Hello. And welcome to WP Review, a show that provides analysis on what's happening in WordPress, and what it means for users and business owners in the ecosystem. I also tell you about helpful tools to build better WordPress websites.
This podcast is brought to you by GoDaddy Pro. Today is September 1st, 2021. My name is Joe Casabona. Now, let's get to the review.
I want to start off by saying a big thank you to everybody who purchased Master Full Site Editing in the last few weeks since the launch. It's been one of my most successful course launches ever. I've gotten a lot of great feedback on the course already. If you haven't checked it out yet, you can head over to [masterfsc.com]. It'll show you how to use the latest version of the block editor. And it'll give you a full walkthrough of all of the features of full site editing. At this time, it will definitely get updated, at least with every major version of WordPress. I'll also be adding bonus lessons and things like that. So buy it today to lock in the price. Again, over at [masterfsc.com].
Okay, let's get to the news. First, I want to wish Happy Trails to Andrea Middleton. Andrea has been a part of the WordPress community for 10 years, and I will link this in the show notes over at [wpreview.io]. But she says after 10 years of working full time on the WordPress open source project, she has accepted a community focused role at Reddit and is leaving Automatic this month.
Andrea was one of the first people I interacted with when I became part of the kind of events organizing arm of WordPress. When I planned WordCamp Scranton, she reached out to me about Matt coming to WordCamps Scranton to do a Q and A. It was the first, actually it was the only one because I moved away the next year. And it was a tiny WordCamp, maybe a hundred people. And just because of the way Matt's schedule worked out, Andrea suggested that he come and do a live Q and A, and it was great. I really appreciate him coming and I appreciate that Andrea was able to set that up at some of my fondest memories of organizing that event. But beyond that, Andrea also, I think this is so important in any kind of open community like this, but I always felt heard, or I always feel heard when I'm talking to Andrea. I said this on Twitter and she said, “Thanks for bringing your whole heart”. I think that was a nice way of saying thanks for always being so opinionated. But I never felt like my opinions or my thoughts fell on deaf ears when I was talking to Andrea. And I don't think that's incredibly rare, maybe in the WordPress community. There are a few, a handful of people, but generally, you know, I think generally I always came away from conversations with Andrea, with, you know, feeling kind of better about whatever I was concerned about.
So, Happy trails, Andrea, we will miss you in the WordPress community. But be sure, we'll be sure to, well, I'll be sure to stay in touch on Twitter and LinkedIn. So again, if you are just hearing this news now, and you know Andrea, be sure to reach out and say some kind words. Because she's been a linchpin of the community for 10…a decade. And the community is only better because of her.
Okay. So next up, Automatic acquires Frontify. Now, I'm not generally, you know, earlier in the summer, I kind of gave my thoughts on what acquisitions in the WordPress space meant. But I'm not by any stretch of the imagination, an acquisitions expert. But this one is interesting to me. Automatic has acquired Frontify. This is the company (I'm reading from the Tavern) the company behind an open source framework for building WordPress themes with React. From what I understand, they will work directly on the open source project in particular to (this is according to Frontify’s announcement now) in particular to contribute their expertise in developer experience, front end tooling, performance, and UX on the WordPress core itself. I'm, as I scanned through, yeah. This is definitely going to be a big part of the Gutenberg project, which is driven by React. So this is an interesting acquisition. I think it's going to be really good for WordPress and Gutenberg.
Today's main segment is about some feelings I have around Gutenberg and the adoption of Gutenberg, and what people are saying about it. So be sure to stick around for that. But this is, I think this is a good move, a big move that's going to help Gutenberg and the Frontify guys have been around, I think for a while. I've heard about them, you know, here and there and everywhere. And so, you know, this is, I think this is again big news for Gutenberg and the WordPress open source project in general. So congratulations to the folks at Frontify and to Automatic on the great acquisition. I am looking forward to what they'll be able to do to help the open source project and Gutenberg.
And speaking of Gutenberg, the third major story I'm covering today, ‘WordPress classic editor support extended for at least another year’. I saw someone else point this out and I mentioned it in a webinar. I gave about full site editing that the classic editor was facing end of support at the end of this year. But earlier last week, WordPress executive director Josepha Haden Chomphosy (I'm sorry Josepha. I think I always say your last name wrong) announced officially that the classic editor will get at least another year of support. And she said after discussing this with Matt Mullenweg, “It's clear continuing support of the plugin through 2022 is the right call for the project as well as the community.” And of course, end of support doesn't mean that it will completely stop working, that you can still use it. I suspect somebody will fork it and continue to support it, maybe. But the support window probably adding new features are officially saying it supports later versions of WordPress is what official support means.
