Why a professional upgrade of your WordPress website to Gutenberg is smart business
The new block-oriented WordPress editor, Gutenberg, is intended to provide a better user experience, but DIY upgrades come with high risk.
The Gutenberg interface will be extremely appealing for those with responsibility for maintaining a business’s WordPress website in-house, given its more intuitive way of creating rich-media layouts, but it’s wise to heed caution before diving head-first into the upgrade due to the notoriously fragile nature of WordPress.
Consider the potential nightmare scenario you may face if something goes wrong and your website breaks. Will you know how to fix it?
How would you cope if nothing loads other than a white screen when you attempt to edit your website pages after you install the Gutenberg plug-in or you experience other backward-compatibility issues or WordPress conflicts?
There are many unknowns with WordPress upgrades
It’s prudent to remember that WordPress is open source software. Every WordPress environment is unique, due to the combination of different versions, themes, plugins and hosting servers – and how they interact with one another – meaning any update can produce any number of unforeseen conflicts or functionality issues to be resolved. In the simplest of terms: WordPress woes occur very easily.
With so many unknowns, on top of common pitfalls to be negotiated, what is earmarked as a simple, beneficial update can quickly become an action long regretted when tackled by someone other than a web expert. Upgrading to Gutenberg yourself will have huge potential for severe ramifications for your business, resulting in endless frustration as you sink valuable time into whatever problems you encounter without any obvious solution – all the while, possibly losing out on prospective business because your site is down (or failing to function how it should).
In most instances, at the very minimum, upgrading to Gutenberg will likely involve:
- Upgrading WordPress to 4.9.8
- Installing the Gutenberg WordPress plug-in
- Upgrading the WordPress theme to the latest version
If you hold out for WordPress 5.0, which will come with Gutenberg as standard, you’ll still be upgrading the version and the theme.
Either way, there’s multiple pressure points where things can go drastically wrong.
The developers of one popular WordPress theme, Divi, have been proactive in providing support for the Gutenberg interface with the release of Divi 2.12 and claim it will be business as usual, however because WordPress has so many parts working in sync it’s likely that at least a few hiccups will be encountered. For example, problems may arise on some WordPress sites from the fact that Divi utilises shortcodes to store layout structure, whereas Gutenberg does not use shortcodes.
The experiences of others and the benefit of experience
If in any doubt about the potential for the upgrade process to prove problematic, you only need to refer to the Gutenberg plugin’s numerous negative reviews, which highlight that backward-compatibility issues are indeed common. Comments included include “loss of functionality”, “site wouldn’t load in browser with plugin”, “hard to edit blank pages”, “will break themes and plugins” and “many errors or conflicts”.
Your Gutenberg installation is best handled by developers who know the PHP scripting language, are vastly experienced with WordPress and implement best practice processes for upgrades, such as the team at Kook.
Our WordPress experts are well-equipped to diagnose any problems that occur as a result of Gutenberg installs and solve them.
We can also provide professional WordPress makeovers and ongoing maintenance services, to ensure no downtime resulting from plugin or system upgrades going forward, if this is of interest to you.