Have You Used The New Gutenberg Editor?

Thank you to Donna Connolly, who blogs at Retirement Reflections, for asking me a question about blogging after reading my recent blog post ‘Do You Have A Question About Blogging…’

Here’s Donna’s question in full.

#bloggingtips #blogging #Gutenberg #GutenbergEditor

Yes, I’m using the Gutenberg editor, Donna. I’ve written this post using it.

I’ve read more blog posts complaining about the new Gutenberg Editor than those that give it any praise or credit. I found that to be of great shame, given some of the circumstances surrounding the reviews it’s been getting.

Many of those who complained about Gutenberg hadn’t even attempted using it. They’d ended up getting to it by mistake; many panicking as soon as they saw what was in front of them on the screen.

Others had tried using it but had not given it the time it deserves. Just like learning to ride a bike, or ice-skating for the first time, I think we all have to practice and try new things out before telling the world just how good or bad something is.

You wouldn’t review a book before reading it, would you?

How many times have you read or heard this quote?

“The more you write, the better you will get at it.”

Well, the same goes for Gutenberg. The more you use it, the better you will become at using it.

Why ‘First Impressions’ shouldn’t always count.

When I first used the new Gutenberg Editor, I found myself getting very frustrated with it. It was new and, like most things that are new, I tried using it without reading any instructions or guidelines.

However, with practice, I soon got used to it, and it wasn’t long before I found myself liking it a lot. What I thought as a foe, soon became a friend.

#welcome #hands
Image credit: Pixabay

Since the beginning of 2019, all my new blog posts have been written using Gutenberg. I’ve been so impressed with it that I”m now gradually in the process of converting all my most popular posts to it.

I’ve come across a few bugs while using Gutenberg. However, rather than complaining about them and doing nothing about it, I’ve reported the bugs to WordPress. They’ve gone out of their way to get rid of them.

Is the Gutenberg editor better than the Classic editor?

In my opinion, yes it is. And it’s not only me that thinks my blog posts look better when written with Gutenberg. Many of my readers have told me that the layout of my posts are far better to read than what they used to be.

What are the benefits of using Gutenberg?

There are lots but, just for starters, I love the fact that my posts can now have sub-headings that stand out (like the sub-heading above this paragraph). Sub-headings help break up what otherwise can be seen as uninviting blocks of text. I’ve found reading the posts of other bloggers who have used Gutenberg to be smoother and far more comfortable to read.

My reading experience has become even more enjoyable because of Gutenberg.

Sub-headings also come with a choice of five different sizes. That may not sound very interesting or exciting, but it’s something I think gives blog posts, written with the Gutenberg editor, an edge over the Classic editor.

Even colours come into play.

Text can now be easily inserted onto a coloured background, to highlight it (like I’ve done with this paragraph). There are lots of colours available to choose from.

Size can also matter.

You can also change the size of the font in your post, as well as in each paragraph, from normal to medium, large or huge. I’ve changed the size of the font in this paragraph from normal to medium.

And how about starting a paragraph with a large initial letter? You can’t do that with the Classic editor, can you?

Pingbacks are guaranteed to work.

When I was using the Classic editor, a new page would usually open in the same window when a reader clicked on a link in my post. This resulted in my blog being closed down on their screen. That’s not something any blogger wants happening, is it?

This happened even though I had ticked the ‘open page in a new window’ box. I found that I had to go back into the post and tick the box again! It wasn’t happening with all WordPress themes but, with Gutenberg, it isn’t happening at all.

Gutenberg is completely mobile friendly.

Image by geralt on Pixabay

Unlike the Classic editor, you no longer have to worry if the theme you’re using is mobile-friendly or if your ‘mobile friendly’ settings are working.

As more and more readers read content on mobiles and tablets while on the go, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that they will always be able to read your posts. Therefore, you will know that you’ll never lose readers and visitors to your blog because they are not able to read your posts on a mobile or tablet.

Save time by instantly dragging and dropping images and links.

