What is WordPress Full Site Editing? (Everything You Should Know) 

What is WordPress Full Site Editing

Since the release of WordPress 5.9 on 25th January 2022, the topic ‘WordPress Full Site Editing’ has been a center of attraction for all on the internet. And why not, it’s considered as one of the biggest releases of WordPress.

To put it simply, WordPress full site editing is a collection of features that unveils the user’s ability to edit the entire site using blocks. As a consequence, it lets all the users experience full flexibility in building the website

Hence, if you want to explore WordPress Full Site Editing (FSE) in-depth, make sure you read the article till the end. 

What is WordPress Full Site Editing? 

WordPress states: 

“The vision of Full Site Editing is to provide a collection of features that bring the familiar experience and extends blocks to all parts of your site rather than just post and pages.”  

It means, previously blocks were available only for posts or pages. But now everything, including header, footer, navigation, and so on, are also blocks. Hence, you can now edit every aspect of your site like a plain sail. And, you don’t need any coding skills for that. 

WordPress 5.9 Editor

Actually, Gutenberg has divided its project into four different phases as below: 

  • First Phase: Easier Editing (Block Editor) 
  • Second Phase: Customization (Full Site Editing) 
  • Third Phase: Collaboration (Multi-Author) 
  • Fourth Phase: Multi-lingual Sites 

So, basically, full site editing is the second phase of the project. The first phase of the project was the block editor which was introduced with WordPress 5.0 update.  

WordPress 5.0 initiated the concept of using blocks for designing posts and pages. The later versions kept enhancing the blocks. Then, with the release of WordPress 5.8, some of the full site editing features became live. But you still had to install the Gutenberg plugin to use the full site editing features. 

Nevertheless, with the release of WordPress 5.9, you don’t require installing any plugins, including the Gutenberg plugin for the full site editing feature. But to fully leverage the full site editing in WordPress 5.9, you must have a block theme installed on your site. We’ll cover the block theme in detail in the sections below. 

It’s been a while since the release of the FSE, however, we may witness more changes in the upcoming days. But for now, let’s dive deep into how to use full site editing and its features. 


How to Upgrade Your Website to Full Site Editing?

To use full site editing, you’ll first require to update your core WordPress to the recent version, i.e., WordPress 5.9. For this, log in to your WordPress dashboard through your login URL. Now, navigate to Updates at the top left sidebar of your dashboard.  

Update WordPress

You’ll then see your Current version. If the current version is not 5.9, you get the update button saying Update to version 5.9.  

Update Button

Click on the Update button. After a few minutes, the new interface of WordPress 5.9 appears on your screen like below: 

WordPress 5.9 Interface

Now, you have WordPress 5.9 with full site editing. However, you still require to install and activate a block theme to be able to use all the features of full site editing. Block themes are WordPress themes built entirely on blocks.  

For example, the default theme in WordPress 5.9 is Twenty Twenty-Two, which is a block theme by WordPress.org itself. 

Twenty Twenty Two Block Theme

Some other examples of block themes are: 

We’ll discuss more about block themes below. So, keep reading! 

However, if you have a fully functional website with tons of daily traffic and you don’t want to change your theme at once, then you don’t need to worry!

All the classic themes continue to work well with the upgraded WordPress 5.9 as well. Just that you won’t be able to experience full site editing features fully.

Hence, if you’re using one of our themes like Zakra, ColorMag, Spacious, or so on, you can continue using them. We’re regularly updating the themes with the latest WordPress standards, so there’s nothing to worry about.


How to Use Full Site Editing? (Walk-through of Major Features) 

Now, let’s discuss the major features of WordPress full site editing, and let’s learn how to use full site editing. 

1. Blocks 

WordPress defines blocks as the components for adding content in the WordPress block editor. They were first introduced as Gutenberg blocks to replace the classic editor. Even when blocks were only available on the page and posts, WordPress users had quite an easy time creating and editing their content.  

But now, when WordPress has converted everything into blocks, it’s even easier to edit the post, pages, and the entire site on your own. Using the blocks, even a person with no technical background or coding knowledge can easily customize their site. 

You can find the available blocks by clicking on the Block Inserter [+]

Block Inserter

WordPress has added some of the important blocks under the Theme. So, let’s briefly discuss them now. 

Theme Blocks 

Theme blocks are the blocks that you can use in templates, posts, pages, or widgets. 

The previous version of WordPress had only a few blocks under the Theme Blocks, but now the number of blocks has increased.  

Theme Blocks

The theme blocks are specially made for the block themes. It has some useful blocks like Navigation, Site Logo, Site Title, Site Tagline, Header, Footer, Query Loop, and so on. 

i. Navigation Block 

If you’re a developer or even a user, you might have had difficulty editing the navigation on your site before. But with the introduction of the navigation block in WordPress full site editing, the task is far more manageable.  

Navigation blocks are those blocks that let you edit the structure and design of the navigation menus of your WordPress site in the full site editing. You can find this block under the Theme Block or even search by typing Navigation in the search bar.

Navigation Block

Using the navigation block, you can create the menu, edit the menu, and even add sub-menus. Further, the design and the styling of the menus are all in your hands, that too in an easy way.  

