WordPress Gutenberg: Evolving into a Fast and Efficient Visual Builder

WordPress Gutenberg: Evolving into a Fast and Efficient Visual Builder

WordPress Gutenberg has come a long way since its launch, evolving from a simple block editor to a sophisticated visual builder that rivals the best on the market. This transformation has made it an indispensable tool for creating fast, efficient, visually appealing websites. Let’s explore how Gutenberg has evolved and why it’s now a top choice for web developers and designers.

The Evolution of Gutenberg

Originally launched in 2018 with WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg was a revolutionary step for WordPress, replacing the classic editor with a block-based approach. The new editor allowed users to build pages and posts using a visual interface, simplifying adding and arranging content. Over the years, continuous updates have added features and improved functionality, making it a robust tool for creating complex web layouts without writing code.

One of the most significant updates, Gutenberg 17.4, introduced enhancements such as new data views for template management and advanced style checking, making it easier to manage and preview changes across your site. These improvements have streamlined the user experience, allowing for more precise control over the design and layout of web pages.

Speed and Efficiency

A key advantage of Gutenberg is its impact on page speed. Unlike many third-party page builders that can add significant load times due to their extensive feature sets, Gutenberg is designed to be lightweight and efficient. Tests comparing Gutenberg and Elementor have shown that Gutenberg generally results in faster page load times and smaller page sizes, which is crucial for user experience and SEO​.

For example, a speed test using GTMetrix showed that a site built with Gutenberg loaded in 0.949 seconds compared to 1.2 seconds with Elementor. This difference, though seemingly small, is critical in the digital world where every millisecond counts. Faster loading times lead to better user engagement and higher rankings on search engines.

Enhanced Flexibility and Customization

Gutenberg’s evolution has also brought enhanced flexibility and customization options. The introduction of new blocks and the ability to create custom blocks have expanded what users can achieve. For instance, blocks for embedding media, adding dynamic content like social media feeds, and creating complex layouts have made Gutenberg a powerful visual builder​ (

Moreover, integrating third-party block libraries like Kadence and Otter Blocks has further extended Gutenberg’s capabilities, offering many design options and templates​. These add-ons provide additional blocks that cater to various needs, from advanced animations to specific layout structures, enhancing the overall functionality of the Gutenberg editor.

Inline CSS and reduction of layout shift

One of the key innovative ways Gutenberg improves site performance is by allowing the use of inline CSS to reduce layout shifts. Layout shifts occur when visible elements move around the page while it is still loading, which can be frustrating for users and negatively impact your Core Web Vitals score. Using inline CSS in Gutenberg helps to mitigate this problem by ensuring that the dimensions of elements are set at the outset, preventing unexpected shifts. For example, specifying exact dimensions for images, videos, and other media ensures that space is reserved for these elements before they are fully loaded.

This practice reduces cumulative layout shift (CLS), a key metric in Google’s Core Web Vitals. By embedding CSS directly in HTML, you ensure that styles are applied immediately when the page loads, reducing the chance of elements shifting as additional stylesheets are loaded. This method is particularly effective for critical layout elements that need to be stable from the moment the page begins to render.

Not only does this approach improve the user experience, but it also improves SEO performance by meeting the metrics recommended by Google. Practical Insights and Tools

Gutenberg’s real strength lies in its practicality for building modern websites. Let’s delve deeper into some of its core features and tools that make it an efficient visual builder:

  1. Drag-and-Drop Interface: The drag-and-drop functionality of Gutenberg allows users to easily add and rearrange blocks. Whether it’s text, images, videos, or custom HTML, everything can be moved around effortlessly. This intuitive interface reduces the learning curve for new users while providing the flexibility needed for more advanced designs.
  2. Reusable Blocks and Patterns: One of Gutenberg’s standout features is the ability to create reusable blocks and patterns. These are essentially pre-designed blocks or groups of blocks that can be saved and reused across different pages and posts. This not only saves time but also ensures consistency in design and layout throughout the website. Updating a reusable block will automatically update all instances of that block, maintaining uniformity without extra effort​.
  3. Improved Mobile Responsiveness: With more users accessing websites on mobile devices, having a responsive design is critical. Gutenberg makes it easy to create mobile-friendly layouts. The editor provides options to adjust the alignment, spacing, and display settings for different devices, ensuring your site looks great on both desktops and smartphones.
  4. Future-Proof with Regular Updates: The continuous development and updates to Gutenberg ensure that it stays ahead of the curve. Features, like right-click access to block settings and enhanced background image controls, keep it competitive with other visual builders, providing users with the latest tools and functionalities​.

What does the future hold?

At Revolution, we have been following the development of Gutenberg since its inception and continue to develop our skills and approach to building fast and effective Gutenberg-based websites. We specialise in custom, high-performance and fully editable websites. One of our most recent projects built from scratch using Gutenberg approach is the Nepean website.

Gutenberg’s evolution from a simple block editor to a fast and efficient visual builder represents one of the most forward-thinking approaches to modern web design. Its integration with WordPress, improved speed, expanded customisation options and innovative features such as the use of inline CSS to reduce layout movement make it a powerful tool for beginners and experienced developers alike. The project is constantly evolving, introducing new features that make building pages even more intuitive.