In a mature and constantly growing market of WordPress page builders, Thomas Ehrig has decided to bring a new product to the ecosystem. Joined by Luis Godinho, the original team launched Bricks in March. Unlike most other authoring plugins, the project is grouped together as a theme.
As a small, 100% bootstrap company, the team decided not to go the freemium route. Pricing currently starts at $ 59 for a lifetime license, but that could change as the business model evolves. Potential customers are encouraged to test the product through the open playground demo site.
“Bricks aims to provide an all-in-one site building platform that allows you to build beautiful, full-fledged, responsive sites that rank,” Ehrig said. “Without having to buy and rely on dozens of expensive and disjointed plugins.”
One of the issues the team wanted to avoid was that end users were trying to find a Bricks compatible theme. Instead of offering a default or placeholder, Bricks serves as an all-in-one bundle.
The difference between a theme and a plugin is mainly semantics in WordPress. Aside from a few small things, a theme can do anything a plugin can do and vice versa.
“The main benefit I see from providing it as a plugin is from a marketing standpoint,” Ehrig said. “Elementor has done a fantastic job in this department. As you can see from the many free and premium themes that it comes with. This greatly helped to increase his exposure in the early days. “
Aside from a few users trying to install it as a plugin, he said the team was happy to serve Bricks as a theme.
He described the builder as a “theme that aims to tame the craziness of the plugin.” The emphasis is on customization, design, and performance, but the development process is user-driven. All of this is done outdoors via the project’s Idea Board, forum and Facebook group. Users can submit feature requests, which others can vote on and comment on. The team builds its development roadmap from this base.
Voting systems like this often work well in the early stages of a project. However, they can become unruly as the audience increases. We’ll have to check back with Bricks a year or two later to see how their feedback system has evolved.
“We don’t build in secret,” Ehrig said. “Our public roadmap ensures that everyone knows what to expect and what to expect at all times. It also keeps us accountable. If you’re looking for not only a beautiful builder that is fun to work with, but actually has a say in how it develops, I think you should give Bricks a try. “
Bricks uses their third team member to develop pre-designed models. However, they are already looking to develop the team further. Their current need is for a Vue.js and WordPress developer.
Building in an established market
Elementor became the de facto standard for third-party page builders. Others have made bumps, and WordPress is releasing several subcomponents of its full site editing experience in version 5.8. There are lots of people, but Ehrig thinks there are still plenty of seats at the table.
“The WordPress builder market is well established,” he said. “It actually gave me the confidence to start this project in the first place. It has been widely validated and it won’t go away anytime soon. “
Not wanting to launch a half-baked constructor, he said the team had waived a deadline for their version 1.0. They wanted to create an MVP with all the essentials and get into the race. Based on initial comments from the past two months, he said it was clear there was still room in the market.
Personally, I think there will always be space. After all, we are talking about tens of millions of WordPress sites that need to be launched, rebuilt, managed, and constantly optimized. It’s not a winning market either, which is good.
The trust and loyalty of your users must be earned every day. Otherwise, many switch to a different solution. As the web design and development landscape changes, so does your product.
All of these moving parts ensure that no player can rest on their laurels for long. This means that there will always be opportunities if you take the time to look at them and execute them.
While the builder is somewhat of a competitor to the main platform it is built on, it works alongside WordPress. Users can convert their pages created in blocks into Bricks data. This data conversion also works the other way around.
“So there’s no locking effect,” Ehrig said of the feature, which his team made available from day one. “Which, in my opinion, is really important. If someone decides to move away from Bricks, we don’t want them tied to our platform.”
The team is also exploring the concept of visually creating blocks in Bricks. The goal is to allow for more integration between the two, but they have to wait and see how the full site edition evolves in the coming months to find out what that might look like.
Version 1.2 and above
Last week, the Bricks team released version 1.2 of its builder. He touts his new item “Container”, which is basically a box to put other items. Users can control its display settings, and it already supports flexible layouts, which many designers will appreciate. Grid layouts are coming soon, according to Ehrig.
“After that, I’m currently very excited about WooCommerce’s next visual builder,” he said. “It’s a very difficult integration to achieve. Not just at the code level, but also from a UI / UX perspective. “
Among the many things that he believes the team has achieved, he mentions data integration with popular plugins like Advanced Custom Fields, Meta Box, Pods, and CMB2. He also said that version 1.0 features like global theme styles, responsive editing modes, and color palettes are things the team has defined.
“But the one thing we’re most proud of isn’t even a feature and something that nobody really has any control over,” Ehrig said. “And this is the community that has formed around the Bricks and its cause.”
In two months, his Facebook community grew to over 2,000 members. “Very active, positive and helpful,” he said. “You can’t put a price tag on it.”