Gutenberg allows users to drag and drop images, links, music and URLs directly into a post. No longer does a user need to add images to their media library before adding them to a post. Gutenberg does this for you when you drop images and videos into a post.

Save time with no more cutting and pasting.

Another time-saving element of Gutenberg is that you can quickly move paragraphs (or blocks, as they are known) and images up and down the document by clicking on the ‘up’ or ‘down’ arrow that appears by the side of a block when editing it. No more copying, pasting and deleting as one had to do when using the Classic editor!

And here’s something else Gutenberg will save you time on. An editing bar appears at the top of each block, so you don’t have to scroll up to the top of the page for the edit buttons. This is especially useful when writing longer blog posts.

WordPress have plans for the Classic editor.

The word on the grapevine is that WordPress will be withdrawing support for the Classic editor at the end of 2020. That may seem like a long way off, but don’t make the mistake of not being ready for it when it happens. Give yourself plenty of time.

Tips and advice for using Gutenberg.

Donna asked me for some tips on how to use Gutenberg. The bests tips and advice I can give you is to give Gutenberg a try. Not only that, but gave it time. Don’t panic when you first use it. Take an hour or so to write and edit a post. Practice using it as much as possible.

I’ll be publishing some tips on using Gutenberg in upcoming posts.

But most importantly of all!

Remember what I said earlier about reading instructions? Well, I’ve found you two excellent guides on how to use Gutenberg. The first one has been written by blogging expert Janice Wald and can be found by clicking here. Click here to access the second guide.

There is lots more I could add about Gutenberg, but I want to end this post by thanking Donna for her question. Thank you, Donna!

#blogger #writer #retirement
Blogger and writer Donna Connolly

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Have you used the Gutenberg editor? What do you think about it?

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157 comments

  1. Yep started, not because i want to but because theyll scrap classic eventually so I’ll have to. Still dont like it. But you can get used to eczema can’t you… so I’ll keep on scratching away

  2. I’m not a Gutenberg fan but I appreciate the warning about the Classic Editor being unsupported next year.

  3. I find that I could do most of those things with the Classic editor, which makes me wonder why they didn’t build upon it, and instead got a totally new product.

    And how do we insert pingbacks in the new editor?

    1. Yes, but these features are now a whole lot better with Gutenberg, and I believe they make posts standout much more. It will, after some growing pains, bring a more flexible content creation experience.

      Pingbacks are done pretty much the same as they are on the classic editor. And for me, unlike with the Classic editor, they work the first time.

      1. I just went and looked and the pingback was easy – like you said. Not sure why I could not figure out where the option was when I tried it last month.
        Maybe I’ll experiment over the weekend.
        Thanks for getting back to me so promptly.

        1. It is all a learning process and plenty of time has to be given to it to learn everything. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at using it. I’ve now set up a draft post which I practice on. That way, I can hopefully not publish any posts with mistakes in them.

          I think those that have given it poor reviews have not given it enough time. It’s a great piece of software that offers an even better blogging experience. The more I use it, the more I like it.

  4. Thanks for the review, Hugh. I have tried Gutenberg (even watched a tutorial) and am excited about the features it offers. I have not yet made the switch, as my theme does not fully support Gutenberg. I do plan to update my theme and make the switch to the Gutenberg editor within the next year. As you pointed out, there is a learning curve with anything new, but I believe it will be worth the effort.

    1. It’ll definitely be worth the time and effort, Christie. There are lots of themes that are already compliant with Gutenberg, and I’m sure WordPress will add more. I’m still learning lots about it, but it’s all exciting stuff.

  5. Wow. This is great information, Hugh. And thanks to Donna for asking this question. While I’ve updated to Gutenberg I’ve been using the plugin that allows me to stay in classic mode. And yes, 2020 sounded like a long time away at the beginning of the year and now it doesn’t. Guess I’ll have to get int here and start practicing.

