199 – Benjamin Ritner speaks with Kadence

Interview with Benjamin Ritner and Nathan Wrigley

This seems to be getting so much attention at the moment. Kadence Blocks, Theme and Membership. Wherever I go online to chat about WordPressy things, Kadence seems to pop up and get talked about… and it seems to be talk of a very positive nature.

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So I recorded this episode with Benjamin Ritner quite a few months ago and he’s been really busy since then. Nothing about what we discuss is out of date, rather, he’s been busy creating new things. At the time of recording his Kadence WordPress theme was something that he was working on, but now it’s all finished and ready to roll, but it’s interesting to hear about how and why he built a WordPress theme in a time when it feels like the whole purpose of themes is in question due to the full site editing that’s coming down the track with the Block Editor.

We cover quite a lot of ground:

Ben’s history working with WordPress, which is deep and rich.

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How the theme market was a great place to be a few years ago, before the oversaturation of the market, and what Ben did about this to keep his business afloat.

Kadence Membership, how it got started, what’s included and why the marriage of a theme to a suite of blocks is a compelling offer going forwards in the WordPress space.

How he decided to gamble that Blocks was going to be the next big thing – a shift in business focus and the risks and rewards that this posed.

The difficulties in developing in an environment which is constantly in-flux – how hard it was at the start to create Blocks when there was almost zero documentation to support his learning.

Ben discusses why anyone clinging on to the Classic Editor is missing out on a whole heap of goodness that the Block Editor brings along. A simple imterface for editing, rich features which are being added to all the time and a roadmap that dominates the future of WordPress.

Ben feels that this is an exciting time for WordPress. We’ve got a great new tool that is like nothing else in other CMS’s. Sure, it’s not complete, there’s a ton of things for is to wait for, but with suites of blocks like Kadence Blocks, we’re really seeing how the boundaries of what’s possible inside an editor can be pushed to new levels.

We have a deep dive into the feature set of the Kadence Blocks suite as it was at the time of recording, but I would urge you to go and have a look now, becasuse there’s been a lot of work done since that day and many, many new features added.

I think that the best value that you can get is from the Kadence Membership which rolls up all-the-things that Ben’s been working on into one neat package. Everything in one place for you to create great WordPress websites, all built by a guy who you now kinda know, and I hope, trust.

It was really lovely chatting to Ben, and I hope that you enjoy the podcast episode. As always go leave a comment here, or perhaps in the WP Builds Facebook Group.

