163: What WordPress’ Gutenberg Update Means for You with Raquel Smith

Welcome to episode 163 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork chats with Raquel Smith from WP Tasty about WordPress’ new Gutenberg update.

Last week on the podcast, we interviewed Andy Traub about masterminds. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

What WordPress’ Gutenberg Update Means for You

If you’re running your blog on WordPress, chances are you’ve heard of Gutenberg. Gutenberg is WordPress’ new WYSIWYG post editor, and it’ll be a part of WordPress core before we know it.

But will this new way of editing impact you and your posts? You betcha. And Raquel is here to talk all about what you can expect once Gutenberg is live on your site.

Between setting up a staging site to test your plugins to understanding what blocks are, this episode will get you prepared for the Gutenberg release later this year!

In this episode, Raquel shares:

  • Why version 1.6.0 is an important update for Tasty Recipes
  • What a CMS is and what open-source means
  • Why people self-hosted WordPress sites are beneficial
  • What Gutenberg is
  • What blocks are
  • When we should expect to see Gutenberg
  • How you can prepare for Gutenberg

Listen to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast below or check it out on iTunes, Google Play Music, or Spotify:

Resources:

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].

Thanks to our Reviewer of the Week, Kim from Kickass Baker! If you’d like to be featured, leave a review for us on iTunes and include your name and blog name in the review.

We’d like to thank our sponsors, WP Tasty! Check out wptasty.com to learn more about their handcrafted WordPress plugins specifically made for food bloggers.

If you’d like to jump to the comments section, click here.

Transcript:

Bjork Ostrom: In this episode, I talk about finding broken links and we chat with Raquel from WP Tasty all about Gutenberg. Hey, everybody, this is Bjork Ostrom, you are listening to The Food Blogger Pro podcast, which I’m guessing you know because you pressed play. But we are happy that you’re here and we are so excited to share today’s episode with you, which is brought to you by WP Tasty. And we’re actually going to be talking a lot about WordPress today, so excited to jump in and geek out a little bit on some really important changes that are coming down the line.

But before we do that, I wanted to share a quick Tasty Tip. And for those of you that have listened to the podcast for awhile, you know that every week we do a Tasty Tip, which is a quick little tid bit that you can apply to your blog and over time, if you start to apply all these little Tasty Tips, hopefully you’ll have a little snowball of positive effects that come from it. So today’s Tasty Tip is all about Google Search Console. And for those of you that are Food Blogger Pro members, be sure to check out the happening now video that we did, because in this video, I talk about the process that we built out, the quarterly process to do a really deep dive and Google Search Console and review the really important elements of it.

And on the podcast today, I want to talk about one specific area, and that is the HTML improvements. And if you click on … And if you go into Google Search Console, and then you click on search appearance, and then HTML improvements, there’s going to be a list of different things that you can do on your site that Google is saying, “These are improvements that you can make that will help your site communicate more clearly about certain things.” Now, it’s not going to guarantee that you’re going to rank higher, and it’s not going to guarantee that you’ll move up in front of other pieces of content. But it’s just Google saying, “Hey, these are some issues that would probably be worth changing.”

For example, you might have a meta description, which is the little description that tells people what your piece of content about, your post or your page, that is really short. And that’s not a good thing, and Google will tell you if it notices any of those on your site. You could also have maybe some meta descriptions that are duplicates, they say the same thing, even though it’s for a different post or page. If you go into Google Search Console, in the HTML improvements area, you’ll see if Google has found any of those on your site. And the great thing is Google Search Console is free. So the Tasty Tip today is to make sure that you take a moment and review your HTML improvements and make those improvements and changes, and they should be relatively easy to do, and you’ll clear those warnings out, and you can make sure that your site is nice and clean and doesn’t have any suggested HTML improvements.

So that’s a quick Tasty Tip for today, brought to you by WP Tasty, the go-to place for any of your WordPress plugin needs, especially if you are a food blogger, we have Tasty Recipes. We also have Tasty Pins and Tasty Links. I actually wanted to read a quick testimonial here from Shane Martin. Shane is from Shane and Simple and he has a really cool story. I was actually checking out Shane’s site, and Shane, his little bio says, “Former 300 pound lover of all things drive-through and deep fried. Now I cook food that is plant based, easy, and delicious.” Which is awesome.

And Shane left a testimonial for Tasty Pins. He says, “Tasty Pins is an absolute game-changer. Not the most organized person in the world, and until Tasty Pins came along, it was so hard to keep up with all the required info for my Pinterest images. Now, I can easily add descriptive all text for my images while I’m editing or constructing my latest post in WordPress. Tasty Pins has eliminated all the extra steps and saves me a ton of time. It’s also helped me increase my Pinterest traffic, which increases blog traffic, which increases dollar traffic, cha ching. Thanks so much WP Tasty.” And thank you, Shane, for sharing you testimonial and for sharing your story as well. And would encourage everybody to check out ShaneAndSimple.com. And we’ll link to that in the show notes as well.

