Building a website can feel intimidating — but it doesn’t have to be intimidating.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur building your sixth website or a blogger embarking on your first, WordPress.com has an intuitive website-building editor and a variety of themes to express your personal or business brand.
“The block editor is a completely rethought way of creating post and page content,” says Kathryn Presner, Automattic Happiness Engineer. “The editor in WordPress was the same for a very long time. This was a kind of a revolution.”
The block editor rolled out with the major update, WordPress 5.0, in 2018. Also known as the Gutenberg editor, the block editor allows users to design a professional, user-friendly website using easy-to-format “blocks” of content that can be rearranged with a simple drag and drop and customized with a few clicks. This makes for a more streamlined experience that’s accessible to people with any experience level.
Choosing a block editor-focused WordPress theme
To make the most of the block editor, you’ll want to opt for a WordPress theme that’s optimized for it. The simplest way to find one: check out the themes available on WordPress.com.
There are plenty of developers creating beautiful, functional WordPress themes, but they aren’t always in step with the latest WordPress.com advances. Though all WordPress.com themes will work with the block editor, some have been updated to fully accommodate this cutting-edge, user-friendly solution.
“Yes, you can have any WordPress.com theme installed and still use the block editor,” says Kathryn. “But keep in mind that not all themes take full advantage of the block editor. You want themes that have been updated since the WordPress.com 5.0 release. These themes better utilize advantages that come with the block editor.”
“We put themes that are well optimized for the block editor in a section called ‘Recommended Themes,’” Kathryn says. “These themes are built to take advantage of the block editor and the new WordPress updates.” This should be the first stop for anyone interested in picking a WordPress theme for the block editor.
For a more catered way to search for the perfect block editor-friendly theme, head to the WordPress.com themes page, then click “Feature.” In the search bar, type in “block editor.” Then, choose “feature: block-editor-styles” — this filters all available WordPress.com themes and shows you only those that are fully compatible with the block editor. You can also add more sorting specifications: free or premium themes as well as stylistic features such as minimalist, photo-focused, or whatever you need to make your website fit your brand.
Every premium WordPress theme is also made to take advantage of the block editor. And the wide variety of blocks lends a new level of customization to each theme, allowing you to create a site that’s tailor-made.
Big benefits with the block editor
With a block editor-enabled theme from WordPress.com, you’ll be able to fully leverage some powerful, simple tools immediately — and you’ll be better equipped to create a professional-looking site, even if you’re a first-timer.
“Think of your pages and posts as being composed of these different pieces that we call ‘blocks.’ These blocks can move around much more easily than in the past to rearrange things on your page,” Kathryn says. “In the past, let’s say, you had menu copy — you would copy and paste it and move it to the right spot. Now you can just click a little arrow and move up the chunk or drag it up and drag it down. Then you can easily drag to rearrange them — this used to be cumbersome. Now it’s just about moving and customizing the blocks.”
Using the block editor, you can build a page or post that includes a variety of content types by mixing and matching blocks. All your content lives in blocks — common blocks include paragraphs, headings, images, and videos. And now, the block editor integrates with a whole new variety of plugins that you can use to add blocks for dynamic forms, calendars, galleries, maps, counters, and more, expanding your design capabilities
Rearrange blocks by dragging and dropping — snap page elements into place exactly where you want them. They can also be adjusted individually for things like font, color, and alignment. It’s a big upgrade from the classic editor, where all your content was plunked into a single editing field.
Creating and formatting columns
Another big differentiator between the block editor and the classic editor is the block editor’s ability to include columns on a page. Say you want to create three columns of text, side by side, each with its own header, paragraph, and associated image. “To do that before the block editor without a plug-in or without manually coding up those columns? It was impossible,” says Kathryn.
But with the block editor you can add a Columns block — and even nest and blocks within the columns! — to create the exact design you’re looking for.
This, says Brent Shepherd, WooCommerce Payments Lead at Automattic, is particularly helpful when it comes to building an eCommerce site. “You’re not locked into a theme or template a designer created anymore,” he explains. The block editor gives you control over how and where you display your product catalogue to your customers.”
Whether you’re running an eCommerce or not, though, choosing a block editor-friendly theme will help you create the perfect website for your brand, blog or business.
“The block editor makes it easy for people to create professional websites very quickly and very easily,” says Kathryn. “Everyone should be taking advantage of it.”
Ready to get started with the WordPress block editor? Check out the full roundup of WordPress.com themes, and find the right one for your business — then drag, drop, and customize your way to a powerful, professional, on-brand website.
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