The merging of the new Gutenberg Editor into the core was the biggest news in WordPress last year.
Although some might still prefer the old TinyMCE Editor, there is no denying that the new editor provides a lot more features. In this post, we will see how you can take it even further with the help of block plugins.
Before diving into the plugin list, let us discuss a few things if you are confused about the different ways of editing WordPress pages and posts.
Gutenberg vs. TinyMCE
At first, I also preferred the old TinyMCE interface, which offered a simple editing experience. In contrast, Gutenberg seemed complex with its block-style editing. But once I get the hang of it, there was no looking backward.
Some of the key features of the block editor are:
- Moving content blocks up or down
- Creating multi-column layouts
- Custom background color for paragraphs
- New types of elements like buttons, tables, and page covers
- Ability to save re-usable custom blocks
Moreover, aligning images is a lot easier in the new editor with additional support for full-width images.
What about page builder plugins?
Now you might be thinking what is the point of page builder plugins like Elementor and Beaver when Gutenberg is offering all these features by default.
Although Gutenberg indeed narrowed down the gap between the default WordPress editor and page builders, the latter group still has its place.
Page builder plugins give a whole different experience that Gutenberg still cannot offer.
For example, page builders allow you to edit your site live on the front-end. So there is no need for switching back and forth between WordPress admin and Preview pages. That itself is enough to justify the need for page builders over Gutenberg.
So, when you want to build a new website, page builders allow you to create complex layouts with ease.
On the other hand, when you want to spruce up pages with a few enhanced elements, installing a full-blown page builder is probably an overkill. That is where the new block editor comes handy.
What do Block Plugins Offer?
The block plugins add additional blocks to the Gutenberg editor. Nothing more.
Testimonials, icon lists, etc. are some of the enhancements these plugins offer.
So, in terms of customizability, I would order the various editors in the following order:
TinyMCE < Gutenberg < Gutenberg + Block Plugins < Page Builders
Best Block Plugins to Enhance WordPress Editor
Choosing the right block plugin can be a tricky task. So, choose one based on your site’s design and the type of elements you require.
Sometimes, a single plugin may not offer all the block elements you need. In such a case, you can install multiple plugins. Be sure to check for conflicts though.
1. Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg (UAG)
UAG is, by far, my favorite block plugin. I use it on this blog, and it is entirely free.
Apart from the standard blocks like buttons and sections, it also gives a few unique elements like Content Timeline and Post Masonry.
Another notable feature is the built-in Table of Contents. With that, you may not need another plugin to add a TOC section to your blog posts. It will be highly useful for long-form content.
The plugin is developed by the same team behind the popular Astra WordPress Theme.
Currently, the plugin offers twenty custom block elements. Instead, if you are looking for a template to set up full pages, you can get it through a separate plugin called Starter Sites from Astra. It offers 20+ Gutenberg-compatible starter sites for you to import and use.
Stackable offers a collection of well-designed of blocks that include some unique ones like Counter and Shape divider.
In terms of design quality and diversity, Stackable is probably the best you can find.
The free plugin offers 23+ blocks, which are more than enough for creating most types of layouts.
Besides the free blocks, the premium version gives access to a variety of ready-made templates.
CoBlocks is another plugin you can use to build pages with Gutenberg editor.
If you write about coding or development, you will find CoBlock’s Gist block quite useful.
The plugin also adds a new Typography Control section to editor panel which enables you to fine-tune the font settings for any textual content.
4. Advanced Gutenberg
I first across this plugin while looking for a way to add tables in a post. The default Table block in Gutenberg doesn’t offer enough customizations.
Of course, there are dedicated plugins like TablePress to do the job, but it depends on shortcodes for inserting tables into pages.
So, if you want a feature-rich table block, then the Advanced Gutenberg plugin is probably the only one you can find. None of the other plugins in this list offer it.
Another unique feature is the Tabs block. Adding tabbed content to a page or post is quite easy with this plugin.
The only downside is that the plugin is a bit heavier compared to the others. It adds around 70KB and six requests to the overall page weight.
5. Atomic Blocks
If you have liked StudioPress and their themes, then you might be interested in Atomic Blocks also as the same people created it.
The plugin gives access to around fifteen extra elements, which include Testimonial, Call to Action, and Pricing Table blocks.
Created by the folks at ThemeIsle, Otter is one of the lightest block plugins on this list.
With just around twelve blocks to choose, Otter doesn’t try to offer anything fancy, yet it gives all the essential elements like buttons, icons, and post grids.
So, if you want a simple plugin, Otter might be the right choice. On the other hand, if you want all the bells and whistles, there are other better options.
The new editing interface has brought an overhaul to the whole WordPress editing experience.
There is no doubt that it helped WordPress to keep up with other modern blogging platforms.
These additional block plugins for Gutenberg make it even better making the possibilities endless.
If you couldn’t find your favorite plugin, please mention it below, and I will add it to the list.