Should you update your site to WordPress 5?

Today marks a major release for popular CMS platform WordPress. Just a few hours ago it was released to the public after a lengthy testing process. Many developers have gotten their hands on it early and voiced their concerns, but what’s the big deal?

WordPress 5.0 is the first major release to completely revamp the way posts are written. Since wordpress now powers over 30% of all websites (holy cow!), this is a big deal. Most website owners thoughtlessly update their wordpress site without hesitation, but once they update to 5.0 they might start to think differently.

WordPress 5.0 is a Bigger Update Than Usual

Wordpress Old Post Editor
WordPress Old Post Editor

If you’re a long time WordPress user, you it has become so much more than it was originally when it first launched. The last update they released was called 4.9 ‘Tipton‘, and allowed users to schedule design changes. Another update brought some much needed updates to widgets. Another simply added major WordPress events to your dashboard, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding them through Google (which if you’re active in the WordPress community, this can be really useful).

Since these updates all went smoothly, can’t we expect this new update to go just as well? Well, it depends on what type of user you are and how you utilize the platform.

Introducing Gutenberg: A Pretty Cool New Way to Update Posts

The New WordPress Gutenberg Editor
The New WordPress Gutenberg Editor

WordPress 5.0 comes with a completely new way to add posts. They are calling this Gutenberg. The entire experience of writing and building posts has been rebuilt. Since WordPress originally started out as a blogging platform, creating posts was laid out in a way that made it easy to add text, headings, etc. Now that it’s matured (along with their competitors), they needed accept the fact that most people using this CMS are using it for major websites, not just blogging. With Gutenberg, you can now more accurately plan out your page and organize it, this is no longer simply a text editor.

How does it work? WordPress 5.0 introduces what they call “Blocks” into the new Gutenberg editor.

How do WordPress Blocks Work?

Blocks are a new tool for building content in your posts. You can insert, rearrange, add images and more all with ease. It’s now much easier to add text over an image, add background colors, create custom posts, add buttons, and even more.

For developers, they added the ability for custom blocks to be built and installed as a plugin. This makes it really easy if you build custom websites to add new functionality for your clients so they can easily take advantage of what you’ve built for them.

So should you Update to WordPress 5.0

If you have a really advanced custom theme installed on your website that was built by a developer, I would recommend to talk to them first and get their opinion. It’s likely your site has some backend functionality that could be broken once Gutenberg is active.

If you have a smaller, blog based website, I would say backup your website first, then go for it. I think the new post editor is pretty awesome and will add some nice features that people will enjoy.

While this update might bring some headaches for some people, it will only be a matter of time until it’s embraced.