    1. Thank you, Jennifer. The word on the grapevine is that WordPress will support the Classic editor until the end of 2020. However, I still imagine there being a lot of complaints when they withdraw support, even though they’ve given everyone plenty of notice. I thought I’d get on and use Gutenberg straight away rather than wait until the last minute. I’m not good when I start to panic.

  6. Wow, Hugh! Well done with this tutorial for the Gutenberg editor, or a start anyway. I understand the concept of this new editor better now. And, now I know why your blog has been looking differently since the beginning of this year.

    The reason I haven’t jumped aboard yet is that I’m waiting until I have more time to tackle a new tool. As it is, I even had to skip my Wednesday post last week, due to lack of internet and too many other activities going on. Thanks to your tips and advice, I won’t be too afraid to start using it. Thanks for asking the question, Donna! I also had read mixed reviews for this editor.

    I’m also not updating my WordPress edition yet, as I’d rather wait until some of the bugs have been fixed, after their big release. I’m too worried my whole blog will be a mess if I don’t wait a little longer.

    1. Thank you, Liesebet.

      You certainly need to give yourself some time when first using the Gutenberg editor. I would recommend that you also check out the links to the guides I’ve attached in the post. They will also help.

      I think too many people have panicked when they first come across Gutenberg. I certainly did! Unfortunately, many have gone on to give it poor reviews (without really trying it out). That could well be because they don’t have time to try it out but, like anything new, we have to give it some time before we launch ourselves into a full-scale negative review of something. Gutenberg has improved my blogging experience, and I’m hearing it’s also doing the same for many other bloggers.

      Like any software, there are bugs, but the resources at WordPress deal with the ones on Gutenberg first before tackling any on the Classic editor.

  7. I agree! I agree! I agree!

    I’m been using the new editor since it was first introduced, and yes, it was a little awkward at first. And yes, it isn’t perfect (I miss the word count), but I like it – a lot. I think it’s a major improvement and I’m not looking back.

      1. oooh – thanks! It’s one of those small little details that I really liked, but definitely not a showstopper.

        I think the most intimidating aspect of using Guthenberg the first time is encountering what is essentially a blank page. I don’t scare off easily, but I certainly blinked at that one!

  8. Great post, which I am pinning. I have pretty much used Gutenberg since it was rolled out and have not found major problems with it, in fact like you I quite like it. The only issue I have found that in updating old posts I typically need to go to the Classic Editor in which they were originally written, otherwise I have trouble with images etc,
    I have been surprised how many people have railed against Gutenberg, particularly younger people who supposedly have more adaptive brains than my generation.

    1. I’ve had to make some changes when converting some of my older posts from Classic mode to Gutenberg, but it’s also given me the chance to update those post, some of which then picked up more views and comments.

      I’m glad to hear you’ve been enjoying using Gutenberg. I can only imagine that the developers will make it an even better experience for those of us who use it.

      I think many who have complained about Gutenberg have done so because they’ve not given themselves time to use it, or simply do not want to step outside of their comfort zone and give it a try. I was one of those people, but now I’m delighted I gave it a go. Without a doubt, it’s not only saving me time when writing posts, but I can’t imagine ever wanting to use the Classic editor again.

  9. Excellent question, Donna. And thorough answer, Hugh. I need to give it another try. I switched back to classic editor after a very short, frustrating use of Gutenberg editor. It was hard for me to think in blocks! I had to go to your blog to see the features you wrote about – they didn’t show up on my iPad version through the wordpress app. I will bookmark this blog post and check out the links when I try it again.

    1. Hi Molly, the Gutenberg editor is not currently available on the WordPress App. You’ll only find the Classic editor on it. However, WordPress is introducing the Gutenberg editor to the app in two weeks! So you can give it another try then.

  10. Hi Hugh and Donna – such an interesting post to read – thank you Donna for asking the question. I’m in the dark ages – but like to know what’s going on .. .one day I’ll get myself into gear! Cheers to you both – and thanks for the links – Hilary

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