I Abandoned the WordPress Classic Editor – So Should You

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Image Credit: WordPress.org

When WordPress released their new Block Editor over a year ago, it didn’t get many good reviews. I was actually excited about it, but my excitement quickly turned to frustration as the initial release was clunky and lacked features. So I switched back to the Classic Editor WordPress users slammed the developers over it immediately. A quick look at the reviews on the Gutenberg plugin will show you exactly what I mean.

I resisted initially and installed the Classic Editor plugin on every site I ran because it missed some features that I really needed. But after a few months, I forced myself to start using the Block Editor. So why did I make the change?

Ditching the Classic Editor

I actually switched to the Block Editor before I was ready. I didn’t know where any of the settings where or anything. I spent a good chunk of time on Google figuring it out. So why all the pain?

Change is Inevitable

I’m an IT Professional by trade (building websites and running blogs is a side-gig). One thing I’ve learned about technology is that you can’t stop change. And people hate change because it changes their pattern of comfort.

When Microsoft updated their Office suite so it had the ribbon at the top, everyone hated it – with some even saying it would be the downfall of the product. It’s now been almost 10 years and Microsoft Office is stronger than ever, and we still have the ribbon. The world still moves forward. You know what we don’t have? Support for the older versions of MS Office.

As an IT Professional, I knew that eventually the Classic Editor would be gone or not compatible with the themes & plugins of my websites and clients. And the day it disappears is not the day you want to be learning how to use the new system. Sure I had to adjust my workflow and it was slow to start, but once I learned where all the tools were that I usually used, I could put out posts and pages with the same efficiency as I did with the Classic Editor – and actually, I can do it faster now with the Block Editor. You may not remember it, but when you learned how to use WordPress, you had to do this exact thing with the Classic Editor!

New Features are Limited to New Products

Once a development team moves forward with a new product, the old product ceases development. It may be supported for quite a while, but new features and options are generally not added. All the new features go into the new product.

So if you’re avoiding the Block Editor but want tables or columns, which are native in the Block Editor, you have to either know how to do it using HTML or add additional plugins. And that’s just 2 very simple examples of things you can do in the Block Editor that will never be developed into the Classic Editor.

Having to work around the old system’s limitations may be burning a lot of the time that you think you’re saving by not switching over.

Late Adopters Will be at a Disadvantage

So you’re a blogger and you have one single website that you like to write on, and you don’t want to learn a new system. I totally get that. But I’m shocked at the number of WordPress agencies who flat out refuse to use the Block Editor on any of their client sites and even go so far as to convince their clients that the Block Editor is somehow inferior, often citing outdated information because they haven’t even taken the time to look at the product since the initial release.

In one WordPress group on Facebook, someone recently mentioned that they didn’t use the Block Editor because you couldn’t write an article in Microsoft Word and then copy/paste it into the Block Editor. This was a legitimate issue that was resolved over a year ago. But if you’re an agency and you aren’t keeping up with the latest developments and tools available, you’re doing your clients a disservice.

The Block Editor has features that have replaced lots of plugins that had to be added to client websites and continuously updated & patched for vulnerabilities. The ability to run your site with fewer plugins lessens the administrative overhead in maintaining it.

cog wheels & gears
Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Adjusting to the Block Editor

With any change, it absolutely takes time to adjust. You’ve undoubtedly created your own workflow for performing actions within the WordPress editor. You know exactly where every option is, and how get there quickly. The best way to really learn your way around the Block Editor, is by doing.

Start writing new posts in the Block Editor, even though it will take longer. I promise you’ll get faster as time goes on and you’ll start to discover all the options you have that were never available with the Classic Editor. There are really some cool things you can do with the Block Editor.

And if you really have a section that you don’t know how to build without the Classic Editor, the new Block Editor allows you to embed Classic Editor blocks right inside it so you can use that familiar interface without the need for an additional plugin.

Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He’s also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover band, Liquifaction.

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