5 Lessons Learnt from Upgrading To WordPress 5 And Gutenberg Editor

Emma Crameri Emma Crameri has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 6 February 2019

On my recent holidays, I took the time to upgrade my personal website to WordPress 5.0 and the new Gutenberg editor. Gutenberg is based on blocks and is similar to Microsoft Word. Once you get the hang of it, it’s okay to use.

Before we take a look at the lessons learned, here’s what WordPress says about how you’ll benefit from the new update:

The new WordPress editor—WordPress 5.0—is named Gutenberg. The entire editing experience has been rebuilt to better enable media-rich pages and posts. Whether you’re building your first site or writing code for a living, you’ll gain enhanced flexibility by using the new “blocks” feature—blocks of content that can be manipulated like third-party page builder plugins

So, check out our findings to help make the process easier for you.

1. Upgrading to WordPress 5.0

The first step in an upgrade to WordPress 5.0 is to create a project plan with tasks. You’ll need to brainstorm some of the jobs you and your team need to complete within your preferred deadline. Depending on the complexity of your website the timeframe may vary from one weekend to two months. You may want to update all of your plugins first, then your theme and lastly WordPress.

2. Backup all of your data first and last

Depending on how much you pay yearly, it is highly likely that your hosting company backs up your website’s data as part of your plan. However, it is good practice to download a local copy to your personal drive. If the files are small and do not contain confidential information, you may like to save them to Dropbox or Google Drive.

Always backup your backups.

3. Log a Support Job if you have any Issues

When I upgraded to WordPress 5.0, I must admit I did have a few PHP script issues. Fortunately, my website is hosted by Ventraip Australia. The support I received was prompt and supportive in assisting to locate and isolate the web development issues.

When dealing with ICT support, I find it helpful to take screenshots and copy the exact error messages. It was recommended I check my error logs and uninstall (and reinstall) some of my plugins to fix my hosting disc space error messages.

4. Consider alternative solutions

If you are having technical issues, then you’ll need to ask yourself if this issue is related to:

  • The hosting company
  • WordPress
  • WordPress theme and template
  • (think Cascading Style Sheets and HTML errors)
  • WordPress plugins
  • Browser issues
  • Network issues
  • Broken links and images

5. Communicate your changes

At each phase in the project lifecycle, you’ll want to communicate with your website users and your contributing authors. Hopefully, your users will not notice an outage or any changes to your website. You may like to update your writer’s guidelines document or style guide. There may be a little bit of a learning curve when working out how to use the block editor.

WordPress has provided comprehensive educational material about Gutenberg.  

If you have selected a robust WordPress theme, like the StudioPress Genesis framework, you’ll also have access to their support documentation:

What you need to do to prepare for Gutenberg:


6. Test, test and test your website

Whenever you make a significant change to your website, make sure you test your website on a personal computer, laptop, tablet and smartphones including Apple and Android devices.

As a follow-up, you might like to keep an eye on your Google Analytics to see that your followers and website traffic haven’t been significantly impacted by your upgrade.

How did your website upgrade to WordPress 5 and Gutenberg go? We’d love to hear from you.

Image credit: Create Her Stock


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