Not to mention, you can also edit the menu in the templates provided by the WordPress theme. Another amazing thing is you can customize the navigation for a specific page of your site.  

ii. Query Loop Block 

Query Loop Block is another powerful block of full site editing that allows you to display content based on specified parameters in your WordPress site. It’s available as Query Loop in the blocks of the full site editing. 

To add the query block, you can click on the [+] icon and search for the Query Loop. When the search result shows you the block, click on it to add it to the posts or pages

Query Loop Block

You can then customize the entire query or the individual blocks within that query. Some of the setting options available in the Query Loop are: 

  • Color: This lets you control the text color, background color, and link color 
  • Inherit query from template: You can turn this option on or off according to your choice. Turning on the option hides certain customization options while turning it off provides more options. 
  • Post Types: By default, WordPress has few post types, such as blog posts and pages. But you can add more by installing the plugins.
  • Order by: It lets you order the query in certain forms like newest to oldest, oldest to newest, alphabetical A to Z, or Z to A. 
  • Sticky Posts: You can either display the sticky posts, remove the sticky posts, or show only sticky posts. 
  • Filters: This allows you to further customize the post by adding categories, tags, authors, and keywords to the posts. 
Settings For Query Loop

2. Template Editor 

Template Editor is another major feature of WordPress full site editing that allows users to edit and create templates and template parts. It allows editing various elements like header, footer, and page or post layouts. 

For this, go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance >> Editor.

Site Editor WordPress Full Site Editing

When you see the interface of the site editor, click on the WordPress logo at the top-left corner. 

WordPress Logo

It then shows you the editor option, consisting of Site, Templates, and Template Parts

Site Editor And Templates

a. Templates 

The Templates control the layout of your page. So, they affect the look of an individual or a group of pages or posts. Also, different block themes provide different template options. Thus, the overall look of your site may differ depending upon the block theme installed and activated on your site.  

When you click on the Templates, it’ll show you the available templates provided by the theme. 

Template Menu

Then, you can edit these default templates as per your need. Contrarily, you can also choose to create a completely new template by clicking on the Add New button at the top. Hence, now you’ve full control over the layout of your pages or posts.  

Add New Templates

Likewise, you can also edit and create a new template directly from the page or post. For this, you’ll get the option of Template at the right side from where you see the current template your page is using. 

Edit Template From The Post

While clicking on the Edit will take you to the template editor, hitting the New button will let you create a custom template. All you need to do is provide a name to your template and click Create and it’ll create a new blank template in no time. 

Name And Create New Template

b. Template Parts 

Template Parts are parts of your site like header footer, sidebar, and so on. It also works when your theme supports template editing. Also, the template parts are reusable blocks for your templates. 

Like the template, you can use the existing template parts provided by your theme or create the template parts yourself from scratch.  

Clicking on the Templates Parts on the site editor shows you the list of available template parts.

Template Parts Menu

To create the new Templates Parts, click on Add New button. You can then start by giving a name to it and adding the required blocks. 

Add New Template Parts

3. WordPress Block Themes 

As discussed earlier, WordPress block themes are those themes that are built using templates composed entirely of blocks. Block themes and the full site editing completely rely on each other. It means without installing and activating a block theme, you can’t get full advantage of the full site editing.  

To be precise, Block themes are introduced to let users edit all the areas of the WordPress site, not only the pages or posts. 

The themes which aren’t made using the blocks are now considered Classic Themes. So, the difference between block themes and classic themes is the block theme now uses block templates and templates parts in the hierarchy, while the classic theme uses PHP files. 

To install the block theme on your WordPress site, first of all, go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Appearance >> Themes.  

Navigate To Themes

Then, it shows you the current theme. If your current theme isn’t the block theme, click on the Add New button at the top.  

Add New Theme

You’ll see the popular themes on your screen, but you must use the filter to find out the block themes. So, click on the Feature Filter

Feature Filter Themes

A new page appears, where you can apply filters according to the theme’s subject, features, or layout. From here, navigate to the Features and scroll down to find the Full Site Editing. Check the box of the Full Site Editing and then click on the Apply Filters.  

Apply Filter

A page appears showing you the available block themes. As of now, there are 45+ block themes available in the WordPress repository

Available Block Themes For WordPress Full Site Editing

Choose the theme of your choice click on the Install button. Soon you’ll see the Activate button, again click on it to activate the theme on your WordPress site. 

Install And Activate Block Theme

Thus, your site now has a block theme allowing you to perform full site editing. 


4. Site Editor  

Site Editor is the new Gutenberg-based theme editor from where you can design your entire site from header to footer using the blocks. Currently, it’s available as a beta version, meaning this new feature is improving day by day. 

When you install and activate the block theme in your WordPress site, you’ll see Themes and Editor under the Appearance. Clicking in the Editor beta takes you to the site editor, from where you can fully edit your site.

Site Editor

The interface looks something like below. However, you need to remember that the site editor interface varies depending upon the block theme or the templates you’re using on your site. 

