If you’re still hesitant to use the WordPress block editor for building your sites, I want to highlight a site I just built with the Genesis Blocks plugin.
My goal going into this was to use as few plugins as possible and build the site with the WordPress core block editor.
The Software Stack
- Platform: WordPress
- Theme: Oasis by Appfinite
- Plugin: Genesis Blocks
- Plugin: CoBlocks
- Plugin: Gravity Forms
There were a couple other plugins we through into a site like; Yoast SEO, Google Site Kit, and Akismet, but these are not required for the actual buildout of the site.
The Finished Product
The Platform: WordPress
There isn’t really much to say here. I decided a lot of years ago to hang my hat, so to speak, with WordPress and that is the platform we use.
I’ m not saying it’s the only platform worth using, or that it’s the right platform for every project, but it is the only platform we use.
Over the years I have come to realize the only limitations WordPress has are those held by the user. If you need your WordPress site to do more advanced things, you need to find someone that is more advanced than you to make it work, you don’t need to find a new platform.
The Theme: Oasis by Appfinite
I have three rules when it comes to building sites.
- I use one of two frameworks, either the Genesis Framework or the GeneratePress Framework.
- Clients budget determines if we start with a prebuilt child theme or template
- The child theme or template must have built in support for blocks
I picked the Oasis Genesis Child Theme because it is a more recently developed theme and supports blocks.
Important: The Oasis theme does require the Genesis Framework!
When I’m choosing a child theme, because I’m doing it to save time which saves the client money, it is necessary that I find one that gives me a head start.
I want to find a theme that has the right color scheme or font type. Maybe the demo has the pages exactly how I want them, or specific section of the homepage is built out exactly how I want to build the client site.
By looking for these type of “shortcuts”, I can be sure to deliver on time and on budget.
Genesis Blocks Plugin
With the use of the Genesis Blocks plugin there are several new blocks added to my editor and a library of prebuilt sections and layouts, again making it a little faster to build out the site, but also reducing the amount of code necessary.
This is what the Genesis Blocks currently offers:
- 16 new blocks
- 26 pre-built full-page layouts
- 56 pre-built sections
- AMP optimized
- Save & reuse your own sections & layouts
- Advanced block level user permissions
Learn more here: WP Engine Launches New WordPress Page Builder ‘Genesis Pro’
The Genesis Blocks plugin is developed and supported by the same team that build the Genesis Framework over at StudioPress and WP Engine. And yes, I am a loyal user, but I’m loyal because they produce great products!
The Genesis Framework is not required when using Genesis Blocks.
Although CoBlocks was bought by GoDaddy, I still use it. At least until Genesis Blocks has the block options I like from CoBlocks.
Don’t let the mention of GoDaddy completely turn you off. CoBlocks was and is (as of the time of this writing) developed and managed by Rich Tabor, who is brilliant, he just works for GoDaddy now.
CoBlocks is well built and will bring a lot of power to your WordPress block-based site-building.
Gravity Forms Plugin
Gravity Forms is an essential plugin for every website (not even COVID can keep it from working)! Every site needs a contact form, every website should have multiple lead generation forms, and Gravity Forms is a powerful plugin for building basic and advanced forms.
While we didn’t do anything fancy with Gravity Forms in this project, we did create two forms. One a simple contact form, another for appointment scheduling that integrates with the client’s email marketing service, HubSpot, and calendar, all done through Gravity Forms.
The Wrap Up
Every time I build a site with the block editor I am impressed. It’s intuitive, easy to use, and works great 95% of the time.
Yes, it’s still not perfect and there are some issues occasionally, but you can get through them 100% of the time.
WordPress 5.6 brings with it some new advancements to the block editor, taking its website building capabilities even further. Although it still doesn’t have the full capabilities and capacity of a page builder like Elementor, it’s getting there, and it’s moving fast!
You should take it for a spin, use the recommended block plugins and see what you can do.
Additional reading: Creating Custom Blocks for the WordPress Block Editor