Well welcome to another water cooler conversations. Where us, online business owners get to gather around our virtual water cooler and talk all things business, the nuts and bolts and the emotional. Because most of the time, I don’t know about you, but business would be a lot easier if I’d just get out of my own way.
Usually I do talk about the emotional stuff, but today what I want to talk to you about is a bit more nuts and bolts. I was doing a website review with someone yesterday and realized that the average person who’s not in WordPress everyday can be caught totally of guard with some of these updates.
So what’s happening with WordPress?
What’s all the flurry in our own community about?
Well WordPress just released version five.
Now version four came out two years ago, so there’s been two whole years of development going into this and probably more. You can only imagine what that means, right. This is no small update.
Version five and it’s called Gutenberg, at least the internal name, is a wonderful thing, especially those that are coming to WordPress.
When WordPress started, you needed to almost know HTML and then we got a visual editor, which is kind of like moving within Microsoft office. A lot of people built page builders to help give people who are doing it themselves or want to be in there in collaboration with their developer, you know the ability to like I want to call ’em and just move blocks around instead of having to know code or just have a page that was just straight text. That’s what Gutenberg is.
There’s two parts to it. One part is the user experience, as the person managing the site. You now have what are called blocks and so instead of needing to use a page builder, although I will still use them with my clients because they will always extend the basics. But even built into the core now, is this ability to have blocks, this ability to do columns and videos and just things that have more of a visual kind of, I put the pieces together.
It’s also really a big deal in how the website is saved and ultimately will be shared in the future. We have a very forward looking leader, [inaudible 00:03:34] definitely always has his eye ahead on what things are going to be, which often causes us people who are in it every day to grumble and complain because this is definitely making life complicated but we know he’s got his eye on the future and he’s got his eye on how websites will be consumed both by users and by search engines and by all of it going forward and it’s positioning WordPress so WordPress doesn’t just burn out. You know, something, a technology that doesn’t keep changing and evolving is eventually going to die out. It’s gonna peak but then another solution’s gonna come in to fix the need that has arisen over time if the technology doesn’t keep up. Problem is keeping up can be painful and this is where we’re at.
There’s been a little bit going on before the release. Some of you may or may not have had experience to this. One of which is there’s been a Gutenberg plug in. Even running version four, or four dot nine, for the most part now, you’ve had the ability to install Gutenberg on your site and experience it before the core comes out.
But it would argue, there’s a difference between a plug in and WordPress being re-coded. If it was just simply that plug in, we wouldn’t be getting this excited. You wouldn’t be having hosts like WP Engine and Site Ground saying we’re not pushing updates like we usually do, we’re recommending you wait a month until some of the dust settles. We recommend you do a back up. Do a staging area, update it there and only if it looks good, bring it in. We don’t usually see things like advanced custom fields which a lot of custom websites are built on saying we are not compatible, update at your own peril right now, we are scrambling, we are doing our best, but we’re not there.
Even Yoast, many of us know Yoast SEO’s saying guys, the world’s not exactly ready. Do expect some bumps over the next couple months and if you think WordPress has had a lot of updates, expect a lot of them.
Yesterday, I was supporting a business owner Jen with her website. She had actually enabled the Gutenberg plug in, but she also used Divi and unbeknownst to her, you had almost two page builders that weren’t ready to work together, trying to work together and her back bend was like, what the hell! And that’s what’s going to happen to people when they just update to Gutenberg when they’re not knowing what they’re doing and not expecting it. They’re gonna get in there and go, what the hell! Because not every plug in, not every theme is in sync just yet.
As Gutenberg comes out and finds bugs, which always happens in major releases, they might change some stuff where even if something was working, a change might cause something to fall out of sync.
I don’t share this with you to stress you out. I mean, yes, there’s reality, I’m stressed, you might be stressed. To anyone whose on my maintenance plan, you don’t have to stress because I’ll stress for you. I am definitely testing sites, I am doing them in staging areas. I’m doing all these things, so your experience should be smooth sailing and if there’s any issues you know exactly where to send that email.
If you’re managing your website yourself, here’s what I’d say; if you’ve got a pretty basic site, you’re not really using anything like Divi builder, Beaver builder, Avada Fusion builder. If you’re just using core WordPress, you probably can safely upgrade. You still might want to wait a bit, but it’s probably pretty safe.
If you’re using a builder like Divi builder, if you’ve got Advanced Custom Post types, if you’ve got Fusion Builder, Beaver Builder, Divi Builder. Any of those builders in there, which so many sites right now have, I would say hold off, do a couple things. One, back up your site. This is a must period. Before you do any updates back up your site. Install the plug in Classic Editor, this is the plug in WordPress guarantees to support through 2021 and I think, even beyond. This basically says, I know you upgrade to Gutenberg, but I don’t want to see it yet, just keep things the way they were.
Now, again, I don’t know that even when you get a plug in like that and you’ve updated the core, at least initially it’s going to be seamless. I would say to you right now, do a back up, install and activate the classic editor, so you have it for when you do update and hold off on really updating anything on your site unless you know there’s a security issue until January. Because again, there are going to be bumps and unless you’re someone like me and you see the bump and immediately knows what’s going on, like with Jen. You know, I saw some funny business, I logged into her site, within five minutes I knew probably where the conflict was coming from, resolved it no problem. She was looking at her site going what the hell just happened?
