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Winter is Coming… and so is Gutenberg

on October 3, 2018

wordpress gutenberg what you need to know
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Wordpress is slowly building out Gutenberg, the page builder of all page builders…or so they say. In this blog we are going to get down into the nitty gritty of Gutenberg and cover what it is, what you need to know and if it is going to have an effect on your website.

I’ve come to realize that the relationship we have – and other companies probably have – with WordPress is pretty much a love/hate deal. From random updates and bug fixes to launching a page builder that may or may not be the end of thousands of WordPress sites, they always manage to hinder the customer experience rather than advance it.

Their most recent announcement and what I’m going to refer to as a “soft-launch” has been Gutenberg. Not to be mistaken with Johannes Gutenberg, the man that introduced the printing press. Hmm, possible correlation? ???? Well done, WordPress.

This introduction has left many designers, developers and business owners perplexed and quite frankly scared. Gutenberg has the potential to make or break sites across the internet. The fact that WordPress hasn’t really confirmed or denied this is even more frightening.

wordpress gutenberg what you need to know

What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is a page builder similar to plugins like Visual Composer and Divi. It allows users to custom build a post with multiple column layouts (they call them blocks) and features that will enhance the blogging aspect of WordPress. From a technical standpoint, Gutenberg is going to be wonderful for business owners and bloggers who don’t have the budget for a custom built site or who do not have a full breadth of knowledge in the world of HTML and CSS.

WordPress currently powers 30% of websites across the internet and the majority of those sites use a third-party page builder. I’m hoping the WordPress developers have the mindset of “no man left behind”. If not, they’re going to have a flock of angry businesses and web developers to deal with.

WordPress claims that their builder is going to “revolutionize customization and site-building in WordPress”. I have to disagree. Because page builders even more advanced than Gutenberg already exist, the only thing they are “revolutionizing” is the actual functionality of WordPress itself. And if these builders already exist…why did they not think of this sooner.

The Launch: What We Know So Far

Gutenberg currently lives in the WordPress dashboard as an optional plugin. It says something like “Test out Gutenberg on your own site”. You can also access it through the plugins section of the dashboard.

I was curious about the functionality of Gutenberg when it was released. I installed and tested it on one of my own websites. Keep in mind, my site currently uses a page builder plugin. Gutenberg overrode the page builder that was installed and converted all of my pages to solid shortcode.

Because the editor overrides page builders, make sure you are being cautious when installing or testing the plugin. It’s not going to affect the look of your website on the front-end, but it will make it difficult to edit your pages from the back.

Is it Going to Affect You?

The answer to this question depends on how your site is currently set up and whether or not WordPress is smart enough to have an option to turn off Gutenberg when it launches. As of right now, they claim it is going to simply be the “new” editor for pages and posts not a plugin. If this is the case, there needs to be some way for WordPress users to turn it off. If not, websites will be very difficult to edit for users across the internet. As of right now, if your website runs on a page builder, yes. It will, in fact, be affected by this update.

There is some good news. If you utilize Yoast in your website, they are preparing for the launch as well. Yoast is making sure their plugin will flow seamlessly with the new editor.

All in all, reviews of Gutenberg have been far from positive. Safe to say, WordPress has a lot of work ahead of them in the near future to make this editor the best it can be for users.

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