It’s no secret that WordPress is the largest and most popular content management system. And, there’s a good reason why. WordPress is the industry leader in terms of the constant innovation of its user interface.
WordPress goes above and beyond every day to find ways to make its platform easier for even the most novice of website owners to use.
One of the most recent (and super awesome) WordPress changes is the introduction of the Gutenberg block editor to help users build pages and posts, as opposed to the now old-school classic editor, TinyMCE (WYSIWYG).
In this post, you’ll learn:
- What the Gutenberg editor is
- Top reasons to love the Gutenberg editor
- Risks of staying on the classic editor
- How to Switch to the Gutenberg editor in WordPress
Let’s take a closer look.
What is the Gutenberg Editor?
In short, Gutenberg is the “new” WordPress editor that was introduced with WordPress 5.0. This block editor changes the way WordPress users edit their pages and create blog post content.
The main purpose of building Gutenberg was to decrease the time it takes to create a dynamic page layout, all while making the process as easy as possible. And, what better way is there to make building something easier than to go back to the foundations of building—using blocks?
Just like you might build an impressive tower with individual Lego blocks, you can now build a killer website with individual content blocks.
This comparison may seem a bit rudimentary, but once you get the hang of Gutenberg’s block builder, you’ll be able to build beautiful, complex, and detailed posts and pages one content block at a time. Plus, it’s easy.
Many people were resistant to the change when Gutenberg was first released. Some even went as far as to re-download and install the classic editor, likely hoping that WordPress would go back to the original. But, Gutenberg is here to stay. And, it’s really for the better.
It’s time to ditch your classic editor (along with your hopes and dreams of it coming back) and get on the Gutenberg train, because it’s actually really cool!
How Gutenberg Works
To give you an even closer look at Gutenberg and how it works, here’s how WordPress breaks it down for you.
1. Gutenberg breaks down each paragraph into blocks of content, where you can add any visual element.
2. It’s possible to customize each block of content, right down to content type, color, width, alignment, and more.
3. To add a content block, simply click on the “+” icon on the page.
Things To Love About Gutenberg, the New WordPress Block Editor
Now that you understand the basics of what the Gutenberg editor is, let’s dive deeper into the reasons why WordPress users adore Gutenberg, and why most prefer Gutenberg to the classic editor.
1. It’s possible to add visual content from other platforms with a click of a button
The other day, I logged into my WordPress account and took a look at some of my old, inactive plugins. Do you know what I was shocked to see?
There was an ancient plugin that allowed me to add YouTube videos to my blog posts. A plugin!
Flashback to the year two-thousand forever ago, where I remember clicking around a million times trying to figure out how to activate this plugin and add a YouTube video to my blog post. I don’t think I ever figured it out. Oh well.
With Gutenberg, all you have to do is click on the plus button, type in “video,” click on “YouTube” when it appears, and then enter the YouTube embed code.
Gutenberg makes it possible to add any content from other popular platforms via the same method.
2. Say hello to more complex layout options while saying sayonara to extra coding
If you wanted a complex layout before Gutenberg, it was imperative that you knew the basics of coding and a little bit about editing your WordPress theme.
Gutenberg has several more layout and content options, making it possible to make more custom changes to your website.
Not to mention, making those changes is easier, since all you need to know how to do is navigate the block editor.
The big win for us? Columns! Now you can add columns to your posts without needing to code anything. We use those columns all the time to embed webinar signups at the top of the page.
3. The consistency of Gutenberg is a game-changer
One of my favorite things about the Gutenberg editor is that it’s consistent, meaning you follow the same pattern within the same block editor to add various elements to your blog and site.
With the classic editor, I often had to take different paths to get where I wanted to go. In other words, to add various types of content to my blog posts, I had to navigate between different plugins and areas of WordPress to achieve my goals. This method could take me hours, depending on how much content I wanted to add to my blog posts.
With Gutenberg, I can typically add everything to my blog post that I want by working only within the content block editor on the blog post page, and I never have to click out of the page. Switching to Gutenberg has saved me hours and hours on blogging.
4. It’s so much easier to edit HTML
If you use the classic editor, you already know you have to switch the screen view to the HTML editor to add additional HTML code.
Gutenberg allows you to edit HTML directly on the block. Just search for “HTML” and then write the HTML right in the block. There is no need to switch between regular view and HTML view.
Once you’ve finished writing your HTML, you can also click on “Preview” to see how it turned out.
5. Users have significantly more content options
Gutenberg also makes it possible to add more content without needing to install additional plugins.
We already talked about how you can add a YouTube video straight from the block editor. You can also add things like tables, podcasts, image galleries, and even access third-party blocks.
