The standard WordPress editor that we all know and love has had a major reshake within the latest WordPress update. The 5.0 version of WordPress has been given the name “Gutenberg” and will completely change the way you write and publish content. Instead of the basic text editor, it makes use of “blocks” that allow you to customize the layout and there will be more advanced features as time progresses.

The Gutenberg editor is a big change and many will not like the change (discussed below). However, being developed on GitHub and using the REST API, React and the latest Javascript means that it is moving forward with modern technology. The main goal is to provide users the ability to add rich content in the form of blocks far easier than it is currently.

Does This Mean The End To Page Builders?

Many will argue that the functionality of Gutenberg has been around for years in the form of Elementor, Divi and others. This is true and these page builders will still be compatible to use with Gutenberg and will offer far more features. However, I do personally see Gutenberg catching up with the features of these hardcore page builders and overtime, they may make them obsolete.

The Issue With Gutenberg

If you have been reading up on Gutenberg, you will see that there are many negative opinions about the release. Even Yoast themselves who develop the popular SEO plugin are against the release and tweeted the following:

The functionality is not the issue but the release is far too soon for many developers. So many plugins need to be updated prior to installing Gutenberg as they will simply break. This can cause major setbacks for those that have their WordPress updates on auto-install. There are some hosting companies such as SiteGround that have temporarily stopped the auto-install to prevent this setbacks and are even emailing webmasters about the change. This is great stuff by SiteGround but of course, not all hosting companies will do the same and you will probably see many errors for the first few months where webmasters are yet to update their plugins.

Personally, I feel like WordPress should have delayed the release and given plugin developers more time to prepare. However, at the same time there is no time like the present!

Preparation Prior To Upgrading

At WebSpection, we not just a SEO company in Cardiff but we also develop and maintain over 50 websites. All of which have been upgraded to the latest WordPress 5.0 version and running smoothly. We strongly recommend the following before upgrading to Gutenberg:

  • Take a backup of the website and database
  • Update all plugins that have new updates
  • Check existing plugins function on 5.0
  • Install the Classic Editor
  • Test on a staging site

Once you have upgraded, all your content will be placed inside “blocks”. This will not change how they appear at all but issues may become apparent if you are using a Page Builder. Some plugins that use page builders are known to cause internal server errors when going into edit the page or post. However, this issue can be solved by using the classic WordPress editor.

Classic Editor For Gutenberg

Classic WordPress Editor

Not everyone will want to use the new Gutenberg editor you don’t have to with the Classic Editor. It has been developed by the WordPress team and hides all the Gutenberg functionality so that you are left with the previous WordPress Editor. Judging by the reviews and over 1 million downloads in such a short amount of time, you can see it is a big hit with many webmasters.

One feature that I really like about this plugin is the fact that you can easily switch between the classic and Gutenberg editor. For example, this blog I am writing is using the classic editor as there is no need for the blocks and it makes writing this blog far simpler. However, you will notice the pages (i.e. non blog posts) offer more feature rich content and this is where the Gutenberg editor comes very useful.

Conclusion

Gutenberg is a big change and many people (including myself) feel that it has come to soon. However, with the correct preparation and installing the classic editor plugin, there are many benefits to come from Gutenberg. We strongly recommend that if you are going through a busy period (i.e. Christmas period) that you put the upgrade on hold and install it once things get back to normal. For some websites that heavily rely on various plugins, Gutenberg could pose a big threat and cause multiple plugin issues.