Mentioned in this episode…

Kadence Membership

Kadence Blocks

Kadence Theme

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news. He's from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 199. Entitled Benjamin Ritner speaks with Kadence. It was published on Thursday, the 1st of October, 2020, my name's Nathan Wrigley. And a few bits and pieces before we begin, just to let you know that we produce quite a lot of WordPress content, all of it [email protected], but there's a few links I'd like to mention.
WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe that lets you keep in touch with everything that we produce. Join our Facebook group there. Join us on Twitter there. Join us in fact everywhere. Over there. And you can also sign up to a couple of newsletters and we'll let you know about content, but also there's a separate newsletter where we can let you know about WordPress deals as, and when we hear about them, speaking of deals, we have a dedicated deals page over at wpbuilds.com forward slash deals.
And that page is a bit like our black Friday. Page, but every day of the week, 365 days of the year, those coupon codes are up there. And if you need something this week, go check it out. Another one is WP Builds.com forward slash jobs. If you've got a job that you'd like us to freely publicize to the wider WordPress community, please go there and fill out the forms.
WP Builds.com forward slash advertise will allow you to advertise on WP Builds and get your product or service in front of a WordPress specific audience. A bit like these guys have done. Do you use a page builder to create your WordPress websites, or perhaps you're curious about what they can do, whether it's elemental, BeaverBuilder Gutenberg, breezy, oxygen, or any of the other page builders, the page builder summit we'll have something for you.
It's running from October the fifth to October the ninth, and you can check out the amazing speaker list and get your free place at summit dot Kemp. And AB split test. She wants to set up your AB split tests in record time, like in a couple of minutes, use your existing pages and test anything against anything else.
Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with elements or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it out at absplittest.com. As mentioned in the ad, I've just read out the page builder summit is just around the corner. This is something that Anchen le Roux and I have been working very hard on if you are into using page builders or just curious about what they can do, please do head over to summit.com.
We've got an amazing speaker lineup it's completely free to attend, and we'd love to have you there contributing, watching, enjoying the whole experience. So that URL one more time is summit.camp. Okay. Let's get stuck into the main body of the podcast. Shall we? This is an episode all about things Kadence, because today I'm speaking with Benjamin retainer and Kadence, I'm sure you've heard.
It seems to be gaining a lot of popularity. There's an awful lot in Kadence. Not only have we got a membership, we've got plugins, we've got blocks. We've got apps, absolutely loads. He's been really busy. It seems to be focusing a lot of effort on the block editor and what he can do with his theme and his block suite.
But as I said, I'm just hearing endless things about it right recently. And it all seems to be very positive. We talked today about why he built it, how he built it, what the hell difficulties and challenges were, and it comes across. I'm sure you'll agree that he's a very sincere and genuine guy. So yeah.
Maybe go and click on some links in the show notes, you can sign up to his membership at the time that I'm recording this. There was a lifetime offer. I'm not really sure if that's still going to be there, but certainly perhaps worth checking out. So I hope you enjoy the podcast. I certainly enjoyed recording it with Benjamin.
Hello there. Welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Thanks for joining us again and making it as far as the interview today, we're talking about blocks and other things, but I think mainly we'll focus on blocks. I am joined today by Benjamin Ritner. How are you doing Benjamin? Hey, thanks for having me. Are you Benjamin or Ben?
I usually go by Ben. Yeah. Yup. My brother Benjamin and he's always been, so I thought I'd asked at the beginning Ben's on because, you may have noticed that there's this thing in WordPress at the minute called the block editor. If you haven't heard of it, then frankly, just stop listening now because clearly you are not.
For this podcast, the block editor, AKA Gutenberg has been around for let's say 16 months for now in an official capacity. It's been going quite a long time prior to that. And one of the features that's been touted for the longest time is the ability for us to add blocks in a whole bunch of blocks.
And that is. What Ben has been creating over the last period of time. We'll get onto that a little bit later, but before we do, Ben, what's your relationship with WordPress? How long have you been working with it? Is it an exclusive thing? Do you work with other tools as well? Just gives you a potted history of Ben and WordPress.
Yeah, sure. I, I got started like most people building websites for other people, Just started creating websites for local businesses and then was using WordPress. And, because of, at the time, the tools that I was finding or the lack of tools that I was finding thing that drove me to create some, my own tools and my own theme.
And then, I ended up launching a theme in 2013 called virtue. And, to my surprise, it took off. And, yeah, I went from, maybe this would give me a little bit of like fun side income to, okay, this is what I do now. And I'm a theme seller. that was the kind of the launch of Kadence.
And basically since then, literally just months after I launched that first theme, I launched a free version on. WordPress and Oregon a premium version. And, since then I've been doing it full time. I've really, I've taken a few clients simply because they have interests me or like I have a current client it's a client.
They're a local coffee roaster in town and I basically get. Coffee to manage their website. So I don't really pay for coffee anymore. I do obviously do some work for that trade, but things like that, have kept me on some of the clients side. I have some side projects. I like to do entrepreneurial stuff, so I'm still doing websites, but mostly, just doing themes and plugins and.
