What is the WordPress Site Editor

Last year we made the tough decision to retire all of our old themes. We’d been working with the new site editor on all our client sites and thought it was time to start offering this game-changing new feature in our own themes.

If you follow WordPress news, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the new site editor, sometimes called Full Site Editing or FSE for short. But what is it? Simply put, it’s a theme builder built right into WordPress. I believe this is one of the most exciting things to happen to WordPress themes since Gutenberg.

Site Editor, Full Site Editing, FSE, Block Themes, Oh my!

You may have come across different terms relating to the site editor and wondered what they all mean. Site Editor and Full Site Editing (FSE for short) are often used interchangeably. Whereas Block themes are the types of themes that work with site editing.

Great. So what does this fancy new site editor do?

Have you ever bought an almost-perfect theme but wished you could change the header slightly? Or thought maybe your logo would look better centred rather than left-aligned. Or your blog post page didn’t need the tags showing. Or the footer needed a colophon. Well, the site editor lets you make all these changes and more right in your WordPress dashboard. No extra plugins required.

In the past, you either needed a bunch of CSS, a child theme, or for anything more complex, enlist the help of a developer. With the site editor, you no longer need any of these things. Instead, you go to Appearance > Editor in your dashboard and make all the changes yourself. And if you messed up or aren’t happy with the changes, revert to the theme’s original template with the click of a button.

Here are a few examples of what you can do.

Template changes

In the above video, I’m modifying Waverly theme‘s default header and centering the logo with the menu with the site editor.

Here we’re adding the tags block to our post page. Adding this to one post will automatically add it to all posts since we are doing this in the post template, which makes up the post list block, also called the query loop.

Theme Styles

Another really great and useful feature of the site editor is the theme styles menu. You can change site spacing, button styles, fonts and colours. You could create a whole new colour palette if you wanted.

In our upcoming Glow theme, we wanted a minimal colour palette. But some folks might want to expand on that. The above video shows how easy it is to change the global site’s colour for all buttons.

Naturally, these are just a few straightforward examples of what can be done with the site editor. The sky’s the limit.

Is my theme “site editing” ready?

Maybe. Site editing is still relatively new, and some seasoned theme developers have yet to make the jump. But with every new major WordPress release comes more improvements, and hopefully, more developers will make the switch.

If you’re excited about trying full site editing, you can download free block themes on WordPress.org. However, if you’re looking for something premium with support and a ton of patterns, take a look at what we have available. We’re actively developing more themes regularly.

Up next!

There’s no shortage of new WordPress jargon coming from the community these days. If you’d like to learn more, I’ve written some articles about Patterns and Global Styles.

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