Most people have heard of WordPress, I think. It’s a highly successful, commonly used way to build websites. In fact, they say that over 30% of websites in the world and over 60% of websites running a CMS (content management system, the ones not written purely in code) use WordPress. This amounts to about 75,000,000 websites running wordpress, according to a 2017 statistic. It is not an unimportant thing to the world wide web.
Because WordPress has its hands in so many websites and so much of the internet, any big news for the platform is big news for the internet in general. That is why Gutenberg is big news.
What is Gutenberg to WordPress?
It’s the future of WordPress.
The WordPress platform was created in 2003, branched off of its predecessor b2cafelog, which started in 2001. It was originally build to host blogs, and grew in flexibility and power from there. WordPress has always been open source, meaning that independent developers can contribute to or use the project if they want to. It’s also free, as in costing no money. With the contributions of a strong community of dedicated users, it’s gained a huge number of useful features as plugins, themes, widgets and more.
All along, WordPress has been pushing to improve constantly. WordPress gets updates and has new features available regularly. It’s not odd that a new version is being released soon, and Gutenberg is the new version. It promises to change the WordPress user experience quite a lot.
When I talk about WordPress users here, I mean the people building websites. Site users will not know anything happened, except perhaps that you’ve managed to design a better website.
Features of WordPress version “Gutenberg”
The content editor is about to change, big time. The interface WordPress users are accustomed to is going away, and being replaced by “blocks” able to do complex functions that used to require CSS or HTML to accomplish.
What we’re seeing change now is the content editor, but there will be other changes. Developers are rolling out Gutenberg in 3 stages. We’re in stage 1 now, which is bringing the Gutenberg editor to WordPress 5.0. Stage 2 will happen in 2019, focusing on page templates. The final roll-out will make full site customization available in new ways and expand accessibility to users with non-technical backgrounds.
Does Gutenberg Mean People Don’t Need Web Developers Anymore?
I wouldn’t say that. I would say that when Gutenberg comes out you can probably contribute more to, and understand more of, the backend of your website. Maybe you want to go whole-hog and quit your day job to build your site. In that case you really might not need a web developer, I guess. As long as you have the design and marketing background to know what your site has to accomplish and how to accomplish it.
If you want to fire your web developer, I strongly recommend you build your skillset in not just working with WordPress, but also the background knowledge it takes to identify goals, priorities, and strategies for your website.
Web Development Skills That Extend Beyond WordPress:
- Page Design with user experience, intuitive navigation and information design in mind. The book Don’t Make Me Think Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability is great for this
- Search Engine Optimization, which you can start learning from The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization, but need to keep up with current events to master
- PPC Advertising and ad creation, mostly in Google AdWords as taught in AdWords For Dummies by Howie Jacobson
- Understanding how and why to measure web analytics, we recommend Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik for this
- Writing user-friendly online content, like you can start learning from Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works
- Social Media Management, because it’s really not optional. Find out more in Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day
- Inbound Marketing, which is the art of attracting customers to come to you. Learn more from Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage and Delight Customers Online
If you’re ready to launch into using Gutenberg’s editing interface now, you can get the Gutenberg plugin right now. If you’re still hesitant or in the research phase, read what WordPress.org has to say about it.
Of course, if WordPress or any part of web development is something you’d rather someone else handle, contact D-Kode Tech. We’d take that learning experience off your plate, and put serving new customers there instead.