yeah, from there I've developed a couple more themes and then more plugins and now I've kinda got a membership. That's includes all of that. Okay. going back a long time, it's interesting because you joined the WordPress theme developer. Entourage in a time when I think it was still like extremely profitable.
What I mean by that is, like you said overnight, you could go from putting together a theme. And I don't know where you sold that if it was on a marketplace or if you sold it on your own website. But I think some people, if the stars aligned and it had the right collection of, attributes to it, shall we say, Portfolios and all that kind of thing.
If you could develop a very impressive and healthy career, does it still continue to offer that same kind of financial reward or does it tend to ebb and flow a bit more? No. everything got over-saturated about 2013, but I was fortunate enough to get in when. it wasn't too saturated, but it was about that time that really the theme, environment just went crazy.
And there's now so many options and so many great themes out there. that, yeah, it. It's changed, which is in part why I started developing plugins as well. and really, some lessons about pricing and how to, moving to a subscription based pricing model was a big step. I launched on my own site and that was great.
Cause I was able to control a lot of that stuff. but definitely learned a lot of lessons and went from this is exploding too. Why did the sales just die to, okay, how am I going to remake myself and find like what Kadence is going to be? And, So definitely up and down. And I think now it's really stabilized for me just with the customer base that I have.
And yeah. Yeah. Are you, you a sort of solo guy, or are you as part of a team that you manage or is it, maybe you've got some VA support somewhere or other, so actually my sister does support for me. She's been doing it almost from the beginning. And she doesn't live in Missoula. She was in Boise, but, she's been with me.
I've had one other support person I currently don't right now. probably we'll try to find another. It's nice to have a team of three. so probably we'll try to find another this year, but still feeling that out. Yeah. getting the right person is key. So it's small and I'm the developer.
my sister doesn't do any of that. She's just doing support and then she does like social media stuff for me. Okay. Okay. Okay. that's good to know, the URL that we're discussing, Ben's kind of umbrella company, if you like, and we're going to get into more of the sort of specifics of what he does, but if you go to Kadence, wp.com and just to be clear, that's a K.
So it's K a D E N C E wp.com. You'll notice there that, The main thing that's being advertised is plugins themes and our sort of membership. And at the moment, the pricing, is what it is. It's $99 a year, and you can view themes and view plugins so that's still continuing used to be a source of revenue.
You're still pushing the membership of plugins and themes. And I suppose one thing that people want to know does the Kadence blocks, which is what we'll talk about later, does that fall under the umbrella of the membership as well? Or is that completely separate thing? No, it falls under it's all part of membership, Kadence blocks.
And even if you buy a theme from me, it comes with Kadence blocks pro. So that's, as we move forward with Gutenberg, a theme being married to a BLOCS plugin, I think is going to be pretty and not married. Like they can't be separated, but married, like they're going to work really well together.
That's, that's always going to be something I work toward. If you buy theme, you're going to get blocks. it's always going to come in a package like that. That's great. So let's turn our attention to blocks then, because that I think is the thing of the moment, the talk for the last, like I said, 16, 18 months or so has been nothing but good and bug and so it's probably been a bit of a challenge I'm imagining, although I could be wrong that your journey with.
Blocks goes back. As long as Gutenberg has been in the block editor in core. so version five, but maybe it goes way further in a period where Guttenberg was still under development. and you had to download a beta test version. At what point did you, you start to say to yourself, There's something in this block thing I really ought to start taking some time out and learning how this stuff works. yeah, so I started developing Kadence blocks in April and 5.0, came out in November, or December. Yeah, I think it was December where at word camp, when, around about that way, whenever it was more or less that.
Yeah. and I launched Kadence blocks in September of that year, so I was three. Four months before five came out. and I, just like everyone, although my transition was a lot earlier, I heard about Gutenberg. I tried it out initially and it was like, this is so bad. And then, seeing that, okay, this really is going to be it okay.
That are, learn this. And I took a. Took some JavaScript courses at the time, I didn't know much react or anything like that. So getting my, understanding there. And then, I started really getting into building blocks simply to just be able to transfer some of the stuff that I was already doing with short codes or whatever, in my themes to have a block version.
And then it was like, wait, I can. I can do some of this stuff better. I can do columns better than what core is doing. I can do, some of these core things I can make this better or more appealing to use. And so that once I got to that point, and that was the beginning of summer, it got really exciting.
Cause I was like, Oh, this really, this foundation of Gutenberg really can be. A cool future to build on. And just because of the implementation right now is an at the time, at that time it was, there were so many buggy things. but now it's improved tremendously. And then too, like I went into it going, there's some key things that I can do to improve how people create websites.
That's gonna. That's going to make people like blocks. And, that was some of the early reviews where I didn't like Gutenberg until I tried your plugin and now I do. And that was like, yes, this is exactly what I'm going. I wanted to create something that would help some of that, hardship of feeling like I'm getting into this editor and it's really.
Not giving me much, ability to create and can I create tools that really empower people to create cool stuff? so that was a big one. Creating the row layout block in particular was, was where I really felt like, okay, this. I can see the potential in Gutenberg and that got me really excited.
