In December 2018, WordPress released the 5.0 version of its platform. With it came a new WordPress block editor, also known as Gutenberg. It was intended to make creating quality content easier and faster. Some people loved it; some people hated it. But one thing is for sure: the block editor is here to stay. So it’s probably for the best that you learn how to use it. Don’t worry – it’s not hard! And once you master the art of blocks, you may realize that you love them for all the great benefits they bring.

What is new about the new WordPress block editor?

The classic editor in WordPress was a text editor that used a similar interface to that of Microsoft Word, Google Documents, and other popular word processors. It allowed you to create posts and landing pages in much the same way you would create any document in one of those programs. The new block editor is based on a whole new concept – blocks.

Person writing a blog in WordPress.
WordPress has introduced a new way to create content.

A block is any element you add to your content. This could be a text paragraph, a heading, an image, a list, and more. Each block is its own entity – you can manage it independently from other elements on the page. You can, for example, use different formats for each paragraph or add a new background color for every new block. This shouldn’t interfere with existing WordPress themes or front-end settings; it’s just a new way to conceptualize and create content.

Why should you use the new WordPress block editor?

Because it’s introducing a whole new way of looking at content, the new editor comes with a bit of a learning curve. This might put you off from using it. And the truth is that you don’t have to use it – you can still switch to a classic editor with the help of a plugin. But you need to keep in mind that block editor is the future of WordPress. So if you want to start a successful blog that you’ll run for years to come, you’ll have to get used to the block editor. Plus, block editor has some serious benefits: it allows you better and more nuanced control of your content without any coding or plugins.

How to make the most of Gutenberg

If you still haven’t learned how to use the block editor but want to switch to it, then a quick but thorough guide is needed. Here’s all you need to know about using Gutenberg:

Creating new blocks

Starting a new post or page is the same as it’s always been. It’s only once you’ve created the draft that you’ll see the difference. But don’t let the new layout intimidate you – the block editor is pretty intuitive once you get the hang of it. The first block of any draft you create will be the title. Once you fill that in, press Tab or Enter on your keyboard or click below the title to create a new block. Every new block will, by default, be a text paragraph. If you want a different type of block, click on the new block button (the plus sign) in the editor’s top left corner or below an existing block. This will open up all the options for different types of blocks you can add.

Adding images

Images are a crucial element of most blog posts – they break up the text to make it more readable and add visual interest to the post. In fact, many WP themes for writers are specifically designed to be minimalistic so that they won’t compete with the images you put in the text itself. All that is to say that you probably want to know how to add an image in the block editor. The answer is simple: create an image block. It should be one of the top suggestions when you click the add block button. If it’s not, you can search for it. You can upload the image directly into the post, pull it from a media library or even insert it from a URL.

Image search on a mobile phone.
Knowing how to insert images into your blog posts is very important.

Adding links

Links are vital to SEO, so it’s essential to know how to add them to your post. Luckily, nothing much has changed here. The only difference is that the insert link button is in the block editor now. However, you can still use the old keyboard shortcuts.

Working with blocks

There are two main ways to edit blocks: using the toolbar that appears at the top of every block and using the settings in the sidebar on the right side of the screen. The toolbar functions the same way the one in the classic editor did – it allows you to edit the content within a single block (add bold or italic to your text or insert a link, for example). The sidebar settings help you change the block’s appearance as a whole (changing the size of the text or the background color, for example).

What’s brand new about block editor is that you can now save and reuse blocks. If there’s something you use frequently, make it into a block. Then use the menu in the block toolbar to add the content to reusable blocks. Next time you want to use that content, click on the add block button and find “Reusable”. You’ll save tons of time!

Widgets in the block editor

Another great thing about the block editor is that it has integrated some popular plugins. Instead of just having social media sharing buttons at the beginning or end of your post, you can now add widgets to the post itself. This includes forms, ratings, calendars, a search bar, and more. Simply select them from the list of available blocks.

Clock app.
You can now add widgets like time and calendar to your posts.

Managing and publishing posts with the block editor

The block editor has pretty much the same UI for managing and publishing posts as the classic editor. The only difference is where these options are located. In the sidebar on the right side of the screen, you’ll find two tabs – Post and Block. If you select “Post”, you’ll see the settings for the whole post, such as categories, tags, featured image, scheduling, and more. You can also find publishing options in the top right corner of the screen.

Other tips for using the new WordPress block editor

If you’ve been blogging on the platform for a while, you may find it hard to get used to the new WordPress block editor. To make the transition easier, move the block toolbar to the top of the page. This will create a similar layout to the old classic editor. Furthermore, you can use the keyboard shortcuts, which have stayed the same. Either way, you should try to make the switch to the block editor. WordPress only plans to expand its use. In the future, we can expect the block editor to become a full-fledged page builder. It would be useful to know how to use it before then.

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