What to Expect with WordPress 6.1



  • 0:00 — Intro
  • 0:40 — Twenty Twenty-Three theme
  • 1:50 — Block and full site editor improvements
  • 4:28 — Block improvements
  • 6:06 — What happened to WebP in WordPress 6.1?
  • 6:51 — Outro

Believe it or not, WordPress 6.1 is just around the corner. The last scheduled major release for WordPress in 2022 brings with it a new default theme that has some really cool features, a new core block that you can use, and a number of great improvements to the block and full site editor. It’s…

Hey there and welcome back!

We are approaching the end of the calendar year and that means we’re just about ready for the last major release of WordPress here in 2022.

That’s right, WordPress 6.1 drops on November 1, and it’s a pretty big update. We have a new default theme, a new block you can use and tons of improvements to the block editor and full site editing.

So today let’s dive into what you can expect with WordPress 6.1.

Before we get started, if you want to see more videos on WordPress, web design, digital marketing, ecommerce and other website related topics, be sure to hit the subscribe button and to ring the bell for notifications.

Now let’s get started.

The New Twenty Twenty-Three Theme

As with the last release of WordPress for the year, we’re getting a new default theme – Twenty Twenty-Three. And this might be one of the most exciting default themes we’ve had in a while.

This theme is the second completely block-based theme released by the WordPress team, and it comes with a number of cool features.

First off, there are a number of templates that you can use and edit. In addition to the basic home, single post, page and archive templates, there are also post templates that either have a cover photo for the title or just show the featured image. There’s also a blank template that allows you to create a page completely from scratch. And there’s an alternative blog template.

But the really cool part about the Twenty Twenty-Three theme is the number of style variations that allow you to quickly customize your site if you use this theme.

The team put out a call to the community to come up with style variations for the theme and picked the ten best to include in the theme. And each of the variations changes out colors and fonts to give them a unique look and feel – even if it’s the same theme. It’s a great example of what can be done with style variations.

Even if you are already set with your theme, I highly recommend at least trying it out in a test environment, especially if you are a theme developer.

Block and full site editor improvements

WordPress 6.1 also brings over a number of improvements to the block editor and the full site editor that should make for a much better experience for you.

Create templates in the site editor

One of the challenges with the site editor has been not being able to create your own templates — like the category, author, search, etc. — in the site editor. Theme developers could make these templates available if they included them in the theme, but otherwise they wouldn’t show up as editable.

Now you can create these templates in the site editor by clicking the “Add New” button in the top right section of the templates screen. You can add in a front page template, author template, templates for custom taxonomies and more.

This makes every WordPress website even more customizable, especially for non-developers, and it really moves us ever closer to real full site editing right from the admin area. 

Ability to use fluid typography through theme.json

CSS has had the ability to use fluid typography, or the ability for text to grow or shrink based on the width of the browser window, for a while, and now it’s arriving in WordPress and full site editing.

Theme developers can add in a few extra settings in their theme.json file to get the text (primarily should be used for headings) to grow or shrink with the browser size.

This is another step in helping websites be responsive and adapt to whatever screen size they are viewing the site on. I hope a lot of theme designers take full advantage of this feature.

Ability to visualize margin and padding

One really neat feature that might go overlooked is the ability now to visualize margin and padding for various blocks in the full site and block editors.

For web designers and developers, it’s easy for us to know what the padding and margin will look like in our designs. But it can be challenging for non-designers and developers to see this.

Now when you’re adding padding or margins to your block or block patterns, you will see a highlighted area in the editor showing you what specifically you’re adding and how it will look on the page.

Page creation patterns available for all post types

WordPress 6.0 brought a page creation modal that appeared when creating a new page to show the user a selection of patterns they might want to add to the page. Now that functionality has been extended in WordPress 6.1.

All custom post types will be able to show this modal when someone creates a new piece of content as long as there’s one block pattern that supports this modal.

Developers can add block patterns to this modal by adding the following lines to the header of their pattern.

This should really help people get started with creating a new post, page or other custom post type.

Lock contents inside of a block group

Finally, users now have the ability to lock the contents inside of a group, columns or cover block.

You can disable the movement or removal of blocks or both with a couple of simple clicks.

This allows site owners to keep other users from messing with blocks that don’t need to be messed with. And it gives more control to theme designers and web developers to keep up guardrails for their clients.

Block improvements

Finally, let’s go over some of the improvements that have been made to some of the blocks themselves.

Featured images in the cover block

Another really cool feature that’s coming in WordPress 6.1 is the ability to have a featured image as the background for a cover block.

Since the cover block was introduced, all you could have as the background was either a specific photo or a color. And for the most part it was fine.

But for theme developers and web designers, there are times where we wanted to use the cover photo to show the post or page featured image as the background instead.

Now that will finally be a possibility, and I’m excited to see what other theme creators and web designers do with it.

Post terms block supports custom taxonomies

Another welcome change is the ability to show custom taxonomies in the post terms block.

Previously, you could only show the categories and tags for a post through this block on your single post type templates. Now, any custom taxonomy that’s registered on your site will be able to have that same functionality.

This will most likely help out anyone looking to customize their single post templates and/or that has custom post types with their own taxonomy. It’s a pretty small thing, but it might make a world of difference for a lot of people.

Additional border support

Also, more blocks now support border controls, particularly the columns block, which might allow designers to create really interesting patterns.

In addition, the image block now features better border controls. You can now create separate borders for each side of the image. So for example, you can make the top be one color, the bottom be another and so forth. Also, you can control the size of each border and the style of the border – solid, dashed or dotted.

Finally, WordPress 6.1 brings in a cool new way to visualize and control these new features in the right-hand inspector column.

What happened to WebP?

If you paid attention early in the WordPress 6.1 development cycle, you might have heard about a feature to convert new images uploaded to your website to WebP by default.

That feature was removed from WordPress 6.1 after some controversy and critical feedback from developers in the WordPress community (including Matt Mullenweg himself).

A lot of the debate centers around whether it would be beneficial at this time and whether it would work with various web hosts in the space.

There are also a lot of questions about whether it will ever be rolled into core or will just be a part of a feature plugin.

For a more comprehensive overview of what has gone on with WebP by default for WordPress 6.1, check out Sarah Gooding’s article on WP Tavern over it being pulled out from the latest WordPress release. I’ve put a link to it down in the description below.


So what are you most looking forward to in WordPress 6.1? Let me know down in the comments section below.

Now, if you want to avoid having to worry about any WordPress core, theme or plugin updates, then you’ll want to check out the WordPress Website Care plans. With any of these plans, you’ll get great web hosting, managed updates, emergency fixes and more. And some plans feature security hardening, getting set up with Google Analytics and Search Console, ecommerce support and more.

It’s the perfect way to take care of the technical side of your website while you just worry about running and growing your business. So take a look at the plans today to see which one works best for your website!

And to see more videos on WordPress, ecommerce, digital marketing, web design and other website related topics, be sure to hit the subscribe button and to ring the bell for notifications.

But until next time, I wish you and your business the best of luck.

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