did you encounter sort of roadblocks along the way or Beaumont's of anguish and grief upon which you had an, Oh, let's say you'd spent a few weeks building a particular solution only to discover that the team that worked on Gutenberg decided by the way, I should keep calling it Gutenberg. I always call it Gutenberg.
And I've realized this week that's incorrect. so the, the team had decided. this way, you're going to scrap that and go down a different direction. And all of your hard work had had to go in the trash. I haven't had to throw too much stuff away completely. I've certainly had to spend hours and hours trying to find information on.
GitHub in the Gutenberg repository. And, especially early on now they, the docs, or there's more tutorials out there, but at the time there wasn't any of that stuff. I was just reading through different stuff. Many of it irrelevant, topics on GitHub and something would change or break and having to go and find.
What that was and understand it, especially coming in, Gutenberg's a big, it's a big software package in terms of, there's just a lot of code, a lot of things interacting. and then at the time too, there were moving things around. So you wouldn't get file history, changes and Gutenberg because they would have moved the whole folder to another folder structure.
And then. so there was so many times like that. I was like, I don't understand what's wrong. And none of it makes sense. And so I've spent many hours, very frustrated with, not being able to find the information that I needed or figure out what. Why some of this stuff has happened or what's changed really?
it's really helped because I have a pretty good on understanding of a lot of the structure of Gutenberg. Cause I've had to just stare at code for so long. And, so that's made some of it down the road easier where you're like, Oh, now I understand this. I know how to do it, but at the same time, Very frustrating.
And there was, there were several times where I, an update would come out and I would open up the block editor and everything would crash and I would go, Oh, no, like what do I do now? It's a proper plate relationship at the beginning. Definitely. had, have had plenty of moments of, total freak out of You know what, how long is this going to take?
And, even since five came out, it's there's events, some pretty breaking changes. And then what's tricky too. Even today, he is supporting the Gutenberg plugin as well as what's in core. that is always a pain because they're changing, CSS structure, CSS styles in. Gutenberg and you need to change your styles to match that or to make it work, but then that breaks the core version.
So then you have to add back at, styles back in to make it's in WordPress core work and yeah. Yeah, that can be, yeah, there's definitely lots of frustrations that come from working with and building on something that's being changed and improved so much. I wouldn't, I don't want to complain complaining in the sense of I want those changes, and the Gutenberg team needs to know that they can make those changes.
Like I. I'm one of the people that's saying. Yeah. let's make it better. Even if it breaks stuff, let's make it better. and let's figure out how to fix this stuff at breaks versus, Oh no, we can't really change that. Cause then it'll break stuff. I think now, even now we need to, and I know the Gutenberg team does a lot to try to not break things, but.
Thanks break what the, the still alive, the people who took a look at it, way back when, and, decided that the block editor wasn't for them and they've installed a, the classic editor and never the Twain shall meet. It feels like the classic editor kind of state, they're gonna hang in tooth and nail right until the last minute, when that plugin is no longer supported, but for me, I've taken it off.
I've taken the classic editor off. It was a precautionary measure. If nothing else I'm really into it. I like the. The Blockheads. Sure. I like the way it's settled. I'm now really happy with using keyboard shortcuts and finding where everything is and so on, but I'm just wondering from your point of view, if you've had to sell the block editor to somebody who was not a convert, who was still stuck on the classic editor in just a sort of few short bullet points, if you like, what are the main benefits that they're missing out on?
Yeah. if you're still using the classic editor too, it's just, what's the context for that is where I would start. Cause if you're writing blog posts in the classic editor, then I would say you need to give Gutenberg a chance and write some, just go through the process of really learning it and writing a few.
most of the people that I see who are pretty against it are doing a lot of stuff with advanced custom fields and they don't want to, they don't want to break away from that and they've trained their clients to work in that environment. And I get that, like I get that are legitimate reasons to not want to move to blocks because you've built a system and you have clients who know the system and are happy in the system and it's not broken and they're not asking for blocks.
Then there's the reality of I do believe the classic editor will be supported for a long time. And I don't think that. Like everybody has to change, but if you're not that particular person, then I think the benefits of being able to very quickly create a lot more dynamic content and even just with a few clicks drop in like prebuilt designs that are going to just up.
How you're creating content and really make it a more appealing experience for your viewers. I don't see why you wouldn't at least get back in and experiment with it. Again, a lot of the early on kind of issues, the issues with there were some performance issues for sure. At the beginning, there was, There's issues with being able to select the right block.
a lot of that is really improving and the tools now just make it so easy for you to add really interesting content, and design into your site without, without much effort. And then there's also the whole page builder group. And again, that's another one I understand. I. I have a lot of customers use page builder and they're completely happy in it.
And I say, that's great. there's no reason. Yeah, you need to change. But there is going to be some performance benefits if you do. And I think there's going to be some longterm benefits if you do. But I also understand that, time is money and learning a new system, teaching a new system.
you've gotta, you gotta make that call. I think the biggest thing is get in and try it. And don't just, don't just write it off from when you first, try to get it and try it again. And you might be surprised at. the learning curve is a lot easier than a lot of people think.
