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Author: Andrei Calina

Is the new WordPress Gutenberg editor that good?

Is the new WordPress Gutenberg editor that good?

Over the past years, WordPress stuck to its good ol’ visual editor and didn’t introduce many changes. But hey, why fix something that is not broken? In most cases, this wouldn’t be a bad thing, but sometimes, a change is more than welcome, especially when competitors like Medium or Ghost come with a unique and refreshing experience for its users.

Apparently, WP ignored this aspect, so a group of contributors and volunteers started working at the WordPress Gutenberg editor for the past year, in their attempt to make adding rich content to the platform simpler and more enjoyable. But is the overall experience that good?

Let’s find out more about this editor and see if it’s actually worth it.

What is this Gutenberg editor?

Generally speaking, we can call it a new editor for WordPress, named after the man who invented the printing press with movable type, Johannes Gutenberg. Unlike the standard visual editor, which requires HTML and shortcodes in order to obtain the desired results, Gutenberg wants to make this easier, especially for first-time WordPress users.

Currently, the final version wasn’t released yet, so you can try the beta version. And it won’t get integrated into the platform until it gets 100,000 active installs. But believe us, it’s worth giving it a try, especially if you want to provide some feedback.

It’s available for installation in the WordPress repository and you can find it by searching it within the dashboard, under “Add New” plugins. You need WordPress version 4.8 or higher to run it, by the way.

After installing it, you should see links right under your posts that allow you to open up the WordPress Gutenberg editor. Once this will be merged with the Core, you will be able to access it by simply pressing the Edit links.

Besides this, it is also accessible from the new menu in the dashboard, which also includes a demo and the ability to create a new post using Gutenberg. It’s highly recommended to explore this option until you learn to get around with it.

What’s good about the WordPress Gutenberg editor?

Ok, now that we know what’s the whole deal with this editor, let’s take a few minutes and see what are some of its biggest pluses, which make it worth installing.

Pluses

It’s definitely a step forward for visual editing in WordPress. The classic editor is around for years and, despite being very easy to use, it’s not exactly the most amazing experience. Gutenberg brings a more intuitive interface for new users, helping them learn how to share the first posts faster and easier.

It uses HTML comments to store block info. Definitely one of the major advantages of this new editor is the fact that it stores information about blocks in HTML comments. Therefore, these are seen just on the back end of the site, without being rendered on live pages.

It won’t have side effects after disabling it. There are a lot of WordPress page editors already available, but some of them, after uninstalling, can have a negative impact on your site. Or, simply put, they will break your website. It won’t happen with Gutenberg.

It offers a solid HTML5 output. Technically speaking, Gutenberg blocks output content, like section and figure, through HTML 5 tags. Using them will help you future-proof all the content created in the new editor.

It gives you the possibility to write your own blocks. In Gutenberg, developers can create their own blocks of customized content. Let that sink in for a while.

Minuses

The user interface isn’t the best. Sure, it may look revolutionary and relatively easy to use, but the truth is that performing some of the simples tasks require more clicks than in the standard WordPress editor. For example, in order to update a page, you need to make two clicks, instead of just pressing “Update”

And we’re not done yet. Gutenberg for WordPress has an admin menu consisting of three columns. All good until now but the editor and the sidebar will eventually get crowded and scrolling around on smaller display can be confusing.

Oh, and let’s not forget about meta boxes, essential for a well-optimized page. These are actually hidden somewhere under extended settings, underneath and beside the editor.

It has some accessibility issues. Since the WordPress Gutenberg editor is still in its beta version, such things are normal. Therefore, if you want to install it, you should be aware of its accessibility issues on using the back end, as well as the content output by it on the front end, like inline CSS.

Images don’t look so good. Well, this is a bit exaggerated, since the real problem is that you can’t wrap text around an image, like in the regular WordPress editor, as images have their own block. This shouldn’t be such a big issue, but if you care about the look of your pages, this is actually very important.

The same problem appears when you’re trying to embed audio or video, as these also require their own block.

There are no shortcodes in paragraphs. Unfortunately, you can execute shortcodes, neither in text columns or paragraphs blocks in the current version of the editor. In order to make them work, they much be placed in the shortcode block. And I bet that you aren’t fancying this.

This current situation can cause some problems, as long as your shortcodes produce inline content. However, they will work when Gutenberg is added to an existing site.

And this wraps it up. Overall, the WordPress Gutenberg editor looks like a promising project, even in its current state. We’re looking forward to seeing the final variant, ready to be used by everybody, as we’re convinced that it has the power to change the way we’re using the world’s most popular content management system.

What are your thoughts on Gutenberg? Would you use it instead of the current WP editor?

Big changes ahead: WordPress Design Trends 2018

Big changes ahead: WordPress Design Trends 2018

Forget about the past, it’s time to focus on the future! This statement should be generally available, but also when it comes to the newest WordPress design trends.

The world’s most popular content managing system is growing strong and more and more websites are being based on it. And I’m talking about some top-notch sites, used by reputable brands. Still, a new year automatically means a refresh, especially in terms of design.

