Gutenberg is the new WordPress editor named after Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of a printing press with movable type hundreds and hundreds of years ago. The perfect namesake for the intention of this updated editor – to make WordPress easier to use with movable and scalable content blocks, allowing for more flexibility in layout creation.
This update is WordPress 5.0’s response to popular “drag and drop” website builders, like Wix and Squarespace. The goal is to make website updates and layout creation much easier from the user’s end. The previous WordPress editor requires some level of knowledge of shortcodes and HTML for creative control over your site, but that is no longer the case with the Gutenberg block system and WordPress' thousands of available themes.
Gutenberg has been available since December 2018, but it’s been overlooked by most WordPress site owners because of the widespread version fragmentation out there. As we’ve mentioned in a previous article about WordPress security, people are just not updating their sites!
Over half of all WordPress sites are still not on the current version, leaving many sites vulnerable to security attacks. In addition to that major issue, as WordPress continues to make major updates like Gutenberg, plugins, themes, and other elements of WordPress will continue to update – leaving your WordPress site outdated and not secure, and it will gradually become less performant and usable over time.
So what do you need to do about Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0?
Simply, you must update your WordPress as soon as possible, or consider moving off to a less problematic CMS.
Before making any major site updates, you should test out the Gutenberg Editor Plugin and get familiar with it because nothing is worse than updating and panicking because you’re not sure how to work your website anymore.
You also want to backup your website. You should already be doing this frequently to avoid any lost data, but definitely take this step before any major version updates (like moving to WordPress 5.0). It also can’t hurt to set up a staging site to test out Gutenberg without affecting your live site.
If you have a custom theme for your website, updating may cause problems – especially if you haven’t updated it recently. Using commercially-available themes can help you avoid any issues, however check with your web developer before making any changes. Also, make sure your other important plugins are compatible with the new version.
Once the updates are made and the plugin is installed, it can never hurt to run a website audit and speed test to make sure nothing else on your site was affected during the entire process.
If you need any assistance with this transition or you want to learn more about Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!