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10 WordPress Block Themes for Full Site Editing

Like it or not, but WordPress Gutenberg aka the block editor is here to stay. The Gutenberg editor was released in version 5.0 to a lukewarm response. Millions of WordPress users still prefer the classic editor as is evident from the 5 million+ downloads of the classic editor plugin.

However, you should remember that the block editor is improving with every release and newer features are being added continuously with the ultimate objective of enabling full-site editing in WordPress using the block editor.

On the other hand, WordPress block themes for full site editing are just taking off. They are still not wildly popular since the block editor is not a very user-friendly editor when compared to established page builders like Elementor, Divi, Beaver, etc.

What are WordPress block themes?

Block-based themes make use of the WordPress block editor to enable a full-site editing experience. You are no longer limited by the theme features. Rather you can, in theory, customize every aspect of your website with the help of Gutenberg blocks.

They differ from the conventional themes that merely support the block editor and block-based plugins but do not allow full site editing using the block editor presently.

Most of the WordPress block themes require the Gutenberg plugin to function (except one). This is because full-site editing has still not been introduced into the WordPress core and is still a work in progress.

On the other hand, the Gutenberg plugin already includes the latest improvements to the block editor before they are introduced into the WordPress core.

Also, full-site editing themes do not include the WordPress Customizer to make changes to the theme settings. Rather they make use of the Site Editor panel for website customization.

But block-based themes offer one distinct advantage over the conventional themes: performance. Since the block editor is part of the WordPress core, using blocks to create and style your website adds minimal CSS overhead when compared to the CSS added by the popular WordPress page builders.

That’s why you should take a peek at the 10 block WordPress themes that I have listed on this page.

1. Blockbase

Blockbase by Automattic is an experimental full-site editing theme. Once you activate Blockbase, you will notice the Site Editor tab which opens the full-site editor.

You can edit different templates with the help of the Gutenberg editor, including, the Index template, Front Page template, Singular template, 404-page template, and Search page template.

Blockbase-WordPress block theme
Full site editing in Blockbase theme

You can change the complete layout of the post or page by editing the Singular template. There are useful dynamic elements to play around with like Post Title, Post Content, Post Author, Post Date, etc.

The best part is that you can add pre-defined block patterns to your pages and then further customize them according to your needs.

Blockbase also allows users to add Template Parts like header, footer, sidebar, etc. to the content and save your custom template parts. Think of template parts like sections or patterns to be reused multiple times.

The templates and template parts created by you are available under the Appearance menu within the WordPress dashboard.

Template parts - WordPress block themes

There is also a child theme of Blockbase called the Mayland (Blocks) theme that has been recently released by Automattic.

2. Naledi

Naledi by Anariel Design is another experimental full-site editing WordPress block theme. It works exactly the same way as Blockbase except that it offers few more templates to play around with.

Naledi WordPress full site editing theme

Also, the default homepage template has been nicely designed and you should experience greater fun in customizing the theme template.

3. GeneratePress

GeneratePress, which is one of the most popular WordPress themes, does not make use of the Gutengerg plugin to deliver a fantastic block building experience. Rather, you should use the GenerateBlocks plugin (from the same developer) to take full advantage of this block theme.

GeneratePress block theme for WordPress

You can build any type of layout and customize every aspect of your website with this theme and the GenerateBlocks plugin. For more details, go through my detailed GeneratePress theme review and also understand the difference between the free and premium features of GeneratePress.

4. Tove

Tove is a beautiful WordPress block theme created by celebrated designer Anders Noren. Although it has been designed with restaurants and coffee shops in mind, you can easily customize the theme for your needs.

Tove block WordPress theme

I liked the expansive layout which combined with the large typography makes the content stand out and easy to read.

5. Armando

Armando has been created by Carolina Nymark especially for blogs and sports teams. It includes a host of templates like About, News, Sidebar, Testimonials, and Tours.

Armando full site editing theme

Apart from this, you can edit the blog pages and posts directly from the Site Editor navigation panel.

6. Hansen

Hansen by uxl is the most popular block-based theme currently with 200+ active installations.

Hansen WordPress block-based theme

Hansen offers the highest number of page templates and block patterns of all the block themes mentioned on this page.

7. Ona

Ona by DeoThemes is arguably the most beautiful full site editing theme for WordPress. The header is attractively designed and the theme follows a minimalist design philosophy.

One full site editing theme

As with other FSE themes, you can edit the different theme templates to customize your website just the way you want.

Other WordPress block themes

There are a handful of other block-based themes that allow full-site editing on an experimental basis that are worth mentioning.

  1. Q theme by Ari Stathopoulos
  2. Block-based Bosco theme by Frank Klein
  3. Pacer theme by Enovetor

WordPress Block Themes: Conclusion

Full site editing is an experimental and novel feature in WordPress development. No wonder, block-based themes have very few takers at this point. But after the introduction of full-site editing in WordPress 5.9, block-based themes will surely gain much wider acceptance among the WordPress community.

The fortunes of WordPress block themes are tied up with the development of the Gutenberg editor. At this time, the WordPress editor is not very user-friendly and also lacks some of the advanced features of the popular page builders. That’s why most WordPress users still prefer page builders over the WordPress editor to design their blog pages.

But as the WordPress development team irons out the inconsistencies in the block editor and introduces newer features and blocks, it will be used more extensively by the novice WordPress user. That’s when the block-based themes will really take off for good. Until then, keep experimenting.

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About Trishan Mehta

Trishan Mehta is a WordPress fanatic since 2009. When not WordPressing, he is busy exploring hidden natural getaways whenever he can grab an opportunity. You can grab his WordPress SEO eBook to get up to speed with WordPress SEO.

3 thoughts on “10 WordPress Block Themes for Full Site Editing”

  1. Hey Trishan.

    This is wonderful. I’m eager to explore blocks building and themes building with blocks (which is what this sounds like).

    I normally use Divi, which is incredible so far as builder goes, but has some issues as a regular theme. And Kadence seems very flexible. However it seems native WP tools will be a key to speedy websites, and certainly over time Gutenberg and other aspects will get more and more capable.

    I intend to start exploring Twenty Twenty One theme, Gutenberg and themes like these much more as I see them as the future, and sadly I am not confident Divi will fix their frustrating theme holes (author box not created automatically for example on blog posts, must use theme builder to add it).

    Anyway cheers for this article.

    Reply
    • Hello Mike,

      I am just as excited about block-based themes as you are. Page builders are great for design but slow down page load and since page speed matters more than ever now, block-based themes are the perfect solution to this design vs performance dilemma.

      I am using GeneratePress Premium to create everything on this site using WordPress blocks and I really feel this is the way forward.

      Cheers.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the tip. I will look into this GeneratePress Premium. First I’ll continue to explore Twenty Twenty One and plugins that work with modifying the layout (like Twentig which is dope so far in my experiments).

        Also expecting July update to WP 5.8 will be interesting to see what features are arriving.

        Cheers and keep up the good work.
        Mike

        Reply

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