Today we’re going to talk about both technological and design trends which will have a word to say in the upcoming months. And it’s highly recommended to be aware of this, no matter if you want to build your first website on WordPress or already have one and are looking forward to giving it a new look.

You will probably observe that some of them are just…updated trends since they are continuations of those which dominated 2017, while some of them are actually new. Combined, these will dictate the way WordPress sites will look in 2018.

Ok, it’s settled. Let’s get cracking!

Vivid colors all over the place

It was scientifically proven that colors can have a big impact on the way a website is perceived and they should be carefully chosen when designing a website. However, things can change a bit this year.

One of the most popular WordPress design trends will be the use of daring, vivid color palettes. A lot of brands are already doing this and more of them will follow the example.

Sure, this doesn’t mean that you should opt for the craziest things out there. Everything must be complementary and match perfectly, in order to be eye candy, but go a bit wild. Opt for some purple, some neon green, orange, pink! Find that perfect blend and throw it on your website. You will barely go unnoticed.

No more boring typography

Forget about those standard fonts, that came by default, as they will soon be history as well. Another one of the WordPress design trends we’re expecting to rise in 2018 is stand-out typography.

Obviously, traditional fonts in the main body will remain the number one choice, since nobody wants to make their content impossible to read, but header text will definitely go wild. Combine this with the vivid color combinations we were talking about a few moments ago and you will definitely have a landing page able to stand out with ease.

Just make sure everything is still readable. I’ve seen some pages trying to do something as wild as this in the past and they ended up with some headers I could barely understand…

Hand-drawn graphics elements, for a warmer feeling

You do want to make your visitors feel comfortable while visiting your website, right? In this case, you can try adding a personal note, with some hand-drawn graphics.

This will definitely bring your site to life and give visitors of what you’re capable of, not to mention that they will feel your personal implication in designing your website.

Minimalism, minimalism everywhere

Nobody likes a ton of design elements stuck in a small place. It just doesn’t look good. Over the past years, there was a tendency among designers to remove useless visual elements and stick just to what’s essential.

One of the WordPress design trends which will have a serious impact on websites will be minimalism. Over the next months, expect to see more and more websites transforming into portals focusing on readability and usability.

Parallax scrolling, a fine detail

You can forget about single, unresponsive pages, since people – apparently – prefer a one-page design, with responsive features. As for parallax, it gives the feature of depth and creates an interactive aspect for a website.

Expect to see designers asking for this feature for WordPress websites in 2018 and developers doing their best in order to implement it. And we can totally understand this since it’s a really nice visual effect.

Video headers everywhere!

You’re seeing videos everywhere on social media, so you shouldn’t be surprised to start seeing them on websites as well. One of the most popular WordPress design trends, which will dominate 2018, will be the presence of video headers in websites.

Currently, there are several themes which allow including video headers easily and we’re expecting their number to increase. And expect to see an increased on-page time if you decide to implement this feature as well, especially if you opt for some catchy visuals.

Push notifications almost on every site

Calling push notifications as a design element is a bit forced, but hey, it’s part of a lot of websites and we should expect this number to grow in the upcoming months.

Technically speaking, we’re talking about an extremely important marketing channel, since, through notifications, webmasters make sure that past visitors know when something new was posted and try to get them back on the site.

A shot at virtual reality?

Virtual reality is currently taking the world by storm and we’re looking forward to seeing integrated into WordPress-based websites. Of course, you shouldn’t expect totally immersive experiences hidden somewhere in the page, but a couple of awesome gimmicks, showing the potential of the platform.

Currently, there are already a few plugins available, able to display 360 photos and videos on WordPress sites, but their number will significantly grow. This is one of the design trends on which you should keep an eye since you might be missing a lot of opportunities to attract new visitors!

A whole new WordPress!

Finally, let’s not forget about the WordPress platform itself. According to its official development cycle page, we’re going to see version 5.0 being released this year, with a completely new look.

Specifically, we’re expecting a brand new editor, significant improvements to the Admin UI, a new writing editor and a much-needed shift toward SaaS.

And this wraps up our list with some of the most expected WordPress design trends for 2018. Which are those you are the most curious about? Let us know your thoughts, using the comments section below!

What could 2018 bring – 10 mobile SEO predictions to look after

What could 2018 bring – 10 mobile SEO predictions to look after

Let’s face it: desktops are no longer the most used when it comes to accessing the Internet. People are constantly on the go and rely on the mini PC in their pocket: the smartphone. It’s been a while since Google revealed that the number of searches made from mobile devices is bigger than the number of desktop searches, so this doesn’t come as a surprise.

Webmasters are also aware of this, so they’re doing their best in order to deliver the best user experience. And when it comes to SEO, they’re now doubling their efforts, since they have to optimize for two different platforms.

Like every year, the community is talking about what we could expect from this year in terms of search engine optimization. We’ll leave the talk about desktop SEO for another time because today we’re completely focusing on mobile SEO!