And that is a wrap for the Tasty Tip, but we’re actually going to be talking more about WordPress here in this interview with Raquel. And Raquel is the person that kind of does all the behind the scenes things and front facing things for WP Tasty. She leads that effort along with our team there. So Daniel and Ann, who we’ll talk about and I’m involved as well. And one of the big things that we’re preparing for for WordPress is this thing called Gutenberg. And maybe you’ve heard about it, maybe you haven’t, but it’s really important if you use WordPress that you’re aware of this change that is coming down the line in the next few months, and are aware of how that will impact not only what WordPress looks like and how it works, but also some of those really important plugins that you use when you are editing a WordPress post. So let’s go ahead and jump into the interview, chatting about WordPress and Gutenberg. Raquel, welcome to the podcast.

Raquel Smith: Thanks, Bjork. Thanks for having me.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, good to have you back. You are an experienced podcast guest. You’ve been on a couple times now, is that right?

Raquel Smith: I know at least twice. Maybe the third time.

Bjork Ostrom: Two. You might be the first person ever to be on the podcast more than two times, so congratulations. You’ll receive your trophy in the mail later this week.

Raquel Smith: All right, perfect. I’ll be looking for it. I’ll hang it on the wall.

Bjork Ostrom: Great. So for those that aren’t familiar, that haven’t listened to previous podcasts, can you explain a little bit about what you do here on the team and some of the efforts that you lead, both with WP Tasty and some of the things you do with Food Blogger Pro as well?

Raquel Smith: Yeah, so I’m heading up the WP tasty project under you, Bjork, and so I manage all of our product development, I oversee our support, and I do all of our web development. I do some of the minor plugin development, but the vast majority of that is done by a gentlemen named Daniel Bachhuber, who we work with. And so I oversee the plain development and then yeah, do lots of … Well, I try and write content, just do lots of everything that’s involved for running WP Tasty and then I have a really small role right now with Food Blogger Pro and Nutrifox, but some small web development for Food Blogger Pro and then Nutrifox, some support occasionally.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, awesome. And one of the things that your kind and including me and WP Tasty and I’m a part of it, and jump in and out of the things that we’re doing in test, and we kind of bounce ideas off of each other, but huge kudos to you and Daniel for doing a lot of the implementation, the ground work for those plugins, and today, when we’re recording this, not when we release it, actually new version of Tasty Recipes is coming out. And this is an especially exciting version of Tasty Recipes, and it hast to do with the topic that we’re talking about today. But version 1.6.0, right? Can you talk about why that’s such a big deal and kind of that’ll be our transition into talking about this printing press idea, this thing called Gutenberg. But before we do that, you can talk about this big update that we have.

Raquel Smith: Yeah, so it actually started in version 1.5.0, which we released earlier this month. And it was kind of a quiet thing we slipped into that version, but that version did introduce some support for Gutenberg, which is what we’re going to be talking about. But there was still a couple things that needed some tweaking, needed some fine-tuning. So 1.6.0, which came out today as we’re recording this, today is July 31st, and that one has official full support for Gutenberg in Tasty Recipes.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it, and that’s a big deal. Took a lot of effort and development and testing and so Daniel’s not on the podcast, but want to give him a shout out, and then Ann, who’s the incredible support person on the WP Tasty team and does a lot of the frontline support is a huge part of the team as well, so want to acknowledge her.

Raquel Smith: Yes, so much.

Bjork Ostrom: And so we have this really big release coming out, and it’s a really big thing in general for WordPress, so we thought, “Hey, it makes sense.” You said, “I think it would make sense to come on and talk about this thing called Gutenberg.” Because for the vast majority of people that listen to the Food Blogger Pro podcast, they are running their site on WordPress, and now there’s this new word, there’s this thing called Gutenberg that’s coming out, and we maybe know it’s coming out, or that it’s important, but we don’t have a really good understanding of what it is. So let’s start super high level and say, “Okay, we know the word WordPress, and we know that’s a CMS maybe.” But let’s take a little bit of time and define that and why it’s important to understand that as we dive into the Gutenberg conversation.

