In this GenerateBlocks review, I will be going through this amazing, lightweight, Gutenberg block-based WordPress plugin.
If you are in the WordPress eco-space for sometime now, chances are that you might have heard “Gutenberg is the future”. Well, that is right. Hence, there has been a tremendous shift in the Gutenberg block-based plugin space.
Plus, after Core Web Vitals, WordPress website owners with page builders are really having a hard time trying to improve their website performance. You buy a premium page builder, but are still stuck with suboptimal performance. Therefore, you buy a premium caching plugin.
If lightweight block-based plugins can do a similar work on your site (almost like page builders), then why buy a premium page builder followed by a premium caching tool?
In the following review, we will take a look at what is GenerateBlocks, why do you need it, how does it supersede the default Gutenberg editor, its features, blocks and what do you get with GenerateBlocks Pro version.
What Is GenerateBlocks? – An Overview
GenerateBlocks is a block-based WordPress plugin that has all the bells and whistles of popular page builders. Allowing you to add different blocks to your website, and customize them according to your needs.
Giving you a complete toolkit that offers endless possibilities in WordPress designing. Gone are those days where you’d have to only rely on page builders and/or custom CSS for making your website look elegant.
It isn’t a page builder. As a matter of fact; it comes with features and 6 blocks that revamp your existing Gutenberg block editing.
Coming from the GeneratePress family, they made it to integrate fully with the theme. But, GenerateBlocks also works flawlessly with every other premium WordPress theme like Astra, Blocksy theme, Kadence WP, etc.
It is a freemium plugin. Meaning, there is a free version and a GenerateBlocks Pro with more features, huge template library and amazing effects waiting for you.
I have that covered in the later section of this GenerateBlocks review.
GenerateBlocks Against Other Block-Based WordPress Plugins
The developers have made sure not to clutter this plugin with lots of unnecessary blocks. Giving you the power to make anything only if you are comfortable creating every section from scratch.
For example, I had to make a Table of Contents section. Using Kadence Blocks, I made a two-column ToC section with all the links set, under ten minutes. For fun, I tried making it with GenerateBlocks. It took almost half an hour to make the structure, apply links, and publish the page.
What I’m trying to say here is that whether you use a block plugin that offers multiple blocks or GenerateBlocks, that only gives 6 blocks. Time needed to perform tasks using GenerateBlocks will be more, but the results will always be better than ones you get from other pre-made blocks. Giving you pride in what you’ve actually made.
Moreover, other plugins bloat your site with unnecessary blocks that you hardly use. Whereas, GenerateBlocks is light on the back-end of your site.
GenerateBlocks Installations, Reviews & Ratings
GenerateBlocks was first released on February 2020 with 4 major blocks.
Recently, in GenerateBlocks 1.5 version there had been major upgrades. The developers have now included a new features called Dynamic Data and 2 new blocks – Query Loop Block & Image Block.
With this upgrade, downloads of the latest GenerateBlocks version has sky rocketed and until now there have been 100,000+ active installations of this wonderful plugin.
With the trend and increasing user demands, GenerateBlocks Pro got released on January 2021 with added features like premium pattern library, multiple effects, and animations for every element.
Lots of downloads and a great average rating score will not disappoint you at all.
How Do I Use GenerateBlocks?
GenerateBlocks is fairly simple to use. Let’s start from the installation process.
Installing Free Version Of GenerateBlocks
- Go to your WordPress dashboard, hover on to Plugins, and click on Add New Plugins.
- In the Search Box, type GenerateBlocks. The moment you see it, click on Download, followed by Activate.
- You have GenerateBlocks installed on your WordPress website.
Installing GenerateBlocks Pro
- Head over to GenerateBlocks website
- Create an Account or Login
- Under the Menu, go to the Account section, followed by Downloads. Download GenerateBlocks Pro version.
- Head back to your WordPress dashboard, hover on to Plugins, click Add New Plugin
- Here, click on Upload Plugin. Upload the GenerateBlocks Pro Zip file, Install and Activate the premium plugin.
- For registering your GenerateBlocks Pro, go to GenerateBlocks Dashboard, Settings, and Enter License Key.
Once you’ve installed the plugin, you can use it anywhere on your pages, posts, category pages, blog page, front(home) page, custom pages, etc.
For your understanding, let me show you a recent activity I was working on.
I used 3 Containers, 4 Headline blocks, and 1 image block.
First of all, I selected a container. You can do that either by typing “/container” on the page/post you are editing or press the + icon and click on Browse More.
After clicking on Browse More, you will see all the blocks on the left side.
We are going to review each and every block in GenerateBlocks comparing it against what you get with the default Gutenberg editor.
