How to prepare your WordPress website for Gutenberg

TL;DR

Gutenberg is a feature rich editor coming in WordPress 5.0. Managers of WordPress websites should download the Gutenberg plugin to ensure it works with your existing plugins and seek a developer for help if you’re uncomfortable making edits to your live site. Ideally, this test should take place on a staging site.

A Gutenberg FAQ

What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is a new post editor that aims at bring a truer what you see is what you get  (WYSIWYG) editing experience similar to Medium and Squarespace. Gutenberg brings a new experience to cater to those who are writing, editing, publishing, and designing web pages.

Why Gutenberg?

WordPress’ current editor is akin to writing in Microsoft Word. You can format your text, add links and images, but you are limited by the text-based nature of the editor. Gutenberg will allow you more control of your content and enable you to produce more complex layouts with blocks.

What Are Blocks?

Blocks are components available to you within the editor. Blocks bring richer functionality and intuitive interfaces to the editor. Aside from the various types of typography and images, some examples of exciting blocks are image galleries and customizable cover images with editable text.

What Does Gutenberg Look Like?

Here’s a public demo that you can actually play with: wordpress.org/gutenberg

How Does Gutenberg Affect My Existing Content?

Post and page content created before Gutenberg will be encapsulated in a single classic editor block. You can edit your existing content within the classic editor block and you can add new content before or after that content with new Gutenberg blocks. 

How Can I Test Drive Gutenberg?

There’s a public facing Gutenberg demo that allows you to play with the new editor to get a feel for it: wordpress.org/gutenberg

So, Gutenberg is here. Now what?

When it comes to adopting WordPress 5.0 and the new Gutenberg editor, you have a few options before you.

1. Test and Adopt Gutenberg

Before updating to 5.0, you should download the Gutenberg plugin to verify that it works with your current plugins and content. To be safe, this test really should take place on a staging or development version of your website.

If you’re uncomfortable making these changes to your live site, you can seek a developer (like me!) to create a staging site and test the changes there.

Here’s what that would look like:

  1. Clone your current theme to a local WordPress installation
  2. Install the Gutenberg plugin
  3. Test your theme – blog posts, pages, plugins, everything.

Once everything is thoroughly tested we can enable Gutenberg on the production website.

2. Test and Partially Adopt Gutenberg

The folks at Automatic (the company behind Gutenberg and WordPress Core) created a plugin that allows you to enable Gutenberg on particular areas of your website.

You can either enable Gutenberg for specific post types or get really granular and target individual posts or pages.

3. Opt Out of Gutenberg For Now.

If Gutenberg just isn’t something you can consider right now, simply install the Classic Editor plugin. This will disable all traces of Gutenberg from your site.

This isn’t a permanent solution, but rather a way to delay and prepare for Gutenberg. Officially, the Automatic team will support the Classic Editor through December 31, 2021.