Raquel Smith: Yeah, so WordPress is like you said, a CMS. CMS stands for content management system. And it basically is a platform that allows you to create content and push one button and that content magically appears on your website that your visitors can see. And that I think when you are just kind of using it, it’s like, “Yeah, that’s how it works. I press publish and it’s published.” But there’s actually a lot that goes on behind the scenes for that to work. It looks totally different when you’re writing the content out than it does when your visitors see it, and those pages have to be created on the fly when the visitor loads it. There’s just … There’s a lot of cogs that turn in the back end, and that’s what your CMS is, it’s not only the place where you write your content, but it handles all the publishing of that content onto your live website for you.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And so a CMS could be something, WordPress is probably the most popular one, but people maybe have also heard of Blogger, or they’ve heard of Weebly, or Square Space. All of those would be content management systems as well, correct?

Raquel Smith: That’s correct.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And WordPress is kind of this unique CMS in that there’s both kind of a premium version that is … It’s kind of a locked down version that maybe doesn’t do as much, it’s not as flexible, but really, really easy to use. And then, there’s this other version called opensource that is basically open to anybody, and you don’t have to pay for it. But it’s a little bit more manual. You have to do a little bit more set up with it, but it allows for maybe a little bit more flexibility. So can you talk about the difference between those two types of WordPress? Even though they’re both WordPress, what’s different between those two?

Raquel Smith: Yeah, so WordPress.com is the managed solution. And by managed I mean they are your host. They are often times, so they don’t have to be your domain registrar, so where you purchase your domain name, you can do that at WordPress.com if you use their service. They also manage all the updates. And it’s also private. So they run WordPress core, just like anybody who uses WordPress.org, but they also build on top of that to give their customers different features.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And so before you get too far in, when you say private, what do you mean by that?

Raquel Smith: Meaning that it’s not opensource.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Raquel Smith: So for instance, WordPress.org, which is what I would say most food bloggers use, you can go to the WordPress.org site, you can download the actual files that are running on your website, or that you want to run on your website. You can edit them. But more importantly, opensource oftentimes is open contributor. So that code base lives on the internet, and anyone can edit it. There are lots of controls to make sure that there aren’t malicious edits. So everything has to be reviewed, but if any listener listening here ever decides that, “Hey I want to contribute to WordPress core,” then you can do that. Anybody can do that, which is really cool. It’s really a community grown project, WordPress is.

So WordPress.org is the opensource version. WordPress.com is private, so they use … I don’t know the specifics, but they use the vast majority of the WordPress.org code. And then they build on top of it and they charge a premium for that service. And WordPress.com is not the only managed options. There are other similar options like that out there, but WordPress.com is oftentimes the most confusing one because the name overlap.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. This is not a complete analogy, and it probably falls apart pretty quickly, but I kind of imagine the difference between like if you were ordering a new table, getting one from Ikea versus getting one that’s like completed and shipped to you. Where you’re going to pay a little bit more, the shipping’s maybe going to be a little bit more, but it’s like you get this table and it’s all complete and it’s set up.

Raquel Smith: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: Versus Ikea-

Raquel Smith: You still have to like decide where it goes in your house and maybe put a rug underneath and buy some place mats. But in general, yeah, I think that’s a decent analogy.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay.

Raquel Smith: We won’t take it too far though, otherwise-

Bjork Ostrom: We got to stop right now, right?

Raquel Smith: -your table, the proverbial table will fall apart.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, exactly. So why would people not just use WordPress.com if it’s easier, if they take care of it, what’s the advantage of using the opensource version, the WordPress.org version?

Raquel Smith: Yeah, so previously, I’d say about a year ago, the big thing was that you couldn’t install any plugin that you wanted on WordPress.com. They said, “This is the feature set and you take what you get.” And we have a lot of different … And they had a lot of different features that would work for a lot of different people, but you couldn’t install a third party plugin for instance. You had to use the features that they had. About a year ago, that changed a little bit. And so if you have what’s called their business account, and I forget what the price point is for that, but it’s a premium plan for WordPress.com that has, I don’t know, better support, more features.

If you have a business account at WordPress.com, then you can now use third party plugins. So that was really a defining difference between the two. And now that you can install third party plugins, it’s actually a viable option for bloggers I think. And it is nice to get support from the WordPress.com team. So yeah, now that you can install third party plugins, the difference is not nearly as stark.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And do you know where they stand right now on advertisement. I know that was a big thing, ads and affiliates, it was restrictive in terms of what types of advertising you could integrate with, and the type of affiliate marketing you could do. I know that was another big hang up, especially for food blogs, for people that were interested in creating an income primarily from ads and potentially from affiliate as well. I know they were restrictive on that at a point.

Raquel Smith: Yeah. So it says on their website, I’m looking right now, it says, “If you’d like to self-manage third party ad networks,” because they have one called Word Ads that premium or business plans can use. But it says, “If you’d like to self-manage third party ad networks, those options are available on WordPress.com business plans.”

