Reverting back to the Classic Editor in the latest edition of WordPress

One of the most ill-advised updates in WordPress history came this past week in the form of WordPress version 5.0. The latest iteration of the software has ditched the traditional, or “classic” editor we’re familiar with in lieu of a new “block style” layout editor named “Gutenberg”.

In short, Gutenberg replaces the previous classic editor which has existed within WordPress for over ten years. It’s a modern rethinking of the entire publishing interface, however, that’s not always a good thing.

After playing with Gutenberg for several months (as WordPress announced its arrival would come some time ago) I started seeing that some custom functions I developed for clients of mine had disappeared. On top of that, copy and pasting content from other sources, and then editing said content, had become laborious.

It appears I’m not alone in this thinking, as the official WordPress plugin repository tells the whole tale:

Classic Editor for WordPress 5.0

Gutenberg is the default editor in the latest version of WordPress and doesn’t have to be installed, so the 400,000 active installation statistic is a bit misleading. However, the over one million active installations for the Classic Editor is not: the number continues to climb by hundreds of thousands daily, as WordPress users and developers reject the new block layout style of Gutenberg (illustrated by the over 1,900 reviews, currently at 2-stars as of this writing).

If you’re one of those users stuck in a rut with the new editor, not all is lost. You can use one of the following two methods, outlined below, to restore the Classic Editor as a plugin. Doing so will also revert some of the elements Gutenberg hides or breaks in the latest edition of WordPress.

According to the official plugin repository:

Classic Editor is an official plugin maintained by the WordPress team that restores the previous (“classic”) WordPress editor and the “Edit Post” screen. It makes it possible to use plugins that extend that screen, add old-style meta boxes, or otherwise depend on the previous editor. By default, this plugin hides all functionality available in the new Block Editor (“Gutenberg”).

The official link also notes that support for the Classic Editor will be maintained until at least 2022: a good sign for those of us fighting with compatibility issues within it’s replacement.

If this sounds like something you wanted yesterday, here’s how you can go back to the way things were by installing the official Classic Editor WordPress plugin.

Add New Plugin

If you click on the Plugins link on the sidebar menu within the WordPress admin area, you will arrive to a screen listing all of your installed plugins. A button at the top of the page gives you the ability to “Add New” and that’s precisely what we want to do. Clicking the “Add New” button will take you to the next screen, where you can directly install a plugin by searching for it, or you can upload a plugin you previously downloaded to your machine.

Direct Install

Currently, the Classic Editor is one of the most popular plugins in the WordPress repository and should show up on the main “add plugin” screen without searching for it. Should it not be on your screen here, a search box to the top right of the page will help you track it down.

Simply type in “Classic Editor” and you should see several search results. Look for the correct plugin (as pictured above) and click on the “Install Now” button.

In a few moments the plugin will install on your WordPress site, but you’re not finished yet: you must then click on the “Activate” button which takes the “Install Now” button’s place in order to apply changes and restore the Classic Editor over Gutenberg.

Upload Manually

If for some reason you cannot directly install the Classic Editor, another option is to download the Classic Editor as a zip file from the WordPress plugin repository. Start by downloading the file from this link:

Next, visit the same plugins section, as noted above, by clicking on the relevant “plugins” link on the sidebar while logged into the WordPress dashboard. You will arrive at the page listing all of your installed plugins. Just like the direct install method, you want to click on the “Add New” button at the top, but this time you will click on another button in nearly the same spot on the next page, “Upload Plugin” and then choose the zip file you saved from the step above.

In moments you will see that the plugin has installed and you will be given an option to activate it. Don’t forget to do this, as the inactive plugin won’t get rid of the Gutenberg “experience”!


It’s easy to see that WordPress users are initially rejecting Gutenberg due to the lack of a traditional word processing experience. Computer, and even smartphone users, have grown accustomed to a traditional toolbar and return lines (headers, paragraphs, etc.) as commonly found in programs such as Microsoft Word, social media apps, and just about any email provider or software on the planet.

The new Gutenberg experience attempts to make block layout easier for the Average Joe, as advanced web designs required knowledge of HTML and CSS in the past. However, Gutenberg makes this change by eliminating a traditional writing experience which has been around since the dawn of personal computing.

In addition, those of us (like myself) who have hand coded custom WordPress themes and functions for advanced designs, are finding that our work is broken by the Gutenberg editor: making it more difficult for users and clients to update their sites or breaking functionality altogether.

