What is WordPress 5.0 and What Does It Mean for Your Website?
If you recently logged into WordPress, you might’ve seen a prompt asking you to install WordPress 5.
Or maybe your web host updated it for you. When you attempted to create a new blog post, the new interface caught you off guard. We understand these new changes can be alarming, especially if you’ve gotten used to the old interface.
Don’t worry. In this blog post, we’re going to walk you through what makes WordPress 5.0 different from its predecessor. We’ll also discuss how it can make managing your website so much easier.
Let’s get started.
How WordPress 5.0 is Different
Gutenberg, the new editor, is the main thing that sets this recent update apart from previous versions.
It’s named after Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the movable type printing press. According to experts, it’s WordPress’s take on drag and drop website editors like Squarespace and Wix.
The Classic Editor
Let’s differentiate Gutenberg from the Classic Editor, the one we all used for years. The Classic Editor is similar to a gigantic painting. All the different colours and elements come together to form a whole.
When writing a blog post with the Classic Editor, you create everything in one field. A single box surrounds your text, photos, tables and other elements.
When you edit one thing, it will affect all the other elements in your post as well. For example, if you hit the spacebar, all the other elements in your content will move.
Creating a blog post with Gutenberg requires you to use blocks. These are sections you can add while creating content. You have several options to choose from depending on what you want to add.
According to WordPress, blocks “are the unifying evolution of what is now covered, in different ways, by shortcodes, embeds, widgets, post formats, custom post types, theme options, meta-boxes, and other formatting elements. They embrace the breadth of functionality WordPress is capable of, with the clarity of consistent user experience.”
This means that you add paragraphs, photos, tables and other elements individually. You can then move, edit and preview each element at a time.
You can even move blocks with a single click. For example, you added an image under a paragraph block but you decided it looks better above it. You no longer have to delete the image and add it again. Gutenberg will move it up for you if you click on the move button.
With the Classic Editor, you’ll have to manually add code to embed video, audio and other media from other websites. If you have the knowledge, you can create the code yourself or use the code some websites like Youtube and Instagram provide.
You won’t have to worry about any of that with Gutenberg. It has blocks for the most popular social media platforms, making creating and sharing content easier than ever.
The Different Types of Blocks
- Custom HTML
- Media & Text
- Page Break
- Latest Comments
- Latest Posts
- Funny or Die
- Speaker Deck
- Inline Image
Issues You Might Encounter With WordPress 5.0
It takes some getting used to.
Like with every new tool, Gutenberg requires a learning curve–one that busy people might not have time for.
For example, if you press Ctrl + A in the Classic Editor, it will highlight everything in one go. The process is quite different with Gutenberg.
With the new editor, pressing Ctrl + A will only highlight everything in the block you’re currently on. It’s not going to affect other blocks. If you want to change the font for your paragraphs, you may have to go through every single block instead of pressing Ctrl + A.
Adding an image is also a different process. With the Classic Editor, you would click the Image icon. It will then open a new window that lets you upload and add an image.
Gutenberg requires you to create a new Image block before you can upload an image.
In the grand scheme of things, these are tiny changes. However, if you don’t have the time to learn these new processes, installing Gutenberg may not be the best option for you.
It might not work with some of your plugins.
Compatibility appears to be a major issue.
If you’re not aware, WordPress plugins are bits of software that perform a specific function for your website. No matter your desired purpose, there’s most likely an available WordPress plugin for it.
Some are free while others require a fee. As of this writing, there are 54,912 plugins in the WordPress plugin directory.
Since WordPress 5.0 is a recent update, some of your plugins might not function properly. Developers will need to update their plugins so they’ll be compatible with this new version.
One user reported experiencing issues with Yoast after updating to WordPress 5.0. Instead of seeing fields where he could enter his blog post title and meta description, he only saw a white screen. When he disabled another plugin, Yoast started working again.
This issue appears to be temporary since most developers are expected to update their plugins in the coming days if they haven’t done so already.
How to Continue Using the Classic Editor
What if you gave Gutenberg a shot and still want to use the Classic Editor?
It’s understandable. Gutenberg is designed to make managing your website easier, but it does require a learning curve.
Not to worry. There’s an option that allows you to disable Gutenberg so you can continue creating content with the Classic Editor.
All you have to do is install the Classic Editor plugin. It allows you to update your website to WordPress 5.0 while retaining the Classic Editor.
If more than one user is managing your website, this plugin even allows you to assign what type of editor they can use. That way, users can work with the editor they feel comfortable using.
For example, User A prefers Gutenberg while User B prefers the Classic Editor. Even if User A last edited a post with Gutenberg, User B will see the Classic Editor when they attempt to edit it.
This is, however, not recommended as a permanent solution. According to its page on the WordPress plugin directory, the plugin will be maintained until at least 2022. This means that Classic Editor may no longer be available after that point.
Whether you like it or not, WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg are here to stay.
If you’ve been using Classic Editor for years, it may take you a while to get used to it. Some of the processes we’re used to will no longer work with the new editor. For example, keyboard shortcuts won’t work the same way and you have to upload images differently.
Once you get used to it, it can streamline your website management process. Content creation will be faster and easier. You can customise your posts without knowing a single line of HTML.
Cornerstone Digital is a web development company in Sydney. If you’re struggling with WordPress 5.0, we’re here to answer all your questions. Call us on (02) 8211 0668 or email us at [email protected]
A self-professed book and digital marketing nerd, Darlyn Herradura focuses on building trust between customers and businesses with the written word. She understands that creating valuable content is the best way to get found online and happily spends her time doing that.