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WordPress and the change in website design.

I have been working on websites for better or worse since the late 1990’s. Of course then it was through yahoo and the website was much more basic than today.

Yahoo website from 1999

Image of from 1999

Of course a lot has happened since then; the thing that changed the way webpages are made was the iPhone in 2007, and the arrival of the tablet and iPad. The arrival of these new technologies precipitated responsive design, which means the sections or parts of a website will stack so they will fit in a smaller screen size.

In December 2018 Gutenberg was released for WordPress. This is a block based system to allow the website to be responsive. Other responsive design tools to mention would be bootstrap and masonry and there are many more all tailored to allow for responsive design. The difference is that these other tools are mainly used by developers and not for the general blogger. Before this block editor, much of the design aspects you would have to work with were HTML (the skeleton of the website), CSS (the styling of the website), and Javascript (the functionality of the website). Now in wordpress you have all the design elements on the side of the page, so no code necessary (or mostly no code). Since the initial release of Gutenberg there have been updates that have slowly improved the way the blocks worked, (I am no expert in Gutenberg, just a humble user) but I must say that it’s only recently I feel it is reaching it’s full potential.

Recently Gutenberg and wordpress have been talking about Full Site Editing . The reason I am actually writing this post about this is I don’t think bloggers, or I could say people who use the tools but don’t read about them as such, understand how much this is changing the way we create websites. My read on full site editing is the blogger or developer will have access to not just the page or post but also the page templates, widgets, menu, pretty much the whole site.
My understanding was that using the customiser meant you didn’t need a child theme, as the changes didn’t impact the wordpress core theme, but the customiser is being removed which in a way is sad as it’s being removed only as it’s becoming mainstream in use.
I believe that you will still need a child theme & the development of the child theme with full site editing isn’t there yet, but many developers are working on this so I expect a result soon.

Before windows 95 you were using DOS to use a computer, windows 95 changed all that! Block full site editing is going to do the same thing for website design, and it’s a big thing!

I have been creating and hosting websites for many years and I see the changes and wonder what the future will bring. Will there still be a market for freelancers to design websites if you don’t need to learn code any more? Or is it more that website design is in a transition? Now more then ever with people making their living on the internet & working from home, will easier tools create a new market for people to interact with the web?
Of course website design is more than just the website, it’s also managing the site back end in regards to hosting, software updates, and making sure its secure. So the freelancer is going to be around for quite some time. And because the changes are happening so quickly, if you have 15 websites some will be older themes than others and will require a different skill set to maintain.

So in one way things are getting easier, and in another way, more complicated, and that’s technology in a nutshell.


  1. I know a lot of bloggers (me included) who really struggled with the new block editor when it first came out and demanded a way to continue using the Classic Editor. But just like everything else, I quickly got used to the block editor and have no issue with it now–in fact, I like it much better. Being able to edit my site will be another challenge but I’ve already mastered headers and widgets and all those other things, so fingers crossed that it will be a welcome improvement!

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