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The future of full-site editing in WordPress

For years, many website owners have relied on website builder plugins to help streamline the process of creating their WordPress sites. However, now that the Content Management System (CMS) will be rolling out full-site editing (FSE) functionality, it’s wise to consider how this feature might influence site creation.

With this feature built in to the CMS, users will soon be able to create their own websites without needing to have coding experience. Additionally, it may lessen the need for page builder plugins, which can hamper site performance.

In this post, we’ll explain the upcoming full-site editing functionality in WordPress. We’ll discuss how it will change the way websites are built, as well as what this feature may mean for weight page builder plugins. Let’s get started!

An introduction to full-site editing in WordPress

If you’re familiar with WordPress, you may already know that the CMS uses PHP templates for creating websites. These templates make up the themes that we currently use on WordPress sites, along with plugins. 

However, WordPress is soon going to be moving toward full site editing. The platform has already begun to move toward the full site editing experience when it began introducing the Gutenberg blocks.

The simplest way to understand the concept of full site editing is to think of it as a theme made up of a series of blocks. For example, there are blocks for the site logo, post date, and so on. It’s also similar to how popular website builder plugins, such as Beaver Builder or Elementor, function:

WordPress is also introducing a template editor and global styles. With global styles, the CMS will offer a greater level of customization. It will provide users with more control over the appearance of their sites. This translates to more control over the actual design and layout of the site, rather than the content of single posts and pages. 

While in editing mode, you’ll be able to adjust the site styling. When you apply the changes, they apply globally. For example, modifying an element on one page, such as a button, will change how it looks across the site.

How full-site editing might change website building

Now that we understand a little bit more about what full-site editing is, let’s take a look at how this feature being introduced in WordPress may affect website creation.

Website builder plugins

On the whole, the upcoming full-site editing functionality will likely make WordPress even more user and beginner-friendly than it already is. However, another major shift we expect to see is a declining need for website builder plugins.

As we mentioned earlier, these tools are currently used by many site owners with little to no coding experience. Using drag-and-drop visual composers, the plugins make building websites quick and easy, regardless of your experience level.

However, while these tools are incredibly useful and convenient, they aren’t without their faults. For example, because they are such heavy plugins, they can sometimes hamper your loading times and slow your site down.

Not only can this affect your User Experience (UX), but it can also negatively impact your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google is in the process of rolling out its Page Experience update, which emphasizes the importance of providing a strong and fast performance on your site in order to rank well in the search engines. Therefore, WordPress’ move toward a complete full-site editing experience may spell the eventual end for these types of extensions.

Theme development

Another area full-site editing in WordPress may influence is theme development. The WordPress “Site Editor”, which is essentially a different version of the Post Editor, will enable you to edit themes when you’ve installed a “Block Theme”.

While there aren’t too many options available right now, this will likely change. We also expect that this change will affect how theme developers approach their process, considering that the templates will be designed within the Site Editor instead of using custom code. Furthermore, it’s safe to assume that many developers may begin focusing more on block patterns and variations than individual templates.

How to prepare for full-site editing in WordPress

Considering the major strides WordPress is taking to pivot toward a full-site editing experience, we recommend starting to use the feature as soon as possible. The sooner you get familiar with the functionality, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

Learning about the full-site editing features will better position you to navigate the functionality with ease and maximize its value. In addition, it could help alleviate potential performance issues on your site. This is especially true if you currently use website or page builder plugins.

If you do use these tools, you will likely already be at least somewhat familiar with the concept behind full-site editing. With WordPress, you’ll essentially create a “block” for each element on your site.

As for the templates, they are HTML files that contain block markup. Eventually, we expect that there will be a larger selection of block-based themes that include full-site editing support and functionality. If you want to get an idea of what that will look like, you can refer to the experiential Twenty Twenty theme.

If you want to learn more about full-site editing in WordPress, you can check out the team’s project breakdown over at GitHub. In addition, you can also learn how to test the full-site editing experience on WordPress.org.

Conclusion

As is, WordPress is one of the most user-friendly and versatile platforms for building a website. In the past, many users relied on website builder plugins to be able to seamlessly design their sites without any coding experience. However, these weighty tools can slow down your site and hamper its performance.

Fortunately, WordPress is moving toward full-site editing in which nearly everything you’d need to effortlessly build a well-designed, fully functional site is built into the CMS. While it may take a little while to fully roll out all of the features and see the majority of users adopt a full-site editing approach to website creation, it’s likely that the current reliance on third-party tools will begin to decrease.

How do you think full-site editing will affect WordPress website building? Let us know in the comments section below!

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