If you find yourself in either camp as someone who wants the classic writing layout or you can’t find custom meta boxes and features you once had while editing your website, then a return to the Classic Editor is just the fix you need to get right back on track!

How to improve your brand’s perception by fixing inconsistent and poorly structured writing

When writing blog posts, I know that many people worry about things such as spelling or the length of the article. However, one typo won’t get you in hot water so much as the structure of your article. That is, the overall presentation of your writing is just as important as spelling and grammar.

If you’re using some of the tips I’ve suggested while typing your blog posts, spelling and grammar shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Programs such as Microsoft Word or Grammarly will often correct punctuation as well, but what they lack is the eyeball test for readability and consistency.

Below are some of the items I see standout when editing articles. Looking out for these potential inconsistencies will improve your articles and their readability while also giving a boost to your brand’s perception. (Note: these same tips can be followed when posting to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.)

Commas, periods and punctuation

This is something I even struggle with to this day, but it’s not something that can be easily fixed. Running your text through an application like Word or Grammarly will root out errant uses of commas, colons, and semicolons. Ditto for periods (or missing periods).

Consistent lists and headers

One note about periods, however, is that you may not want to use them in headlines or bullet lists. If you do, be consistent and make sure that either all of those items follow the same pattern.

Proper case, title case, and sentence case

Here’s another tip for those headers: make sure they’re following the same case structure. If something is a proper title, make sure that it’s also in proper case throughout your entire article. If you’re unsure if something should be made into proper case, a quick Google search is your friend.


The overuse of hyphens, en-dashes, and em-dashes can also plague your article and make it unpleasant to your reader’s eyes. Be careful to only use these conventions as necessary.

Run-on sentences

Another bugaboo of mine are sentences that never stop. If you find yourself adding words such as “and”, “but”, or “or”, you may want to consider breaking those sentences off at that point and ending them with a period; then start the next set of words as a new sentence.

Think of this as the equivalent to stopping to take a breath while running: give your readers a short break by using natural breaks within your writing.

Formal vs. informal writing

If you haven’t already noticed, I’m big on having a writing style. That is, I don’t want to bore my own readers to death by not being somewhat entertaining and down-to-Earth. However, it can be overdone and in either direction.

If your writing is akin to reading a technical manual of fixing an automobile, you may want to inject some of your personality into it.

If your writing is similar to a phone call, with lots of “so’s”, “just’s”, or “really’s” you’ll want to go in and tame it. Also, be wary when using slang: consider whether your audience understands what is you’re trying to convey. It may be best to stick with formality in those situations.

Struggling for new content? Look to old content for inspiration

We’ve all been there: writer’s block. You lack the drive or creativity to come up with new content and then obsess over not having something new for your audience.

“Oh no, they’ll stop following me” or “I’ll lose progress” are often the thoughts which come from stressing out over supplying new content to your readers or listeners. This type of anxiety isn’t all too uncommon among creative types and entrepreneurs, especially if content creation is secondary to running a business or other priorities in your life.

Furthermore, if this is something you’ve been doing for any length of time, you may already have a nice stockpile of content you’ve already published: it’s there you should look for inspiration.

Repurposing Old Content

If you’re in a line of work where information may change or expire, it’s well worth your time to look back on something you may have posted months ago or even years ago, and then using that as the source of a new piece of content.

Even if the information hasn’t changed, a rewrite to freshen information that’s still relevant easily gives you something “new” to share with your audience. You can also feel free to copy and paste some of the lines you’ve already used, especially quotes and sources, in the new blog post.

Chances are your followers may recognize some of what you wrote if they’ve followed you for a while, but a revision will still appear as new material.

Those who started following you after your blog was posted may have never seen the original item, which means this is brand-new in their eyes…

Reposting Old Content

If time is your enemy, you can still take your old content and repurpose it: but this time only for social media.

Chances are you may have only promoted your article once, maybe twice, on social media around the initial time that you published it. If that was months ago, you can now come around and simply share it again.

The concept is the same: it looks new to those who are new to you or your brand.

However, if your content was posted a week ago, you’ll want to be careful not to spam your followers. They may think you only have this one item. (We all know those commercials that run over and over… and over. Don’t be like those!)

What’s old is new again

Hopefully this was a valuable lesson in how to reuse things that worked for you in the past to help you achieve your goals in the future. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reusing content, but just be careful that you don’t use this as a crutch. That is, you still need to mix in new ideas or else you will suffer from appearing unoriginal.

