Should I Upgrade to WordPress 5.0?

One of the biggest updates in WordPress history is coming, but should you actually update? Here’s what you should know.

The Simpler Days.

I’m one of the few aging people in this field that can remember when WordPress made it’s entrance onto the web’s stage. Most agencies were pumping out their own custom CMS platforms and boasting a variety of new features for each new engagement when WordPress first came out. It was an edge in the selling meetings to have a fancy name for your custom CMS and show it off. These fancy CMSs also required a pretty big price tag to develop, which opened up a window of opportunity for a simple, elegant platform to fill a gap.

That platform was WordPress. And the rest, as they say is history.

What’s The Big Deal About 5.0?

Unlike most WordPress updates, 5.0 takes a pretty heavy leap forward in technology and in its approach to website development.

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What is creating all the buzz about 5.0 is the release of Gutenburg, the new block-based editor. This shift from the old WYSIWYG editor to Gutenburg is in alignment with the trend in the industry to more complete website editing within the CMS. With the rise of SquareSpace, WIX, and many other DIY website design tools, WordPress has fallen behind somewhat in the ease-of-use category, especially compared to some of these newer, more robust editors.

You can get a tour of Gutenburg here on the WordPress Demo Site: https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/

What Does This Mean For You?

  • This means that if you are working with an “older” theme by WordPress standards, you might have some issues when it comes to the upgrade. Your site might not explode, but you could have some plugin compatibility issues, and your layouts could go very “off”.
  • It’s really hard to know how you will be effected. With this update, there is no real way of knowing until you turn on the new editor. It’s like not knowing the temperature of the water until you plunge in. This means as a site owner, to do this update safely means having a developer help review, or at least setting up a development site for the update.
  • You will get far more functionality in your editor and control in the content layouts moving forward.
  • Special page scripts or unique styles in the current editor will need to be converted.

Need Help?

If you are interested in making the switch to WordPress 5.0, we’re excited to help you in that transition. It is an inevitable change for the better, and adopting at the right time will save you a few headaches.

Here is what we’ll do:

  1. Make a full backup of your current site, and then make a copy of your site into a staging environment where we can do the upgrade in a safe place away from the public.
  2. We’ll perform the update and evaluate the compatibility of your site plugins, making any amendments that we need to.
  3. You’ll review the new site editor in a training session with us.
  4. When you are ready, your new site can be re-launched.

It’s a pretty simple process and will help minimize risks of your site going down or of code breaking without a team to be there to help.

Can I Avoid The Update?

You could also attempt to play the game of “wait and see” with the new editor and WordPress 5.0. I hear you on this, but I would offer two points to consider.

First, with this update, its not just the editor that is being updated. It means that security features and other things are being updated as well. With WordPress, you need to maintain updates to stay safe from a hacking standpoint. This might be the trojan horse that pushes adoption of this new version more so than the editor alone. Once the older versions are less secure, which will only be a matter of time, you’ll be forced to do the update anyway.

Second, there is a right time to do these updates. There is an adoption bell curve with technology, and even specifically around updates.

You want to approach most technological updates as early adopters, in my opinion. Right now, WordPress 5.0 is in the very early stage of that phase, or even in the tail end of the innovators phase. From a competitive standpoint, you get the most value from joining in this curve because you are getting in front of your competition with innovative technology while avoiding being the guinea pigs of testing in the innovators phase.

So, the truth is you can’t avoid the update. But you can time it correctly, and you can be safe in the transition to maximize your site optimization.

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Next Steps

If you are interested in the WordPress 5.0 update, please reach out to us. We’d be happy to talk and review the process for your site. Best of luck!

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