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A new era of WordPress: What does it mean for your business?

Last week, WordPress launched the biggest update to the content management platform since its release.

Now I know what you’re thinking, what is WordPress and why does it matter to my business?

WordPress is a content management system (CMS) for websites. Basically, it allows pretty much anyone to update their website extremely easily without needing to know how to code using HTML or PHP etc. Many of us don’t know how to code, so before WordPress, we would have to pay a web developer every time we want to add/edit or delete something from our own websites. This can be both costly and time consuming.

The only way to describe WordPress is by calling it the Microsoft Word for the web because of its easy to use interface. Essentially, WordPress allows anyone to manage the content of their own website.

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With an estimated 75 million websites using WordPress globally (netcraft 2018), it’s quite likely that your business’s website is running WordPress.

As mentioned above, last week WordPress released version 5.0. With any update to WordPress, there is always a risk that it may not be fully compatible with the theme and plugins that you’re currently using, but since this is the biggest change since it launched, there is perhaps a greater risk to your website with this update.

Without an adequate website backup in place, if someone in your business hits the ‘update’ button, as they would usually do, the risk is that your WordPress may cease to function – although, it’s also possible that your website continues to run as normal too.

This is what WordPress looks like before the update:

When you update to WordPress 5.0, your new default post editor will look like this:

Reasons to upgrade to WordPress 5.0

  • You should always keep WordPress and plugins up to date to patch security vulnerabilities, which may open up your website for attack. WordPress 5.0 isn’t just a new editor, there will be a ton of other updates too
  • The new block-based structure is something that you may be familiar with if you’ve used Squarespace or Wix
  • You’ll have greater control over your content and its layout in WordPress 5.0
  • The Gutenberg block editor will become the default post and page editor for all sites running WordPress 5.0 or higher, so you’ll need to upgrade at some point

Before you upgrade or update any plugins, always make sure you have a full back up of your website’s files and database. If it does go wrong, you can easily reinstall your website and get it back online. 

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Will my plugins still work?

In theory yes, but it isn’t guaranteed. WordPress 5.0 is a pretty heavy leap forward, even if at first sight it doesn’t appear to be. Before you upgrade, I’d recommend checking with your plugin developers/providers to see if they’re compatible. 

Will my WordPress theme work?

It is really hard to know whether or not your WordPress theme is compatible with the upgrade. There may be some compatibility issues if you’re using an outdated theme or one that has been custom built years ago. If you can check with the original theme developer, do so before upgrading to 5.0

How to revert back to the classic editor

If you are upgrading to WordPress 5.0, but don’t want to use the new block editor, there is a solution.

You can download and install a plugin called “Classic Editor“, which will allow you to use the older and more familiar interface. 

If you’ve been using WordPress for a few years, you may want to do this. I’ll be honest and tell you that I’ve downloaded the classic editor (for now). You sometimes just like things how they were… 

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