Whenever WordPress announces a big change it elicits mixed feelings. The first response most people have is a groan (“uuugggghhhh”). Now you have to learn something new all over again? You just had to adapt to the last big change.
But those updates usually provide something truly useful to WordPress users. A lot of the people who groaned about the Gutenberg editor when it was first released have since come around to its benefits.
That’s worth keeping in mind as we move toward the release of the next big change in WordPress: Gutenberg FSE.
What is Gutenberg FSE?
FSE stands for Full-Site Editing, and it’s the next stage of the transition to Gutenberg. With the initial release of the Gutenberg editor in 2018, the big change was bringing blocks to how you edit pages in WordPress. Right now, each time you want to add a section or element to a page on your website, you add a block.
Gutenberg FSE takes the features that are an intrinsic part of the current Gutenberg editor for pages and extends them to sitewide editing. In other words, the experience you have now editing an individual page can be applied to how you edit sitewide features like headings, footers, and sidebars.
Gutenberg FSE will allow Global Style editing—meaning you can change website style features like the font type, colors, or size across your entire site with a simple editing change. It will allow website owners to edit themes and templates in the same editing window where you edit pages now. And it will bring the functionality of blocks to the widgets you use across the site as well.
Why Gutenberg FSE is Exciting
That all sounds nice and all, but is it really worth having to learn an all new interface and features? For most WordPress users the answer is a resounding: yep!
Gutenberg FSE is a big deal for most of us because it makes it easier to do web design without knowing how to code.
This has long been one of the selling points of using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, but your average person with zero coding knowledge has always faced some limitations in their ability to make a website look and do precisely what they want it to. That was OK as long as you could find a good theme that came close enough to what you wanted your website to look like or a designer to handle the changes you weren’t up to yourself, but it’s meant that some portion of website owners have settled for web design that didn’t line up with their vision for the site.
Now website owners will have more power to make their website look just how they want it to without having to settle for the closest theme or bring in a professional designer to help. That enables more control and flexibility for your website,
And if you’re worried about the learning curve for Gutenberg FSE, there’s good news there too. The full site editor will work much like the blocks editor for individual pages works now. So if you’ve gotten used to using blocks in Gutenberg, then you shouldn’t have any trouble learning how to use Gutenberg FSE when the time comes.
How to Use Gutenberg FSE
The easiest way to get started using Gutenberg FSE is to wait until it’s officially released. As of the time of this writing, the date on that is still up in the air, but you can expect it to be announced with the release of an upcoming version of WordPress. And when it is, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to miss it—WordPress will likely be promoting it front and center.
If you want to get a headstart on familiarizing yourself with Gutenberg FSE before it’s official release, WordPress has made it available for users to test out and play around with via the Gutenberg plugin. To start, follow the instructions from WordPress to set up a local installation, so you don’t mess up your live site in the process of trying out Gutenberg FSE.
Next, download the Gutenberg plugin. Since that’s a common word to include in plugin names, if you search for it within WordPress, you may need to scroll down a bit to find the right one. The one you’re looking for is quite simply called Gutenberg. Once you see it, click to Install Now, then Activate.
Note: the plugin will only work if you have WordPress 5.7 or higher, so make sure you’re up to date before downloading!
To experiment with Gutenberg FSE, you need to have a block theme. The TT1 blocks theme is a good one to use for this. Once you’ve found it, install and activate it.
Now you should see the option to select Site Editor (beta) in the menu. Click on that, and start exploring Gutenberg FSE!
Learn as You Go
If you manage to get everything set up to test out Gutenberg FSE now, keep in mind that this is still the beta version. Some of how it works now may change before it’s officially released. And if you encounter any issues in working with it that you think could be improved, you can let WordPress know via the FSE Outreach Program. They’re actively soliciting feedback to try to get everything working just right before giving it a wide release.
Are you the type who would rather wait until the proper release happens to mess with Gutenberg FSE (why bother doing extra work before you have to, am I right)? You can keep up with updates about it by keeping an eye on the WordPress blog, which provides information on upcoming updates and plans for WordPress. Or you can keep checking back here at the HostGator blog, where we provide lots of information about WordPress features and updates as they come.
Get Ready for Gutenberg FSE
Gutenberg FSE is almost here. You can try to hold out and stick with the current version for a while (some people are still using the WordPress Classic Editor plugin to avoid Gutenberg altogether, after all).
But for most WordPress users, embracing FSE and getting familiar with it sooner rather than later will pay off. It will give you more control over your website with less work (and way less coding), so the time investment you make in learning how to use it will pay dividends. Get started now with these 15 handy Gutenberg tips and tricks.
Casey is the Senior Director of Marketing for Hosting and has been in the web hosting space for 7 years. He loves the slopes and hanging out with his kids.