WordPress Classic Block vs Gutenberg Blocks

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I have been very happy with my WordPress experience so far. My site looks pretty good and the tools available with WordPress or through plugins are great. However, I’ve noticed that some of the plugins, Yoast for instance, don’t work their magic on posts written only in a classic block. This is a problem for the posts that I brought in via blogger because, by default, they’re all contained within a single classic block. In this post we’ll take a look at the benefits using a single classic block versus the benefits of using the Gutenberg editor / Gutenberg blocks.

Bear in mind when reading this post that I’m writing it while still relatively inexperienced with WordPress. If you see something written here that you know to be incorrect, please leave a comment or send me an email to let me know what I’ve said that is wrong.

Update — Yoast replied via Twitter that this is a known issue for them. They’ve got an issue open on Github that directly describes the fact that reading Classic blocks doesn’t work as expected. As I found here they describe the workaround as transforming the post from Classic blocks to the new Gutenberg blocks. Here’s a big thanks to the team Yoast for reading my post and responding!

Positive Features of Using A Single Classic Block

To the user writing in a classic block the main positive feature is the rich editor. By rich editor I mean the set of tools made available at the top of the block that includes selectors for text type, text color, bold, italic, underline, and more. This selector will feel very familiar to Microsoft editing products such as the editor in Word and Outlook. For better or worse those products are in wide use and will be familiar to lots of people.

The second positive feature that I will mention here is purely speculative because I don’t know how Blogger Importer Extended was written. It is my guess that it was easier to drop all of the text with its format into a single classic block. If this is the case, the simplicity of using a single block would be a boon to plugin editors looking to create posts from text that is already formatted.

Positive Features of Using New Blocks

From my point of view as a blog author and not a WordPress developer the Gutenberg blocks make the writing interface simpler. Because each block type only supports a specific type of text each block can show only the options that apply to the text you might write in it. Heading blocks contain the heading levels and a few text modifiers (bold, italic, and link). The paragraph blocks contain different formatting options such as justification (left, center, right). This contrasts with classic blocks which need to display all the different possible options that a user might need. When I am writing I am aware of the type of block that I am writing in and this simplicity lets me stay focused on what I am writing in the moment by making only the options I need available and easy to find.

Positive Effects to My Blog in General

A positive effect that changing to Gutenberg blocks has caused is that I’ve had to re-read my posts as I’ve transformed them. I’ve updated posts with new information, such as my post on giving myself permission to fail, and linked to newer, related posts that hadn’t existed when I originally wrote something (i.e. linking to adding functionality to a Synology DS718+ in my initial setup post). Where I’ve seen phrases that don’t make sense or, in retrospect, appear wrong I’ve aimed to fix them.

Another positive that has come from going over my posts is the ability to improve setup Yoast SEO on them. I am no SEO master but I have learned a few things such as the need to have a good excerpt to be shown by the search engines and the need to focus on a keyword in my posts. I have been guessing at keywords to put into Yoast’s “Focus keyphrase” field instead of researching the best possible keyword for the post. That being said this is a good start for me.


I am still learning how to use WordPress and, so far, I love it. I am excited to learn how to use all of the features of the Gutenberg editor and it’s block system to make myself more productive in writing posts and marketing my blog and business.

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