There are a lot of speculations regarding this topic, so I’ll try to avoid the so-called rumors that don’t have any arguments to rely on. But enough with the chit-chat, let’s see what we should look forward to seeing in 2018…

The Mobile First Index, coming soon to a smartphone near you

In 2017, Google ran a lot of tests and it looks like everything went pretty good, as the Mobile First Index is expected to start rolling out soon. What’s this all about, you’re asking? It’s basically a new method of indexing and ranking search listing, making rankings to be based on the mobile version of a website’s content.

Now don’t act surprised, I’ve already told you that there are way more searches made from mobile devices.

If you weren’t aware of this update, now it would be the best time to update your site and make it responsive. That is, if you still want to rank well.

A new SERP layout

Even though we both hate them, ads are here to stay. Even more, we might as well see more of them, since Google is always looking for ways of increasing its advertising revenue.

One of them will imply changing the SERP layout, by eroding organic real estate. But this doesn’t come as a big surprise since we’ve already seen a few changes in this direction, consisting in expanded text ads, smaller ad labels, ads in the map pack or new ad extensions.

No more Map spam!

Over the past months, we could notice a real phenomenon called “map” spam. Basically, companies were loading keywords into their business names, just to appear in local map results. And yes, you guessed it, they weren’t even close to those areas.

But Google figured this out, so they’re expecting to take measures, in order to restore the integrity of the service. If you did something similar, expect some rough verification processes, alongside a penalty.

Serious penalties for ad-heavy sites, with poor content

If you’re familiar with SEO updates, you should know that this is already being done for desktop variants. However, it’s present on our list with mobile SEO predictions, meaning that Google is planning to crack down on websites displaying a lot of ads with poor content this year.

We’re talking about intrusive pop-ups and nasty interstitials, which, if kept, will drag mobile websites down in SERPs.

If we’re allowed to take a wild guess, we will also see complete redesigns for a lot of websites after this update will start rolling out, as webmasters will want to offer a top user experience.

Progressive Web Apps will be everywhere

Over the past years, PWA – short for Progressive Web Apps – were actually on the rise. And once Google’s Mobile First Index started gaining territory, these magical apps gained even more momentum.

In 2018, PWAs will be the best solution, in terms of costs, to offers users a rich and engaging experience, without the need of visiting the Play Store or App Store.

But hey, don’t think that native apps will soon meet their end, but considering the current trends and the fact that the future of the Web is definitely on smartphones, PWAs, alongside Google’s ‘passion’ for mobile-first, this would be a win-win solutions for both users and publishers, combining a unique user experience with an effective marketing tool.

More structured data

If you want, you can call this a new SERP feature. Yeah, this makes sense.

Google wants to always deliver the most qualified answers to your queries. Therefore, the search engine giant will increase the use of structured data. Simple as that.

2018 could be the year of voice searches and interaction, through non-traditional devices, like Amazon Echo, Google Home or even Android Auto. A well marked-up content is definitely ideal for these!

Cross-Device Convergence can become a real thing

Until now, everybody was after responsive web design. And they should keep doing it, since it’s essential in the era of the mobile first index.

However, this year we could see people relying on cross-device convergence, which allows them to move their data, seamlessly, across all their devices: smartphones, desktops, tablets, laptops and so on. Consider this when you’re optimizing for mobile.

Searches will be made by voice

A few moments earlier, I was saying that 2018 could be the year of voice searches and interaction. This will happen because people will stop typing queries and ask personal assistants for the stuff they want to know instead.

Amazon made its Alexa assistant accessible to everybody and it’s planning to do this on a larger scale. Google is also doing serious progress in this direction, while Apple could also join the club, with their speculated HomePod.

Users will now look for voice-based interaction, so marketers will be forced to create new solutions to gain more customer loyalty. And this applies to mobile users as well.

Wrap-up

2018 will be a very important year for search marketers, especially for those who are focusing on mobile. The search engine giant going by the name of Google is aware of people’s increasing use of mobile devices and its doing everything possible in order to deliver a high-end experience and the best results. And search marketers will want their results to show up first.

These are just some of the things expected to happen this year with mobile SEO, based on the latest speculations. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that something else notable will be introduced? Let us know your thoughts, by dropping a few lines below!

Your mobile pages need to be fast in 2018, says the Google Speed Update

Your mobile pages need to be fast in 2018, says the Google Speed Update

We’re living in the age of speed and people want to do things as fast as possible. And they’re not alone, since Google wants pretty much the same thing, especially when it comes to your mobile browsing experience.

This week, the search engine giant announced a new ranking algorithm, tailored for smartphones. To be more specific, we’re talking about mobile search. Because, in case you still don’t know this, the number of searches made on mobile devices has surpassed searches made on PCs. Let that sink in for a while.

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Julio Potier Talks about Web Security and Running a Company all by Yourself

Julio Potier Talks about Web Security and Running a Company all by Yourself

For our latest interview with WP developers, we have Julio Potier, the man behind SecuPress, a freemium WordPress security plugin, and an experienced Web security consultants. He is also a passionate speaker and a big Marvel fan, secretly hoping that one day he will be as cool as Deadpool or Iron Man.

But enough with the intro, let’s see what Julio has to say about his work, his company, and WP plugins!

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