wordpress

WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg – Building with Blocks

I started this post on December 14th to announce the new Gutenberg “building with blocks” upgrade in WordPress 5.0. As research, I decided to use my website (this website) as a test case. I was feeling cocky because some of my client sites had beta versions, so I was familiar with the new editor. As an SEO professional I work with many different websites designed by many different developers on many different platforms. So I’m used to having to adjust to new technology quickly.

Back to December 14th. WordPress announced the update to 5.0 on Dec. 6th, so I left a little time to see if there were any issues before jumping into it. I updated to WordPress 5.0 and … my website looked fine! No problems with navigation, appearances, or links. Whew. So went back into edit mode to add this post and all _ _ _ _ broke loose! This post was created, things started flashing, and then nothing. As all old timer techies know, sometimes this is a good time to shut down, reboot, and have a coffee. Sometimes the reboot function will adjust settings and fix problems. This was not the case.

The WP 5.0 Problem on my website – the THEME was not compatible.

With the holidays around the corner and my own version of SEO End-Of-Year project work in progress, this was NOT a good time. So I took a deep breath and did nothing. Everything looked fine from the exterior, I just couldn’t update or add content. This may not sound terrible to you but updating and adding content is the bread and butter of SEO.

I looked around for themes that were compatible with the new Gutenberg release and stumbled across this IVORY WP theme. For me it was love at first sight, and it was time for my site to get fun and techie. During the holiday break I updated the theme and set to work to implement some of the new theme features. First off, I must say that I still love the theme, but it was A LOT of work! It took 15 minutes to order, download and install the theme and then it took an additional 20+ hours finish. One of the really neat things about the theme is that they provided samples of pages and re-usable functions to create banners, moving images, accordion style bullets and much, much more. One of the horrible things about the theme is for a first time experience with the theme you have to navigate through 20+ sample pages and lots of new features.

Creating Website Imagry

I’ve always been attracted to images and visuals however, as an SEO consultant I don’t have a lot of nice SEO service related images. So here I was with this cool theme that had lots of places to put new images, but I didn’t have any images. Now I had to get creative. I took my own advice which I give to many clients, to use to of my favorite image tools PicMonkey.com and Canva.com. Between the two of these tools and some of my favorite sites that provide royalty-free stock images for commercial use (Pixabay.com, Pexels.com, and unsplash.com to name a few).

Finding Compatible Plugins & Widgets

After the website pages and posts were looking good it was then time to do a little QC, Quality Control. Instead of checking every link manually, I ran a sitemap generator that finds broken links. Then I tried out the Contact functions on a computer and phone. Immediately found an issue with the contact form. After another 5 hours of work, I uncovered that the contact FORM plugin was technically “compatible” but the most recent version of the plugin was known to have problems and some kind person posted on a form that the best thing to do was roll back the plugin to a prior version.

The advice was to rollback the Contact Form 7 plugin back from 5.1.1 to 4.9. I am forever indebted to him and can’t remember where I found his form advice but he directed me to this link that addresses “How to downgrade the Contact Form 7” for another prior tech issue but the rollback solutions resolves this issue. Thank You! Now everything works!!!

I usually tell people “I don’t make websites, I make them work for you”. But after addressing this upgrade, theme, and compatibility issue I’m ready to work on some of the non-profit WordPress websites that I support for web and SEO.

Contact me if you need help with SEO on your WordPress site. I offer Monthly SEO, SEO Coaching for DIY entrepreneurs, and SEO Consulting.