After November 27, Be Wary Before You Hit the “Update” Button in WordPress!
The Largest Change In How Content Is Created In WordPress Is Being Introduced – And It Is Called Gutenberg
On November 27, 2018, WordPress is set to release version 5.0 of their popular website software. This version will include the new default editor, Gutenberg. Many website owners are concerned as to how the new default editor will affect their website. Below are some steps you can take to prepare for this new update — that is taking place during one of the busiest shopping weeks of the year!
- Ensure your website is backed up regularly and that you have a backup of your website and database before November 27. Daily backups are recommended.
- Ensure sure your website’s WordPress version, theme, and all plugins are up-to-date. Before updating to Gutenberg, make sure you have a recent backup with these updates.
- Review any theme customization or extended functionality which could be incompatible with Gutenberg, exporting theme options if possible.
- Finally, install the Classic Editor plugin, which will replace Gutenberg as the default plugin and will keep the classic (former WordPress) editor that users are accustomed to and know works with their site. By adding this plugin, you will be able to re-activate to Gutenberg when you and your site are ready.
Why Even Have the Upgrade to Gutenberg?
As a brand-new editor, Gutenberg was built from scratch and as a result its interface and features are completely new. How you add or edit content in WordPress is completely different but substantially easier with Gutenberg.
Users will create content “blocks” and be able to dictate layouts directly in the editor without relying on plugins or a developer to create that functionality. Users can also insert pre-made blocks in different configurations such as two-column and four-column layouts.
Gutenberg allows for embedding third-party content very easily. It eliminates the need of using plugins for adding YouTube videos or Twitter feeds into content areas, for example. As of now, there are more than 34 different embed blocks supported. In addition to embeddable content, adding a feed of the latest blog posts, a custom shortcode, a widget or layout elements are also possible. Users should find it easier to add content than it was in the past.
So What is the Downside?
Many believe Gutenberg is not ready for release and there are bugs being worked on. WordPress has pushed the release date to November 27, to make sure all the bugs are worked out. In addition to the changes Gutenberg will introduce, users will experience a significantly new way of editing, literally overnight, forcing them to relearn a tool which they may spent months or years learning.
Since Gutenberg will introduce major changes to virtually every WordPress website, all users who own a WordPress website should pay attention to this update. After a website is updated to Version 5.0, Gutenberg will be the default editor, the former editor will be replaced, and the interface will be completely different. Even if the upgrade executes without a hitch, the new interface could cause a lot of confusion since it is being used for the first time.
Key Factors of Concern
To what extent users should be concerned depends on the following:
Website Use or Type
If your WordPress site is used for e-commerce or a high traffic blog/website such as a business to consumer or business to business website, users should take proactive steps (previously mentioned) to ensure they don’t have any issues. It may be best to post-pone updating to version 5.0 until you are sure you will not be adversely affected.
Out of Date Website Software
If your WordPress website and plugins have not been updated for a long time, users may encounter issues. Plugin developers are scrambling to add support for Gutenberg. If users don’t have the latest updates in place, they could be more at risk for problems.
Custom Built vs. Third-Party Website
Potential issues related to Gutenberg will be impacted by how your website was built. If it was built using a third-party theme with a page builder and that theme or page builder hasn’t been updated recently to work with Gutenberg, users might not be able to add or edit content. Third-party themes tend to rely on more plugins for functionality. If users haven’t updated their theme recently, they may not have also updated their WordPress or plugins either.
How Compatible with Gutenberg?
Unless a website developer took proactive steps to ensure a website is already compatible, it most likely isn’t going to be compatible with Gutenberg. Gutenberg is a major change to how content is created in WordPress and the largest change ever introduced. Users who have been proactively keeping their software up to date will most likely fair much better than those who did not.
If you think that your WordPress website is in need of updates, give us a call at 973-655-9396.