In this article, I’ll be looking at Full Site Editing and the ways you can prepare for this new shift in WordPress.
We’ve been hearing a lot about Full Site Editing in WordCamps, podcasts, videos, and articles. But what exactly is it and why should we care about it?
In the following sections, I’ll be diving into the reasons why many consider this the future of WordPress.
But first, a little history.
WordPress Before Full Site Editing
WordPress was traditionally made up of plugins, themes and the native content editor.
Plugins extend the functionality of WordPress. Themes handle the appearance of a website. While the native content editor was where you entered your content.
In 2018, the classic editor was replaced by the block editor (or Gutenberg). This new editor, as the name implies, uses blocks to help you create content easily.
Initially, the block editor was met with a lot of criticism. Among the complaints, many felt that the new editor was being forced on the WordPress community. In fact, it still maintains a 2-star overall rating on WordPress.org.
On the other hand, many embraced the new block editor since it provided a better user experience.
Like it or not, it’s where most of the innovation in WordPress is happening.
Full Site Editing
Enter Full Site Editing.
With this feature, blocks will not only be used for creating content, but designing posts, pages, and ultimately, the website as a whole.
In order to take advantage of Full Site Editing, users and designers need to start looking at block themes – i.e. themes built out of blocks.
This is a whole new way of designing themes.
Traditional themes bundle the code needed to control the appearance and functionality of the website within the theme file. With block themes, Gutenberg will provide much of the theme’s appearance and functionality.
In short, all block themes will have a shared set of features and style rules.
Block themes will then provide the user with predefined blocks, color schemes, etc. to help speed up the design process.
Many view this shift from traditional themes to full site editing and block themes as a way of democratizing design. It makes it easier for non-tech users to be able to create their own websites without relying too heavily on developers.
While some designers and developers may interpret this as giving too much free rein to the user, it is ultimately what the user wants. Simply take a look at how popular other platforms such as Wix and Squarespace have become and you’ll have your answer.
Full Site Editing and Block Themes will bring with them many benefits for the user, including:
- A consistent experience when customizing themes.
- Users will be able to switch between block themes easily without losing key features. This is because Gutenberg would be providing these features to all themes.
Full Site Editing has not yet been released, but it is well underway. After having viewed a preview of the native Full Site Editor in the last WordCamp EU, I have to admit it was quite underwhelming. This is especially true when you compare it to well-known drag and drop page builders like Elementor – more on this later.
However, the project is still in its infancy and if you believe that the future of WordPress lies in Full Site Editing, you should definitely consider opting for a theme that uses this same mindset.
Genesis Pro by StudioPress is an all-in-one suite of block-based content tools. It makes it easier to build beautiful websites using the WordPress block editor.
It includes access and support for the Genesis Framework, fully customizable blocks, content sections, full page layouts, and all the StudioPress-made themes.
Genesis Pro builds on top of the existing Gutenberg or block editor, ensuring that your website is future-proof.
If you opt for Genesis Pro, you’ll be getting:
- 16 blocks
- 26 pre-built full-page layouts
- 56 pre-built sections
- An AMP optimized theme
- The ability to save & reuse your own sections & layouts
- Advanced block level user permissions
- Genesis Custom Blocks
- 6 advanced block field types
- Advanced block export/import control
- Unlimited sites
- 24/7 support
Genesis Pro comes with a number of StudioPress themes, to help you design your website. Below are a few of our favorites:
Perfect for: online businesses.
Altitude Pro comes with an eye-catching parallax effect and a clean design.
Perfect for: online businesses.
Authority Pro provides the perfect backdrop for your new business. It comes with ample white space, perfectly highlighting text and images.
Perfect for: blogs, news and online magazine websites.
Magazine Pro comes with a high-gloss look and feel. The clean design highlights your blog or news posts while being media-ready.
Perfect for: agencies, blogs, photography websites & small businesses.
Revolution Pro comes with a minimal design that provides the perfect canvas for showcasing photography and text.
Perfect for: health, wellness & lifestyle websites.
Essence Pro is a beautifully designed, clutter-free theme. It allows your readers to focus on the essentials when visiting your site.
What About Page Builders?
I touched upon page builders earlier in this article. Page Builders initially started coming on the scene to address user-friendly design before the concept of Full Site Editing came into play.
We personally took this on board by creating our very own WP Mayor redesign using Elementor.
This page builder gave us the possibility to A-B test different post and page layouts. It also lets us try out different UX techniques, all at the click of a button.
For example, if we ever want to change the look of a certain button, all we need to do is move over to the Elementor interface and within a few minutes, our changes are live.
I believe there will still be a place for page builders, especially in the current market. Full Site Editing is still quite new and page builders will definitely give you more customization options at the moment.
Full Site Editing is still in its early stages. Like it or not, however, WordPress is definitely moving in that direction.
To prepare your websites for this new shift, I recommend using block themes to handle the appearance of your site. My top recommendation is Genesis Pro by StudioPress.
Not yet ready for Full Site Editing? I suggest you then go for a solid page builder like Elementor to still give you the benefits of full site editing without committing to this new framework.
What are your thoughts on Full Site Editing? Do you believe it’s the future of WordPress?