Experimenting with Gutenberg

Are You Experimenting with Gutenberg? Title Visual for BizShops blog post.

In this post, I am experimenting with the Gutenberg editor for WordPress.

I am using the Generate Press theme and I know Tom makes sure his product is up-to-date at all times for a lean and smooth theme in the WordPress.org environment.

My first impression and what I learned via a free LinkedIn “Introduction to Gutenberg” video, is that the editor looks promising for both ease-of-use and for features that WordPress users have been waiting for! There are also some surprises for using the new block editor and I have a feeling the improvements will keep coming. Both WordPress and developers are seeing the future in this update to WordPress 5.0, and the introduction of Gutenberg, as the soon-to-be-famous new editor-in-charge. 

I started the WordPress game later than many online, but I’m here and ready to learn and adapt to the new system. If you’re not about learning and adapting, maybe you don’t want to play in the digital playground.

Evolving is key. Besides, the whole point in the newest version and why WordPress needs to make upgrades is to enhance the user experience, making it easier to create with so we can get the things we want to do on our websites, done. Making things easier to do and quicker for the user seems to be part of the future vision or so it seems to me! 

Cool Stuff Right Off The Bat

The first thing you need to know is the new editing concept uses “blocks.” These blocks represent types of content and allow more customization within the different block type containers than users ever had before. The Gutenberg editor is starting to look more interesting and fun. 

Starting a paragraph with a drop cap, like this, for example, is just a click away.

Or, like this, you can suddenly change the background color in only the individual block section you are working on, like this. Again, a click on the right sidebar. Well, two. A sidebar you can leave out while typing, or can collapse with ease for more workspace. 

With two clicks again, you can change the color of the type, like this. Wow. 

Each time I hit the return on my keyboard I get a new block and can then customize each individually while not making any changes to previous or next paragraphs, like this one.

So you can see, even the most basics for customization are readily available to start using for a better website without having to hire or learn code to get results. But, let’s jump forward to a couple cool surprises I discovered right away. I think you’ll be excited by them, too. 

Buttons. Buttons are all-purpose on websites but not so easy to add without help or coding. Most of my buttons are part of form builders, and I’m not having much of a button life on my own, until now. Besides the favorite “buy” button or subscription form buttons, there are tons of other cool things for buttons to do on your site. 

For example, here’s a button in case you are just starting to create your digital imprint and are reviewing information for starting a small business website:

Creating it took only minutes in the new editor. And probably less time on my next try! haha

Interjecting Notes

As I go, a few things make sense for your own examination of Gutenberg so, before I give you more of the exciting features, here are notes to add for you before moving on.

Besides the Generate Press theme I’m using here, others I know are compatible as well. Adam from WPCrafter, teaching WordPress to non-techies like me, loves the Astra theme and guarantees you they are ahead of the pack. They even offer a FREE add-on plugin with more feature-rich blocks for Gutenberg called Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg by Brainstorm Force. 

This video shows you five great Gutenberg tips but also does a review of the 3 key areas you need to know about in the Gutenberg panels.

Also, my main site runs on the Genesis Framework, and Studio Press, makers of Genesis, are set for Gutenberg as well. The critical lesson is to make sure, before converting to WordPress 5.0 and onward, that your theme is up-to-date. Even at that, the editor and some options will differ by what works with your particular theme.  

Also, make sure your hosting company is running the latest php version for your website. If your hosting provider is recommending you hold back, then consider if this is best for you. or them. Maybe they aren’t set up and ready to do a bit of extra work it may take to upgrade and move forward.  

Finally, do a checkup on your plugins, not only for the new WordPress environment but on a regular basis. Plugins that aren’t maintained are often the culprits who break your site, and worse, may leave you vulnerable to security breaches.

It’s just plain vital you use currently updated plugins for your websites. And therefore, Gutenberg won’t cause trouble. 

I understand it’s complicated. But you know, that’s part of the point to the future of WordPress and using the block editor and its variety of features.  Adam from WPCrafter says not only is the new editor “a usability enhancement,” but “a game-changer.” He also predicts the new interface will be “powerful and flexible and likely the most feature-full content tool out there,” especially as it continues to develop. 

A Content Tool: More Fun Features

I love how Adam calls the new block editor a “content tool.” As a content creator, this statement matters most to me. If you’re using WordPress to enhance your digital footprint, or perhaps, to star in it (like me) then get excited and jump in to learn.  Time to evolve with your best friend in technology for your website. I say embrace it.

You gain a lot more control and can perform tasks on your site with time-saving ease. For me, all lightning-fast functionality is welcome. Doing things without having to stop and think and figure out how is a relief. I want to learn more about coding and stuff but, I have so much on my plate with over five years invested in learning “user” skills, alone. It all moves fast, and there’s always something new to keep up with to create and produce digital content.

Coding is essential to a great working site but, it pulls me backward, so if the new editor is about the interface and user-friendliness, then I’m in. 

Plus, WordPress always allows me a professional and responsive website, among the best out there. Are you ready to move forward with it, too? 

Besides those awesome buttons from a block, here are some of my other favorites you may find useful:

  • Images can be turned into “covers” that allow you to overlay text in the editor. This can be a time-saver and adds the benefit of allowing you to create a “signature look” for, say, the title visuals on your site. You can adjust to display full-screen as well. Wow!
  • You can set content in columns, two or three with a block.

Irk…stop and hold everything. Re-Start this post from about 1 year ago when I wrote the above sections. ALL IS STILL TRUE.

Gutenberg Going Forward

This site has a lot going on right now with Generate Press Pro for the theme, Beaver Builder in action in some key places, LifterLMS happening and using Gutenberg as well. Whew.

I like them all but, I see Gutenberg and new developments coming from Generate Press as a streamlined possibility for flexible site-building with ease in the future. WordPress 5.4 is due out any minute, and with each new update or version, Gut’s block functionalities seem to increase and improve.

Besides the blocks within WordPress, you can add whatever specialized type of content blocks you can imagine, via plugins. Many of them are FREE, and well, pretty exciting!

Screenshot of the Ultimate Blocks Plugin Website for custom Gutenberg blocks in WordPress

Ultimate Blocks is probably my favorite. This plugin offers 18 additional and specialized block offerings at this writing. Among my favs are the Table of Contents and the Call-to-Action Blocks, allowing you extensive customizations.

One of the most useful features of the Gutenberg update to WordPress is the “reusable blocks” function. Save blocks for multiple uses by clicking on the three dots at the top right of the editor for “more options” and then hit “save as reusable block.”

Next, name the block you are saving so you can pull it from the blocks library to use over and over in multiple places on your website. This is especially helpful for buttons, CTA’s, or even ad designs.

Are you embracing Gutenberg and learning to use this WordPress editor? Why or why not? Love to know what you think; let us know in the comments.

P.S. Want to learn about LifterLMS, the learning management system I’m using on this site? Take a FREE walk-through course to learn about using Lifter on your site, right here, right now! Yep:)

Affiliates Disclosure: some links in this post contain affiliate links for which I may earn a small commission if you click and then purchase, but at NO ADDITIONAL COST to you. These links only exist on products or services I trust or use and are offered to help you, too.

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