At Yoast, we truly believe you should be using the Block Editor (formerly known as Gutenberg) in WordPress, simply because it’s a much better experience than the ‘classic editor’. Unfortunately, when we look at our statistics, we see that a large segment of our users still uses the classic editor. This makes us sad, but also makes us want to explain why you really should start switching over.
When we talk about Gutenberg/the Block Editor within the WordPress community, there are always a lot of emotions involved. A large percentage of these emotions were down to the release process of Gutenberg. I have certainly also been critical of that process. But, while that launch could undoubtedly have been handled better, it shouldn’t cloud our judgment of the product. Unfortunately, some of that negativity has spilled into the wider world without the context, and that really is a shame.
In our eyes, it’s simple: the Block Editor is now much better than when it launched. Smashing Magazine did a good post mortem. In their post, they also differentiate between the problematic launching process and its current state. And, they assess it to be very good at the moment. It’s important to note that the Block Editor is still under heavy development within the Gutenberg project. The current version of the Block Editor is much, much better than what it was like a year ago. In fact, I can say it’s very good.
Why you should switch to the Block Editor
The Gutenberg project and with it, the Block Editor is literally where all the innovation in the WordPress space is happening. Think of it this way: the only car race you’re going to win by using old technology, is a classic car race. If you want to win in SEO in the next few years, I guarantee you’ll need to be on the Block Editor. If you’re not, and if some of your competitors are, they’re going to beat you.
While the Block Editor may be very good, you may think: why would I switch? If the classic editor is working for me, so why bother? Well: the Block Editor is only step one in a longer process. More and more parts of the WordPress admin will start using blocks, and because of that, getting familiar with the Block Editor is essential.
Future versions will iterate on what the Block Editor already does, moving to site-wide editing, instead of just the content area. The first required step for that is defining content edit areas, something Matias discussed in this post on Make Core, one of the blogs of the core WordPress development team. That post by Matias prompted this post by Justin Tadlock on how the Gutenberg project is shaping the future of WordPress themes. This is getting me, and our entire team at Yoast, very excited.
The Gutenberg project aims at making WordPress easier to use. That’s a long term goal, but it’s already doing that now too. When we have site-wide editing, we won’t need to teach people how to use widgets anymore: they’ll be the same as the blocks they see in the editor. In fact, the entire distinction will be gone.
Reasons to use the Block Editor now
Besides all of these great developments, you really should use the Block Editor now and stop using the classic editor. Let me give you an overview of simple and clear reasons. With the Block Editor:
- You will be able to build layouts that you can’t make in TinyMCE. Most of the stuff we did for our recent digital story required no coding. Plugins like Grids make it even easier to make very smooth designs.
- You can make FAQs and HowTo’s that’ll look awesome in search results. Our Yoast SEO Schema blocks are already providing an SEO advantage that is unmatched. For instance, check out our FAQ blocks.
- Simple things like images next to paragraphs and other things that could be painful in TinyMCE have become so much better in Gutenberg. Want multiple columns? You can have them, like that, without extra coding.
- Speaking of things you couldn’t do without plugins before: you can now embed tables in your content, just by adding a table block. No plugins required.
- Creating custom blocks is relatively simple, and allows people to do 90% of the custom things they would do with plugins in the past, but easier. It becomes even easier when you use a plugin like ACF Pro or Block Lab to build those custom blocks.
- Custom blocks, or blocks you’ve added with plugins, can be easily found by users just by clicking the + sign in the editor. Shortcodes, in the classic editor, didn’t have such a discovery method.
- Re-usable blocks allow you to easily create content you can re-use across posts or pages, see this nice tutorial on WP Beginner.
There are many more nice features; please share yours in the comments!
Finally, it’s good to know that WordPress 5.3, slated for November 12th, will have the best version of the Block Editor yet. If you want that experience now, you can! Just install Gutenberg: the plugin.
If you haven’t used the Block Editor recently: go, try it! I’m sure you’ll be happy with it.