However, when you are struggling for something new, it never hurts to revisit old content to bridge the gap. As the old adage goes, what’s old is new again!

What does this do for YOU?

This may seem like a very innocent question in the world of content marketing, but it’s a noteworthy one. Every blog you write, every post you make on social media, every word you speak on a podcast or publish in an email or eBook is significant.

For example, if you mention a third-party product (i.e. not your own) in a campaign, you may be seen as endorsing it. Worse, you could be giving away free advertising.

The first thing to understand is that anything you say or do with you audience carries weight. A simple thank you or mentioning a mutually beneficial partner is an act of good will: randomly mentioning something else may have a negative impact, which a brand spinning its wheels to gain traction cannot afford to do.

Therefore, always ask yourself: “What does this do for you?”

That’s not a selfish stance, but something that must be thought out when focusing on your content marketing strategy. Your primary focus should be sales or new business. In order to attract those customers or clients, your efforts should spotlight your brand or company.

Generally speaking, you want to bring your audience to you. You do that by sharing information on social media, however, it’s not always that simple. There’s no harm in sharing posts from someone else or publishing photos on your social media networks, but there’s little “juice” to be gained to get those potential buyers to take the next step. A breadcrumb trail leading back to your website (where your sales pitch is, hopefully, well defined) should be your primary goal.

Sharing the local weather report, that someone can get anywhere else (such as the source) probably won’t help your return on your investment of time and money. That’s an issue I see with many potential new and even existing clients. They share/post a lot on social media, but it doesn’t generate any conversation and certainly if it’s not leading back to their website with a link or call to action, it disappears into the oblivion with no interaction.

“Sharing is Caring” but you have to be careful to not overshadow your own efforts. Think of it this way – you wouldn’t buy a billboard or radio spot for someone else, so we need to ask ourselves why we’re freely promoting something, if, “it does nothing for you.”

Again, that may come off as self-serving, but that’s the entire purpose of marketing. Far too often I see people with great drive expend their energy on things that aren’t directly helping their bottom line. Don’t be that person. Get down to basics and ask yourself the question above. You may find that this concept helps streamline your overall efforts and makes them more efficient and effective!

Tips for creating better blog posts

Whether you’re a seasoned writer or someone terrified of making typos, writing an entry into your blog shouldn’t be a hassle. With the following tools and tips, you can circumvent making errors while also working more efficiently and effectively.

I use each of the following tools when creating blog posts. I hope you too will find them useful.

Microsoft Word

I’ll be straightforward here: I used to hate using Word to draft my articles.

And yes, “hate” is a strong enough word!

One of the big problems you may face copying and pasting your text out of Word is that the format will get jumbled when transposing it into a WordPress website. Luckily there are a few ways to get around carrying over any goofy formatting.

First, strictly stick to the default settings. Do not change fonts, font sizes, font colors or anything other than the standard bold or italics formatting. The only exception is if you use the “styles” panel in the task ribbon to set Heading styles (such as Heading 2; don’t forget that Heading 1, by default, is your WordPress title on well-formed sites).

And by all means, never use underlined text! Your website visitors may confuse it for a hyperlink and you wouldn’t want them to miss any important links in your post by thinking anything with an underline “doesn’t work”.

Before you paste your finished product into WordPress, however, there are some other tools which will help you quickly fix up any errors you may have made and clean up your copy.

Note: Many of these tips are for Windows users only. However, some of the programs listed below can be replaced with a Mac-equivalent. For example, you may use Apple’s native Pages app instead of Word, or sync your files in the cloud using Google Docs.


Lightkey brings predictive typing that you’re likely familiar with from your smartphone or tablet, over to the personal computer.

If that’s something you like the sound of, then I highly recommend using this software, which is free of charge as well! Lightkey will custom tailor itself to your specific writing genre and help you avoid having to retype long or difficult words and phrases within the same document, or in future documents after you’ve used it for a while.

You can download Lightkey here.

Spelling & Grammar

Word’s built-in spellchecking tool will catch a lot of grammar errors, but it won’t get all of them. I like to use this first, as you may have industry-specific terms you want to ignore by running a different spelling and grammar tool. You can avoid having these terms marked as errors by right-clicking on the word which has the squiggly underline and choosing the “Add to Dictionary” option in the context menu.

Once you’re finished checking your document with Word’s built-in tool, there are a few more steps you should take to ensure nothing was missed.


