The 6 biggest advantages of WordPress 5.8 for your WordPress website

Word Press has been working on converting its content management platform towards full-site editing since 2018. Version 5.8, called Tatum, has brought WordPress a great deal closer to this goal, even if it is not a revolution. We will introduce you to the most important aspects for your WordPress site.

A total of four major updates were planned for this year. Tatum was the second release. The widgets, the editor itself and the image processing got a few refreshes.

The 6 most important innovations of WordPress 5.8 for your WordPress site:

1. Widgets only in blocks

With WordPress 5.8, the Gutenberg block editor lives up to its name. Because in addition to the content areas, the widgets will also be processed in blocks in the future. Of all the changes, this is the one that most paves the way for the WordPress future as a full-site editor. Above all, this allows for a more creative design of the widget area. Up until now, adjustments to the widgets have been rather difficult. If you don’t like the practical blocks or use plugins that are not yet compatible with WordPress 5.8, you can still use the Classic Widgets plugin until the end of 2022. However, that will probably be the end of the Classic Editor.

2. Finally WebP images!

WebP is an image format that may not be known to everyone yet. It creates file sizes that are around a quarter smaller than the usual jpeg or png formats – with the same image quality. So far there have been plugins or you could change certain server settings in order to use WebP. Now it is powered directly by WordPress. By the way: most browsers know WebP. Small disadvantage: You have to convert the existing images once, for example with the “Shortpixel Optimizer” plugin. The advantage of the smaller image files is better performance. Disadvantage: Not all graphics programs can export WebP images.

3. Better usability in Gutenberg Editor

No question: The Gutenberg Editor is constantly being optimized. Some of the innovations in WordPress 5.8 make sense and some are just nice-to-haves, such as the duotone effect for images that can be easily added. You can choose from eight templates. There are also advanced features for fonts and font sizes. What is worth noting is that PDFs can now be directly embedded on the WordPress site. Users can leaf through the PDF directly without having to download it.

In addition, until now, the processing of nested blocks was only possible with a good instinct. This has also changed with WordPress 5.8: If you now click on a block that is located in another, an icon with two nested squares will appear. Clicking on it selects the parent block. A list view when navigating in complex blocks and templates also contributes to improved usability.

How the Gutenberg editor made WordPress more user-friendly – ​​our interim report.

4. New templates

WordPress 5.8 also marks an important step towards one-click page or post template creation. The plan is not only to design the content area with templates, but also to build up the entire page structure in blocks. Even if that will take time. But it already works with certain templates like TT1 Blocks. So you can build a new post or blog simply by inserting blocks. The templates created in this way can be used several times for certain articles or pages.

5. New Blogs

It gets even more exciting with the query loop. You can use it to display the latest blog articles in a specific grid on the start page, for example. These loops make sense especially in templates as a recurring element. Ready-made layouts are available for this purpose. You can choose a variety of display options, such as the number of contributions shown. Articles can also be assigned to certain categories or only the articles of a certain author can be summarized.

The new blocks at a glance:

  • Website Subtitles
  • page title
  • post title
  • post content
  • post date
  • contribution statement
  • featured image
  • post categories
  • post tags
  • Sign in/out
  • page list
  • query loop

In this article, our WordPress expert gives an introduction to the new WordPress Gutenberg query loop block.

6. Pageload optimized

What good are all the improvements if the loading time doesn’t benefit from them? WordPress also delivers new numbers for this: With version 5.8 and the version of Gutenberg 10.8 that comes with it, a blog with 36,000 words and 1,000 blocks loads more than a second faster.

version loading time KeyPress Event (typing)
Gutenberg 10.8 5.78s 42.03ms
Gutenberg 10.7 6.75s 41.96ms
WordPress 5.7 6.95s 42.81ms

Source: WordPress.org

Conclusion: What does WordPress 5.8 bring to your WordPress website?

WordPress 5.8. is the next logical step in the Gutenberg universe. However, there are not many templates that fully support the block editor. But it won’t be long before WordPress sites will only be built with blocks. The widgets also get a new variety of designs with WordPress 5.8. Time will tell how intensively the query loop is used. However, there is no question that the WebP support, as another plus point for SEO, is well received. One thing is clear: WordPress as a full-site editor is only a major update or two away. WordPress 5.9 should be available in September 2021 and WordPress 6.0 will follow in December 2021 – at least according to the plan.

Sources:

Cover motif: Photo by Digital Solacism on Unsplash

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Jana Behr is an IT specialist editor, PR consultant and blogger from Cologne and is passionate about all things IT, telecommunications and digitization.