In the ever-changing realm of website development, one term that’s generating buzz is “block themes.” But what are block themes in WordPress, and why are they pivotal to the future of web design?
This game-changing feature, an integral component of WordPress’s Full Site Editing (FSE), promises to redefine customization and design. This article aims to demystify block themes, guiding you through their essential attributes and the numerous benefits they offer.
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What Are Block Themes?
Block Themes in WordPress represent a new way of building and customizing your website using a block-based architecture. They form an integral part of the Full Site Editing (FSE) experience, an advanced feature introduced in recent versions of WordPress.
In essence, a block theme is a WordPress theme that uses blocks to control every part of the design, from headers and footers to sidebars and content areas. This means that your entire site—from the top of the header to the bottom of the footer—is assembled using customizable, interchangeable blocks.
What Are the Benefits of Block Themes?
There are a lot of benefits to using block themes. Understanding these features will enable you to choose whether to stick with your current theme or switch to a block option. Spoiler: if you enjoy using the Block Editor, you’ll probably want to opt for the latter.
Let’s start with the biggest one, which is code-free editing!
1. Enjoy Code-Free Editing
If you’ve ever had to edit a theme in the past, you’ll know that this process often involves digging into files using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and text editors. You need to know exactly what each component of the theme does before making any changes. Additionally, you’ll have to use child themes to avoid losing your customizations.
Block WordPress themes do away with that messy approach by supporting what WordPress calls “Full-Site Editing”. This feature replaces the theme editor in WordPress and lets you edit templates using the Block Editor:
The editor enables you to create and modify page templates, as well as template “parts”. By parts, we mean elements such as theme headers and footers. You can customize them using blocks and decide on which pages each variation will display:
Keep in mind that you can’t add or remove any content while editing theme templates. The template editor only lets you modify your site’s layout. Therefore, you’ll still need to edit posts and pages to adjust any content.
2. Get Access to Pre-Designed Block Patterns
WordPress patterns are block arrangements that you can save and reuse on other pages and posts. One advantage of using block themes is they often include an array of ready-to-go patterns for your website:
These patterns can speed up your design process significantly. Instead of building everything from scratch, you’ll be able to insert patterns and customize them to fit your needs.
It’s important to note that you don’t need to use a block theme to access patterns. You’re able to create and save patterns with any theme that works with the Block Editor. However, accessing pre-built options out of the box can make your work much more manageable.
3. Avoid Page Builder Bloat
Page builders are among the most popular and useful WordPress tools. Many page builders offer features that neither the Classic nor the Block Editor support. For a long time, these tools provided the only alternative to editing theme templates manually.
If you’ve been using page builders because they enable you to edit theme templates and designs, block themes will allow you to say goodbye to them. This can help improve site performance because many page builders add a lot of “bloat” to the page code.
Thanks to the Block Editor and full-site editing, the base WordPress experience is now close to what page builder plugins offer. Some of these tools provide additional features, though, so your mileage can vary.
4. Use Fewer Plugins
Page builders aren’t the only types of plugins you can avoid by using block themes. There’s nothing wrong with using plugins per se (in fact, WordPress plugins are amazing), but it’s best to stick to only the ones you really need.
Using too many plugins may slow down your website, both on the front and the back end, making it much harder to update. Moreover, the more plugins you use, the more likely you’ll encounter compatibility issues at some point.
Without block themes or full-site editing, you may need to rely on plugins to customize the header and footer and configure different versions of these elements for each page. Even WordPress page builders such as Elementor require you to use additional plugins to edit these templates:
Anything that enables you to reduce the number of plugins on your website without losing out on key functionality is a win. Block themes meet that criteria.
5. Future-Proof Your Website
Right now, block themes are still relatively new to the WordPress ecosystem. There are plenty of options to choose from, but the vast majority of the available WordPress themes are not block-enabled:
Even though block themes are new on the scene, that doesn’t mean you should avoid using them. Most new themes will likely rely on block templates in the coming years, and full-site editing will become much more commonplace.
That means you’ll get access to new features and tools that will enable you to customize our site and themes without relying too much on plugins. The earlier you switch to block themes, the more ready you’ll be when these new features roll out in the future.
Recommended Block Themes
As early adopters of the block editor, we also wanted to get familiar with the new Site Editor. This resulted in 7 new themes being added to our collection of WordPress Block Themes.
Here are some of them:
1. UniBlock PRO
UniBlock PRO stands out as a premium WordPress theme embracing the Full Site Editing concept. It allows complete design control over your website, extending beyond just colors and fonts to the layout and global sections like headers and footers
- Offers 6 color schemes and over 30 custom block patterns for various website types
- Multiple layouts with detailed adjustments, including logo uploads and social icons, without needing additional plugins.
- Features like 1-Click Demo Content Install make it user-friendly.
- Edit complete pages including headers, footers, and templates natively in WordPress without external solutions or coding skills.
- Promises excellent Page Speed scores due to fewer required plugins and clean, compact code generated by full site editing.
Inspiro Blocks PRO is a Full Site Editing WordPress theme, ideal for bloggers, photographers, creatives, and small businesses. It’s known for its modern, minimalist design and portfolio integration.
- Complete control over the layout and design, with adjustments possible down to the smallest details.
- Multiple header & footer layouts and a variety of page templates including full-width pages and portfolio pages.
- Offers multiple Starter Sites with a 1-click demo importer for easy setup.
- More than 40 block patterns and 7 theme styles, all customizable.
- High Page Speed scores and full WooCommerce compatibility.
Anchor is tailored for online clothing stores, offering a seamless Full Site Editing experience. It integrates well with WooCommerce, making it a solid choice for e-commerce platforms.
- Clean and simple design philosophy, with drag-and-drop functionality for intuitive content arrangement.
- Versatile page templates catering to different content layouts, like full-width pages and portfolio pages.
- Over 20 block patterns for quick and easy page creation, aligning with distinct page templates.
- Seven distinct theme styles that are easily switchable and customizable.
- Optimized for speed and seamlessly integrates with WooCommerce for effective online store management.
Each of these themes brings unique strengths to the table, making them excellent choices for different types of WordPress sites. In addition, here’s a list of other block themes that are equally impressive and versatile, each designed to enhance various aspects of your WordPress site:
Our block themes are available in both free and premium versions. The free versions can be downloaded from the official WPZOOM theme repository.
When the Block Editor launched in 2018, many users thought it was a gimmick. Blocks have come a long way since then, and they’ve become an integral part of the WordPress experience. Using WordPress now feels as intuitive as any modern page builder tool, and block themes are part of that evolution.
If you’re still on the fence about switching to a block theme, let’s recap the main benefits of making that change:
- Enjoy code-free editing.
- Get access to pre-designed block patterns.
- Avoid page builder bloat.
- Use fewer plugins.
- Future-proof your website.
Do you have any questions about WordPress block themes? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!