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Got it. So it’s interesting. It sounds like they, a year ago, two years ago, like you said, there was kind of these restrictions that made it more difficult and kind of an obvious choice to say, “Hey, we’re not going to go through WordPress.com.”

Now it sounds like they’re kind of listening and saying, “Okay. Maybe there are some things that we’re going to change and adjust,” but the general idea, historically, running a self-hosted wordpress.org site allows you for lots of flexibility and not as many restrictions, so that’s the reason why many, many people that are, especially people that are using WordPress, are using a self-hosted WordPress site. Got it.

We understand WordPress. We understand a content management system. We also understand, hey, this is going to be a really good solution for a lot of people. If you haven’t started a website or if you’re in the beginning stages, it’s kind of the go-to place because so many people use it, and because so many people use it, there’s a lot of options and integrations, but now there’s this big thing kind of shaking up the WordPress industry called Gutenberg. What is Gutenberg? I mean we know, historically, who Gutenberg was and why the printing press was important-

Raquel Smith: Do we?

Bjork Ostrom: … but what is this new version of Gutenberg?

Raquel Smith: See, when I first heard that world, I was like, “What’s Gutenberg?” I am also not a history buff whatsoever. Gutenberg invented the printing … Well, I was looking it up on Wikipedia the other day. It does not say he invented the printing press.

Bjork Ostrom: Oh, maybe he gets credit for it.

Raquel Smith: It says he brought the printing press to Europe in I don’t know what year, but that’s what Wikipedia says, so I don’t know the specifics. Like I said, I’m not a history buff, but Gutenberg has something to do with the printing press in Europe a few hundred years ago, a while ago.

Bjork Ostrom: Perfect.

Raquel Smith: What Gutenberg is, and the reason it’s called Gutenberg, is because it’s really a new way of publishing with WordPress. Just as the printing press was a new way of publishing content back in hundreds of years ago. I don’t even know what century it was. Do you know?

Bjork Ostrom: We were in this bookstore. It was a theological historical bookstore, and so they had these ancient books. There’s this book sitting out, and it was like guess the date … They said it was the oldest book in the bookstore, guess the date of this book. It’s like Lindsay and I looked at each other, and we were like, “It could be 1801 or like 1200.” We knew it wasn’t 1200, but I feel like, once you go back into the history of publishing, it’s like when did published books become a thing? I think it was the 1400s.

Raquel Smith: Yeah. That’s what I was thinking, but I was like, “No. 1492 is when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, so that’s got to be the wrong century.”

Bjork Ostrom: That’s really funny.

Raquel Smith: According to Wikipedia, Johannes Gutenberg’s work on the printing press began in approximately 1436.

Bjork Ostrom: There we go.

Raquel Smith: Yes, hundreds of years ago, he really changed how books were published. They used to be handwritten, or stamped, or whatever. Then the printing press came along, and it really speeded that type of thing up, and so it was a total change for how words were published.

Gutenberg with WordPress maybe isn’t going to cause quite the shakeup globally as the printing press in Europe did, but it is a giant change in the WordPress ecosystem, so it’s … Basically, everything that looks familiar to you when you go to add a new post and everything that’s there, that’s all totally going to change. The idea is that, with publishing in WordPress right now, it’s kind of like you have a Word document, you know?

Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Raquel Smith: You can type things out, you can bold things, you can underline things, you can add images, all stuff you can do with a Word document, but if you want to do anything more complicated, it’s really complicated. Then I was thinking of an analogy earlier. I was like, “How do I explain this?” Gutenberg is kind of like if the classic editor, what you’re used to right now using, is like using Microsoft Word to write up a document, Gutenberg is akin to opening up Adobe Illustrator or Adobe InDesign, I should say, and using a much more powerful tool for making great layouts and complex web pages.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. One of the things that I would guess would happen is people would hear that, they’d maybe hear Illustrator or InDesign, and they’d think, “Oh, those are super, super complicated and hard to use.” Will that be true for Gutenberg? Do you think people will struggle with it, or is part of it this combination of making something new, more flexible allows you to do more but also still easy to use, because I think that’s one of the things that people like about WordPress is that it’s relatively approachable.

Raquel Smith: I think that people who have been using WordPress, when they first go into it, they’re going to be like, “What the heck? I don’t know where any of the buttons are. This is horrible.” That would be my reaction because when you’re used to something, even if it’s extremely complicated, that’s what you want to do, that’s what feels good to you.