This is the most important block and has a pretty obvious reason of being there. The GenerateBlocks Container gives you a dedicated section area to insert other GenerateBlocks. It allows for other Gutenberg blocks and third-party plugin blocks as well.
Normally, if you’d want to create a section, there isn’t any block under Gutenberg that allows you to do that.
On the other hand, Container Block can carry Headlines, Images, Buttons, etc., and offer you customization options like adjusting the margins, padding, border size & radius, colors, backgrounds, shapes, etc.
Note:- You also get an option to change the container tag name.
The Dynamic Data option is a new feature that is seen from GenerateBlocks version 1.5 release.
Note:- The Grid Block always creates a container block within each of its grids. Therefore, you see the same settings over there as well.
Container Block Width Settings are by the far one of the best things you get with this block.
When you are using a single container, you get options to choose between Full Width and Contained Width
In case you have used a grid and want to set custom grid proportions for each of your grid, you can do that as well.
That’s the first container from the Grid Block using 25% of the grid’s width.
Second container from the Grid Block using 75% of the grid’s width.
Considering the layout options with typography, spacing, etc., are a lot of options for anyone to build anything on their website.
Note:- You don’t get a container block with so many features, in Gutenberg.
This is the next block in our line and has pretty much an obvious purpose, of providing you customized grids to give you more than one column for your row/section.
From the image above, you can see that you get an option to select from 1~6 columns.
This block does not give many settings, but you can adjust the Grid’s Horizontal Gap, Vertical Gap, Horizontal Alignment, and Vertical Alignment.
Apart from these settings, other options like padding, margins, borders, etc. can be set manually for each container within the grid.
If you want to apply some custom styles to the entire grid, including all the containers and other blocks within each container. The Grid Block allows you to add custom CSS, in its advanced section.
Note:- Gutenberg has this kind of block, called Columns. But, with very limited customization options.
Headline block in GenerateBlocks comes with all the same settings that we’ve seen under the Container Block.
Perhaps you also get a chance to use Icons with this block.
GenerateBlocks supports from Heading H1 to H6 and also lets you change the Headline tag to Paragraph tag
This feature is basically given to you so that you can easily shift from headings to paragraph and still be able to perform deep typography customizations. That wouldn’t be possible with the default Headings Gutenberg Block.
Plus, you’ve also got the latest GenerateBlocks 1.5 version feature, Dynamic Data. To pull H1 (Title) headings from their respective sources.
The Headline Block also offers a Highlighting option under Colors setting.
Buttons Block in GenerateBlocks gives you the ability to create buttons that are engaging and more driven towards conversions.
Well, that is the primary goal of using a button on the front-end of a website.
Let us see all the options that come with the default Gutenberg buttons block.
It lacks advanced typography options, padding, margins, border settings, and border radius settings.
Comparatively, I’d like you to see the button block settings offered by GenerateBlocks.
Select your own custom fonts, apply a different font size, fine-tune the letter spacing, customize the overall spacing, add background gradients and icons to make your buttons really stand out.
Note:- The GenerateBlocks Button Block is much better then the regular Gutenberg Button Block.
Query Loop Block
Long awaited and one of the most used block by designers and bloggers is the GenerateBlocks Query Loop Block.
I say this because, from a very long time website owners (including me) running GeneratePress theme weren’t easily able to create Related Posts section, Latest Posts section and custom archive pages.
They had to rely on a simple lightweight plugin called, WP Show Posts.
Earlier in June 2022, WP Show Posts made an announcement of merging with GenerateBlocks.
Users holding a premium WP Show Posts subscription would also get a 1-year free GenerateBlocks Pro license of their choice.
Now, if the Query Block can help you achieve all the results that you once did via WP Show Posts, then why keep a separate plugin and run unnecessary shortcodes on your websites?
I’ve personally created the following on my sites and my client’s sites;
- Related Posts Section
- Latest Posts Section
- Portfolio Page
- Custom Category Page Templates
- Masonry Blog Page
If you want to use a custom list of posts on your site, instead of using a plugin, GenerateBlocks Query Loop Block will be very helpful.
Other than the Query Loop Block settings, I had made a 3X3 Grid with some spacing settings for inner containers, and Dynamic Data for Featured Image, Post Title, Author Name, Post Excerpt, and Read More buttons.
On the performance side, queries are the same for all the posts within the block. Therefore, the time taken to load all the posts in your custom template list is to only process the layout, which is barely minimum.
Note:- Downsides of Gutenberg Query Block are you do not get enough spacing settings and applying dynamic data for featured images, titles, excerpts, etc. becomes difficult.
After the container block, this is another block I use quite a lot on my sites.
Gutenberg provides a great image block. But, there are a few reasons, I’ve switched from Gutenberg Image Block to GenerateBlocks Image Block.
