Remember when everyone was shitting a brick about Y2K?
Planes were supposed to start falling out of the sky, massive power outages were predicted, and every street preacher and conspiracy buff was sure that the apocalypse was upon us.
And then nothing happened.
There’s a similar amount of doom and gloom surrounding the WordPress 5.0 update and its new post editor, Gutenberg.
But the hope is that just like Y2K, the bulk of the fear mongering will be nothing more than hype.
Still, with so many unknowns and no release date yet, there’s just no way to know exactly what’s going to happen.
In any case, with so many plugins and themes available for WordPress, many of them will not be compatible with Gutenberg when it launches, and this could cause chaos for anyone with a custom WordPress website.
If you’re worried about what this update will mean for your site, there are a few things you can do to avoid a worst-case scenario.
But before we discuss what you can do to prepare for this update, you might still be wondering what Gutenberg is.
So, let’s tear it apart.
WordPress named its new post editor after Johannes Gutenberg, the man who invented the printing press, which revolutionized how books were made.
His invention also made information more accessible, because the mass-production of printed materials became much cheaper.
The name Gutenberg is definitely appropriate, because with this update, WordPress is revolutionizing how pages and posts are edited on their platform and making the process more accessible to the average person, who doesn’t know anything about things like computer programming.
The Gutenberg editor will let you drag and drop information and design elements onto whatever page or post you’re editing from a single interface, improving functionality and allowing you to reduce the need for plugins, shortcodes and widgets, which tend to slow down your website.
And it further simplifies the publishing process by eliminating the need to do things like copying and pasting links for embedding, importing files from the media library, or adding widgets if you want content on the side of your page.
Essentially, you’ll just be able to drag and drop everything into place.
Gutenberg is obviously a reaction to WordPress’ competitors, such as Squarespace and Wix, which already feature interfaces that make it quicker and easier for people who aren’t web designers to build a website.
So, do you know if your WordPress site is ready for Gutenberg? For those of us who aren’t WordPress experts, it’s hard to be certain.
If you’re unsure, then keep reading, because the more prepared you are, the less likely it is that your site will have major issues when the update finally rolls out (whenever that is).
While there’s no doubt that many plugins and themes just won’t be compatible with Gutenberg when it launches, it doesn’t hurt to ensure everything is as up to date as possible.
Before you move on to the next step, check that your site’s theme and plugins have been updated, and hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid any issues with compatibility.
Keep those fingers crossed.
Although WordPress 5.0 has yet to be released, the Gutenberg plugin is already available, giving you a chance to try out the new editor and test your site on it to see if it’s compatible.
But, before you test it out, there are a few things you need to do.
First, make sure that you backup your website before you install the Gutenberg plugin, so that you can go back to the current version of your site if Gutenberg screws everything up.
In addition to this, make sure that you work from a test site when you’re trying it out – this way, if anything goes horribly wrong, your main website will remain intact.
Finally, it would be good to do a website health check and a site audit, so you can be sure that any problems you’re having aren’t caused by common configuration issues or superfluous plugins.
After you’ve taken these precautionary steps, download Gutenberg from the WordPress repository or find it under the ‘Add Plugins’ section of the WordPress dashboard, activate it and go to town.
It’s probably going to feel kind of weird using the new editor, so check out WordPress’ Gutenberg Handbook if you need help figuring anything out.
If you try out the test version of your site on Gutenberg and you’re having compatibility issues, there’s no need to freak out.
This isn’t the final version of Gutenberg, so the problem you’re having might end up being fixed before WordPress 5.0 launches.
But even if it doesn’t, you can install the Classic Editor plugin, which will bring you back to the classic WordPress editor.
This will give you time to wait until the theme or plugin that’s causing problems gets updated, or you’re able to find a suitable replacement.
In any case, WordPress 5.0 hasn’t even been released yet, so there’s no need to panic.
But it’s best to get ahead of the game now and try to find options that are going to work with Gutenberg, because the Classic Editor probably won’t be around forever.
Are you stressed out about what this update is going to mean for your website? Contact The Best Media or check out our custom WordPress website services and let our WordPress experts do the worrying for you.