WordPress is used to power many small businesses because it is relatively simple to set up and use. Once you have proper systems in place, WordPress makes it very easy for you to run your business.

If you are a small business owner, I am sure you use your website to let the world know about your products or services, generate leads, keep in touch with your customers and a whole lot more. You entire business depends on your website.

So, it goes without saying that keeping your website up and running the latest versions of WordPress core, themes and plugins is extremely important. But, we may just have to break that rule when the new WordPress 5.0 comes out.

WordPress 5.0 has been scheduled for release on Nov 19th, which is just around the corner. This is one of the most important versions as Gutenberg – the new editor is being integrated into the core. As always new versions of WordPress bring in a bunch of new features. This time though WordPress is getting a major overhaul with the addition of Gutenberg.

If you have been using WordPress, and having been keeping up with the news, you probably heard about Gutenberg and have already tested on your site. Some users love Gutenberg and others just don’t like it. If you haven’t paid attention to it or tried it yet, now is a good time to do so.

Why do we need to be cautious about this update?

Gutenberg has drastically changed the WordPress editor interface and it is coming into core faster than we would like. Everything is different and it will be a while before everyone is on board and gets comfortable with it. 

Gutenberg Editor

As nice as Gutenberg is, it might not work with all the plugins or the theme on your site. I know that many plugins and themes are now  Gutenberg compatible, but there might be some which are not yet compatible with the new editor. 

If you are not sure, it is probably best not to update to the new version just yet. Stay on the 4.9.8 version until you are sure your site works well with the new editor.

One more reason to stay with the old version is that 5.0 is scheduled to be released right before the holiday season and specifically the week of Thanksgiving. If you have online sales, it might be a good idea to wait until after the holiday season to update. You do not need to be stressed about your website when you should be focusing on the holiday sales!

What can we do for a smooth transition?

There are many things that you can do in order to make sure that you site is ready for Gutenberg.

  • The first thing is to test. If you haven’t done so, please test. There is an easy way to install Gutenberg from your dashboard. Please make sure you test it before the WP 5.0 comes out. 
Install Gutenberg from WordPress dashboard
  • Installing Gutenberg on a live site should not be an issue at this point. I am using Gutenberg to write this post. If you have a lot of plugins and are not comfortable installing on a live site, create a staging site to test. 
  • Try to create posts and pages using Gutenberg. 
  • Check your posts, pages, forms, page builder layouts (if you are using any), custom fields, SEO fields etc.
  • If there are multiple people managing the back end, make sure everybody has a chance to test Gutenberg and that they are on board. 
  • If a plugin or theme is not compatible with Gutenberg, contact the theme or plugin developer and ask for help.
  • If you have a web developer maintaining your site, contact them to ask if they have a plan in place for when the new WP version comes out.
  • If you are not comfortable with the new editor or if any of the plugins are not working with Gutenberg, you can install the classic editor plugin.
  • In fact I would recommend installing the classic editor anyway so that if you have issues with the new editor or if it is just overwhelming, you can just use the classic editor which is familiar. This will help you make a smooth transition.
  • If you are on managed hosting, please find out if the auto update is on. If you do not want to update to the new version right away, ask your hosting if they can turn off the auto update feature for WordPress 5.0.
  • When WP 5.0 is released, you can use a staging site to test it out before updating it on your live site.

Things might get disrupted for a while and knowing how to deal with it ahead of time will help. 

A few useful articles about Gutenberg and the new WP version

https://www.liquidweb.com/blog/real-world-guide-using-gutenberg/

https://wptavern.com/wordpress-to-support-classic-editor-for-many-years-to-come-plugin-and-theme-markets-expected-to-drive-gutenberg-adoption

https://www.advancedcustomfields.com/blog/acf-5-8-introducing-acf-blocks-for-gutenberg/

https://wptavern.com/contributing-to-gutenberg-a-new-contributors-experience

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