What You Need To Know About WordPress Gutenberg


WordPress Gutenberg: What You Need to Know

Last Updated on January 20, 2021

You may have received emails or read articles in recent months discussing a new advancement in WordPress called Gutenberg. This nod to the creator of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg, has more to do with editing your website than running a copy of the Sunday paper. But it still represents an important advancement.  

Our development team has been testing and working in WordPress’ new Gutenberg since before it’s release date back on December 6th, 2018. We got together for a good ‘ol chat over coffee to discuss the team’s learnings and what it means for our clients going forward.

What is WordPress Gutenberg?

When Johannes Gutenberg released the moveable type in 1439, he revolutionized the way people printed. Rather than making an entire plate custom to a particular print job (which was inefficient and costly), the printer could arrange “blocks” of letters to create the desired result. WordPress Gutenberg is much the same for editing websites.  

Gutenberg is the newest enhanced editing experience by WordPress, one that their team has been developing for over two years.

  • On a non-Gutenberg WordPress site, if a client wanted to add something such as a Twitter feed to their homepage, it would likely require asking a member of our development team to create this from scratch. Like early printing methods, adding a feed needs to be custom written each time.
  • On a Gutenberg WordPress site, a user can just drop in the block for a Twitter feed themselves. However, the new block may not look cohesive with the rest of the site design (but we can help with that).

A major benefit of the Gutenberg editor? It provides a real-time preview of the changes as they are being made. While some of this was possible in former sites through the use of plugins, Gutenberg has much of this functionality built in.

Can I Build My Own Website with Gutenberg?

Not so fast. Gutenberg is an editor, not necessarily a site-building platform like Wix or Squarespace. These sites were created with the goal of making it easy for an inexperienced user to build their own website. Gutenberg, on the other hand, is still best leveraged by an experienced development team that can build the site and continue to act as a guide post-launch.  

When we build websites with Gutenberg, we use much of the same customized process as before. Our team still develops a site from scratch with Message Based Design in mind. The major difference is that once the site is complete, the client has much greater flexibility and freedom to edit and make changes on their own.

Should I Upgrade My Site to Gutenberg?

Our team DOES NOT recommend upgrading your site or installing Gutenberg on your own. Things could break or your site could go down entirely. Let our team do this for you to ensure the process is seamless.  

How do you know if WordPress’ Gutenberg would be beneficial for your business’ needs? Consider how often you edit your current site.  

  • If you are a “Power User” who is frequently changing content, adding new pages, etc., Gutenberg will make your life a lot easier and add more options.
  • If you touch your site less than once every 4-6 months, there’s no need to have your site rebuilt with Gutenberg right away.

We do recommend that everyone upgrades their site to WordPress 5.0.3 for security reasons, regardless of if you want to use Gutenberg or not. If you don’t want to use Gutenberg, we can ensure your site has the Classic Editor after we complete the upgrade process. Either way, we can help.  

What Should I Expect When Upgrading To Gutenberg?

The honest answer: it depends. As of this post, WordPress has not outlined a clear migration path. The process will vary greatly depending on your unique site, how you use it, and your functionality needs. 

We understand that this new technology may be daunting, but we’re here to be your digital guide. Give us a call to talk through your current site and explore the options for leveraging Gutenberg’s new capabilities.

Want to build a new site with WordPress Gutenberg?