Engage Web

Woman with thumbs down

Is WordPress Gutenberg any better a year on?

Woman with thumbs down

Is WordPress Gutenberg any better a year on?

Almost a full year ago, we shared our thoughts on Gutenberg, the newly introduced editor on content management system WordPress, which was gradually making ‘blocks’ into its default setting. Well, more accurately, I shared my thoughts, but they largely mirrored those of the whole Engage Web team at the time.

Put simply, we didn’t like it. We found a number of functions were just a lot more cumbersome than they used to be, such as inserting ‘more’ tags and even the potential pitfalls of the 12-hour AM and PM scheduling clock. For that reason, we reverted to WordPress’ Classic Editor. Perhaps tellingly, this plug-in has now notched up more than five million active installations.

Were we just being old fuddy-duddies who were resistant to change though? WordPress has persevered with trying to encourage us to use Gutenberg and blocks, so should we be giving it a fair crack of the whip?

At Engage Web, we’ve continued to use the Classic Editor. We’re just a lot more familiar with how it works and find it more suited to everyday publishing. Outside of work though, I’ve set up my own music blog on WordPress as of this year, and I’ve found myself getting used to blocks. It’s very easy to move paragraphs about, you can insert images and video clips in a jiffy, and it works well on the mobile app. Besides, since I’m on the free version, I’m not sure WordPress will even allow me to install the Classic Editor plug-in anyway.

However, there are two big differences between my blog and what we do at Engage Web. The first is that my blog is strictly amateur. I’m not trying to make it look particularly good. I’m not really even bothered if anyone reads it (and they don’t!). It’s a personal journal just to keep me in the habit of listening to and writing about music. If it was 1990, I’d be doing it in a scrapbook and sticking it in a draw for nobody to see, but since it’s 2020, it may as well be released into cyberspace.

The second difference is that for speed and convenience, I type my blogs directly into WordPress. That’s not how we work at Engage Web. Only after our blogs and articles are written and edited do we copy and paste them into WordPress, and that’s where the blocks format becomes a little clunky and rigid.

Unlike a year ago, I do now have an understanding of why WordPress introduced Gutenberg. It’s to make blogging as accessible as possible, and show technophobes that it can be really simple. In a more professional environment though, where businesses might be publishing hundreds of blogs a day, its limitations come to the fore, and Classic Editor remains the more practical option in my opinion.

Whichever WordPress editor you use, the end result needs to be high-quality, engaging content. To find out what we do to supply that here at Engage Web, feel free to get in contact with us.

John Murray
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