How to Ensure Good Governance for WordPress Block Themes

One of the great advantages of WordPress is how easy it makes creating new content for marketers, writers, journalists, and other content creators. And a key component is the WordPress Block Editor, which constantly provides new, out-of-the-box blocks to create and inspire richer content. 

Indeed, in their recent Forrester Wave report, Forrester noted “WordPress VIP offers strong capabilities in content authoring, versioning, and lifecycle management due to its ongoing innovations with the easy-to-use Gutenberg block editor.”

The Gutenberg Block Editor means organizations can produce content at a rate unseen before, speeding time to market, and empowering companies to build relevant content for more segments and audiences. 

But with so many people rapidly building content, how do you set the right guardrails and ensure every piece of content conforms to a common set of brand standards? And how do you ensure writers aren’t making editorial decisions, editors aren’t changing designs, and designers aren’t altering content they shouldn’t?

Enter WordPress VIP Block Governance, a new capability we’re announcing today.

Role-Based controls over blocks

WordPress VIP now puts you in control of who can create, modify, lock, and change blocks, and the ways they can do so—role by role, as explicitly approved by administrators.

For example, authors can be given permission to create paragraphs of text—but not to add images, videos, etc. Editors can be given permission to not only add additional text but also media to a page or post.  

You can also define the exact format for individual blocks, down to the role level. For example, a quote block might be restricted to containing header and paragraph blocks, with no other blocks permissible. Some roles may be allowed more flexibility, while others are restricted.

Furthermore, WordPress VIP’s Block Governance allows granular control of any block design element. Roles can be restricted in terms of which color palettes, border radius, typography, etc., they are permitted to use. A designer, for example, may be given greater flexibility here but an author given limited choices to ensure they stay within brand guidelines.  In addition, organizations can lock down advanced capabilities like the code editor to specific roles. Any element that can be controlled at a global level via theme.json can now be controlled by role or post type.  

Greater control over Block rollout

WordPress Core is always innovating and developing new and useful blocks. Organizations should definitely evaluate each of these for suitability to their unique sites and use cases. But in the enterprise, just because WordPress releases a new block doesn’t mean it should immediately be available to the whole organization. This is another place where governance is clearly needed.

WordPress VIP’s Block Governance shifts the default from opt-out to opt-in. What that means in practice: When a new block is released by WordPress, it becomes available only to content creators (or specific roles) whom the administrator allows to use it. This frees administrators from having to keep up with every change to blocks within WordPress Core. At their leisure they can evaluate which are appropriate for which role.

In the end, they gain the peace of mind that no change is going to create a risk of content creators “going rogue.”

Working within the framework of WordPress Core

WordPress VIP’s Block Governance is implemented as a plugin that extends the way WordPress Core governs blocks, building on all the great work being done in Core without disrupting it. 

The Block Governance Plugin requires administrators to handle up-front configuration, something that might be confusing for individuals or very small businesses but which is absolutely required for large-scale organizations with many content creators. We’ve repeatedly heard from enterprises that say they prefer an opt-in system that puts them in control. This new capability addresses that.

But at the same time, WordPress VIP Block Governance builds on Core functionality. For example, since WordPress 5.9, the Block Editor has been able to lock blocks so that they can’t be removed. 

WordPress Core continues to improve and refine block locking, but in a large-scale deployment, such functionality needs controls. So the Block Governance Plugin adds permissions for block locking and unlocking, allowing organizations to define which role or roles can lock blocks. It’s another way WordPress VIP brings the capabilities of WordPress to the enterprise while respecting the continuous innovation happening in WordPress Core.

Now it’s your turn

To begin using our new Block Governance or to learn more, we encourage you to reach out to your WordPress VIP technical account manager. Or review our technical docs.


Photo of Michael Khalili

Michael Khalili

Director of Product Marketing, WordPress VIP

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