The default Gutenberg image does not offer any options related to spacing. Fitting images that look great on desktop, tablets and mobile devices at the same time is a troublesome issue amongst beginners.
The image shown above displays all the settings and options available with the Gutenberg image block.
Where as, GenerateBlocks image block offers customization options like;
- All options that Gutenberg Image Block provides
- Image object-fit property settings
- Border Radius
- Dynamic Data that pulls images from a certain given source
In addition, GenerateBlocks Pro offers;
- All features that come with the free version of GenerateBlocks Image Block
- Transform Effects
- Box Shadows
- Text Shadows
Note:- The default Gutenberg Image Block does not come with so many customization options as compared to GenerateBlocks.
To summarize, the free version of GenerateBlocks gives you a lot more than one could imagine. But, I do agree that sometimes you just need to quickly make a few edits and complete the task.
Unless you have a few re-usable blocks to your side, that ain’t going to happen.
To give you such a time advantage and still keep things clutter-free, you better check out their pro version.
In the later part of this GenerateBlocks review, we will be looking at what GenerateBlocks Pro can give you, and how can it be useful for you?
Key Features Of GenerateBlocks
Before we look into all the blocks, I would like you to have a look at all the features you get with GenerateBlocks free version plugin.
Select Google or local fonts, adjust size, line height, and letter spacing. Plus, change color, apply background color, change link color, or use icons for bringing emotion to your text.
Colors are applicable to Containers, Headlines, and Buttons. Apply colors to background, text(headline), links, and borders.
Add background images and customize its size and position. No need to apply custom CSS in the theme customizer.
Perform spacing customizations like adjusting margins, padding, borders, border-radius, inline width for containers, headlines, images and buttons.
Make beautiful gradients in a container with headline and button blocks or simply create buttons with gradients.
GenerateBlocks allows to use your own custom SVG icons with Headline and Button blocks. Bring emotions into your content and engage your visitors.
GenerateBlocks comes from the house of GeneratePress and does not clutter your back-end with lots of unnecessary blocks. Giving you super lightweight performance on the front-end.
You can almost build anything from each of these 6 blocks. Create beautiful designs and sections, and save them as re-usable blocks for later use.
Responsiveness With GenerateBlocks
Highly responsive blocks. Adjusts itself according to the screen size. In GenerateBlocks Pro, you get a feature (Custom Attributes) where you can hide/show designs according to the device
High Coding Standards
Just like GeneratePress, this plugin is also built according to the hight coding standards.
For your information, I’ve made the above section using GenerateBlocks.
GenerateBlocks Pro Review
First of all, let me be clear with you that GenerateBlocks Pro doesn’t come with more blocks. As, the team’s primary focus is to keep the plugin lightweight.
But, with the pro version you get a lot of GenerateBlocks Templates (that act as blocks), Advanced Backgrounds, Customization Effects, and Custom Attributes.
GenerateBlocks Template Library
The Template Library contains 230 pre-made templates (at the time of writing) elements of blocks that you can straight-away add to your Gutenberg Pages and/or Posts.
They have templates made for header, footer, hero section, testimonials, buttons, logo, social icons, contact and a lot more.
If you are someone that finds it difficult to spare time for creating designs from scratch but still want to showcase catchy designs on your site, then this pre-made templates feature is right for you.
Select the type of block you require and start using them on Gutenberg’s editor as a normal block.
If you remember well, Backgrounds feature was also available in the free version of GenerateBlocks. So, what is better with the pro version?
Well, with the premium version of GenerateBlocks, you get to add background images and effects on those images.
GenerateBlocks Copy/Paste Styles
How many times have you tried creating the same style for multiple blocks, while editing a page or a post?
Thinking to yourself, if there was a way to just copy and paste the styles, so you don’t have to repeat performing the same layout procedures over and over again.
With GenerateBlocks Pro you get a special feature called Copy/Paste Styles. You can copy just the styles and paste it into the next block. Copying styles don’t copy the content and you do not have to erase duplicate content, if that’s what you are wondering.
Pasting the style on the ‘second heading’ will straight-away change the color and every other style used on the ‘first heading’. Copy/Paste Styles just incorporates alignment, typography, color, and spacing settings.
With GenerateBlocks Pro you get a feature called Container Links. This isn’t a brainer for you to understand. Just that, with the premium version, you can link the entire container.
In the above image there is a hero section, and one can make the entire hero container clickable by adding container link to it. Rather than just the button.
Let me share two real-life examples of where this could prove timesaving.
When I created custom category pages and masonry blog page using GenerateBlocks Query Loop block, I got the dynamic data feature to link featured image, post title, author name, and read more button to their respective sources.
Instead of linking all the elements used in a blog card, I might as well link the entire container. Doing that will make the entire container clickable, saving you lots of editing time.
