WordPress – why oh why must you make this change? As a group that specifically offers WordPress Web Design services – this update is making us nervous! Because of our unique development on the back-end we are carefully assessing how this will affect out clients. If you are a 2 Dogs Media client, please be sure to read the bottom of this post!
You may have heard all the rumblings out there about a new content editor that is coming to WordPress! It will be dropping in a core WordPress update early next year so we wanted to do a post to give you an overview of what to expect.
As we more thoroughly test the editor named Gutenberg and read the details regarding coding and updates on the progress of it we will let you guys know more!
But I Hate Change!
Yep, we hear you! And although quite a bit different than what you are using now on WordPress, this change may be a good one for most once the learning curve and website updates happen!
Why Are They Doing This!
The WordPress team wanted to create an editor that allows you to create more advanced rich post style layouts. This editor features “blocks” that you can use to add content and images for more creative layouts. This is supposed to remove the need for things like short codes and the need to know custom HTML
What Does This Mean For My Website?
Well, we do not have all those answers just yet. This is still in development and there are still a lot of “what if’s” out there, but every day a little more progress is being made.
Here are some things that need to be looked at:
General plugin compatibility – it looks like the plugin authors are responsible for updating their plugins to be compatible with the new editor. Unfortunately, not all plugin developers may be on the ball with this which can ultimately affect your website functionality.
Remember many plugins are free – so it is hard to “expect” them to do these updates. Paid plugins will be more adaptable and will most likely keep up with the development of this editor.
We have already seen some of the bigger players in the Plugin world like WooCommerce and GiveWP start on these updates and so far everything looks good.
Page Builders – personally we think this will be one of the bigger issues for WordPress users. If you are using a page builder (which we actually NEVER recommend you use) – compatibility may be a huge issue. The sad reality is that Gutenberg may never work with some page builders. This will be interesting to see!
WordPress Themes – this is another area that will see some big changes. Some of the most popular themes at ThemeForest for example have so much extra theme code that the new editor may just not work with. If you are using a theme that includes a page builder – you will need to find out if your theme author will be updating their theme to be compatible.
Editor Example 1: How To Create Columns
The below example shows how the new editor will make it easy to add columns. Right now you may be using short codes, custom HTML or custom fields to create them. Now it will be easy using “blocks”
Editor Example 2: General Post Writing
The gif below shows you the basics on writing a general post and how easy it will be to create different font styles and block areas to make your posts pop. The custom CSS classes can also help with defining more advanced CSS styling in your stylesheet.
What Should I Do To Prepare?
Gutenberg is expected to drop early in 2018, so now is the time to prepare!
Here are a few tips & tricks to make sure your transition is easy.
AUTO UPDATES: Make sure auto updates are turned off for your website so you can control when you are ready to move to Gutenberg! You do not want to wake up to a broken website!
NOTE: Someone asked a great question about this – thank you Mary! Yes, there is a plugin that will allow you to do this but we actually recommend doing it via your wp-config.php file – here is a great tutorial: https://wplift.com/disable-automatic-updates
ETA 12/21: there was a lot of confusion about core updates – if you have done your own website and have not changed anything your core WordPress will probably NOT update on its own. If you had someone else create your website, then you should confirm that nothing was added to make your core WordPress default on its own. I noted this to ensure EVERYONE had their core auto update was deactivated so they can update to Gutenberg when they are ready.
FAMILIARIZE: We recommend creating your own demo site and playing with Gutenberg so you can get a feel for it by downloading this plugin. While it is not completely accurate to what the editor will be it is close and will help you feel more comfortable before the big release.
ROLL BACK TO CLASSIC: This plugin is still in beta – but when it is done, you will have the option of downloading the “Classic Editor” plugin which will replace the new editor with what you know and love.
Are You A 2 Dogs Media Web Client?
If you have had a website built by us but are not hosted by us, we will do our best to assist you with this transition if you need it.
We are confident that because of the way we code our websites there will not be a major hit to your websites – but if you have a variety of added plugins we may need to address those separately.
Our biggest concern has been an issue with “metaboxes” because so many of our websites are created with custom fields to allow administrators the easiest updating possible. It looks like there are some things happening that will prevent issues and we will test this thoroughly before updating anyone!
If you will need our help with this transition, please be sure to contact us to let us know. We WILL need to schedule you in to get you taken care of!
2 Dogs Media Hosted Clients
If you are hosting with us, we will do our best to make the transition as seamless as possible. This is a major update with a lot of unknowns at this point, but we will be doing our due diligence on the process as it moves forward.
Below is an outline of how we will be managing the process to ensure you are updated with no issues.
- All auto updates for websites will be turned off – this means you may see some outdated plugins, please do not stress it!
- Full backups will be done of your website
- Absolutely NO updates will be done on live websites.
- Websites will be recreated on a test server where the updates will be done.
- All plugins, features and functionality will be tested on the development server and if all tests are passed we will then move it live.
- If issues are found we will be in touch for more details regarding fixes and any applicable costs.
While traditionally our hosted clients have updates included in the monthly fee, this is not a normal update and will require time for us to handle this so your website does not break and functions as it is expected too.
We WILL NOT do updates on live websites – so there is time required to do the updates on a test server and move everything over.
We hope our clients understand that we will need to charge for this update. We will provide every client a quote before any work is done.
Jill Caren brings over 12 years of WordPress and SEO experience to help you improve and grow your website. She has spoken at several events on SEO and has been published in several top SEO publications. You can contact Jill here.