WordPress Finally Testing A Front-End Editor But Is It Too Little, Too Late?

In Tips & Tricks by District Maven

When it comes to digital marketing, you never know what you will discover by simply logging in and paying attention -- literally. I was especially intrigued when I logged into District Maven's website dashboard over the weekend to discover this message from Wordpress (featured on the right). It highlights their newest platform offering: an internal front-end editor, which according to Wordpress, will make coding even easier for the Average Joe to tackle, straight from the content management system itself.

Despite suggesting that this development will offer a "new, modern publishing experience," Gutenberg (what Wordpress is calling this new platform offering) is in reality, extremely late to the game of front-end editors. Most moderately experienced webmasters utilize Wordpress solely as an organizational tool rather than a creative one -- many are now used to relying on builders such as Visual Editor or Themeify, to create their website rather than Wordpress alone. Is this effort too primitive and being introduced to the game too late?

While the BETA version is currently available as a plugin to Wordpress users with version 5.0 and higher, it wouldn't be surprising if the long-term goal is to make it a fully-integrated component of the content management system -- but it is clear by looking at their key selling points (and the demo viewable here) that they have a LONG way to go. Instead of being easier and more convenient, I predict people will consider the initial Gutenberg rollout to be cumbersome and limiting. In addition to time costs required to simply learn the platform, the "blocks" are archaic and downright dull -- especially in comparison to the more robust builders that have had the opportunity to test, tweak and add onto their platforms based on what user feedback. Let's take a look at what they feel the top value-additions are:

1. Fewer Plugins
2. Layout Potential
3. Responsiveness
Edit in Real-Time

Aside from being incredibly vague, there isn't one selling point listed above that is inherently unique or proprietary to Gutenberg. There are already a ton of known front-end builders on the market -- why would an inexperienced webmaster choose this over an established one, or another CMS like Squarespace or Wix? Even if Wordpress added very bell and whistle under the sun, I predict that the noticeable lack of visual inspiration (showing Gutenberg in action, applied to different layouts and settings) will make the BETA launch fall flat and entice few to test it out. By only showing glimpses of the demo back-end, Wordpress administrators failed to realize that the masses want more than ease of coding in a website builder -- they also desire a glimpse of what their company or brand's page could look like, if they use the program.

Naturally, updates and additions are to be expected over time. While Wordpress gives limited insight into their thought process (here) and offers a basic support guide, it will be interesting to see whether their efforts will be effective or if it is simply too little, too late.

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