When we are moving forward while this is a quite thing and a good thing, it might hurt a little. I will be honest, this is controversial in the WordPress community right now. A lot of people are not pleased because right now, today, a big conference is happening, it’s called Work Camp U.S. Many of you know I have spoken at many Word camp, word camp U.S, word camp Europe. Those are kind of the big hub talks. A lot of these leaders, you know, the founder of Beaver Builder is at that conference and yet in some ways the rug’s been pulled out from underneath him at the same time. Of course, he’s got a team, but still it’s like ah. There’s a lot of feelings of scrambling.
If you do decide to update to WordPress 5.0, be prepared to be updating your site every other day. You know, when new software comes out, especially when you’ve spent two years developing it, there is no way you can’t not have learning. Again this is why your host like SiteGround, WP Engine, Pressable, a lot of the great ones are just saying and advising if you don’t have to update, don’t update. Do your back ups, install classic editor, let the dust settle and then listen to people like myself at your own risk, right.
But listen to people like myself who have a pulse on what’s going on and I will know for example, Elementor is one builder who has announced they are compatible with Gutenberg. But I know Beaver Builder as issues, I know Divi as issues, I’m guessing, I wouldn’t be surprised if Avada Fusion Builder may have issues, especially if you’ve not been keeping your theme up to date, you’ve been updating everything else but not your theme, you may still have issues. I really suspect, for at least the short term, if you’ve had a site at least six months or more, classic editor is going to be your friend.
The other thing that’s coming is PHP 7.2. I know [inaudible 00:10:28] but if you’re managing your own site, you gotta know this. PHP is one of the software that websites are run on. I’m gonna go over, guys it’s probably too late now if no one can hear me and they’ve told me I still have no sound. Like I did the first video. But PHP 7.2 is coming out in January. PHP the prior version’s 5.6 and 7.2 are hitting end of life. What does this mean? Means they’re not being updated, it’s not being supported. It means that speed enhancements, security fixes, all of these things are going into 7.2 not the old ones and so you need to update.
Really good hosts like WP Engine is doing two things, they’re basically pushing the update in January and they’re given their users a chance to preview their site as kind of a what if you were in 2.0 land and see if you have, most of my sites are fine, one of my maintenance clients I saw a white screen of death, we’re gonna have to go in and see what legacy code isn’t quite moving forward.
Other hosts like GoDaddy unfortunately tend to just say, you, the user have to one, know to even do this, know how to do this and then deal with the consequences. You’ll find that there’s a reason I suggest premium hosting for both my high end and more budget conscious clients because sometimes 200 dollars here is worth it to have that foundational high end care to keep your site humming, hack free and just generally in good shape. That’s it’s own live and own soapbox.
For today, the take aways from this video are going to be install and activate the classic editor, make sure you’re backing up your site, update with caution, especially now through January and listen to people like myself. Have your ear out to listen. I probably should start writing my list with these updates because I often do forget. One of the beauties of doing these website reviews, which I’ve started doing and I apologize to anyone who’s requested and I haven’t got to it yet. I’ve been getting a lot of requests and I’ll probably be coming live later today with another population up review because we certainly all could learn from each other.
One thing I’m learning by doing these reviews, as I’m more in the trenches with users now who are managing their own site and offering kind of a collaborative support for them, ’cause they don’t know what buttons to click. My clients have a luxury of having someone on their team who knows what buttons to click, so their experience is pretty consistent. They’re not wondering what to do and if they do they have someone to email.
When you are managing your own site, because you need to at this phase of your business, sometimes you click buttons that don’t play nice and that’s what happened to the person I worked with yesterday. That’s why I am loving doing these reviews because I’m connecting in with you guys and I know what to share now and I’m also doing what I’m going to be doing with her, which is I’m offering two, one hour collaborative website renovations, sort of collaborative working on your site, where I hop on a Zoom call with you and we dig into those things where you get to ask those questions of, why the hell is it doing this? I’ve been forever frustrated about that and I’m finding it’s a beautiful middle ground between being completely on your own as it the high wire and being ready to invest multiple thousands of dollars because your business is there and it is able to say, please just make it happen, make it so.
These sessions, these few hours here and there with me, I’m finding to be a gorgeous opportunity for me to enjoy giving back to those who are still in the trenches and for them to be able to pick someone brain like me who’s been doing it over 10 years and I have learned the hard way, the things you’re learning the hard way and I can hopefully save you a few of those learning opportunities and I can do ’em instead.
That’s why I wanted to share with you today again, I’m praying the sound as come through because I don’t want to have to do a third times a charm video. This is Jocelyn Mozak signing off with another water cooler conversations, where online business owners gather together to talk all things business, the nuts and bolts, like today the emotional.
Many a time when I speak the reality is we are our business, we do not have work and life in two buckets, we are one person living this life, doing our thing and if you have any questions, concerns, needs, want a review, please feel free to reach out to me. Your question to me prompts me to do these and remember if you have a question you’re not the only one. There is no stupid question, there is no question to basic. I am honored each and every time someone reaches out to me because I know how precious your business is to you and I am honored to be a part of it and support you in doing, as I do what I love to do in the world, supporting you in doing what you love to do in the world.
That’s all she wrote for today. Keep an eye out for more pop up website reviews and other things as there’s news on the WordPress front as we move into this new life of WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg and Block editing. It’s going to be exciting, but it may have a few hair pulling moments as we get excited. Have a fabulous day, upcoming weekend and I will see you guys later.