The standard Gutenberg blocks aren’t the best and the team at Gambit Technologies realised this and developed their own block plugin called Stackable, but is it any good?
To review this plugin, I am going to look at a few different things and you can check all of these out in the table of contents below.
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Lets get the big one out of the way first, how much does Stackable cost? Well Stackable actually offer a range of different pricing options for their plugin:
Free for Life
For 1 Site
For Up To 3 Sites
They also have two plans designed just for Agencies, which allows the premium version of the plugin to be used on unlimited sites and these cost:
But what do you get on the paid plans? Well you don’t get any additional blocks as both the free and paid plans both include a total of 27 blocks that you can use but with the paid plans, you get lots more control and features around these blocks, including:
These additional options give you much more control over the look and feel of the blocks that you use on your site and the amount of options available mean that there are near endless customisation options, plus if you get stuck, you get 1-1 support!
Now we know what Stackable costs, what do you actually get in terms of blocks with the plugin, as that is really important and as mentioned above, there are a total of 31 (as of writing this post!) that you can choose to use on your WordPress site.
The selection of blocks is very good and while the selection may look similar to other blocks plugins, what separates Stackable is the amount of design and customisation options for each block, even if you are using the free plugin.
For me personally, I started using Stackable because of the pricing box as options from other plugins were either clunky to use or looked very basic but this isn’t a problem with the Stackable block, it is very easy to use and as mentioned above, the customisation options means that you have multiple different pricing tables that all look different.
This lead me to check out the other blocks that Stackable offered and I soon found myself using their blocks over either the standard Gutenberg ones or ones offered by other plugins.
Now while the selection of blocks is very good, there are two options that I would like to see added to the Stackable selection and they are a schema enabled Review Block and a Table of Contents as both of these are very useful to bloggers and very popular blocks with other plugins.
So we know how much Stackable costs and what it offers but what is it like to use?
Installing the Stackable plugin is super easy as it is available directly from the WordPress Plugin Library and can easy be found by just searching for Stackable and the result you want to install and activate looks exactly the same as the image below:
If you want to buy the premium version, you can either buy it directly from the Stackable website or you can click on the Go Premium tab within the plugin itself (I personally would go direct to the website!).
Once you have installed and activated the plugin, you will be taken through to the new Stackable section within your dashboard (this can be found by going to Settings → Stackable, if you come out of it and are not sure how get back into it) and one really nice touch within the Stackable plugin is that they have a really helpful getting started page.
This is really useful as Stackable comes with a lot of features and options out of the box and having a short guide showing you how to start using it all makes the process of actually using the plugin much easier to do.
They also have a link within the plugin section to their documentation, which contains lots of useful guides and information about using the plugin, some of these also includes videos showing you how to do it, which is a really nice touch as in many cases watching someone do it makes much more sense than reading through a guide!
Next to the documentation tab is a contact us tab and not many plugins offer a direct contact options from within your own dashboard but if you want to use this then you will need to activate Freemius, Stackable asks if you want to do this when you first activate the plugin.
Side Note – Stackable also have a Facebook group, that is a great place to ask a question and get answers not only from the Stackable team but also other users of the plugin, like me!
While the rest of the tabs within the plugin are very good and useful, the most important one (in my opinion) is the settings tab, now some of these settings are only available with the premium plugin but the main setting option is available to all and that is the ability to enable or disable blocks that are available within the Gutenberg page builder.
This is an extremely helpful feature as you can just have enabled, the blocks that you are actually using on your site. What makes this feature so useful is that it doesn’t take long for amount of blocks that you have to choose from to become a long list as Gutenberg offers many of its own but especially if you are using plugins like Jetpack or WooCommerce (it would be great if you could hide/disable some of these!).
One good thing that Stackable offers is that if you are using a block and you disable it within the settings, the block will still be visible within your post or page and on the front end of your site, you just won’t be able to do much with it in the editor.
Using Blocks in Posts or Pages
This is kind of the important one! How easy are they to use on your WordPress website?
Stackable pretty much nailed this one and there are three reasons why I say this:
1: Choosing which Block you want to use
It can be frustrating trying to find blocks within the new Gutenberg block sidebar but Stackable have made it very easy as they are one of the few block plugins that lists their blocks within the main text and designs sections of the block selector but also have their own specific section for their blocks.
This just makes finding the blocks you want to use so much easier, especially as most blocks that are associated with plugins are usually found at the bottom of the blocks selector sidebar.
2: Lots of Settings
Being able to customise your blocks so that work for your website is very important and with some block plugins, they look great on the demo site but it can be a struggle to replicate that on your own site.
This isn’t something that I have come across with Stackable, unless you like the look of a premium design and are only using the free plugin. Because each block comes with a good selection of settings for every single block, even with the free plugin and the images below show the settings that you get:
As you can see, there are lots of options to choose from, if you are using the free plugin, then the layout tab will only show a couple of options that are available to you but you can still get an idea as to what the premium designs look like.
In the Style tab, you can make change to many of the design related elements within the blocks such as:
This gives lots of customisation options around the blocks, which makes it very easy to fit the style and branding of your website.
Then finally is the Advanced tab and this includes spacing options, which allows you to quickly and easily add margins and padding around the block, without having to add any custom CSS. You can also control on which devices you want this block to appear, so if you know it isn’t going to work well or be required on a mobile device, you can quickly adjust the settings and it is done for you.
Overall, all of these options are something you would expect to find with a premium only plugin but Stackable offers this to all users, even though you do get more toys when you have the premium plugin.
This was added with the V3 update and allowed users much more control over the elements within one of the Stackable blocks, as you can now:
- Remove any unwanted blocks
- Add additional blocks, including blocks not made by Stackable
- Re-arrange the layout of the blocks within a Stackable block
This is a big improvement over the Stackable V2 (which was still great) but only allowed you to turn off elements within a block and re-arrange the existing elements or add new ones.
These customization options are more noticeable on blocks that contain multiple elements, such as the pricing block.
Is Stackable a Good Block Plugin?
If you have read through my review, you probably already know the answer to this!
Yes, but I would go a little better than good, I think it’s pretty awesome and is currently my favourite Gutenberg block plugin and I used two of my favourite blocks for this post, which are the Pricing Table and Icon List.
In terms of usability and customisation, none of the other block plugins I have tried/used (and there has been a few) have offered anywhere near the options that Stackable does.
The block selection is also very good and if they added a Table of Contents and Review block, then it might be the only block plugin I would be using on Paul’s Channel.
If you want to check out Stackable for yourself, you can either get it directly from the Stackable website or from the WordPress plugin library.