Wondering how Gutenberg will impact your website?

BY Christo Mabbs

{Front-End Web Developer}

24 July 2019

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s been just over six months since WordPress released one of its biggest and most significant changes in history: Gutenberg. Gutenberg offers a new way to develop pages and posts on WordPress with a slick new interface and flexible, hands-on editor.

So what is Gutenberg?

Put simply, it’s the new way for you to edit the content on your website. The new editor aims to make laying out and editing content easier and more flexible. Ultimately, it is designed to be more intuitive through its clear interface and usage of flexible content “blocks”.

The first time you create a new page using the Gutenberg editor you will find a big blank canvas. Don’t be scared!

All Content is in blocks

Blocks are the new way of adding content to your pages and posts. Some standard block types you might use include:

  • Headings
  • Paragraphs
  • Images
  • Shortcodes

The variety of content you can add to your website through the editor is also increasing, with the addition of blocks such as tables, Twitter, audio and columns. You can insert any block on a page and move it around, so flexible!

Other page settings such as Author, Featured Image and Publish Date are now managed from a right-hand menu.

How Will The Update impact My Current Website?

Adding the new Gutenberg editor is easy, just log in to the back-end of your WordPress website and update to version to 5.0 or above.

Some care will need to be taken when updating your website to Gutenberg. You’ll need to be sure the update won’t break the design or functionality of your website (on both the back-end editor and front-end web pages). You’ll need to be especially wary of how Gutenberg affects any plugins and custom themes your website uses.

Once the website is updated you will still be able to find posts, pages and other custom post types in the same location as before.

Should I update my website?

Updating your WordPress website regularly is extremely important for security and performance regardless of whether you want to experience the new editor. It is also strongly recommended you make any updates to a staging website first so you can test for any unexpected changes or errors before making those same updates on your live website.

Once you’ve updated, take a look at the back-end editor and front-end for posts and pages. You should find the front-end looks identical to the change before you made the update while the back-end has been updated to Gutenberg. After the update, be sure to thoroughly test all pages to ensure everything is working.

Depending on your setup you may decide that Gutenberg has made things messier, rather than improve the layout. This is especially common for websites with page builders. Alternatively, you may just miss the old layout and find it easier to use. If you want to update your website but not use Gutenberg there is a plugin developed by WordPress that can help.

I want to take it back!!

There is a plugin that will hide Gutenberg and force the use of the current ‘Classic Editor’, even after the website has been updated to version 5.0 or above. That plugin is called ‘Classic Editor’ and can be found here or installed normally through the back-end of the website.

While it’s generally safe to update WordPress and install the Classic Editor, we have seen instances where it has caused small breaks in functionality. If you’re confident and experienced go ahead. Otherwise, ask an expert to help you both upgrade the website and install the classic editor plugin in a safe manner.

If you need help upgrading your website to Gutenberg or installing the Classic Editor, get in touch. If we built your site for you, and you have any questions at all, email us at [email protected], and one of the team will come back to you.

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