Will the block-based themes change the way we use WordPress every day? Some of us have witnessed the introduction and development of page builders for WordPress in the last decade. Over time, the page builders became mature and started becoming increasingly popular and more useful.
Good examples are Elementor, Divi, WP Bakery aka. Visual Composer. All of them are specific but they have one thing in common, creating page content using blocks of codes.
The latest page builder to enter the race of becoming the main content creating a tool for WordPress is Gutenberg for sure. The aim of the Gutenberg editor is to become a platform for rich content creation using pre-defined sets of block templates that can be added inside the visual editor with few clicks.
The simplest definition of block-based themes is that those are the themes that utilize or rely on the page builder for adding, creating, and managing all elements on the pages from header to footer. The page builder became the main tool for building the website using blocks of templates serving various purposes.
For example, block for adding columns to the layout, block for newsletter sign-up, main menu block, search block, latest posts block, and more and more…
So, we come to the conclusion that the page builders like Gutenberg will handle every part of the front-end of your future website, the header elements including menu, home page slider, blocks of posts, etc.
This leads us to the legitimate question of “Would block-based themes become the future of WordPress?”.
Would block-based themes become the future of WordPress?”
This is definitely an interesting question to ask at the end of 2020. The year was very good when it comes to the growth of popularity of page builders as a tool for managing pages and posts using WordPress. One of the most popular page builders Elementor became even more used and distributed with lots of themes at ThemeForest who integrated full support for Elementor.
The Gutenberg team at Automattic didn’t waste their time during the lockdown and pandemic emergencies, the all fresh Gutenberg page builder also seen many improvements over the year. One of the main features of 2020. when it comes to Gutenberg is the arrival of the block-based fully featured editor.
As the marking trends and also theme industry insights show that the next year will bring even more Gutenberg, block-ready themes. Those themes will offer some custom theme blocks that can be used with Gutenberg and along with the full page editing options, we are surely going toward the block-based themes market.
We recently reviewed the 10 best Free Gutenberg Block template packs which will help you power up the Gutenberg page builder.
Future of WordPress themes
Well, future predictions are always hard and sometimes silly, however, we can expect to see more themes that will solely rely on Gutenberg. Those themes will features styles for the built-in elements and some custom blocks that will extend the default blocks selection.
New block based themes are coming
The truth is that the block-based themes are much simpler to build and their main role will be styling of elements and adding or extending capabilities of some built in blocks or by introducing some new ones.
In general, we can expect a lot of simple, limited features themes on the marketplaces that will have the role of skinning the look of the website elements. Pretty much everything else will be transferred to Gutenberg editor as the central point of handling everything. The future should also bring the full widgets integration into Gutenberg.
So, the entire WordPress structure shifts to reusable blocks of templates that can be managed with the Gutenberg in Visual mode.
Gutenberg is not accepted by the entire WordPress community
Another fact worth considering, when we discuss the future of WordPress, is that many WordPress website owners are not happy with Gutenberg to say at least. Many of them stick to the older WordPress releases to be able to avoid all changes since the Gutenberg editor started rolling in as the default page editor.
This leads to the creation of a project named ClassicPress, which is based on the last WordPress 4.9 release, prior to the 5.0 which introduced Gutenberg for the first time in the stable release.
There are many websites that are running older themes that will surely need to shift to Gutenberg during the next years or they’ll become obsolete.
Future of WordPress website development
As we reviewed the progress in the page builder in the past year or so, the future of WordPress website development will change significantly.
Some couple of years back, WordPress was still the blogging CMS or platform of choice for many. Today, the WordPress stands as the first name when it comes to CMS term. People use the WordPress to build all kind of websites and with the ability to use simple page builder to create a content rich pages, it gained additional popularity.
The number of WordPress website developers these days are actually just WordPress content managers or builders. They install the theme, import theme demo content that is built-in using page builder and then just set up the pages and content for their customers.
The thing is that this trend will increase in the future and WordPress development or should I say, WordPress website content management will become more easier and affordable. This will certainly relate to the overall pricing drop for WordPress custom services.
However, the Gutenberg will not be able to do everything for you. There will still be needs for custom coding and development. Every authentic project that runs on WordPress will definitely need a custom block-based theme with custom features, plugins, etc.
Competition among page builders, Gutenberg vs. Elementor
Besides the advancements of Gutenberg and its block-based themes, the Elementor page builder is growing rapidly and becomes more and more popular.
The Elementor also offers the option to extend its default set of features and blocks by allowing the themes to define new blocks that will be extending the Elementor.
There are many new premium themes at the ThemeForest based on Elementor page builder.
We listed the 10 best Elementor powered Multipurpose WordPress themes, both free and paid. If you are interested in Elementor, you might wanna consider these themes for future use.
Some of the most popular WordPress themes and best-selling themes at the ThemeForest added the full theme support for Elementor besides already included WP Bakery page builder. People are able to utilize the same content and capabilities in the page builder of their own choice.
The race between Elementor and Gutenberg will last over the years to come.
Truth to be told, the future seems interesting at least. We will witness a great change in the theme development field and we can expect a lot of simple niche themes. These themes will most likely include full support for Gutenberg and Elementor at the same time.
The page builders will be able to manage the entire front-end and it will bring more power to the average WordPress users, which is great.