Gutenberg — we’re going to get along, I promise! But there are days when I wonder if I can keep that promise.
WordPress is changing the post and page interface. Coming soon, there will be a system of BLOCKS for parts of your content. Blocks can contain each contain a different kind of content including titles, text, images, blockquotes (renamed pullquotes), lists and more.
Farewell, Plugins! Welcome, Gutenberg
One major advantage that blocks bring will be the need for fewer plugins. I’ve always opted for only essential plugins, but there are a few that I particularly love which can have my plugin list growing longer than I feel is wise. Plugins have always been attractive to hackers, spammers and other mischief makers. Having a system that eliminates the need for some or many of them works for me.
I have to feel a little sad for the tech savvy people who develop plugins though. I can see them as a major training ground. Plus various developers have gone on to create a ‘Pro’ version of their work for which they can charge. Profitability in their skill is going to become more stressful with lower demand.
Gutenberg Will Be Easier For Newbies
The new BLOCK system coming through at WordPress is going to be easier for new users. Older ‘mossbacks’ may not resist the change in the platform (called editor, but so much more). Those changes will still lurch and stumble as longtime users get used to the system.
These are not your mama’s drop and drag blocks. There is a solid line up. You can move them up or down, but I haven’t been able to split the view to get horizontal blocks.
I am comfortable working with the HTML view of the blocks. I found that I can still put items in places which I choose. Don’t worry — If you go strictly by the blocks and the visual editor, you will still have a decent post both for readers and for SEO.
Gutenberg Plugins and Trials
My favorite SEO plugin, YOAST SEO, has been ‘training’ writers to use headlines (?) to note changes in thought and give readers a chance to keep up. Breaks in readers’ view work nicely both for eyes and for attention, especially on smaller devices. I’ve been thinking ‘headings’, shorter paragraphs and sentences — the blocks make all kinds of sense.
Upon recommendation from the SEO guru, YOAST, I tried a beta plugin for Gutenberg back in April. Updates for that plugin along with familiarity have helped me appreciate the Block System. In late August, new WordPress updates offered users a chance to install Gutenberg. That ‘trial version’ works even better than the plug-in. Late adopters will surely benefit from their delay. They won’t have been fighting a plugin with barely enough tools to get the point across.
While I am still wrapping my head around the next move, I am not dreading the encounter of putting up a post using Gutenberg. I will get used to it and find that I like it. The people who have been involved with Gutenberg development as well as those who have observed have discussed at length the reasoning for using this platform. Other popular CMS platforms such as Drupal are looking at using the block system