Yeah. If you, if I would say that if you're writing basically text and image based blog posts, there's literally no point in not using it. It's so much. Yeah. So much better from the blocker. just one simple, ridiculously simple aspect of it, which makes life so easy is just the ability to move.
Blocks around with a handle. you realize suddenly that this portion or two have been much higher up in the text, so you'd have to copy paste and delete what you previously written. You just move it up. and I use it two or three times every week to write posts and I just, I cannot see myself ever using the classic editor ever again.
yeah, it's an interesting time though, because we're being promised so much of what you mentioned earlier, the, of. Page builder functionality. So we now know that the block editor can do, basic stuff like text editing really well, but it offers promise of page builder, like functionality. And at the time of recording this podcast, that is materializing, but it hasn't materialized where we're seeing a future where let's say a lot of the customization of.
Headers and footers and global things stuff. And what have you, it's around the car. Don't want it, but it's not there yet. And, I would say, yeah, give it a try, but it must be an exciting time for you having gotten out a collection of blocks, premium blocks and, and other ones that are on the repo.
we'll talk all about that in a moment. Do you feel that this is like a resurgent time for WordPress? Do you feel that sort of spirit of rejuvenation that you had with themes back in 2013? Yeah. Yeah. I think I think it's really exciting. I think that the code base for Gutenberg is so good and can really transform how we even view the whole admin of WordPress.
I think, it. Yeah, it's you, we can make guesses. And we could say, I think it could go this way, but I really believe that the interface for the admin of WordPress can be much more fluid. Now that Gutenberg is coming along. And I think that eventually we're going to see whole new interfaces that.
Don't look much like what we've used to with WordPress, because of the way that you can use Gutenberg and start to create just as a tool to create admin interfaces for editing content and creating stuff. I think it opens up to me the creation experience of WordPress in a lot of ways that.
Can expand in a lot of ways and really, is exciting. I think it's obviously the biggest change WordPress since it was created. And there's just this season of. Awkward that I like that. I'm going to use that phrase. We're in the season of awkward. Yeah. Yeah. That's good.
It's awkward for themes. It's awkward for certain plugins. It's awkward to support both. It's we're just in a really awkward phase where a lot of stuff is still being thought out. How's this going to work? And when we get through some of that awkward. And we have a clear path forward. What, what always happens is then developers come in and go, okay, like core did this and got us to here, but now we're going to take that into these incredible user experiences.
And just, you can think about some of the page builders, even like Ella mentor and BeaverBuilder, who've, they've created these amazing experiences in the admin of WordPress. For you to create content. That kind of thing is all possible through Gutenberg, but in a, in a much broader sense where you're going to be.
Able to tie in more of what everyone is doing in WordPress versus just the people that are working on element tour or element, tour extensions. Yeah, for me, that is the thing, which is most exciting is that if it can work and if everybody, not everybody, a significant proportion of the people can jump on board.
The. Possibility of getting rid of that fragmentation. So that WordPress feels like the same, more or less the same for just about everybody is pretty exciting. Cause that's a big crowd of people. getting onto, getting onto the blocks themselves though. So at the minute, I'm currently on a Kadence wp.com forward slash product forward slash Kadence Gutenberg blocks.
And you can no doubt find your way there. And I'll put links in the show notes. You've got, you've got a couple of options. You've got, You've got your pro blocks, which you can either get, as you said, as part of the, the subscription, for Kadence, which is $99 a year, or there's two other options, there's a free option or there's a pro option.
Now, interestingly, normally the skew is that the free is slightly hobbled in comparison to the pro version, but you appear to have taken a different approach in that your free version has. Has a significant amount in and the paid version, the pro version. I'm not forgive me. It's not going to come out the right way, but it has less in it.
So the current ratio is 12 free blocks for free and seven premium blocks in the paid version. That's an interesting approach. why did you go heavy on the free Heavy on the free, because I, and this is the same with themes too. I always want to make a product that is fully usable as a free entity, and not a product that just gets you to buy premium.
So always want to think about free products that way. How can I make sure that this is truly built? built. so that it's usable as free. And, with the free blocks, there's currently 50,000 active users and I do not have 50,000 users. there's a lot of people using that because it's free and it's a great resource.
And I, I always want to keep it that way. I was going to work toward that and make sure that what I'm offering for free is. Is very good. and that there knowing that there's going to be a portion of people who are willing to get certain extra features and pay for it. And, it's surprising how many times I'll get it, an email from someone that says, Hey, I bought your pro because your free was so good.
And I wanted to support it. And so there's that aspect too. Part of it too, is just to the Kadence box. Pro is still fairly early in its development. There will be more that's added to it. There's going to be more that's added to free, but yeah, more than that, I'm, Kayden blocks is more than just a set of blocks.
it's about creating tools. And so some of those tools are going to be, are going to have some free parts to it and some premium parts to it. just in the natural sense, like prebuilt content has, there's some free prebuilt content and then there's some premium prebuilt content. That's not really going to show up in terms of.
An extra block. It's just going to be, there's going to be extra tools that are throughout the, the blocks and the tools that come with blocks, pro ads on scroll, animation options, two blocks, okay. yeah. you can hit stop pro and now all of a sudden you're free block.