Another example would be to use GenerateBlocks Pro Container Links on pagination containers, below every single blog post content. That would save you time from linking on thumbnails and titles.
GenerateBlocks Pro Effects
After GenerateBlocks templates, this is one of the most feature of all the users using GenerateBlocks Pro. That is because, the premium version of GenerateBlocks offers a lot of extra customization options that aren’t seen with the free version.
Under Effects you get the following GenerateBlocks customization options;
- Opacity & Blend
- Box Shadow
- Text Shadow
There is no need grab classes and write custom CSS for your designs. Just click on the Container, Headline, or Buttons and apply the required effect.
With block-based Gutenberg plugins that require you to make designs from scratch, there are times when you try creating a responsive section with container, grids, headline, etc. but the output is does not really display that neatly on all devices.
Meaning, the design looks perfectly fine on desktop and tablets but isn’t anywhere close to perfect, when seen on mobile devices.
In the free version, you have no other option than to make editable changes for all devices. But, with GenerateBlocks Pro you can choose to hide the design on certain devices.
Custom Attribute is simply a property that lets you describe user classes and assets. It lets you assign integer, range of integer, or a string value, allowing you to add extra data or information to your WordPress Pages and Posts.
A Custom Attribute mostly starts with the name ‘data’, that is why they are also called as Data Attributes.
In short, they are the opposite of dynamic data and let you store data into the code of your website.
GenerateBlocks Pro gives you the Custom Attribute option, in order to create custom menus (nav menus), data tabs section, and on multiple areas in a WooCommerce product page.
These are all the features available at the moment when you buy the premium version of GenerateBlocks.
GenerateBlocks Review – Pricing
Compared to other premium plugins and page builders, the basic plan of GenerateBlocks is budget-friendly alternative.
For a single site, you can get the premium plugin for $39 a year with full functionalities I’ve shown you in this GenerateBlocks review article.
Then you’ve got a higher plan, if you want to install the plugin on a couple of your sites. They’ve priced the plan at $69, and applies to 10 sites at once.
Finally, for web agencies and freelancers, the subscription plan of $99 per year is the best. Giving access to 250 sites at once.
All the plans include total features and functionalities of GenerateBlocks Pro with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Documentation & Support – GenerateBlocks Review
The official GenerateBlocks website has lots of articles dedicated to all the Blocks, Featured Components, Pattern Library, and using the Block Editor, in general.
Plus, their YouTube channel has dozens of videos showing you most of their visual demonstrations.
GenerateBlocks offers free support via WordPress website and premium support to its paid customers via the support section of GenerateBlocks Pro.
From there you have two options, either get help by opening a support ticket, or find a relevant solution on the GenerateBlocks Community Forum. Since this plugin is popular amongst WordPress users, you are likely to find a solution on the forum itself.
I have been using GenerateBlocks Pro for more than a year and have faced no issues yet. But, looking at their activity on the community forum, I can say you are assured to get premium help and support at the earliest.
Whether a premium user or a free user, the GenerateBlocks team allows everyone to share their opinion and post feature requests on their site.
You can see the top requests include features like Tab, Accordion, Modal, Global Colors, Contact Form blocks, etc.
That means, users are enjoying using this plugin, instead of shifting to other block-based plugins, they are waiting for new features to be added to GenerateBlocks Pro.
FAQs – GenerateBlocks Review
GenerateBlocks has both, free and premium versions. The core GenerateBlocks plugin (free version) has 6 blocks. Container, Grid, Headline block, Buttons, Query Loop, and Image block. You can pretty much make anything by combining all of these blocks.
After installing GenerateBlocks plugin on your WordPress site, just click on add block, and choose the appropriate GenerateBlock from the list of blocks, on the Gutenberg editor.
Of course, GenerateBlocks is better than Gutenberg. GenerateBlocks lets you create your own design, and sections anywhere on your site. With Gutenberg, you need to rely on the blocks given to you. Plus, there aren’t so many blocks that could giv a nice appeal to your site’s front-end.
Conclusion – GenerateBlocks Review
I hope this GenerateBlocks review article has given enough insight about the plugin. I have tried to showcase all the blocks, and its features.
GenerateBlocks has a free and pro version. The free version basically gives you all the blocks that you need and comes with enough features and customization options.
When I started using the free version of GenerateBlocks on my GeneratePress site, I got everything apart from some fine-tune adjustments, which I have managed to support via custom CSS. Now, with GenerateBlocks Pro, I’ve simply removed those CSS codes and completed those designs 100% via GenerateBlocks. That brought a massive boost to my WordPress site.
Another advantage one has with GenerateBlocks Pro is that you get a Template Library that fits into your Gutenberg editor, pulling the right type data for you. This saves you a lot of time while designing sites.