If you’ve already used WordPress to create and grow a blog, you are quite familiar with the platform’s content editor.
Good things, however, have to come to an end sooner or later. Occasionally, the change isn’t pleasing but in other instances, it contributes to a much better experience. Say goodbye to the old WordPress content editor and hello to Gutenberg.
WordPress Gutenberg is the platform’s new content editor that features blocks for the purpose of easier content uploading, editing and formatting.
Chances are that you’ve come across it already but are you familiar with all of the Gutenberg functionalities?
Gutenberg is a WordPress visual editor – the tool that allows you to upload content and change certain aspects of the website without having to understand coding.
A quick look at WordPress Gutenberg shows that it is completely different from the previous visual content editing experience.
WordPress Gutenberg is based on blocks and each block corresponds to a certain type of content (a title, a sub-title, a paragraph, an image, a bulleted list, a slideshow, etc.).
According to the official WordPress announcement, Gutenberg was created to allow bloggers to accomplish more without having to install multiple plugins.
In essence, this is a drag and drop editor.
You can upload all kinds of content – from visuals to video and audio – and rearrange the blocks in any way that you please.
The Pros and Cons of Gutenberg
Now that we’ve answered the question what is Gutenberg, it’s time to take a look at some of its biggest advantages and shortcomings.
If you’re one of the people who quickly gets used to a manner of doing things and you don’t like change, chances are that you’ll take issue with the WordPress visual editor.
Still, Gutenberg has a number of characteristics that make it better than its predecessor.
The Benefits of the Gutenberg Editor
Blocks allow a lot of flexibility in terms of creating, editing and formatting content.
You can quickly and easily create complex posts that feature a lot. Everything’s available within the editor itself and you don’t have to turn to multiple plugins.
Gutenberg is clean and there’s a full-screen template allowing you to focus on the task at hand and minimize distractions.
The editor is mobile-friendly. You can use it to update your content on the go, whether you’re using a smartphone or a tablet.
Some previously complex tasks (embedding content, creating a slideshow) have been made a whole lot easier for those who aren’t particularly tech-savvy.
There are extra features – pull quotes, the chance to create multiple columns, verse blocks, custom HTML blocks, pull quotes, block quotes and many others.
In essence, this is a Medium-style editor and if you already have some experience with Medium, you’ll feel right at home with the WordPress Gutenberg tool.
A Few Shortcomings
The first and the most obvious disadvantage is that Gutenberg looks completely different from the previous WordPress editor.
You will have to get accustomed to the new tool and its minimalistic functionality and depending on your skills and adaptability, that may take some time.
Compatibility issues have also been reported by WordPress users relying on certain plugins.
Obviously, these will be addressed in time but the current situation can be quite annoying for content creators.
At the time being, Gutenberg does not support responsive columns and there are also some accessibility issues for developers.
Objectively speaking, Gutenberg has a lot to offer and many of the shortcomings stem from the fact that it has just been adopted.
Subjectively, the use of the Gutenberg editor will be heavily dependent on your blogging style and your preferences. As time passes, however, chances are that you’ll become more used to its appearance and functionality.
Making Your First Gutenberg Editor Steps
If you’re just learning how to start a blog, you’ll probably benefit from a much better learning curve than those making the switch from the previous visual editor to Gutenberg.
The best thing to do is to play around with a few test posts.
Getting to explore the full scope of Gutenberg functionalities will be imperative in order to create functional, clean and visually-pleasing blog publications.
The following WordPress Gutenberg tips will also come in handy to simplify the experience.
For a start, there’s no need to add Gutenberg on your own.
As soon as you update to the WordPress 5 0 release, you will get Gutenberg replacing the previous visual editor.
Before engaging in some of the funky new functionalities, try creating a basic blog post with Gutenberg.
If you don’t know how to create blog posts and develop your online presence, we suggest giving our five-day blogging e-course a try.
The introduction of Gutenberg will not have an effect on your design or the appearance of your blog. If there are some advanced functionalities/plugins you’re utilizing, you may want to check that these are still performing well.
Get Used to Gutenberg Blocks
The biggest Gutenberg editor difference is the block setup.
If you want to be capable of editing your old posts under Gutenberg, go to the respective blog post in the list and click on edit.
In the head above the title, you’ll see a symbol featuring three bars. This is the one that enables you to switch from the classic editor to blocks.
For blog post creation, you’ll need to use several kinds of blocks – a headline, a paragraph, an image and an embedded video block.
These are the basic “Lego” pieces you’ll be working with.
Once you master the essentials, you can move on to something a bit more advanced.
There are various other block types you can add to your pages. The main ones include:
- Media blocks:
- Cover image
- Audio file embedding
- Video file embedding
- Layout and formatting:
- Read more
- Page breaks
- Separators that can be added between other blocks
- Coding blocks:
- Other blocks:
- Add a file
- Add a table
- Recent posts
- Pull quotes
- Latest comment
- Latest post
It’s easy to see that you can accomplish an awful lot through the use of blocks.
To start creating a new blog post with the Gutenberg editor, add a title in the title field and use the “plus” sign to create a new block.
For example, click on paragraph in the blocks menu. A paragraph block will be created and you can start typing.
You do not have to manually add a block each time you want to create a new paragraph or a heading. When you hit “enter,” a new block will be created for you.
The same applies to embedding.
All that you have to do is paste the URL of a YouTube video that you’d like to have embedded within your article. Gutenberg will deal with the rest.
