As a non-developer, I honestly don’t know what direction to take my WordPress site anymore.
I used to rely on themes and even bought some premium ones, but over time, I’d outgrow them. As an artist myself, I prefer having control over every aspect of my website, from its layout, colors, to its fonts. Thus, I turned to page builders.
I tried Elementor Pro, but it was frustrating how it was so difficult to create more advanced layouts without exponentially increasing the DOM size of the page. I had to install several Elementor plugins just to get the job done, but then it also made the site slower. Elementor would also often conflict with Gutenberg block styles since I used the block editor for writing posts.
There’s Oxygen, which I’ve heard great reviews of, but its learning curve is too much for me. I also couldn’t get used to themes being completely disabled, as I relied heavily on child themes, knowing a bit of CSS.
Now, there’s this whole Gutenberg uprising. FSE is the future, but I cannot adapt at all. Not to mention that there aren’t that many FSE themes out there yet.
I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I don’t know if I should take the theme route, the page builder route, or the Gutenberg route. If I take either of the first two, I fear they may become obsolete or incompatible in future versions of WordPress as Gutenberg is further developed. And if I take the Gutenberg route right now, I don’t really have much options yet. As it is, Gutenberg doesn’t seem to have any built-in ways of displaying custom meta fields like those from ACF. I don’t want to turn to another premium plugin for it, either.
How much longer is Gutenberg’s development going to take before ordinary but semi-advanced users like me can actually make use of it? What’s actually the best route to take in WordPress right now, a time when a lot of groundbreaking changes are constantly being rolled out?
Before diving too deep into this, I want to clarify some terminology for readers. Some of the above uses of “Gutenberg” refer to site editing, a feature landing in the January release of WordPress 5.9. However, to use the site editor, users will need to activate a block theme. Currently, there are not many to choose from simply because this technology is under development.
You are not alone in wondering when we will move beyond what is a seemingly never-ending transitional phase. We are only now getting to some of the features touted three or four years ago when I was a full-time theme author. I am neck-deep in the development side of all this daily, so I can only imagine what it is like for non-developers.
The question is tough to answer without a hyper-specific use case. And, the right solution for one person will not always be ideal for another. There are questions of time, resources, budget, etc.
I only like the page-builder route if you are crunched for time
This article was written by Justin Tadlock and originally published on WP Tavern.