The Divi layouts that come with the Divi theme by ElegantThemes is magical for many reasons, but chiefly because it allows you to insert pre-built layouts directly into your site – images and all – with the click of a button. And WPMaster.me has courses specifically designed to teach you how to use Divi. In fact, it’s one of our favorite themes!
Why WordPress is the choice of MILLIONS
WordPress, launched in 2003, is a dynamic open-source content management system, used to power millions of websites, web applications, and blogs. Its popularity is due to its usability and scalability. You don’t have to be versed in code or graphic design in order to launch and maintain your own site, making it a reliable platform for even the least experienced website owners. And for developers, it offers a solid foundation that can be custom configured to address any business challenge.
The best WP plugins can provide a magical experience – add features and functions to your WordPress site with just the click of a button.
And the WordPress plugin repository offers a seemingly endless treasure trove of options to extend your WordPress website and create a better experience for your users. Need help setting up your SEO? There’s a plugin for that. Want to feed your latest Instagram posts into your footer? Just search for a plugins, install and activate, right? Well, not so fast.
Not all WP plugins are healthy for your WordPress site, and too many “junky” plugins can really slow things down (beware the yucky WP plugin bloat). It’s important to pick your WP plugins wisely, because some can really hurt your site. They’re snippets of code authored by strangers, after all. The open source community that created and grew WordPress is largely wonderful, but it does require a roadmap.
Here’s a handy checklist to help you pick the best plugin for your WordPress site:
- Has it been tested with the current version of WordPress? Or at least, the version your site is running? How to tell what WordPress version your site is running
- When was the plugin last updated? If it’s been more than 4 months or so, that might be a sign no one is manning the controls or keeping it up-to-date.
- How many support tickets are there? Has the plugin developer been replying? It’s always wisest to choose plugins that clearly have a team behind them, paying attention to the ever-changing security and code landscape.
- Does it have a good star rating? Plugins in the WordPress plugin repository are rated, just like restaurants on Yelp. Click through to read the issues reported by the best and worst reviewers just like you might before buying an Amazon mattress.
- Can it be accomplished without a plugin? The fastest sites are the leanest, and the web loves speed. Your site visitors are giving you 15 seconds, max. They don’t want to wait for a splashy graphics show with music – they just want you and what you have to offer.
- Will I remember to keep it up-to-date? Because nothing is more dangerous to the health of your WordPress website than an out-of-date plugin. Skipping updates leaves the back door open to hacks and other threats. Adopt a system or reach out for help, we’re here for you
No, we’re not talking about centuries-old printing presses but the WordPress Gutenberg changes are being heralded as being as important. Gutenberg, the new WordPress page editing format, is coming, and it promises to live up to its name. It’s different than TinyMCE, the WP editor we’re all used to. We break down the differences here.
The goal of Gutenberg
WordPress is the most flexible web publishing platform ever, and developer skill for it is plentiful.
However, that flexibility comes at a price. To make the most out of content layout and styling, at least basic familiarity with the rudiments of code (HTML and CSS) is required. This is an inherent limitation of TinyMCE, the name of the current WordPress content editor.
Gutenberg is attempting to address that exact issue: to allow publishers and editors with no code familiarity to create more sophisticated layouts and styling for their content.
“It’s great that so many people think WordPress is the best way to get their ideas on the web, and it’s easy to unlock the power of WordPress if you know how to write code — but not everyone does. And now, you won’t need to.” —Project Gutenberg
Gutenberg groups content into different types of blocks which can be controlled and styled independently, relative to other content. It gives users a level of granular control previously unavailable, but still presents a unified experience. That means, at least in theory, that you won’t need special formatting elements (such as widgets and embeds) to get your content to look “just right.”
- Working demo of Gutenberg to play around with
- WordPress.org’s official Gutenberg intro
- Yoast SEO weighs in on Gutenberg
WordPress 5.0 changed the way we update support websites, but with a lot more creative possibilities. More than just a milestone release, Gutenberg (the name of the new 5.0 version of WordPress) represents major multiple shifts, rather than just updates. And it now ships with new WordPress installs, so all new sites come with it built-in.
So what’s different in WordPress 5.0?
TinyMCE is a free-to-use “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) HTML content editor. Although used by other web platforms like Joomla, Drupal, Blogger, it is best known as the long-time content editor for WordPress. As the current version of WordPress, TinyMCE’s output is highly integrated into various WordPress functions, making it a key component of the whole platform.
Getting to know blocks
TinyMCE, the current WordPress editor is an open text window. It’s always been a wonderful blank canvas for writing, but when it comes to building posts and pages with images, multimedia, etc., it is not always intuitive. Here are the current features of the current WordPress editor:
- Media library/HTML for images, multimedia and approved files.
- Pasted links for embeds.
- Shortcodes for specialized assets from plugins.
- Featured images for the image at the top of a post or page.
- Excerpts for subheads.
- Widgets for content on the side of a page.
Instead, with Gutenberg, you create blocks for your content. Do you need to display a paragraph of text? Create a block for it! Do you want to show your latest Twitter post? There’s a block for that, too. You get the picture.
Your theme can even include custom blocks authored just for you, and made available in Gutenberg, whenever you need it. Right now, Gutenberg already has a large number of different types of blocks and 30+ embeds.
Here are some great references about WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg. Dig in!