We asked a group of bloggers what they think about WordPress Gutenberg (also known as the block editor) and how it’s changed their blogging game for the good, the bad and the ugly…
Blogging has come a long way since Justin Hall’s ‘personal webpage’ on links.net in 1994. It’s no longer considered just a hobby, as content creation is a world-wide career in today’s digital marketplace.
Creating a blog has become so much more than writing as it combines SEO, UX, UI, copywriting and strategy.
With the rise of social media, there is a continual demand for publishing platforms that enables visual, user-friendly and interactive content.
WordPress is one of those publishing platforms and is a popular choice for hobby and professional bloggers alike.
2003 saw the first release of WordPress and in 2020 powers 35% of the internet. In fact, 70 million new posts and 77 million new comments are published each month on the platform.
What is Gutenberg?
The Gutenberg block editor was announced in 2017 and wasn’t implemented as the default content editor until 2018, as part of the WordPress 5.0 update.
It’s typically known as the block editor because it uses blocks to create content by dragging and dropping.
The Gutenberg editor looks to create impressive visual design capabilities with no code needed for media-rich blogs and websites.
That’s good news for bloggers with a non-technical background and especially for content creators who understand good design bodes well with Google’s preferences.
What’s the Blogger Verdict on Gutenberg?
We asked 125 WordPress bloggers what they thought of the Gutenberg editor.
- 48.8% loved it
- 36% hated it
- 15.2% felt neutral
The common theme between those that loved, hated and felt neutral towards Gutenberg was the lack of user-friendliness and the time it took to learn how to use it.
Here are some thoughts from the bloggers themselves…
Once I’d gotten used to Gutenberg, I can’t imagine ever going back now.
Hate it. Found it confusing and unintuitive and it messed up my blog’s formatting. Was relieved when I discovered the Classic Editor plugin.
It took a bit of getting used to, but I’m happy with it now and prefer it to the classic editor.
I hated it until I’d used it every day for a few months though, as it’s not super intuitive.
Took me a while to get used to it but I think it looks better, easier to add new types of blocks that weren’t available before, better features, reusable blocks, easy to move things around after finishing.
The Gutenberg editor doesn’t just consist of a few tweaks here and there. It feels like a new face, rather than a face-lift. Not many of us like change, it’s going to take a while to get used to it.
Blogger’s Gutenberg PROS
- The ability to add galleries without having to use a widget or shortcode
- Pages can be made to look more visually pleasing with the array of blocks available
- Blocks are easy to edit, place and move around
- Easier to edit the HTML block by block
- Shortcode block easily inserts code
- Blocks are easy to edit on mobile
- The Ultimate Addons
Blogger’s Gutenberg CONS
- Visually impaired bloggers have a harder time navigating it
- Unintuitive to use
- Takes time to learn
- Some existing themes and plugins not compatible
- Mobile version doesn’t look as good as the desktop version
- Adding nofollow links aren’t as straightforward compared to the Classical Editor
It’s worth remembering that the nofollow link attribute will be used as a hint for crawling and indexing purposes as announced in September 2019 by Google, and has been put into effect as of March 1st 2020.
To switch or not to switch?
Whilst Gutenberg is now the default editor, there is the option to switch back with the Classic Editor plugin. 32% of the bloggers we asked still prefer and use the Classic Editor due to user-ability issues.
However, it’s worth noting that despite the time it takes to learn how to use Gutenberg, this editor will enable you to create better visual content which is becoming increasingly important dare we say essential?!
The year 2000 saw Google pay attention to visual information and from then onwards began to place emphasis on image and video in search. With the explosion of mobile technology and smaller screens, mobile usability is a big deal and content design will play a starring role in content marketing to match modern-day user needs.
“Once I’d gotten used to Gutenberg, I can’t imagine ever going back now. It’s so much easier to draft content and move things around if needed. Cleaner, easier and offers so many more options for visualising content.”
Gutenberg’s Visual Approach to Content Design
User in mind: the ability to move, copy and delete blocks helps to create a cleaner looking layout which discourages a high bounce rate and encourages users back to your site. Google is well known for thinking about their users first and foremost, and as a content creator, you should be too.
Story focused: cover images, images and video help to further illustrate your story, making it interactive and engaging which encourages shares. Google is looking for signals that your content is relevant and well received and so stories help to achieve this.
Credentials: testimonials enable the author to demonstrate their personal experience and expertise which is important in a world of ‘experts.’ Google encourages writers to create unique content and personal experience can add a lot to that uniqueness.
“I personally love it, it’s really powerful, it’s also so expandable; as a dev who works with it every day it’s crazy what stuff you can do with it.”
Create a Block
If you would like to learn more about how to create your own custom block, why not get started with the WordPress Create Block Script.