Cheshire Web Agency Insights: could Gutenberg break your website?!

Cheshire Web Agency Gutenberg

Over the years, the WordPress visual editor has pretty much stayed the same, which isn’t a bad thing, but all that is about to change… Gutenberg is coming! It’s a new, default editing content management environment coming to WordPress and the impact will affect every website!

Some will welcome the change, some will resist, so let’s get started as our Cheshire web agency introduce you to Gutenberg…

What is Gutenberg

27% of the internet is powered by WordPress, that’s 75 million websites worldwide! Although this content management system is highly used, it still brings limitations and barriers to users who are restricted from building or making simple amendments on their website because of little HTML/CSS knowledge and/or restricted access to the back-end of the website.

Well for the first time in almost a decade, WordPress have revisited the layout of WordPress and have decided to update the editor by introducing Gutenberg. It is named after Johannes Gutenberg, who was responsible for printing press with movable type more than 500 years ago…

Gutenberg is a huge leap forward as it looks to reduce the visual difference between how content is created in the back-end and how it is rendered on the front-end by introducing a building block editor. The blocks are very clear and distinct and encourage the user to discover the flexibility to use media and content, side by side, driven by your vision. With blocks, you can insert, rearrange, and style multimedia content with very little technical knowledge. Instead of using custom code, you can add a block and focus on your content.

WordPress clearly have big plans for Gutenberg with the redeveloped editor confirmed as the first stage of a three-phrase roll out. Following the editor, WordPress will then turn their focus on page templates before becoming a full site customer.

Gutenberg will officially be released when WordPress 5.0 is rolled out later this year. You can have a play with a ‘live version’ of Gutenberg.

Gutenberg Live Demo

Okay, so what’s BAD about the Gutenberg WordPress update?

Adapting to change and compatibility

For those of you who have managed your WordPress website for years, Gutenberg will feel very strange at first. For designers and businesses such as our Cheshire web agency, who already feel comfortable with creating themes, pages and posts, this will require investing a lot of time with trial-and-error testing to figure out how Gutenberg works and how it will react with plugins, custom code and bespoke functionality.

Gutenberg could break your website.

Web Development, Theme and Plugin support is also currently an unknown question… Although most themes are expected to update and adapt their structure to accommodate Gutenberg, there’s no time estimation on how quickly these updates will become available and/or if plugins will be compatible with Gutenberg which will effectively break your website.

We know plenty of coders and Cheshire web developers who create bespoke code and plugins from scratch which will not be compatible meaning they will have to rebuild certain elements of their websites, what a headache!

Moreover, our Cheshire Web Agency can exclusively reveal that our custom theme, along with other Theme’s and ‘Core’ plugins we use to create functionality ARE compatible with the update. However, for a select few of our customers who have requested bespoke functionality and/or requested third party plugins, this may require a review of plugin support.

Okay, so what’s GOOD about the Gutenberg WordPress update?

More freedom, more control.

The entire WordPress editing experience has been rebuilt from scratch to give users more freedom and more control. The blocks, formatting options and other features of Gutenberg empowers users with little-to-no web/coding knowledge to take on more ownership to create and manage more on your website, without needing to rely on your web developer. The interface even supports multi-column layouts, so users have more authority to create almost anything, just as if they were using a page-builder.

Gutenberg Layout Builder

Makes changes straight from your mobile

Need to quickly changes the price of a product? Not to worry, Gutenberg works extremely well on a mobile so is perfect for users who will look to make a quick edit while on the go.

Increase speed, cut down on support

With Gutenberg incorporating added functionality, this will eliminate the use of certain widgets, short-codes and plugins which will ultimately help in improving the speed of your website. These updates all fall-in-line with how search engines are now starting to favour speed within search rankings. In turn, this will also mean you will have less theme/plugins to manage, so less time will be spent on updating and managing plugins.

Cheshire Web Design: Gutenberg Verdict

Just like GDPR and Responsive websites before, change always panics customers. Although the Gutenberg update is set to seriously shake-up the WordPress editor, I would highly advise you have a play on the WordPress website and see what you think before it’s officially rolled out.

I would also advice all our customers to get in touch to review various plugins on the website to make sure your website is compatible when Gutenberg arrives later this year.