6. Novice WordPress users can navigate Gutenberg
The main reason WordPress users love the Gutenberg editor is that it’s super easy to use.
Really all you need to know about Gutenberg is that you build your pages and posts with a series of ordered blocks and that you access the content blocks by clicking the plus sign.
Once you click on the plus sign, you can search for any content element, follow the short instructions, and design an impressive blog post with all the bells and whistles you want.
Risks of Staying on the Classic Editor, TinyMCE (WYSIWYG)
Let’s say you’re a traditionalist, familiar and comfortable with the classic editor, and reluctant to change.
I get it. Change is hard. But, here are some of the risks of staying on the classic editor.
1. Blocks are the future of WordPress content and site-building
It’s rare that technology moves backward in time. If a tech industry leader like WordPress introduces a new platform, then you can bet your bottom dollar WordPress plans on building future updates around the new technology, not the old.
Future WordPress versions will build upon the block editor in terms of content editing, and most likely site-wide editing.
2. Editing in TinyMCE is more time consuming
The Classic Editor may be familiar, but it also takes much longer to accomplish tasks than it does in the Gutenberg editor.
Gutenberg is programmed to allow WordPress users to add various types of content to blog posts and pages from within the block editor itself. This means if you want to add text, custom HTML, an image gallery, audio, video, and more, you can do so within the page or posts itself.
When it comes to custom blocks you’ve added with plugins, you can access these by clicking the +sign in the editor, which is not possible in the classic editor.
If you love the classic editor, you do have the option to continue using it. However, it’s probable that you’ll be left in the dust as WordPress continues to evolve.
How Do I Switch to Gutenberg, the Block Editor in WordPress?
If you have already updated your WordPress site to 5.0 or above, then it’s likely WordPress automatically updated your editor to Gutenberg.
If you login to your admin account and see content blocks on your pages and post, then you are editing in Gutenberg.
If you still have the classic editor on your WordPress page and want to update to Gutenberg, here’s what you need to do.
- Login to your WordPress admin account.
- On your main WordPress admin dashboard, find and hover your cursor over “Settings,” and then click on “Writing.”
- From here, tick the “Block Editor” button, and then click on “Save Changes.”
That’s it! You’re officially using Gutenberg now. Once you navigate to a new post or page, you’ll see the block editor.
10 Cool Gutenberg Blocks You’ll Want to Try
Congratulations! You’ve officially switched your WordPress editor from Classic to Gutenberg, right? Now are you ready to start using the Gutenberg blocks?
As a quick reminder, you can find the following blocks by clicking on the plus button, and then searching for the keyword. Here are some you should try immediately:
- Quote. Quote is a content block that places special emphasis on a quote. If you’re adding a bit of Einstein or Obama to your blog post, try the quote content block.
- Code. Do you have a bit of shortcode you want to add? Great! All you have to do is find the code content block and paste your code into the block.
- Table. Yes, you can add a table to your blog post and it’s so easy now. Just find the table content block and enter in the respective information. It’s gonna look amazing when all is said and done.
- Slideshow. Want to wow your users with gorgeous visual content? Consider using the slideshow content block.
- Audio. Are you interested in adding a song? Podcast? Dramatic reading? The audio content block makes it as easy as a few clicks of a button.
- Columns. Back in the day, it was difficult to make changes to the layout of your pages and posts. Now, you can change the layout and the type of content you include by using the columns content block.
- Buttons. Draw special attention to your calls to action with the buttons content block. This is especially important if you are selling something on your website or trying to capture additional leads.
- Video. Adding video was one of the more difficult things for me to learn back in the olden days of WordPress. Now, all you have to do is search for “video” in the content block search bar, choose your respective platform, and paste the embed code.
- Group. If you want to do some content block reordering at some point, but know you want to keep certain blocks together, then the group content block will be your best friend.
- Tiled gallery. This content block allows you to display various images with a beautiful tiled layout.
These are some of my favorite content blocks and ones I would recommend trying right away. Remember, you also have access to third-party blocks, so you have tons of opportunities to optimize your content with content blocks. I hope you enjoy exploring.
Get Started with WordPress Hosting Today!
If you already have a WordPress website, then the time is now to switch to Gutenberg. Update your WordPress site to its most recent update, or follow the steps listed above and you’ll be able to create your next post using the block editor.
If you haven’t started your WordPress website yet, remember you need an excellent hosting package to support your website. Check out WordPress web hosting from HostGator today!
Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer specializing in SaaS, tech, and advertising/marketing. In a previous life, she was a Russian teacher at Brigham Young University, a corporate trainer, and a grad student—all at the same time. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world with her 2 kids and husband, reading poetry or taking a deep dive into the fabulous world of comedy. Connect with her on Twitter at @ashleyrcummings.