I think if someone new is to jump into a Gutenberg website or a Gutenberg WordPress site, they’ll find it really intuitive and easy to use. I think that people who are used to the old way, it’ll only take a week or two to get used to the new way, and then you’ll really like it. It is simple to use. It’ll just be a little bit of a struggle because things are in different locations and you have to find them, but it should be really simple to use, definitely not as complicated as something like InDesign is. It’s also not going to be as powerful as something like InDesign is for layout, not that it couldn’t be, but it’s just not really necessary, so it won’t be as complicated as using something as InDesign. There will be a bit of a struggle for people who are used to the old one, but they’ll get used to it.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s like when I … Maybe a different version is when I … I have an iPhone 10. Before, when I had the other version, it would have a little button that I would scan my finger in, and that’s what would unlock it. The iPhone 10 doesn’t have any buttons, or at least not to unlock the phone. I remember getting it and thinking, “Oh, my gosh. Everything is different. I’ve been using an iPhone for what, however long it was, five, six, seven years. How am I going to relearn this?” I found, within 24 hours, I kind of had picked up on it, but it’s like you have to rewire your brain a little bit. Then I imagine, with Gutenberg, there’s going to be some of that brain rewiring to say okay-

Raquel Smith: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: Especially if you are somebody who spends a lot of time drafting content, you’re going to have these really well-carved paths for how you put an image in, for instance, and that’s not going to be the same. What if people want to get a feel for it? Is there a place you can go to test it or an example of what it looks like? What would be the options for getting a feel for what this actually looks like and how it works?

Raquel Smith: Yeah, so someone named Tom J. Nowell … I’m not really familiar with who this person is, but he made something called Frontenberg. It’s basically he finagled things so that when you go to this website, it’s called frontenberg.tomjn.com, when you go to that website, it loads up something that looks like the WordPress admin area, and he ported in all the Gutenberg functionality so you can actually modify content on the page and play with it, see how the blocks work, we’ll talk about blocks, and you can really mess around with it a little bit in a very simplified way because there’s no plugins that he has installed on this site that you might use on your blog, but you can get a little bit of a feel for how it functions.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Cool. We’ll link to that in the show notes. If people want to get a feel for how it works, you can go frontenberg.tomjn.com and a really cool kind of demo that he’s spun up.

One of the things you had mentioned was blocks, and when people go to this example site they will be able to see that. What is a block, and why is that something that’s important to know about, and how do they function? Why do we need to know about them?

Raquel Smith: Yeah, so Gutenberg is blocks. That is the main thing that Gutenberg is. Just as in if you’re using a design tool like … maybe Canva is a better analogy than Adobe InDesign. If you want to add some paragraph, you create a box, and you put your paragraph text in there, and then you can drag an image in and add an image. Each of those elements is a different piece in Canva, and so that’s kind of the idea of what Gutenberg and its blocks are. Everything is a block. Every single paragraph that you write is a block. They’re really easy to add. You just hit enter. You won’t even know you’re adding a new block for when it comes to paragraphs, but everything in there is a block. What that enables you to do is it enables you to add different types of blocks for different types of content that you wouldn’t have been able to add before or that was kind of difficult to add before.

For instance, say on your blog post you were … Most people who listen to this podcast are food bloggers, so say, on your blog post, above the blog post you have some little widgets that say what category the recipe is in and what cuisine it’s a part of. What if you wanted to put those somewhere in the middle of your blog post? Maybe you wouldn’t want to do that, I don’t know, but doing that kind of thing used to be more difficult with the classic editor, but now, with Gutenberg, you’ll be able to just click and add block button, and drop it in there, and then you’re good to go. It’s going to make publishing a lot more flexible and a lot more powerful. Yeah, every single thing that’s in there is a block.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. That makes sense. It’s kind of like switching from … Right now, if you use WordPress, you can imagine. It’s kind of like just one long run-on piece of paper. You have it all in front of you, and you can add stuff in there, but it’s not like it views that, necessarily, as little separate areas, whereas with Gutenberg it’s kind of saying, “Okay. Each paragraph, each heading, each image, a quote area, we’re going to treat this all as kind of a separate thing.” When you go in and use it, it actually feels nice to have that separated out, and just the interface feels a little bit more updated. It feels like you have control over it a little bit more. Is that why WordPress is doing this? Is that why they said, “Hey, we need to move forward on Gutenberg,” because it’s a UI thing, or are there other reasons why it’s an important thing for WordPress to be doing?

Raquel Smith: I think a driving factor is because wordpress.com, which does contribute a lot to wordpress.org core development, and they drive a lot of new features that an open source community might not take on on their own, so wordpress.com, I think this … and I might be incorrect about this, but I think what happened is they’re like, “Okay. People really like the visual-type editors that you can find in Squarespace, for instance. You lay out your content, and then you press go, and then you visit that page, and it looks the same or nearly the same on the front end as it does on the back.” They saw this need and this desire from people, and they’re like, “How do we go about building that?” Their answer was Gutenberg.

