There is a change coming. WordPress is about to update to Version 5.0. It is coming soon and will change the way you make pages and posts!
Called “Gutenberg” after the guy who invented the printing press. They’ve named it this as it was Johannes Gutenberg who changed media forever by introducing , and WordPress believe that this update will do the same for their platform. And they are not wrong. If your business or personal branding site is a WordPress based website, you should definitely know what you are in for before you go ahead and click that “update” button!
I am going to try to address a few of the key points about Gutenberg, but firstly we should talk about why the update in the first place.
The 5.0 release is the WordPress attempt to keep up with popular DIY website builders like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly, among others. As the current 4.x structure is starting to age and with drag and drop functionality becoming more what the “consumer user” wants, Gutenberg addresses this. By doing so they remove the need for clunky drag and drop plugins and make their editor more streamlined and user friendly, as well as removing the bulky and heavy plugins.
Gutenberg replaces the current classic editor in its entirety, utilising content blocks instead of one long giant block of text. You will also be previewing as you build as opposed to writing then previewing which is the current setup in 4.x. Whether all this works seamlessly on day one of 5.0 launch we don’t know yet, but that is certainly WordPress’ goal.
So how does this affect you and your business?
1. Changes to your workflow
Let me explain a little clearer… You know how you were using Windows 7 perfectly fine, then Windows 8 came along and you had no idea what you were doing or how it worked? Or if you are an avid Windows user but find yourself having to use a Mac and again, no idea how it works? Well it’s kind of like that. You need to learn the new flow of doing things. Depending on your WordPress theme, and how you write posts and pages, you may need to develop a new workflow. In the same way Microsoft updated Office and introduced the ribbon all those years ago and you had to go find all your formatting options again. Once you get the hang of it though, Gutenberg is meant to increase your productivity and efficiency, or so we are told.
2. Unusable plugins
This can be a tricky one. Most web designers who leverage the WordPress platform, myself included, use professionally built plugins that have a support team behind them to continually update and ensure the plugin works with the latest and greatest. But not all plugins are created equal. And to that end, not all plugins are going to be supported straight away, or maybe even at all. If your business relies on a particular plugin for a feature of the site, you might find yourself in trouble, so be prepared for this, especially if you are running an older site…
3. Speeding up the process for new contributors
If your site has guest bloggers, Gutenberg will become advantageous, by reducing the learning curve for those new contributors! By setting everything up and having the blocks ready, your guest blogger can easily write their post ensuring to fit within your brands’ style guidelines. New features include:
- Preformatted block types for paragraphs, heading, buttons and more
- Drag and drop capability
- Per-block formatting
- WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor for supported themes
- Defualy colour options
and much more…
4. Increased efficiency
Unless you write your posts in HTML (and chances are you probably don’t), the 5.0 release will certainly increase your productivity and efficiency in writing your pages and posts! Rearranging blocks, formatting and changing content becomes much simpler and more intuitive. But what if you write your posts offline to copy and paste later (just like I do) you ask? Simple, use a “classic” block, paste your content then convert to blocks and make any changes you need! Simple!
So when is it coming?
When first announced, Gutenberg was for early 2018. This got pushed to first half 2018 and is now TBD. This tells us they most likely found a few bugs in beta testing and are ironing out the creases to make what is going to be a monumental shift to the platform moving forward. But I assure you, it is coming, and you should be ready!
How can you be prepared for the WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg update?
Gutenberg is available right now as a plugin for your WordPress 4.x website. You can install it right now and have a play – go here to grab the plugin. I would definitely recommend installing this plugin on a test or development version of your website though, if you can not anticipate how your site will react.
Another thing to do is to install the “Classic Editor” plugin before updating to 5.0
Once you install 5.0 or the Gutenberg plugin, the classic editor will no longer be visible. But what if you have a plugin, a calendar or testimonial plugin for example, that relies on the classic editor and now is no longer usable? You could very well find yourself wanting the old classic editor back! Well a team of WordPress contributors developed a Classic Editor plugin that will allow you to compose a post using the classic editor, so your plugin should work after all. But this is still not guaranteed! If you haven’t installed this plugin, it is a very very good idea to do so before even contemplating updating your site to 5.0.
Note – Like always, please take a full site and database backup before making any changes! This will be invaluable should you need to roll back!
Still worried about updating to Gutenberg?
We offer webmaster services, a WordPress care plan that makes managing your site easy! We can manage the transition, confirm and test compatibility of your theme, plugins and site overall with the 5.0 update, ensure your site continues to function as it should for your clients and end users and train you on how to use the new features.
Contact us today and we will make your transition into WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg smooth and seamless as soon as it is available.
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