You can add some animation on scroll, things like that. And, the, I have a gallery block, that's got a bunch of different ways to style galleries. I think it's a, a fantastic block and then there's extensions for that and pro so there's some of that going on to, into, in terms of like, why do we only have seven premium blocks right now?
because some of that is just building ad-ons to. The basic free blocks. And I don't totally like to think of the blocks being basic. I really built all the blocks, not as a set of preset styles, but as a tool to create content. So our tabs block can look a million different ways. You can design tabs.
However you want to design tabs, you can use preset designs or design your own. That's all part of the tools. It's not a tabs block. That is, this is the type of tabs you get. You get this color with these looking tabs. It's, you can define. How you want that to look? Yeah, that's the approach I'm going with all the blocks.
I liked the heavy free, trying to just corral people towards the pro version. That seems like a really nice sensible way of doing it. What I'm going to do just for a second is I'm just going to explain the process. It just in case you're listening to this podcast and you're new to WordPress and you've yet to, really take the plunge with Guttenberg basically, it's like a point drag editor with.
And the ability to customize whatever it block is that you've dropped in. So let's say for example, you'd drop in a heading block. You can then write a heading and it appears in real time in front of you and then there's customization options. So for example, you might change the font or the color of that font or the background, and it's all click point drag save and you're done.
Okay. So the idea is drag stuff in modify it. Until you're happy. and you basically click things and drag things and, you can get a bit more technical than that, but that's how it works. So if you've ever played with a page builder, you're on familiar ground. Now with that being said, this is the list of Kadence blocks, which you can get for free.
So this is on the wordpress.org repo, and I'm just going to list them out if that's all right with you, Ben, just cause I think it's worth doing. And then maybe, when I've gone through the free list, you could just spend a bit of time. Talking about the ones that you particularly like, or the ones that you're proud of, or ones that maybe have got like a little hidden Easter egg that, persuade people to join on board.
So we've got the road layout block number one, number two, advanced button block number three, advanced heading block for the icon block. The tabs block follows on spacer slash divided block info box accordion, advanced gallery icon list. Testimonial block. Yeah. Editor width controls and prebuilt library.
Now for somebody who's played with WordPress before, I'm sure many of those will immediately conjure in your mind what it is that they do, but I'm going to hand it back to Ben to describe things that he's proud of. and so on. Yeah, I think the block on the base block and the block that I am the most proud of is the rollout block.
And that's simply because within that block, it really does add a lot of the page building ability because. Now I can add a row to find a background, define the content with within that row. I can define a minimum height. I can align things I can set how many columns I want. I can move those column wits around right in the editor, that really does create a lot of the like page builder, ESC, experience.
Grants is being able to put that real loud block in and say, okay, do I want this hero header? Or do I want a column set, three columns with different content inside. and that's nestable, and you can nest in SNS so you can create all kinds of cool stuff. And there's a lot of fun things with the rollout block, like being able to define a video background, color overlay, even a gradient overlay.
That's. opaque, so you can get the video coming through behind a gradient, things like that. there's even a slider background option. Those that really just upped the game in terms of what you can do within the editor. so that's a big one. I really spend a lot of time on the advanced gallery too, cause it was one of the biggest pain points for people.
early on in Gutenberg is. The Gutenberg core gallery output, very large images. So there weren't optimized, with very little options. So I went in and, you can define the exact image size you want to use for the thumbnails, and you can create a masonry gallery or a grid or a carousel or a slider all with just a click.
And it'll. Transform for you. so that's a big part. And then with all the blocks being, thinking in terms of performance and thinking in terms of how do I make all these. But not make it heavy on the front end, every block loads at CSS only if that block is used nice. And if that block has JavaScript that's needed.
more recently I even launched a forms block that allows you to create forms, contact forms, whatever kind of forms. and so there's different things within that. Within the forms block, you can add. there's settings to be able to say, I want to send, an auto email to the user and all that stuff, all of that stuff.
Just loads when you use it. with the tabs block, the JavaScript that makes the tabs work loads. If the tabs block. Is being used. And if that Taos is not being used, that JavaScript's never going to load. So it's all just thinking about in terms of performance with the gallery. If you've got a masonry gallery, then Masonry's gonna load.
And if not mainstream, it's not going to load because you can do that. You can just say, Hey, within what I'm using, I'm only gonna load what I need. And so it can be really. fast on the front end without loading anything extra, it's just loading what you need to make it work. I know that has been a criticism in this space.
Is that, different versions of on a similar theme? Should we say different blocks? basically just load everything all at once and if it's on the screen or not, it's all being loaded in the background. So that's really encouraging and presumably you're saving us, quite a bit of a page load time, as a result of that, which is nice.
Yeah. Yeah. And it makes it so you can try out the free version of Kadence blocks and only use it on one page and Kadence blocks will only ever load on that one page. Yeah, that is nice. And you're not, you're not investing in a plugin when you install it. Cause it's not going to run.