The idea behind Gutenberg is that you are much more … and it won’t be a total one for one, but you are going to get a much better approximation of what your content will look like on the front end as you’re building it on the back end. That’s what’s cool about Gutenberg. When Gutenberg really goes into effect, it won’t be as amazing as it possibly could, but I think, as people start to create themes and plugins around Gutenberg specifically, then we’ll start to reach more of that ideal spot where what you are creating on the back end looks exactly the same as what you’re publishing on the front.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Yeah, that makes sense, kind of this evolution where the first version that people start to use might not be the best version, but the idea being, over time, it’s going to be a little bit more of an actual … they call it WYSIWYG. For those listening that aren’t familiar with what that is, what you see is what you get. Many, many sites, like you said, Squarespace or kind of some of these paid-for premium content management systems, have a pretty good system or have a pretty good editor for that WYSIWYG feel, what you see is what you get. The WordPress post and page editor hasn’t always been like that, so this will bring about that evolution and, hopefully, get people a little bit closer and, over time, even more closer.

The big thing I think people are wondering is like, “Okay. I haven’t really seen it before.” Most people listening probably don’t have Gutenberg as part of their site, so what does it like for the rollout to happen, and when should we expect to see it with our own sites?

Raquel Smith: Yeah, so today, July 31st, is actually the first stage in the rollout for Gutenberg in WordPress core. WordPress core does not have any Gutenberg code in it yet. I shouldn’t say not any, but the actual code for Gutenberg, what really runs it is a plugin that you can download from the wordpress.org plugin repository, and so I think that the update 4.9.8 is supposed to go out today. What that one’s going to do is that’s going to include a call-out, so once you update, you’ll see a call-out on your blog somewhere that says, “Try Gutenberg. If you don’t want to try Gutenberg, install the classic editor plugin.” The classic editor plugin will prevent Gutenberg from running on your website if, for some reason, there’s functionality on your website that does not work with Gutenberg.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Raquel Smith: We can jump into that more, but that’s the one-

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, okay, so that’s interesting. It’s kind of a tiered rollout. First they’re saying, “You can install this plugin.” One of the things that you had mentioned a couple times was this idea of WordPress core. Can you explain what that is and the difference between a plugin and WordPress core?

Raquel Smith: Yeah, so when you just start your website, some hosts will install other stuff, like they’ll pre-install some plugins, but most of the time or a lot of the time, it’s pretty bare bones. What you’re running when you first install WordPress is WordPress core. It’s all the basic functionality. You can publish posts. You can publish pages. You can have comments, assuming your theme supports them. Then there are themes, which is the paint on your website and how it looks. Sometimes themes introduce functionality but, usually, that’s left to what’s called a plugin. Plugins are additional functionality added on to WordPress core that not everyone will need, so they’re not included in WordPress core for everyone, but that you and other people may need for your website.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. It’s kind of like I like to think of car. You have your base car, and then you can do aftermarket parts, so you could get, I don’t know if this exists, but a really cool muffler. I’ve never gotten any aftermarket parts for my cars, but WordPress core kind of being like the base car, and then you have your aftermarket parts where you could get spinner rims or something like that that you can add as aftermarket parts. Right now, Gutenberg is an aftermarket part, but eventually, it’ll be part of the base car, like it’ll be the thing that you get when you install it. Do we know when exactly that will happen?

Raquel Smith: That, there’s no official date on that, but the goal is to have it merged into WordPress core, and that update will be WordPress 5.0. The goal for that was sometime in August.

I don’t imagine it’ll be early August. Probably late August. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in September, but within the next couple months, it should be coming through, and we’ll … I don’t think we’ll do another blog or podcast about it, but we’ll be talking about it on Food Blogger Pro and on the WP Tasty blog when that kind of stuff can be expected.

Bjork Ostrom: Great. How do people go about preparing for it? It seems like a really big change, and my guess is that there are some things that people need to do, or can we just assume, “Hey, things are going to work, and it’s going to be a change in how the information is presented, but it’s not going to actually break anything”?

Raquel Smith: I can’t speak for all plugins, because there’s a lot of plugins out there, but for the most part, content that you already have is going to stay the same when the user loads it on the page. What’s going to be different is that when you go to create a new post, you will be using the Gutenberg editor, and things that you expect to be there may or may not be there, so it’s definitely not something that I would just install and then hope for the best. Because it’s such a big change, so Gutenberg is a fundamental, complete rewrite of how editing happens in WordPress, and because of that, anything that modifies any plugins that modify or change or enhance the editing experience in WordPress for the classic editor, those, out of the box, are not going to work with Gutenberg, because … It’s even, I mean, it’s so fundamentally different that it’s using a completely different computer language, or web language. It’s using JavaScript React instead of PHP, which WordPress is built on, built with.