So the Tavern has some stats here. Currently, there are over 5 million active installs of the classic editor plugin. And at best, they actually think the counter turns over at 10 million. I think Justin Tadlock wrote this article. They can speculate on a floor and a ceiling for possible usage and active installs are not the entire picture. So it's clear it's not going anywhere. And this news is the impetus for the main segment today. So again, if you're using the classic editor, you have an extra year of official support. But before we get into the main segment, I do want to tell you about this show's sponsor, GoDaddy Pro.
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Okay. So let's get to the main segment, which is Gutenberg adoption. I've been reading in a few freelancer and WordPress based groups recently. Based on the classic editor news first that, HEY, the classic editor is going away. Then HEY, the classic editor has been renewed that there seems to still be a lot of animosity towards Gutenberg. And I understand the rollout was rocky. I was an early adopter because of my course. But I wasn't using it really to run my website. At least not completely because it was super buggy and it was not ready for prime time when it rolled out. But that was three years ago. A lot of work has been done. It's worked out a lot of the bugs. But I think there are a few key reasons why people still want to trash it. And so when I saw comments in the Facebook group, I couldn't help myself. I usually don't comment on Facebook because Facebook arguments are maybe the most meaningless arguments one can have. Maybe Twitter is more meaningless. Right. But I basically said, “You know, rock and roll is turning kids to the devil. TV is melting our brains. People are walking around with headphones on all the time, no, one's going to know how to talk to a human being. The internet is ruining children. Every time there's new technology, people want to trash it.”
I'm sure we've all seen that clip at this point of Matt Lauer talking about the worldwide web in 1994 and that the journalists, the anchor kind of scoffing at it not really understanding what it means. We've heard people say that it was just a fad. Now, people are saying it's a human right. From fad to human right in 20, 30ish years. That's big. That's fast. So I'm not saying Gutenberg is a human right. But I am saying that people are set in their ways and they fall hard on their first impressions. But what bothered me the most about the arguments I was seeing was people saying that it was bad for users. It's worse for users than the classic editor. And that is patently untrue. It is worse for users who expect to get a Microsoft word interface. But if they want to write in Microsoft Word, they're going to write in Microsoft Word. And you know what supports better copying and pasting from Microsoft Word to the WordPress editor? The block editor.
What they really mean when they say Gutenberg is worse for users is “I don't like it. So, I'm going to tell my users it's bad.” But here's the thing. I never have to explain to my clients what shortcodes are. I never have to explain what short codes are to them again. I want to do columns. How do I do that? Oh well, you need 400 nested shortcodes. No, you use the column block. Yeah, that's a little, a little hinky. I guess it's a little bit buggy. But you don't have to type out nested shortcodes. Hey, I want to create a gallery. How do I do that? Well, you probably need this plugin. Hey, I want to do like a transcript style block quote thing. Oh, well, you're going to need a special class for that. Hey, I want to make a stylized paragraph. You're going to need a CSS class for that. These are things that you would have to do in the classic editor that you don't need to do in the block editor. Have you used the block patterns directory? You copy a block pattern and paste it directly in the WordPress editor. And now you have a nice layout ready to be filled in with your content. You can't do that in the classic editor. And when I made this point, people said, “Well, I don't explain shortcodes to my clients. I just, you know, they want me to update the website for them.” And there are companies who are built on that. Right? WP Buffs, GoWP. They hire people specifically to do updates like this. If you are a solo freelancer or a small agency owner, it is untenable to, unless that's what you feel like doing all day. It is unwise for you to spend your time making small updates to your client websites. Enable your clients. That's why you're using a content management system so you don't have to go to the homepage and make a tiny change because that tiny change only takes five minutes. But then it's 15 minutes to switch contexts. It's a few minutes to log in and then a few minutes to send them the update and say, “Hey, I've made the changes.” And then it's 15 minutes to change contexts again. My friend Brian Richards says “No task takes less than three hours.” And maybe that's a slight exaggeration here if you're just updating text. But if you're updating text, you are, it's more than just the time it takes to update the text. You're taking, you're spending time that you don't need to spend because the block editor will do it for you. We'll help your clients do it better.
