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The ultimate guide to Gutenberg in South African English

If you’ve been under a rock for the last few months, you might be in for a bit of a shock. If you own or manage a WordPress site, you might have seen something called Gutenberg hovering around in your dashboard.

If you’re a developer, this guide is probably beneath you. We’d like it if you read it, of course, and share some of your experiences and expectations, but you don’t need us talking you through what you already know could go wrong.

We’ll be updating this guide as things start falling into place.

Who this guide is for

If you’re a small business owner, a blogger or somebody who runs a WordPress site, but you’re not all that interested in the nuts and bolts of how it all comes together.

The good news is that there’s no need to panic. Change is a good thing. And, while this is the most dramatic change WordPress has implemented, the potential is endless.

In this guide, we’ll deal with the following:

So,  let’s start breaking stuff down.  We mean the lingo, not your website.

Gutenberg launch date

Nobody has 100% confirmed, yet… but we expect it to be by the end of November. Possibly on 18/19 November 2018.

Gutenberg will change the way we present content

There’s a lot of chatter about Gutenberg. Some good, some bad. For developers, Gutenberg holds immense potential. You can build your own blocks and innovate beyond what’s been possible in the classic editor.

But, let’s get real. The majority of us who own a WordPress site aren’t developers. You might be a small business with some basic knowledge. All you want is tell people about your business and make money.

That’s great. But, as you’ve probably heard, content is king when it comes to promoting your online business. When it comes to presenting content, Gutenberg is the best thing that has happened to WordPress since Elementor.

So, what is Gutenberg?

In simple terms, it’s the new WordPress editor which is expected to roll out in November.  We’re moving away from a word processor-type editor and into a more rich-media, intuitive editor. If you’ve missed the memo, this Gutenberg test site is a good place to start.

At first, this might feel overwhelming, but trust us, once you’ve played with it and worked with it, you’ll fall in love.

Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed at first. The basics are still there. Start off slowly, just like riding a bike.

The potential pitfalls of Gutenberg

Issalot, we know.

Because the editor will form part of WordPress’ core, the potential for conflict is huge. Without boring you with the complicated technical details, it’s kind of like replumbing the shower to deal with Cape Town’s drought.

The core features remain the same, but it’s taking a different route to get there. The framework is changing and it is up to everyone else to comply. WordPress is calling the shots, they have given everyone ample time to fall in line.

Despite the deadline looming ever closer, a lot of uncertainty remains. While most of the big brand plugins have been working hard behind the scenes, some older ones could cause problems.

The same goes for the theme you are using. If your theme has not been updated for some time, chances are things could go wrong.

Known Gutenberg conflicts

You don’t want a broken site on launch.

This list is constantly changing and might have shifted again by the time you are reading this. To avoid confusion and panic, the Gutenbergtimes website is a useful resource and updated often. It lists known conflicts and quirks for both plugins and themes. 

What to do before Gutenberg arrives

Before Gutenberg rolls out, it’s important to do a site audit and identify plugins that might break everything.

If you manage your WordPress site yourself and you have some knowledge of the system, it’s a straight-forward process.

If you don’t have any knowledge, you might need to hire somebody to do this for you. (We can help with that, by the way).

Now is also a good time to do a full site audit to see if there’s any bloatware that can be eliminated and replaced by something more functional.

The good and bad of Gutenberg

We’ll keep this simple.

The good: It’s rad for content. Amazing, in fact. It will revolutionise the way we tell stories on the web.

The bad: It’s quite a big change… and the risk for catastrophe is high.

You’ve been upgraded to Gutenberg – now what?

Got problems? Don’t stress.

If you’re reading this after Gutenberg has rolled out, hopefully you’ve taken steps to prevent disaster. Your site might be basic and the upgrade’s gone smoothly. If you haven’t and everything has gone kak, contact us and we’ll help.

Good work.

All that’s left to do is to get to grips with the way the new editor works and what it is capable of. Start with checking your theme’s settings and making sure it is not restricting some of the new editor’s functionality.

There are plenty of tutorials and some of our favourites are listed below.

Some of our favourite features of Gutenberg:

  • Reusable blocks
  • Dragging photos straight into the editor
  • Easier embedding
  • Generally more efficient, move towards high-performance website management. Yas.

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