Any plugins that aren’t specifically making updates to be compatible with the new Gutenberg editor, if those plugins are utilized within the editing functionality of WordPress, then they won’t work. For instance, with WP Tasty recipes, we’ve been working a lot on making sure it’ll continue to work with the classic editor, but it will also work with the Gutenberg editor.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it, and that’s really-

Raquel Smith: That’s-

Bjork Ostrom: I was just going to say, this is maybe the ultimate example of a plugin that uses the editor, and not only the editor, but it’s a really, really important piece of the piece of content, like if you have a food blog or recipe blog, the recipe kind of is the thing, and it’s all done within the editing interface. If you have a plugin like that, it’s probably the kind of thing where you’d want to reach out to the plugin developer. Is there any way that you could test it to see, or if people want to give Gutenberg a spin on their site, what if they just installed it and just to see how it works? If they do, and it doesn’t work, is everything, does it kind of blow everything up, or what does that look like in terms of testing it out, or should people wait just as long as possible?

Raquel Smith: I don’t recommend waiting as long as possible. I would … It’s not imperative that you do it immediately, but I really would. I would try and make sure that everything’s going to work as you expect it to, as soon as you can. I wrote a blog post about this on the WP Tasty blog, and you can go to wptasty.com/gutenberg to read that blog post. That walks you through these steps that I’m going to talk about, so if you get lost or you want some more information, then you can head over there.

What I would recommend is, I would recommend setting up what’s called a staging site. Most hosts offer staging sites. Any of the large hosts, you’re going to be able to set up a staging site. What that is, is they take your blog post, or I’m sorry, they take your website as it is, and they port the content over to a different website. Then you can make changes to that different website at the staging URL and test how everything’s working using all the plugins that you’re currently using, the theme you’re currently using. Everything is the same, except it’s not your live website, so you-

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Raquel Smith: … can test changes there. I recommend getting in contact with your host, figuring out how you can set up a staging site, and then install the Gutenberg plugin, which we’ll also link in the resources, and install that and give it a shot, see how it works.

Bjork Ostrom: That makes sense. One of the things, I think, that’s important to point out is this idea that as, like you said, as soon as possible, you want to see what’s working and not working, but you don’t want to do that as soon as possible on your live site-

Raquel Smith: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: … because that’s going to be a lot more stressful than if you have a site that’s not live, that’s hidden, that’s kind of your test site, is your playground. It’s where you can go and kind of kick the dirt and not worry about getting the walls dirty and, analogy, feel free to use that however you want. I have no idea what type of room would have dirt and walls, but if there was one, the comparable analogy-

Raquel Smith: The king of-

Bjork Ostrom: … would be-

Raquel Smith: … analogies, and bad analogies, at that.

Bjork Ostrom: You can … It’s like kicking the tires, but kicking the dirt against the wall. Where you can get a feel for it, make sure that it’s working okay, and then know and feel confident that when it is included in WordPress core, that it’s not going to be this scrambled, it’s going to be something that’s really nerve-wracking to implement. What about with themes and plugins? Let’s say you install it, and we talked about Tasty Recipes, how that was a really big thing today that we pushed out compatibility for Gutenberg, but how do people know if their other plugins and themes will work with Gutenberg?

Raquel Smith: Yeah, so what you’re going to want to do is go to your installed plugins list and look at every single one of the plugins that you have and think critically about, “Does this plugin affect my editing experience? When I am creating a post, do I interact with this plugin?” An example of a plugin, or three plugins, in fact, that interact with the WordPress editing experience are Tasty Recipes, and Tasty Pins, and Tasty Links, for that matter, so all three of our plugins do, you’re creating your blog post in the post editor. Then when you want to add a recipe as you’re in the post editor, you click the “Add Recipe” button. That is functionality inside the editor.

With a plugin that doesn’t really interact with the post editor would be something like Akismet, which is the spam comment moderator. That’s a really important plugin, but it doesn’t really need Gutenberg support, because you don’t do anything with the editor with Akismet. Look at all the plugins and see which ones actually, that you actually use in the post editor and make a list of those. Open up the Google Sheets document, or Excel, if you use desktop apps-

Bjork Ostrom: Nice.

Raquel Smith: … and make a list of all your plugins, which ones are, affect the editing experience, and then go open a new post in your staging site, and this is after you’ve installed Gutenberg, of course, and then go through each one of those plugins and try to use that plugin. See, “Is there a block that I need to add to this plugin? If I would expect it to be a block, does that block exist?” If some … Just because a block doesn’t exist for a certain plugin doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have Gutenberg support. Not everything is a block. For instance, Tasty Pins functionality won’t require its own block. It’ll just be, you add an image, and then you’ll be able to add your Pinterest text to the image, just like you do now. We’re still, that isn’t fully ready to go with Gutenberg, because we still have to introduce support for that. It just doesn’t get its own block.