It's not going to load anything on the page if it's not being used. Yeah. Clearly at this point it feels if you are chomping at the bit would maybe have maybe pause the podcast at this point, go download it from the wordpress.org repo and make use of those, play with them and come back to the podcast.
Cast, please. as soon as you finish playing with it, but you'll have a deeper understanding of how it all works, what the kind of options are, where the options are located and how Ben has gone about setting things up. Yeah. Now you did mention the two options for getting on the pro level.
You can either pay $59 us dollars I'm expecting per year to just access the Kadence box blocks pro version. Yeah. Oh, you can do the $99 to have Kadence memberships. So you get plugins themes the whole lot. Just on that point, before we move on to the extras in the Kadence blocks, I'm presuming that being a theme developer at the same time as now a blocks developer, there is some benefit that you've built into the themes themselves.
Is there some kind of like nifty stuff that happens some way of presenting things beautifully between your blocks and the themes that you've built? Certainly the blocks are going to work with the themes I built. in terms of you're not going to be, everyone, once in a while someone will email me or contact us and be like, Hey, this block looks a little funky and you can go in and see this theme is doing something really weird.
and they're, they're messing with a lot of things to change styling. So you're going to get that, but also, more and more. Again, we're talking about loading JavaScript and lending, things like that. If you're, if this, if you've got something set up in the theme, that's going to need a slider JavaScript.
and then you're adding a gallery or our life box is even a good example. If you're, if you're adding a gallery and you've turned on the light box, our theme is going to not load the light box twice. That kind of stuff. There's going to be things that are optimized better, because I'm the one writing both.
And so I can say, Oh, Hey, just check for this. And, and so that's part of it for sure. and that's going to be even more and more as we go further and further down this path of what our theme is going to be in, what are blocks going to be and how are they going to work together? I'm seeing an, a.
Just to, there's going to be more and more opportunities to make the two work really well together for performance reasons. Yeah. that's good to know. And, if you're a, if you're up for the hundred dollars $99 a year, then that's a nice, encouraging thing to know. Speaking of, the pro one, as we were a minute ago, $59 a year, let me just run through these.
So you get obviously all the free ones cause they're free and all the features that are included in those plus. Some completely new blocks. And as Ben said, the ability to tweak to it, to the nth degree, to a higher level, some of the blocks which were available in free. So here we go. We've got the list image, overlay, block split, a content block, post grid, carousel block, modal block.
Yeah. Advanced gallery extras. So probably goes back to the advanced gallery video. Pop-up advanced. Image block animate on scroll options, pro prebuilt library. That sounds interesting. and then the other things which you receive, which are not blocks themselves, but equally important is offering a 30 day money back guarantee and premium support.
Now, before we get into what's in those blocks, themselves, support is always a thing which everybody goes on about. So I'm going to ask you what that means. what are your sort of support. Criteria. Are you on a, like a, I don't know, I have email turnaround. Did you have live chat and how long can we expect to get an answer from your sister?
Yeah, so I'm. Still pretty involved with support. I'm on it multiple times a day. I really don't like someone to go there day without hearing from me. And usually it's within a couple hours. if you get us to the right time, it's going to be pretty much instant, but obviously that's, depending on what time zone you're in and things like that, but usually you're going to get yeah.
A response. And if it's a response that requires. Developer knowledge and cause a lot of my customer base is, there's quite a few that are the semi-pros too. They need to know details. Hey, what filter can I use to control this? Or how could I go about doing this? Or, we're getting into problem solving questions.
How do I pull this off? I really want to be able to help. With those kinds of things as well. So I'm always on, I get flagged for certain topics. If it's something that certainly requires any technical, insight, or, we've got a, issue where there's some weird conflict I'm going to work to make sure that gets resolved.
So support's a big one, if you read our reviews a lot, you'll see. There's just, we do what we can to really make sure that we're offering. Support that goes above and beyond that, doesn't just say, Hey, that looks like a conflict. You should try this. Or just yo like just vague, No, we want to problem solve it for you. And, and then too, if you're looking to customize something further than what the tools provide, like I'm going to at least do what I can to give you some. Ways you could go about doing that even to the point of writing some code. Ah, nice. That's what we like to hear.
Thank you for that. so yeah, we probably won't go because we don't have too much time into the specifics of those, as I was reading them out, I'm sure that it was conjuring in your mind an image of what those, the blocks can do. Best thing of course is to go over to the right. The Kadence, wp.com website and there's links all over the place.
There's demos of all the blocks and there's images of how the blocks work and whatnot. you mentioned a minute ago that you are working or have worked on a forms block, which tells me there must be some sort of roadmap of things which are coming in the future. So if we could just tap into that a little bit, I'm sure people would be interested on what comes down the road in the next two, three, six months, whatever.
Yeah, absolutely. There's going to be some new blocks that do some of the basic stuff that people still want a maps block. For example, table of content is as on my list, a M restaurant style, a food menu. Nice. so some of those are in process. I'm also working on a popup creator. You can use our forms block right now to connect with MailChimp percent in blue.
a popup creator will come into pro very soon where you'll be able to just, you won't need to need another plugin to add, popups for, subscribe to our email list, things like that. but then, some of the big picture stuff that is taking up time is okay, how are. How is full site editing and how is Kadence box is going to be a part of full set of thing?
