes. This click or drag interface works really well and makes setting up the layout and adding items to it really easy.
Depending on the widget or module you are working with, you will get access to a different set of options. However each one is feature-rich and gives plenty of options for creating a truly unique custom layout without editing any code.
The appearance of the elements and content inside each of the separate group areas can be customised. This allows you to change the font colour, background colour and image, and a few other details, without affecting the rest of the page. This is all done using a visual options panel, as opposed to editing any code.
This is a great feature as you can really design your site as you want without making changes to the theme that will affect every post and page on your site. It would be nice if you could change the font using this feature but that isn’t something that is possible at this point.
Once you’ve created a layout that you are pleased with, you can publish the post or page as usual to make it visible to the visitors to your site. However, with Zoom Builder you can also save the layouts and then load them on other posts and pages. This is really handy if you are planning to reuse any of your layouts, or want to create a base to work from for a slightly different layout.
There isn’t yet a way to export layouts for use on another site you own. This would be a really useful feature as you could then speed up your development process when designing sites for clients, or just creating multiple sites with similar layouts.
By just clicking a few buttons and dragging some elements into place I was able to quickly build a page layout with a couple of elements. While the layout was nothing to brag about, it only took a few minutes of hands-on experience with Zoom Builder to create the start of something that could be further expanded to look really good.
The above example was built on a site using the Metro Pro theme from StudioPress and the Genesis Framework, giving you an idea of how the layouts and their elements will sit within your current theme.
For a better idea of what you can do with Zoom Builder and a bit more time and effort, check out this example layout.
Documentation and Support
Zoom Builder is very easy to use. By taking the quick tour after installing the plugin you can learn enough to get started. Most of what you pick up will be through exploring the different modules and seeing how you can customise them to suit your goals.
While your 12 month license is active, you will get access to the plugin updates as they are released. You also get access to support from the developers. Once this period is up you can either renew it to keep this access, or continue using the plugin, but without any updates or support.
There are a few different support channels which can be used to learn more and get assistance with using this plugin:
While this plugin is easy to use, if you do need some assistance it’s good to know that it is well covered on the WP Zoom website.
The Zoom Builder plugin is available on three different pricing plans. Each plan includes 12 months of support and updates, with the number of site licenses varying between plans, and the top end plan including 10 PSD layouts for extra customisation options:
- Personal: $59 (1 site license)
- Business: $99 (5 site licenses)
- Developer: $159 (20 site licenses + layout PSD files)
After 12 months, the license can be renewed for 50% of the original price in order to maintain access to the support and updates. The plugin also comes with a 30 day returns policy so you can cancel your purchase should you not be happy with the tool.
View the pricing plans for the Zoom Builder plugin.
I was very impressed with this plugin. Before using it I was a little bit dubious about its claims to be compatible with all WordPress themes but it looks like this is the case. I only tested it with a few themes, including some that run on the Genesis Framework but everything looked as it should.
The interface for building the layouts is really well designed and has been nicely implemented. Creating the structure of the layouts using the groups, rows and columns system worked well and was easy to get to grips with. Adding the individual elements or modules to the rows couldn’t be easier and the click or drag interface was very intuitive.
The range of modules or elements that can be added to your layouts was impressive, but the fact that you can use any widgets that are active on your site means the possibilities of what you can add to your layouts are endless. If the widget can be added to a sidebar, then it can also be added to your post and page layouts using Zoom Builder. The settings and options for customising the Zoom Builder modules were detailed and again easy to use.
It’s probably a good idea to mention that Zoom Builder isn’t a theme builder and has been designed to create layouts for individual posts pages. This is different from a tool like the Headway theme builder which allows you to create a whole site layout, editing the sidebars, headers and menu areas. This isn’t a criticism of the plugin as that is not what it has been designed to do. However, saying that, Zoom Builder can still be used to create full width homepages that are packed with high quality widgets and page elements, making it a powerful tool.
Even if you don’t want to use this plugin to build full blown homepage layouts, it’s still a useful tool to have access to. As you can insert the included modules, as well as widgets from any other plugin, directly into your posts before, after or alongside regular content, you can really create dynamic posts featuring a wealth of elements from sliders and calls to action, through to photo streams and the latest activity on the social networks.
I really enjoyed using Zoom Builder and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to make their post and page layouts more interesting and dynamic, while still using their preferred WordPress theme. Whether you want to create feature-rich homepages, or just add a few widgets, modules and columns to your regular posts and pages then this drag and drop page layout builder is just what you need.