Really, just go through your plugins and make lists, or make notes in your list, in your little spreadsheet, and see which functionality exists that you would expect to exist, which functionality doesn’t exist, which things don’t work quite right, and keep some good notes, and that way, you’ll know which plugins of yours are going to work with Gutenberg and which ones won’t.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Great. Like you mentioned, that would probably be something that would be good to do, not necessarily like, “You have to do it today. Otherwise, everything’s going to blow up when your site switches over,” but, hey, if this is going to be something that’s included in WordPress core, it’s going to be part of the editing experience for sure, you want to make sure that stuff is prepared and that you have a good understanding of how your site will work and what things will look like when that switch happens sometime in the next, we can probably confidently say, and by saying, “Probably,” it doesn’t mean-

Raquel Smith: “Probably confidently.”

Bjork Ostrom: “Probably confidently” is, naturally, not confident. You can probably say within the next few months. It’s hard to say, because there is talk of Gutenberg being earlier than it is right now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are delays with that, even with the expected launch of what it is, but within the next few months ish, we can say-

Raquel Smith: Yeah, and I’d say-

Bjork Ostrom: … that switch will happen.

Raquel Smith: … certainly by the end of the year.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Raquel Smith: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s important to know, and important to understand what’s happening with it. If people want to follow along with Gutenberg, if they’re feeling a little bit nerdy and are interested in paying closer attention to that, where would they go?

Raquel Smith: I actually subscribe to the WPTavern, which is run by WordPress.com. I think it’s actually owned by Matt Mullenweg, but I subscribe to their newsletter, and it’s general WordPress news, but I found that to be the best source of up-to-date Gutenberg information. Anything big that happens, they’ll write a blog post on, and I get a little email about it. I think that’s a good source. Yeah, I will … Anything big that happens, like I said, we’ll be posting about it on the WP Tasty blog, but yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Raquel, if people want to touch base with you to connect with you somehow, what would be the best way to do that? Obviously, we have our support, but that’s not necessarily for just connecting with you. Is there a way that people can reach out to you?

Raquel Smith: Yeah, you can email me, [email protected], and that goes to me for anything that’s not really support-related. If you have a support-related question for our plugins, obviously, you can go to, or you can email [email protected], or if you have questions about Gutenberg, head over to wptasty.com/gutenberg, and you can leave a comment on that blog post, and I can help you out there, too.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Raquel, thanks so much for coming on the podcast. You are officially our number one guest on the podcast. Actually, Lindsay might be right up there with you, so she might have you beat, and then right after Lindsay-

Raquel Smith: I think she’s technically a cohost, though.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, she would maybe be the cohost, so you are officially the most popular guest on the Food Blogger Pro podcast, so thanks for coming on.

Raquel Smith: Yeah, sure thing, Bjork.

Alexa Peduzzi: Hey, guys. Alexa here, bringing you the Food Blogger Pro podcast Reviewer of the Week, and I just want to say that we love this section of the podcast, because so much of what we do relies on you, as listeners, as members, as creators, as doers, as get-stuff-doners. We just so appreciate that you’re along for this journey with us, and we want to highlight you and celebrate you.

This review on iTunes comes from Kim at kickassbaker.com, and it says, “I’m so happy I found Food Blogger Pro and this podcast. I’m a brand new blogger, and the amount of useful information, tips, and guides from Bjork, Lindsay, and the Food Blogger Pro community have accelerated my launch into this space so much quicker than I could have imagined. For me, the absolute best part of this podcast is Bjork’s ability to share his knowledge and extract knowledge out of his guests in a way that’s incredibly useful and easy to apply. His and Lindsay’s generosity in sharing with their community what they’ve learned, and continue to learn, makes me want to be more generous and give back, as well. Thank you for continuing to inspire us every day. Kim at kickassbaker.com.”

Well, thank you so much, Kim, and I absolutely agree. I love that Bjork and Lindsay are just so open with all of their knowledge, and all of the lessons that they’ve learned, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the super helpful. I really love that you appreciate that as well. One last thing. If you are a Food Blogger Pro member right now, Bjork and Raquel will be doing a live Q&A this Thursday, August 16th, at 1:00 PM Eastern or 12:00 PM Central to answer all of your question about Gutenberg, WordPress, plugins, all of that fun stuff, so you definitely don’t want to miss it. You can go to foodbloggerpro.com/gutenberg to register and ask your questions, and we’ll see you there. Thanks so much for tuning in. We appreciate you all so much, and from all of us here at FBP HQ, make it a great week.

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