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Case study: Benefits of Migrating WordPress Web to Gutenberg website example

Marili Uuetoa


We have previously written about the Gutenberg content editor in depth in the WordPress training article series, and this time we will come to a specific example and analyse it. What does it mean to migrate an existing WordPress page to Gutenberg, and what could be the benefits?

We can predictably say that the biggest improvement is definitely a significant improvement in administrative convenience and flexibility – this was also demonstrated by the experience of the website. After switching to Gutenberg, the administration view looks very similar to the visitor view, which makes administration easy and intuitive. Also, by combining the blocks developed for the page, an infinite number of pages and blocks with different structures can be created, which allows the website to adapt to the changing needs of the company without additional developments.

Since switching to Gutenberg practically means redeveloping the website, it is possible to correct the technical problems of the current website during the work. In the case of, the number of plugins was significantly reduced, all non-compliances in the code were corrected, and accessibility received much more attention. Switching to Gutenberg does not in itself improve the speed of the website, although it is sometimes possible to optimise some things during the rebuilding of the page.

WordPress page without Gutenberg?

However, we have to start by taking a few steps back. Namely, since WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg is the default content editor, so officially all pages with a newer version of WordPress (currently the latest version is 6.2) should use Gutenberg – what kind of transition are we talking about then? How do websites that don’t use Gutenberg work?

By 2018, when the Gutenberg editor was completed in its original form, modern web design long ago demanded a page structure consisting of blocks, layouts where part of the content is side by side, and other elements of modern web pages. This means that even though WordPress itself did not support such content management and the classic editor only allowed adding regular text content alternating with images, certain solutions had long been developed. Basically, various page builder plugins (e.g. Elementor, Visual Composer, etc) were used, or the required content from the administration was added to the fields created using the Advanced Custom Fields plugin, and the necessary layout elements were created only in the view of the page visitor.

As is often the case with new things, Gutenberg also caused scepticism at first, and it is true that the first versions of many new solutions tend to be rather unstable, and it is worth waiting a bit for their introduction. Also, developing Gutenberg blocks requires much more work than, for example, displaying content inherited from Advanced Custom Fields fields, not to mention using ready-made solutions such as page builder plugins. Gutenberg blocks are written in React, which is probably not a very familiar framework for many WordPress developers and thus requires some training on the subject. And if you want the page to look as similar as possible to the user view in the administrative view, then the block has to be developed twice – one version for the administration and the other for the visitor view.

Considering all these circumstances, it is quite natural that many WordPress developers decided to continue using the previous methods even when Gutenberg was added to the so-called WordPress core package. The Classic Editor plugin was added to the page to disable Gutenberg and continued the same practices that had already become common. That’s why about half of the WP pages currently in the Redwall maintenance service use some other content management solution, not Gutenberg, although we ourselves haven’t built any new pages on any other solution for a long time.

It should also be said that there may not be anything wrong with pre-Gutenberg solutions. If the page is done properly, they work very well, and if the editing options are sufficient for the administrator and there are no problems with the page, you can continue with the existing page. However, if the page no longer meets all the company’s needs or some technical problems appear that require major development work, it is also worth considering switching to Gutenberg.

However, it must be taken into account that the transition to Gutenberg means that a large part of the website must be completely redeveloped, even if everything could initially remain exactly the same from the visitor’s point of view. You can definitely reuse components from the existing page (depending a little on the quality of the code), for example menus, footers, archive views, but in terms of workload and thus cost, you have to take into account the costs that would go into the development of a new website (in the case of a new page, of course, they are added in a larger amount costs also for other works, e.g. analysis, design, project management). However, it is certainly a big step towards a more modern website, which brings many advantages.

Ganttic Web Upgrade Plan

Ganttic sells resource planning software. Their customers are companies from all over the world, more than 50 different fields of activity are represented, more than 20,000 users use the software, and more than 350,000 projects are planned. Thus, the website is an important business card and sales channel for Ganttic, showing the company’s professionalism and presenting the best aspects of its product. The website also has a large blog, where published articles introduce the company’s clients, share information about Ganttic innovations and give advice on various topics related to workflow planning. website is a very modern, dynamic and visually impressive website. The design uses plenty of animations and interactive elements and leaves a very fresh and modern impression on the visitor. front page before the update

Ganttic initially approached us with the desire to order a maintenance service. We always offer new customers of the maintenance service the opportunity to do a technical audit first, and in the process technical problems appeared on the website. The page had many plugins that were not updated, as well as plugins whose necessity was not certain, there were some problems with code quality, accessibility and security. There were pages that did not display correctly on smaller screens. A big concern was the speed of the website. The client also wanted to make changes to the content and structure of the website, which were not possible with the previous solution.

Since changes and improvements had to be made anyway, the client decided to invest in moving to Gutenberg as well, despite the fact that the changes to the web design were minimal. So we started working on a completely new development website that would look identical to the existing page (except for the content changes the client requested and some minor design fixes we suggested ourselves), but would also take advantage of Gutenberg. During the work, we also planned to correct the technical problems that occurred on the existing website.

Ease of administration

The design of Ganttic’s website is quite complex and standard page builders cannot provide the necessary functionalities, so ACF was used to manage the block content on the old website. The administrative view created with this was quite clear and understandable, but completely different from what the block will look like in the user view.

Feature block in visitor view
Feature block in visitor view
Feature block management view on the old website
Feature block management view on the old website

However, Gutenberg allows you to display an image in the administration very similar to what the visitor sees on the website, and the texts can mostly be changed by simply clicking on them in the administration view.

