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5 Lessons Learnt from Upgrading To WordPress 5 And Gutenberg Editor

A major version of WordPress gets released every 152 days, on an average. The platform released the newest version 5.0, named Bebo after a Jazz musician, on the 6th of December 2018. Along with the new version, the developers also saw the release of the new block editor known as Gutenberg. It is a complete reinvention of the existing WordPress editors, making it much better and user-friendly than its predecessors.

Before we begin understanding the power of WordPress 5.0 and move towards why you should upgrade to the new platform, let’s understand the popularity that WordPress holds.

WordPress 4.x was used across 81.1% of the WordPress powered websites, while WordPress 3.x was used across 18.2% of the WordPress powered websites.

It is believed that WordPress 5.0 will be more popular than these two versions put together.

If you consider the statistics, then, WordPress has powered approximately 26% of the web.

However, when a WordPress developer sees a new version, you are more or less apprehensive of shifting from the existing version. That’s why most WordPress developers don’t move out of the comfort zone that they have found in the existing version.

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However, when the new version comes out with easy functionality and incredible features, you are definitely tempted. That’s why we are here. We will help you decide whether or not you should upgrade your website to the new version, and also help you learn everything about Gutenberg. We will also tell you whether adopting the new block editor is a good idea or not.

So, here are our reasons why you should upgrade to the new version of WordPress.

Reasons to Upgrade to V5.0

  • The first issue that most WordPress developers or businesses used to have was customizing the admin interface or, making it more flexible to suit their needs. However, despite trying hard, it was very difficult to achieve the flexibility that you are looking for, as the default settings don’t allow you an optimum experience with editing the website. Moreover, the flexibility that you need as a developer was also denied with the earlier versions. With Gutenberg as your editor, things have definitely changed for the better.
    • The block-based content editor has made it easier for you to view the different content types such as media, lists, headings etc. The editor has already defined how each of the content types will look
    • The editing is easier with this new editor, making it experiential for you to create or edit the contents
    • The Gutenberg editor comes with the REST API, which allows developers access to numerous features as well as enhancements.
  • If you are planning component-based designs for your WordPress website, then Gutenberg might just be the editor candidate you need. You can easily drag and drop the components that you wish to include, and that too without any learning curve. As the editor also offers semantic HTML, you will be able to include these content blocks along with other assets that you have created such as the mobile pages and newsletters.
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  • The concern for security is high among developers and businesses. Instead of sticking around with the current version, it always makes sense to move to the new version, as there will be security upgrades in the newer version. These upgrades will help you keep your website safe and secure.

Despite all the good points, we would like to highlight one issue you might face with upgrading to the new version of WordPress. Some of the themes, as well as the plugins, which have been present with the platform, will be no longer considered valid or functional with the new WordPress version. If you have been using custom themes or plugins that you have devised for the particular website, then they will be rendered non-functional, as some of them are not optimized for the Gutenberg editor.

So, before upgrading and optimizing your site for the new WordPress editor, make sure you and the website are both ready to adopt it.

Before you go ahead with the update, you should consider going through a few things.

Check if you are Ready to Upgrade

  • Plan before you start: You should ideally acknowledge all the WordPress tasks and projects that need to be converted to the new version. Before beginning with the conversion, prepare a list of all the jobs along with the deadline for the conversion. For this purpose, you can sit with the team and discuss at length. The idea is to have a timeframe in mind along with the priority list.
  • Don’t opt for auto updates: When you auto-update your website to the new version, you may receive errors and incompatibility issues. The reason being some of the plugins that you are using is not compatible with the new editor of WordPress 5.0. If you have customized certain themes, then you might lose them all. Instead, take a backup of all the plugins, themes and other customized data, and create a local copy for the same, before upgrading to the new version. If you want, you can save it to Google drive as well. Before you run the update, make sure you have converted the WordPress site to the staging environment. This will make sure you are getting the update done, but you are not going public with the changes. This way, your public site will remain unaffected.
  • Log the support details: When you are upgrading to a new version, you are bound to face some errors and issues. Log every error or issue that you might face, and even take screenshots so that you can pass on the exact error messages to the support team. Make sure you log what the team says so that you won’t forget the steps.
  • When done, communicate: When you are done with the changes, and if they are substantial changes, then make sure to communicate them to the website users as well as the website authors. Create a style guide or a usage guide to communicate the changes that you have made to the website.

Summing up

WordPress 5.0 with Gutenberg seems like a good choice for budding and pro WordPress developers. It is important that you have a checklist ready before you upgrade your website to the new version. Brainstorming with your team regarding prioritization before upgrading, and taking a backup of all the plug-ins as well as the custom features of the website will help you update the whole website faster.

Even before you adopt the new editor, it is important you know everything about Gutenberg. You should see to it that the new editor does match all your requirements before going ahead. Hopefully, the checklist mentioned here, along with the reasons to upgrade, will help you take the right decision.

About Author

Atman Rathod is the Co-founder at CMARIX TechnoLabs Pvt. Ltd., a leading WordPress Development company with 13+ years of experience. He loves to write about technology, startups, entrepreneurship and business. His creative abilities, academic track record and leadership skills made him one of the key industry influencers as well.

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