Gutenberg has one really cool feature that you may want to explore.
This feature will be very beneficial to those who use custom settings for their blog posts.
You may have larger than usual titles and a blue background in certain blog sections.
Instead of editing the content this way every single time, you can create and save a custom reusable block.
The horizontal block menu has a three dot icon in the right end.
Once you have created the custom block you like, click on the three dots and choose Add to Reusable Blocks from the drop-down menu.
The custom block you created will be saved.
Each time you use it, the exact same formatting will be applied to the content you’re creating.
The Blog Settings and Publishing Options
Just like in the case of the classic editor, the blog settings and publishing options will be available in the right column next to the content you’ve just created.
These settings, however, will have a somewhat different appearance in Gutenberg.
From the sidebar, you can choose between document settings or block settings that will apply solely to the selected block you’re working with.
If you click on document settings, you’ll get to choose the status and visibility of the blog post, publication date, category, tags, featured image, featured excerpt, discussion settings (whether comments will be allowed with the blog post) and revisions.
When you click on an individual block, the side menu will switch from document to block.
In the column, you will see information about additional features available with the block.
In the case of having a paragraph block, for example, you can use the side column to add a drop cap, change the size of the font or choose a color.
With an image block, you can use the side column to add alt text, change the image size, add an external link or modify the overall image dimensions (in the form of a percentage).
The easiest way to master these essentials is to check the available additional functionalities for every single type of block.
When you’re done, switch back to the document settings to save the changes and to publish the finalized blog post.
WordPress Gutenberg is different from the previous visual editor because it will ask for a confirmation one final time before the blog post gets published.
Would you like to learn more about publishing high-quality blog posts and monetizing your content? Sign up for our free e-course to master the essentials.
Gutenberg and Blog Post SEO
Anyone who is serious about making money through blogging knows that search engine optimization (SEO) is of paramount importance for traffic generation.
Search engine optimization consists of various techniques aimed at improving the search engine positioning of a respective page for keywords of preference.
The quality of content plays a role in SEO and so does the quality of the website’s design.
How does the Gutenberg editor, however, affect search engine optimization efforts? Does it have any impact on SEO at all?
Some industry specialists believe that the block-like structure will help search engines understand content better.
Some even believe that the block-based editors are the future of content creation.
Obviously, using a visual editor like Gutenberg isn’t going to have a massive search engine impact on its own.
To rank well, you’ll need to understand the niche, the competition, the needs of your audience and the key elements of online reputation establishment and management.
Many bloggers are using Yoast SEO – a free plugin that makes it easy to enter some essential search engine-related information into each post.
The Yoast team has been quite proactive in terms of ensuring integration with the Gutenberg editor under the WordPress 5 0 release.
Anyone who relies on this plugin will still get to benefit from it – compatibility has been ensured for much better results.
So to sum things up, Gutenberg may have a slight positive effect on search engine optimization efforts.
You’ll still need to keep up the good work.
Creating high-quality blog posts that are informative, unique and visually rich is still the heart and soul of achieving good search engine positioning.
When creating content, however, you should also consider formatting and structuring each blog post in a way that makes sense.
Luckily, WordPress Gutenberg can help you accomplish the goal.
Ensuring Compatibility with Themes and Plugins
As already mentioned, one of the ways in which Gutenberg could impact your blog negatively will stem from a lack of compatibility with the plugins and the design theme you’re using.
Because of such potential issues, it’s very important to do a blog backup before introducing any changes.
There are plugins you can use for the purpose of backing up your content.
Your hosting provider should also enable effortless backups.
We recommend Bluehost because of the excellent price to quality ratio and the availability of website backups.
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Now that you’re 100 percent certain that you have a functioning copy of your blog, you can commence Gutenberg compatibility testing.
The problem is more likely to be evident with your design theme.
A design theme that needs a page builder to manifest all of its features could “break” under the Gutenberg visual editor.
If you haven’t researched in advance or you’re just starting to build a blog, check the appearance and the functionalities.
Anything that’s not featured on the website or that has malfunctioned will need to be addressed.
Theme and plugin developers know that issues may arise because of the switch.
Thus, a second course of action would be to wait.
Issues have already been reported to the developers whose creations have broken under the new visual editor.
These teams are probably working on fixes already. Give it some time and update your plugins as soon as new versions become available.
A new version is likely to resolve the most prominent Gutenberg-related issues.
You should contact the support teams in case you’re still experiencing design or functionality problems.
Can You Go Back to the Classic Editor?
All bloggers who have updated to the latest WordPress version have already seen that Gutenberg has become the default visual editor.
You should definitely give Gutenberg a try, even if you don’t like it that much in the beginning.
The visual editor offers a lot of flexibility and convenience.
You may need some time to get accustomed to it but sooner or later, you’ll find yourself comfortable enough with the block-like structure.
If you’re not in love with Gutenberg at this point in time, you can go back.
The classic WordPress editor will be made available in the form of a plugin.
You can already find the classic editor listed among the myriads of plugins you can add to your WordPress blog.
The plugin’s rating is pretty high and it certainly appeals to those who can’t stand change in any way, shape or form.
What has your Gutenberg experience been so far?
Do you love or hate the new WordPress visual editor?
Don’t hesitate to share your experience with us in the comments below. You can also drop us a line if you have specific recommendations or tips on the usage of the new content blocks.