Getting to grips with Gutenberg

Over the weekend James and I were up in Manchester to help out with the set up & smooth(ish) running of the BlogOn conference, and this time around I was also on the schedule to do a talk on the new WordPress block editor, otherwise known as Gutenberg.

As promised, I’m sharing my slides here on the blog, complete with a pdf download with added notes for each slide, and I’m also going to include some of the questions & answers from the second half of the session, where I was joined by Jenny Wong & Tim Nash for a general WordPress Q&A.

View my slides

Click through my BlogOn presentation slides:

By the way, BlogOn was on May the Fourth, hence the Jedi Wapuu.

A couple of these slides include videos so I’ve uploaded it to YouTube as a video file, too, so you can see the videos and builds properly:

Download my slides

I really recommend downloading the slides with the notes if you want more info, as I have added some to each slide with additional information for each point.

Gutenberg Slides

PDF of slides from my May 2019 presentation on Gutenberg – the WordPress block editor.

Gutenberg Slides – with notes

PDF of slides from my May 2019 presentation on Gutenberg – the WordPress block editor. This file includes all the additional notes with each slide with more information about those points.

WordPress Q&A

Here are a selection of questions & answers from the Q&A section of our session:

Will turning it on change all my old posts and break everything?

No… Old posts are not converted into blocks automatically; it will all look the same to visitors to your site. Only new posts will use the new block editor by default; previous posts will be contained within a classic block in the block editor. 

How to convert old posts to blocks?

Old posts written before Gutenberg was added to WordPress, have all the post content in a single ‘classic block’ by default. To change this, select the ‘classic’ block, and click the three dots (more options) in that block’s toolbar. From there, click convert to blocks, and this will convert the contents of the block into separate blocks.

How to easily add images?

One blogger complained that they preferred to write first and then add images afterwards and didn’t like having to add an image block then move it. I write this way myself; I type all my text into paragraph blocks then drag an image file and drop it between the blocks where I want it to be. You can also hover between two blocks (or tap on mobile) and click the add button to add a block – select the image block, and then upload your image from there.

How to add a nofollow link?

The ability to edit the rel link attributes is hopefully coming to the add/edit link dialog in a future version (see, but for now click the three dots on the block toolbar, and select ‘Edit as HTML’, from there you can add rel=”nofollow” into the link code; eg <a rel=”nofollow” href=””XX> – more info at 

Should I switch from my X page builder to Gutenberg?

We had a few variants of this, and as the answer is pretty site specific it’s hard to tell. To begin with, you could try setting up a ‘staging’ version of your site and having a play with that; see how hard it is to convert your pages to Gutenberg block layouts. Once you’re happy with the changes, you can update your live site.

I had to use Classic Editor plugin because X plugin/theme feature  was broken, should I be able to use Gutenberg now?

You can test this quickly by disabling the classic editor on a post by post basis in the side settings panel, and see if your plugin/theme is now compatible with the block editor. Check you have the latest version too, as some premium plugins and themes only have a year of updates included in the initial cost. It’s also worth approaching the plugin author via its support forum page to ask about any issues you are having.

I need help with X – where can I find support for WordPress?

As well as coming to people like me (contact me at who offer a paid WordPress support service for sites, you can get free help and advice at the WordPress support forums. It’s always worth searching there to see if anyone else has had the same problem as you too, before posting with a question. The forum is manned by volunteers and has a pretty short response time to most questions.

I hope you found this post & my slides useful – if you came to my session I’d love to hear your feedback, and I hope you found it worth attending. I know I was a bit flustered at the start because I’d been racing about fixing things so sorry about that!

I’ve tried to get this up asap, but I also spent the last few days accidentally napping whenever I’ve gone to chill out with a book in my post-BlogOn state of exhaustion, oops!

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