And I know people who also say, you know, “Well, page builders are great. Page builders were great. They solved a very specific problem that a lot of people had with the classic editor.” I can't build complex layouts. And it's true to say that Gutenberg and the block editor are not where page editor or page builders are yet. But it's getting there. It's getting there. And the great thing about the block editor versus page builders, the code is more accessible. The code is lighter. You don't have all of these nested dibs. It's easier to style. So, and soon it'll be easier to build out full themes and page templates. So my challenge to you, if you are somebody I've alluded to, but you've decided to stick around for this round, anyway. My challenge to you is to build out a small site using only the block editor. I use Kadence Pro, and Kadence Blocks Pro. And they have a really nice rows, a really nice rows block. I think Blocksi offers something similar. But I think you'll be surprised. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. So the big takeaways here, Gutenberg and the block editor have changed a lot since those early days, three years ago, since its first versions, and its first version in core.
As a freelancer, I'm not telling you how to run your business, but I kind of am. You should not be doing small content updates for your clients. Your time is spent doing almost anything else especially if you train your client to do it. And then they can make the updates when they want. They don't have to wait on you. And my challenge, do a small site with the block editor. Im using the block editor course, where we build out a full site called “Lean”ardo. It's about Leonardo DaVinci using only the block editor and the Excel theme from Anders neuron.
Okay. And rant. I hope you enjoy them. I really feel like the block editor is. It's definitely not as bad as people think it is. And if you are saying it's bad for users, I want to see that data. I want to see the data that says the classic editor is a better user experience overall for creating content. Not anecdotal evidence, like, well, I spoke to one client who updated their site anyway, and they didn't like it.
Okay. So what's my recommendation for this week? It is the WPMRR Virtual Summit. I'm a media partner, which I'm not getting paid to do this. But I believe in the cause. My log i’s on their website. But the WPMRR Virtual Summit, you can find that at [wpmrr.com]. It is being hosted by Joe Howard, Founder of WP Buffs. It says CEO here, but I think that changed recently. And guest hosted by my friend, who I just mentioned earlier, Brian Richards. And it is an online conference 100% focused on actively helping as many people as possible responsibly achieve their MRR goals. If you don't know what MRR is, that is monthly recurring revenue.
You know how you don't increase your MRR? Make tiny content changes for your every client. You know how you do increase your MRR? Train your clients to update their own website and then you handle the security updates, backups and major fixes by selling a service package which you can mostly automate or hand that off to your hosting company. That is how you increase your MRR. You do things that add value to your client that don't add hours of work for you. But that's just one of the things that you might learn at the WPMRR virtual summit. You should most definitely attend. According to the website, If you're a freelancer agency who wants to do more with MRR, you're currently trying to push above the 10K MRR milestone, Marketing lead gen sales for subscriptions is a focus area system onboarding and team operations are places you can improve. Or you want to drive passive income? That's a big one. Passive income.
So it's an amazing speaker lineup. They've been announcing speakers over on Twitter for the last few days. I can't find that speaker line up here on the website yet. But I know I have lots of oaths. So the official schedule has not been announced yet. But here are some great speakers. Kim Coleman of Stranger Studios, Brad Williams from WebDevStudios, Kim Lipari from Valet. Christie Chirinos from Codeable, Carrie Dills, Ryan Sullivan. What just a fantastic lineup of people here who are speaking at the WPMRR Summit. So definitely check it out. It's free to sign up. Did I mention that? [wpmrr.com]. It is free to sign up. So check it out.
And if you do have and catches this episode before September 4th, I mentioned Kadence earlier. Kadence Blocks and Kadence Pro, they're having a 30% off sale over on their website. And there'll be a link in the show notes for that as well. Full disclosure, it'll be on affiliate link so I'll get a kickback. There'll be no extra cost to you. But I use it for pretty much all of my websites. So this is definitely a product that I deeply believe in. And my latest video on my YouTube channel is how to use Kadence to customize a thank you page in WooCommerce. So there you go.
All right. I think that's everything. Thanks for sticking with me through the rant. Thanks so much for listening.
To get even more WordPress insights and to subscribe to the show, head on over to [wpreview.io/subscribe]. You can find all of the show notes at [wpreview.io]. If you liked this episode, share it with a friend. If you have a friend who's like “The block editor sucks”, send them this episode. I'll give him a talk too.
Thanks to GoDaddy Pro for sponsoring this episode and all of the episodes Of WP Review .
Until next time. I'm Joe Casabona, and I'll see you out there.