What Small Businesses Need to Know About WordPress 5.0

By Rachel Klinkatsis

WordPress 5.0 is an auto-update that is being released on December 6, 2018 and its biggest change is the new Gutenberg block editor. WordPress is banking on the adoption of the block editor to contend with other drag and drop CMSs like Wix and Squarespace, touting that this new editor will give small business owners the ability to customize pages without needing to now how to code. Though their efforts are noble, Project Gutenberg has been met with sharp criticism and scathing reviews from many within the web development community due to its lack of functionality, especially compared with robust editors like WP Bakery.

If your small business’ website is indeed built on WordPress, it’s imperative to have a basic understanding of how managing your website will be forever changed. While we wait for the release, here are a few things you should know.  Additionally, if you are regularly working with a web developer, then we strongly suggest you have a conversation to sort out the specifics of how WordPress 5.0 update will affect your site.

Cyberspace Take-off

Is WordPress 5.0 an auto-update?

According to, your website might automatically update to WordPress 5.0 after it’s released. It all depends on your hosting provider, so it’s important to find out the answer in your case before the roll out date. If it does not update automatically, it will be available on the WordPress admin dashboard.

What is the big deal with the Project Gutenberg update?

WordPress wants to compete with various sites like Wix and Squarespace CMSs that have drag and drop functionality for building and editing pages. To do this they needed to make an editor that is modern and easy for anyone to use.  Here’s where Gutenberg comes in. This design puts the formatting options nearby, which makes creating and editing a post a breeze for those who don’t know how to code. For small business owners who want to handle their digital operations in-house, drag and drop editors are much more appealing and make web design more accessible.

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Source of reviews: WordPress

wordpress 5.0 switch

What does this update mean for small business owners with WordPress sites?

Even though Gutenberg is supposed to make customizing a page easier for non-coders, it still is a major change in how users edited pages in the past. Just like any other big change in a platform, there needs to be time to learn the new system.

For example, whenever you do a major software update to your phone, things are not in the place they were before. It takes some time to teach yourself how to use it again. We suggest getting used to the new editor now. You can either install the WordPress 5.0 plugin or play with it plugin-free with Frontenberg.

What if I don’t like or want to use Gutenberg right now?

If you find making the jump to Project Gutenberg overwhelming, but you want to keep up with the latest WordPress updates, then we suggest installing the classic editor plugin. The classic editor is the current format you have been using before the 5.0 update to Gutenberg.  If you don’t like the new block-based editing style, you can install a classic editor plugin. This plugin restores the previous WordPress editor and will hide the new Gutenberg editor.  The classic editor plugin even gives you the option to switch between modes to enhance your editing experience, and give you opportunity to explore the new layout on your terms.

WordPress Classic Editor Plugin

How does WordPress 5.0 impact content on my site?

WordPress 5.0 will impact all of your content created before the update.  Once you have updated to Gutenberg, your content will show as one big text box on each post. WordPress did this to keep the format of your posts. How can you change it to be Gutenberg friendly? You can select the option to “Convert to Blocks” on the editor panel to start formatting your content in the block-centered system. Word to the wise though, before making any radical changes, we strongly encourage having backups of your site in case you need to revert to a previous version.

Questions You Should Ask Your Developer About WordPress 5.0

Are your third-party plugins and themes compatible with Gutenberg?

Due to the Gutenberg editor being a complete redesign, a lot of plugins and themes will have to be updated to the new system. Seeing as how many themes and third-party plugins are side projects for users, it is important to ask your developer if they are compatible with Gutenberg. The popular SEO plugin Yoast has been an early adopter of Gutenberg and a quick Google search shows that they’ve active and providing regular updates and documentation about their transition.

The WordPress team is trying to make updating plugins and themes easier, but it’s better to check on each of the plugins you’re using to make sure. If this goes ignored, when it comes time for the auto-update, you might end up with a broken site.

Has your developer backed up your WordPress site?

WordPress 5.0 is a giant leap from previous updates. It is important to have a backup of your site with the most current WordPress installation. The last thing you would want to have is an automatic update that leaves your site broken with no way of fixing it. If you need assistance or recommendations on how to run backups of your site, contact us at webSMART to help us find a solution that’s right for you.

WordPress 5.0 will affect everything on your site from plugins, themes, and even your content, so it’s important to be prepared before it’s unleashed on December 6th. Trying to maneuver this update by yourself can be a daunting task. Our small business marketing agency is here to help. Call or email us to see how we can make sure your website is ready for the big changes associated with Project Gutenberg.