WordPress 5.0: Big changes are coming!

You might have heard that WordPress 5.0 is just around the corner. WordPress initially announced that the release date would  be November 19th, but after more beta testing that date has been pushed back a few weeks. WordPress 5.0 includes a new editing experience for WordPress, called Gutenberg. Gutenberg introduces a block-based way of editing WordPress pages and posts, so you insert blocks of content such as paragraphs, quotes, images, maps, and so on. Plugins can provide more complex blocks, too.
wordpress gutenberg helps you create page layouts
This is an image block inserted using Gutenberg. Media just got a whole lot easier! Below, a map showing our office location was added with just two clicks.
[wpseo_map width=”900″ height=”300″ zoom=”-1″ map_style=”roadmap” scrollable=”true” draggable=”true” show_route=”false” show_state=”false” show_country=”false” show_url=”false” show_email=”false” show_category_filter=”false” default_show_infowindow=”false” show_phone=”true” show_phone_2=”true” show_fax=”true” ]
To some extent, Gutenberg duplicates the features of page layout engines such as Beaver Builder (our favourite) or those included in themes such as Divi and Avada. However, at present Gutenberg is much simpler, and doesn’t offer the same layout flexibility. In the leadup to WordPress 5.0, WooCommerce (our preferred e-commerce platform for WordPress) have also released a new version 3.5, which will need to be upgraded before the move to WordPress 5.0.

Why should you upgrade to the latest versions?

As well as getting all the latest features, keeping your WordPress core and plugins updated protects you against security vulnerabilities. Outdated WordPress software can mean hackers take over your site, filling it with spam, getting you penalised by Google, and giving a bad impression to any potential customers. WordPress itself has had several security vulnerabilities reported this year, and there are literally hundreds of vulnerabilities in third party plugins and themes – sadly, this is one of the downsides to using the world’s most popular content management system, with the most extensive selection of third-party addons. That’s why it’s vital you keep your WordPress software updated.

What does this mean for Flax Digital customers?

If you are on our monthly WordPress maintenance plans, we’ll update your core WordPress and plugins for you. In fact, we’ve already upgraded WooCommerce on those sites that have e-commerce functionality, all of which are now running WooCommerce 3.5.1. We prefer to wait a little while after a major release to upgrade WordPress itself, so we will be holding off on WordPress 5.0 upgrades until at least a week after the official release. We plan to upgrade all clients early in the new year. If your site is running older plugins or themes, and WordPress 5.0 causes difficulties, we’ll revert you to WordPress 4.9.x.

Do you need a WordPress maintenance plan?

If you’re not already on one of our WordPress maintenance plans, consider the following:
  • What is your plan for upgrading to WordPress 5.0 and/or WooCommerce 3.5?
  • Does your hosting provider offer automated updates for your core WordPress and plugins?
  • Do you make regular backups of your site? Have you downloaded a recent one?
  • Who will you call if there is a problem with the upgrade?
If you’re not sure of the answers to any of these questions, and would like to discuss a monthly maintenance plan with Flax Digital, get in touch!
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Alex is the owner of Flax Digital, a website consulting agency based in Ballarat, Australia. Alex has over 20 years' experience developing websites and digital strategy for businesses and non-profits in Australia and internationally.

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