The release date for WordPress 5.0 (scheduled for November 19) is quickly approaching… This is the biggest WordPress Update in years .. Are You ready for it ??
WordPress is completely revamping the way that most users will create pages and posts with the new Gutenberg editor. We’re also getting a fresh Twenty Nineteen theme which will be the default on new installations.
WordPress 5.0 Changes Everything (What’s New)
Most of the past updates have been relatively minor and for a lot of us, didn’t have a lot of impact. WordPress 5.0 is different. Rather than adding minor improvements here and there, this release is entirely focused on the following two things:
- The new Gutenberg WordPress Editor
- Twenty Nineteen WordPress theme
Gutenberg is a whole new type of editor for WordPress. With WP 5.0, you will no longer have the same classic WordPress editor that you’ve probably been used to using over the past decade. The new Gutenberg Editor is a entirely new interface for adding, editing, and manipulating content. It aims to make it easy for anyone to create rich, flexible content layouts with a block-based user interface. The new editor p[provides much greater flexibility, and (with a little practice) most people find it is much easier to use… But it is VERY different to the editor you are probably used to, so be prepared to spend some time learning how to use it… and don’t be surprised if you suffer a little frustration while you come to grips with it.
Gutenberg will become the default and only editor on fresh WordPress 5.0 installations. You’ll still be able to install the Classic Editor plugin if you want. This will allow you to continue using it alongside the new Gutenberg editor. However, the Classic Editor will probably not be supported forever, so we highly recommend diving into Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0 sooner than later.
Twenty Nineteen Theme
WordPress 5.0 also includes the new minimal Twenty Nineteen theme – which will become the default theme for new WP 5.0 Installations. Twenty Nineteen comes with full Gutenberg support, both on the front and back-end.
Will it Impact My website?
Upgrading to WP 5.0 should not have any direct impact on the way your site is displayed to visitors, but if you use the standard WordPress Editor (which the majority of WP users do) then you will notice a significant difference the next time you go to edit an existing Page/Post or add a new one. Once you upgrade to WP 5.0, the new Gutenberg editor will come into play… existing content will automatically be converted to “block” based content and you will need to come to grips with how the new editor works.
If you are already using a third party Page Editor (such as Elementor, WPBakery Page Builder) or Theme with its own editor (such as DIVI) then you may not notice a direct impact from Gutenberg, but you should make sure that you have updated your theme/plugin and check that it is compatible with Gutenberg.
How to Prepare
If you have already updated to WP 4.9.8 you will probably have noticed an option to “try out” the Gutenberg Editor (you can revert back if you need/want to). For maximum security on your site, you should be updating WordPress, Plugins and Themes regularly anyway… but because the new default WordPress Editor will be fundamentally different it is even more important, to minimise the risk of your site “breaking” that as part of a WP upgrade, you also update your Plugins and Theme. Here are the basic steps that you should follow to ensure the transition to WP 5.0 has minimum impact on your website :
- Backup – take a FULL backup of your website NOW. Don’t rely on your host provider to take the backup for you – if you have a problem, you may join a long queue of users clamoring to have their site restored.
- Check your Plugins… If you are using a third party page builder plugin… check with support for that plugin to see how it handles Gutenberg… and update if necessary. Some plugins such as WooCommerce have announced that a plugin update WILL be required in order to ensure that your site wont break
- Check your Theme.. check with your theme support to see what they have to say about compatibility with Gutenberg.
- Consider establishing a Test area to check the updates before applying them to your LIVE website… This means that if there is a p[problem, it will not affect yourite and you will have time to investigate/resolve any issues
- Upgrade to latest versions of Plugin/Theme/WP
- Test Test Test… Once you have applied updates, have a good run through your site to ensure everything is working OK… this should include submitting all forms and (if you have a eCommerce site) running through the entire purchase process. We always recommend testing whenever you update WordPress, Plugins (and especially your Theme), but because this release impacts everything from the editor, to third-party plugins, and even your theme, testing is not optional! If you don’t test, things could break.
- Try Gutenberg – have a go at editing existing Pages/Posts and creating New ones
- Seek Assistance – if you have Any problems with any of the above, feel free to Contact Us and we can arrange some training/consulting to help you.
Official WordPress 5.0 Release Date
The WordPress core team has set a target release date of November 19, 2018. However, this is a tentative date. If everything isn’t ready by this date, they’ve set two additional fallback release dates:
- First fallback release: November 27, 2018
- Second fallback release: January 22, 2019
Still Confused ??
If you are feeling a bit nervous about this update, or have not updated your site for some time, it is probably a good idea to contact us to arrange some Training/Consulting to guide you through the process of upgrading to WP 5.0… give you confidence that your site will be OK… and encourage you to be proactive about using your website to promote and grow your business.
We may also run some special “Understanding Gutenberg” small group workshops in the next month or two… so if you are interested in this, please let us know…