How are we going to plan for it? What are we going to build? That's going to make it again. Less awkward. how do we, how do I create tools that are going to work really well in the header and things like that? So that's stuff that I spend a lot of time in. I've also hired a developer to help me build a bunch of prebuilt content, so that.
Our prebuilt content library very soon is about to triple in size, which is exciting because that's going to really amp up. Like it's where a lot of people go. It really it's. Just a fantastic way to get into blocks. And so that whole area is good, but to ramp up quite a bit. Yeah. I feel that those people who are really using page builders exclusively, this is going to be so exciting in the future.
these prebuilt libraries, a lot of themes. I've come out with these. And obviously they're compatible with the page builders and increasingly seeing whole websites being built with a single click. But I do like the way it's done, you basically go into the library, you see a thumbnail of a block and four block thing, RO rarely, a hero area or a things laid out as icons or three images next to one another in columns and so on and so forth.
And they're all categorized. And basically you just click on the one you want and. Boom, there it is. And your site and you just customize it to your look. And if you've got a bunch at the moment, you're going to triple that in the next few weeks. That's great. Well done. yeah.
Excited how to develop or help me with that or design, or really, yeah. You were speaking about the sort of the customization of things like, they're calling it site-wide aren't they, the whole site, headers and footers and things like that. do you intend to be there on day one or pre day one?
So that the minute all of that really rolls out in a solid way into core, you're going to be, you're going to be ready. What I'm trying to ask is. Why are you in this for the long haul? In other words, if people invest in Kadence blocks, can they kind of bank on this a year from now two years from now when Guttenberg fully delivers, you're going to be sticking around and hopefully delivering value in the months and years to come?
Yeah, absolutely. Yup. Yup. I've been playing around with full set of editing since it, originally started to get, pushed on into, and to get up and have. Met a lot of the people that are heading that up on the Gutenberg side and, I've chatted with them so that, I definitely want to be always want to be on the cutting edge of what a Gutenberg's doing.
And it's just a bit of, when do you jump into starting to actually release something? When it's still in this stage of being very, early. So I, I'm walking that line of testing out some options. How could this work, but also. Keeping, eyes on what's happening in terms of core and what the Gutenberg team is creating.
Yeah. It sounds like a good answer to me, Ben. yeah, if you've not played with the block editor gotten Gutenberg before, this sounds like a solid choice to me, Kadence, wp.com. If you have played before, but you've not really had a go with third party blocks again, same answer, go check it out.
And if you've got an existing pack of blocks and you're thinking to yourself, it doesn't do this one thing that I wanted it to do. Go and have a look at Kadence, wp.com and bear in mind. This is Ben's full time gig. It's going to be getting bigger and better as the days and weeks go by Ben just before we end, opportunity to drop some Twitter handles or email addresses, basically anything you want.
the floor is yours, whatever you want to say, go for it. Sure. you can find me on Twitter at Benjamin dot Ritner. I believe my handle. I'm not, that great with social media. I will say that up front, but you can certainly contact me there. I don't really use, Facebook or Instagram to do anything.
So Twitter is going to be the best. I will just mention that, if you're solely interested in blocks, I have a website, Kadence blocks.com where you can it's just a little bit, it's the same information that's on case of BP, but it's just going to be a little laid out a little bit different, so you can get a sense.
Everything links back to Kadence WP, but it's just going to give you a little bit easier way to navigate and see some of the, tools and options that are within the plugin. We'll be sure to link to that in the show notes. That's great. Thank you so much for joining us today. Every, I wish you all the success in the world for Caden's blocks.
And I hope that, a lot of our audience go check it out. Thanks. Thanks a lot. I hope that you enjoyed that very interesting episode. It is a little bit possibly out of date. That is to say some of the content that we talked about has possibly been superseded. Certainly been lots of improvements made since the day that we did the podcast.
And so that's worth noting, perhaps go and check out the latest features and the latest pricing and the latest developments. Because as I said, there have been a lot, it looks like a product which is gaining so much traction and deservedly. The WPE builds podcast was brought to you today by the page builder summit.
Do you use a page builder to create your WordPress sites or perhaps you're curious about what they can do, whether it's element or BeaverBuilder Gutenberg, breezy oxygen, or any of the other page builders. The page builder summit will have something for you. It's running from the fifth to the 9th of October, and you can check out the amazing speaker list and get your free [email protected] and AB split test.
Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? The new AB split test plugin for WordPress. We'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes. Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with elemental Beaver builder and the WordPress blog editor.
You can check it out and get a free [email protected]. Okay, that is all that we've got for you this week, except for me to remind you that we'll be back next Thursday for another podcast episode. Good grief. Sounds like it will be episode 200 also. We'll be back on Monday every Monday for the WordPress weekly news.
We do that very early in the morning, and then the live version of that as well. 2:00 PM. UK [email protected] forward slash live or in the WP Builds Facebook group. It only remains for me to fade in some cheesy music and say, stay safe. Bye bye. For now. .

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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