You may have seen this utility advertised on TV. Or if you’re a YouTube user, I can guarantee you haven’t gone long without having one of their ads interrupt a video.

The barrage of marketing lets you know Grammarly offers a paid service, but their basic free service is something you can integrate directly into Microsoft Word. At the click of a button Grammarly will make suggestions: just be wary of which ones you need to change, as, with the built-in Word tool, Grammarly is still a robot.

If you click on changes without reading the context of what you wrote, you may make your blog post worse! That’s important to note because Grammarly will warn you that you cannot revert changes using the undo button. Tread carefully by saving before and after you run Grammarly before proceeding further.

You may sign up for Grammarly here.

You’re Ready to Publish

Once you are satisfied that your writing is a masterpiece (or at least improved from its rough draft iteration) it is time to go live with your new post.

In most cases, you should be able to simply copy all of your document (you may use the shortcut Ctrl+C), open your new draft in WordPress, and paste.

But what if some of the formatting is messed up? Well, I have some helpful hints for that too.

The most common “goof” when going from Word to WordPress is paragraph spacing. If your paragraphs don’t have line breaks, delete what you pasted in WordPress and go back to Word. Within Word, select all of your text (Ctrl+A) and go to the Design tab on the ribbon. You should find a button with the label “Paragraph Spacing” near the top-right and within its corresponding drop-down menu, there are a few options to correct the spacing issues.

More than likely your fix will be the “open” option, but you may need to use trial and error to determine which setting works best for you.


I hope these blog writing tips have helped you out. If you have further questions on how to improve your writing or need some help proofreading documents you produce, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Where to find royalty-free photos for your blog

Pictures make everything pretty: including your blog posts.

Adding a nice featured image to each post will decrease the chances of someone scrolling on by your post when you share your links to social media. However, you can’t just jump on the Internet and download any picture for your personal use. In fact, doing so may see you hit with legal action, including a stiff fine in the mail, if you happen to acquire a photo from a large stock photography house such as Getty Images or Corbis.

Of course, you could always sign up for a subscription to those large stock photography websites, but doing so could cost you a solid chunk of change.

When mentioning these drawbacks to others, I always get asked: “How do I find photos for my blog then?” Luckily, there are some free or low-cost ways to get around sinking a fortune into your content marketing campaigns.

Low-cost stock photo sites

If you’re willing to pay a little for quality photos, you may be surprised at what’s available for bloggers.

Sites such as Dreamstime, Shutterstock, and Bigstock offer lower-priced options than the bigger sites, but depending on your needs, those could still cost you in the long run. However, versus the free options listed below, you will see that the middle-tier stock photo sites offer higher quality photos with a larger selection. (It sounds cliché, but you get what you pay for sometimes.)


One of my go-to sites for free photos, Pixabay offers unlimited downloads of royalty-free photos. Most photos are licensed under a CC0 Creative Commons license, which means it’s free for commercial use with no attribution required.

Go to Pixabay


Pexels works in much the same way as Pixabay. In fact, you may see many of the same photos on both sites. Regardless, it’s nice to have more than one place to search in case you can’t find the right fit for what you’re looking for.

Go to Pexels


Unsplash releases new photos on a consistent basis. Their collection varies from that of the first two sites and offers high resolution (large) images from a number of reputable photographers.

Go to Unsplash

Photo Pin

Rather than mess around with the various options within Google Images and hope you get a right-free image, use Photo Pin.

Their website scours the web for Creative Commons licensed images. Their search engine also helps you avoid perusing Flickr within the same way, saving you a lot of time in the process.

Go to Photo Pin

Death to Stock

I used to be an advocate of this website as it offered restriction-free photos for no cost. It was founded by a pair of photographers who would publish a monthly pack of images via their newsletter.

However, the clever “Death to Stock” name has turned them into a pricing model akin to the very sites they opposed. That’s the buyer beware, as you may find what you need here but there are now some strings attached.

Go to Death to Stock

Best of the rest

I wanted to give you a few more options below, but with a disclaimer: these sites can be cumbersome to use and shove a lot of ads in your way. Still, it never hurts to have more than one option when hunting for that perfect photo to accompany your blog post.

Why rushing to publish content isn’t advisable

In my line of work, I often see some dubious requests. Among those are to publish a blog post ASAP or worse yet, post several articles within a single day.