Site Editor Interface

This is the interface from which you can perform full site editing. It shows you the exact appearance of your page or site as it appears on the front end. Therefore, you don’t need to preview your site at all. Nevertheless, you can preview how your site looks on different devices like Tablets and Mobiles if you want.  

Preview Changes

In short, you can add all the necessary blocks, perform a list view of all the blocks used in the page, and change global styles from here. Additionally, you can customize and create templates, template parts and do much more from a single interface.  


5. Block Patterns 

WordPress Block Patterns are a large collection of pre-defined block layouts, which you can insert into your posts and pages and later customize with your content. It highly reduces your time to create the content.  

To use the block patterns for your page or post, you can hit on the [+] icon and click the Patterns. It shows you the Featured patterns.

Patterns For WordPress Full Site Editing

But you can also choose the patterns using the specific category through the drop-down menu. 

Choose Pattern Category

Next, click on the pattern of your choice to insert it in your desired location. Your cursor on the editor specifies its location on the page or post. Now, you can easily replace the contents of the patterns with your own content.  

The best part is, WordPress has a repository for the patterns from where you can copy and paste the pattern of your choice on your pages or posts.

WordPress Pattern Repository

Thus, creating content becomes super easy and quick with these patterns. 


6. Global Styles 

Global Styles is a set of features that enables you to control the aesthetics and layouts of the whole site instead of only pages and posts. It’s available on the sidebar of the Site Editor. 

Global Styles

Global Styles allows you to change the default Typography, Color, and Layout of the site. It also allows you to create a custom color palette.  

In addition, you can also customize specific blocks for the whole site. 

Global Styles Options

When you apply Global Styles on a certain block, it’ll change the appearance of that block everywhere on your site. But again, after styling your site with global styles, you can also override the changes to only a specific page or a post by editing them individually. 

If you’re a developer, WordPress full site editing now has a theme.json file to define fonts, colors, block settings for the theme. 

With that said, it’s time to talk about some of the advantages of WordPress full site editing. 


Advantages of WordPress Full Site Editing 

After reading about the major features of full site editing, you must have thought that WordPress is now more user-friendly. And that’s how the CMS (Content Management System) should be. Apart from that, it has some more advantages which are discussed below: 

  • Single Interface: With WordPress full site editing, you don’t have to navigate between editors anymore; everything is possible using a single interface. Adding required blocks, defining global styles, editing and creating template all can be done from one place. 
  • Better Control Over the Site: A new improved block system offers endless customization possibilities. So, anyone can easily edit every aspect of the WordPress site including those which previously required coding and complex editing. 
  • Premade Template Designs: Prebuilt templates help you provide specific layout to your posts and pages. On top of that freedom to edit and create new templates and template parts gives you more power and control over your website.  
  • Block Patterns: With beautifully designed block patterns, you can now create and customize contents on your site in an easy and efficient manner, 
  • Less Dependency on Page Builders: Now that WordPress is all about the blocks, you don’t require to use a third-party page builder to build your site. Most of the features provided by the page builders are now available in the WordPress core itself. 
  • Developer-friendly: WordPress full site editing has eased the task not only for the users for also for the developers. It has brought more opportunities to build block-based themes and introduced a new configuration file as theme.json.  

What Does it Mean for Users of Our Themes?  

Now if you’re wondering if you need to switch our theme with a block theme for using WordPress full site editing. Let’s tell you that it isn’t needed.  

So, if you’re using our themes such as ColorMag, Spacious, Flash, Cenote, or any others, there is nothing to worry about. Our themes are compatible with the latest version of WordPress as we keep updating our themes timely. 

ColorMag Theme

However, you may not get the full features of full site editing with them. At the same time, many of the features of WordPress full site editing are optional. 

So, you can update your core WordPress to WordPress 5.9 and still use our theme and the block plugins. But we recommend you update the theme to the latest version. 

Meanwhile, when WordPress introduced Gutenberg, it also didn’t let the Classic Editor disappear by providing it as a plugin. Thus, block themes will also take time to replace the classic themes.  

But we know that the WordPress full site editing is here to stay. So, to join the troops of Block themes, we’re preparing ourselves.  

Thus, you can proceed to the WordPress full site editing with the updated version of our current themes. 


Wrapping it Up! 

WordPress full site editing has been buzzing around the WordPress community since the release of WordPress 5.8, which introduced block widgets and themes. The main idea behind the WordPress full site editing is to empower users to build their site through the block editor and rely less on developers or technical people.  

It has changed the way you edit or customize your site’s appearance. However, many of its features are still in the development phase, and we shall see more exciting features in the coming days. 

After reading this article, we’re hopeful that you’ve now understood the WordPress full site editing. Also, we’d like to remind you to back up your entire site before updating your core WordPress. You can also use various backup plugins for WordPress to proceed safely. 

If you liked the article, share it around your circle and let them know about WordPress full site editing. 

Lastly, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates and news. 

ThemeGrill Editorial

We are a team of WordPress enthusiasts comprising of professional WordPress developers, contributors, and SEO copywriters. We undertake in-depth research & come up with valuable WordPress content & resources to help the WP users of all levels. Follow us @themegrill on Twitter and +ThemeGrillOfficial on Google+.

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