Feature block management view on new page
Feature block management view on new page

In addition, in many cases it is possible to add blocks inside each other and create an infinite number of different combinations. In the case of the block shown in the pictures, for example, in the old web, it is possible to add a title of a specific level to the content column, a text section that can also be formatted as a list, for example, and a link that creates a button in the visitor view. On the other hand, in the new web, it is possible to add all sorts of combinations of headings, sections, lists and buttons to the content column, for example adding several buttons next to each other, changing the heading level, etc. It is also possible to change the order of elements.


The Gutenberg-based solution allows for much greater flexibility in terms of block background colours and structures compared to the old website. Let’s take, for example, the “A more efficient world” block on the home page.

“A more efficient world” block in the visitor view

On the old page, it was possible to change the title and descriptive text of the given block, change the subheading, and add company logos. The block was always displayed with a blue background colour, and the content was divided into columns of a specified width.

"A more efficient world" block in the administration view of the old web
“A more efficient world” block in the administration view of the old web

In the new web, the block is created using different Gutenberg blocks nested within each other. The outermost block is “Content background”. If this block is active in the administration, it is possible to change the background colour, width of the content and how much space to leave between the content of the block and the border from the settings panel. Inside it is a block of columns with different variations to change the widths and number of columns. All kinds of other content blocks can be added to the columns. At the moment, the title, section and block “Companies” have been added to the left column, in which company logos have been added. The “Globe” block has been added to the right column, which displays a globe.

"A more efficient world" block in the administrative view of the new web
“A more efficient world” block in the administrative view of the new web

So, even though the blocks look identical in the visitor view, in the new web the block is created using a much more flexible solution. All parts of the block can be used outside of the specific block with a blue background colour, and with the help of the internal blocks used in this one block alone, it is possible to create a huge number of different blocks using different background colours, containers of different widths, adding content divided into several columns or in one column, etc. These options give the administrator a lot of room to completely redesign their website, without deviating from the website design – the used colours, title sizes, fonts, container width variants, etc are based on the page design, but the administrator has freedom in their scope.

Resolving technical issues found on the old website

The technical audit of the website revealed several problems that were corrected during the development of the new page. These fixes are generally not directly related to the move to Gutenberg, but were resolved by rebuilding the page from scratch and making settings according to the standards used in Redwall. For example, the number of plugins in use was significantly reduced (21 vs. 9), which reduces the time spent on website maintenance, makes the page more stable, and reduces the risk of security holes.

Problems and non-conformities in the code of the existing web were also fixed. The accessibility of the website improved significantly. In addition to fixing the errors found by the accessibility validator, Ganttic’s new page is also fully navigable using only the keyboard. Security questions were also improved – the necessary HTTP headers and the version number of the server hidden from the request were added.

A big concern on the existing web was page performance. The speed tests of the front page on mobile did not give good results, and we hoped to improve this during the development of the new page. Switching to Gutenberg in itself does not directly affect performance, except that it can sometimes reduce the number of plugins, which reduces the amount of scripts and style files loaded on the page. Even though the new page has much fewer plugins than the old page, this did not have the desired effect on the speed of the front page, and the loading speed remained unchanged.

However, in the case of website speed, it must be taken into account that it depends on many factors. In addition to the general optimization of the website, the loading speed of the page is greatly influenced by, for example, the size of the images, videos and other visual elements used on the page. At the moment, it seems that since there are a lot of large-scale visual elements on Ganttic’s front page, the optimization made did not have an effect, and the speed did not improve as a whole. But if you compare the loading speed on pages with no visual material, the increase in loading speed is significant.

Loading speed of the old web "Privacy Policy" page
Loading speed of the old web “Privacy Policy” page
Loading speed of the new web "Privacy Policy" page
Loading speed of the new web “Privacy Policy” page

Of course, there are even more factors that affect the loading speed, such as server settings, scripts added to the page (for example, a chat window, tracking codes, etc.), the number of requests made, etc. The most that the developer can influence the loading speed is by compressing the files as small as possible and setting different rules when to download new files and when to use already existing ones. However, efforts in this regard may be ineffective if there are enough other influencing factors that cannot be changed. It is possible to optimise images and videos, but not to infinity, and if additional scripts are essential considering the goals of the website, there is no way to give them up either.

In summary

The Gutenberg content editor allows you to create a toolbox corresponding to the design of a website, which is stylistically limited to the elements created by the designer, but by combining different parts of which it is possible to endlessly reshape the structure of the website. Such a website fully meets the requirements of modern modular design and, with good maintenance and accurate management, can adapt to many needs that a company may have in relation to its website.

It should be taken into account that the transition to Gutenberg is a large-scale job, and regardless of whether the previous website already uses WordPress, the amount of development is comparable to the development of a new website. At the same time, redevelopment means that, in general, it is also possible to solve technical problems that have arisen on the existing page, even if they are not directly related to the content editor.

You also have to be prepared for the fact that the abundance of options also means a certain complexity in navigating the web page management – in order to take advantage of the possibilities of the blocks, you need to familiarise yourself with Gutenberg’s management logic, and it may take some time before the management becomes familiar and comfortable. However, once you get used to Gutenberg’s block management, it starts to feel completely natural and very convenient.

From our part, we can help in this regard with administrative training and comprehensive written administrative instructions, which we always provide with the websites we make. It is also possible to contact our help desk for help. Even if the help of the user support is needed to implement some administrative changes, the time and fee required for this is certainly many times lower than having new solutions developed.

We at Redwall firmly believe in Gutenberg, so if you start planning major updates to your website, we definitely recommend that you consider switching to Gutenberg. In any case, this step greatly expands the flexibility of using the website and makes the administration more modern. Having new WordPress websites still being developed in 2023 that do not take advantage of Gutenberg is definitely not justified.

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