That wouldn’t be such a bad strategy for someone consistently producing content (think: newspaper). However, most of the clients I work with struggle to produce content even on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Often, they’ll have a productive day where they write a new article full of advice or several similar smaller posts.

The reaction is almost always the same:

Publish these ASAP!

I usually question the motive. Sometimes you may be in a line of work where deadlines necessitate such a move. The piece in question should be brought out into the public eye as soon as possible.

Most of the time that’s not the case. Rushing to publish something at 5 pm, when everyone is leaving work, isn’t going to get it in front of more eyeballs than if you wait until the morning. In fact, if this is shared on social media (especially if you have automation tools which post it to Facebook or Twitter as soon as its published) you’re more than likely doing yourself a disservice based on the volatility of social media. Tweets disappear almost instantly. Facebook posts scatter around the ether.

The advantage of posting now soon become a disadvantage.

The same can be said for the day of the week you post on. You need to know your audience. For example, business blogs should focus on publishing between Monday and Friday. However, posting Friday afternoon probably isn’t advisable either, as most businesspeople are wrapping up their week. Monday mornings could also have the same disadvantage though, depending on the medium you are broadcasting your new article, it may get more play through that afternoon and into the coming days of the week.

I also have to hold back some overzealous types from wanting to publish and/or post four blogs in a single day. There is no advantage to that and it could be even worse than an ill-advised sports article posting while that team’s fans are watching them play a game! (Okay, that might be the worst scenario, but bear with me.) Should you make multiple posts in a single day, you’re making those individual articles compete for attention with one another. Worse, if your homepage and/or blog only show the last X number of posts, where X is 2 and you post 3 new articles, that means the third blog won’t be visible on those pages.

Even your most hardcore readers may not see that additional post.

Ditto for social media. On a medium where you’re already competing for eyeballs with other people or businesses posting information, there’s a negative benefit to blowing through all of your content at once.

The final and the most obvious problem with rushing to publish content is making errors. A small typo may not be the end of the world, but factual information such as math, dates, times, etc. could make all of the difference between positioning yourself as an expert and looking like you don’t know your subject matter.

Therefore, the optimal strategy with producing any content is to be consistent. It’s one of my mantras, but it holds true. It’s better to have a small stack of ready-to-go content that you can publish as a steady stream to your audience than burn through all of it in one fell swoop. Organizing your efforts and spreading them out over time will reap greater rewards than a “now” mentality.

I have several tools which I like to use to plan out when my content is published. You can find this on my resources page. In addition, you’ll also find tools to help you post to social media more efficiently. You can always re-post to social media in the future. As long as you’re not spamming your audience they may even revisit your blog post or podcast which they started but didn’t finish, or they may refer it to a friend.

In that way, you can put your eggs in different baskets, save yourself some time and stress, and set forth on a successful content marketing campaign.

Why every website on Earth needs a blog

This may sound like a bold claim, but I’m of the firm belief that every website must have a blog.

Blogs may not always have positive idea behind them, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone online that doesn’t believe they have merit. With a blog, you can express your opinions, promote products or services, position yourself as an expert, establish yourself as an expert or connect with others like you.

It can literally be a kitchen sink for updates too. If you have a press release, new news, an upcoming event, answer a question or simply want to get something off your chest, a blog can house all of these types of articles and then some.

Blog can also be a way to have fun, stay updated within a certain field (by doing research as part of your writing) or best of all, a blog could end up making you money.

The last part is important, but not to be taken for granted. Soliciting enough clicks to visit your website may be too big of a battle to quit your day job, but you can never say never. Internet personality Gary Vaynerchuk started as a wine critic before ascending to viral fame. But even if that type of celebrity isn’t in the cards for you, at the very least you may increase your footprint to make people aware of yourself, you brand and/or your products and services.

That alone may lead to more leads, and sales, than you would’ve had without a blog.

Which leads me (pun intended) to the biggest benefit I feel anyone can gain from blogging: leading people back to your website.

Hopefully you have a well-built website which puts calls to action and sales pitches front-and-center. Visitors to your site may feel compelled to look around and see what you have, all because a well-crafted blog post brought them there.

In closing, don’t discount the benefits of having a blog. Oftentimes, the ability to start a blog (if you don’t already have one) is only a few clicks away. Coming up with topics may not be difficult and in the end, you can begin generating a buzz about yourself by simply typing away as you would on Facebook or a text message.

A few minutes of blogging a week can lead to great results down the road.

So why do you need a blog? Maybe the better question is why would someone not need one?!