Hey everybody, welcome to another article in Ritik’s WordPress Guide. I’m Ritik Kachhhot and today we’re going to discuss What’s new in WordPress 5.5. It’s coming out the first week of august WordPress will be making a pretty major update to its core functionality.
When WordPress releases a main update I won’t be doing it for all the updates but when they release some core functionality and make some significant changes I felt like it might be important for me to cover it.
However, it’s a small price to pay for all the power that you have at your fingertips in terms of customization ability. Well, the Gutenberg block builder is not nearly as powerful as the other builders out there. However, they’ve made some really big optimizations and they’re able to load a page extremely fast. So the native Gutenberg builder might not be as powerful as some of the other builders out there but it is the fastest and hopefully, it’ll push its competitors to become faster too and when I say competitors I’m talking about the other WordPress builders such as Divi, Elementor, etc.
Auto-update your WordPress themes and plugins
The next feature that I want to discuss that I think is pretty important is an auto plugin and theme updates. Automatically allowing you to update now. I’m going to put this out there before I even talk about this.
I’m not sure I would do this across the board for all of my plugins and themes because some of them do have the potential obviously to break your site. So you don’t want to arbitrarily ever just go in and select auto-updates on everything because your site could potentially get broken depending on the breakage. I mean if you think about it, if you’re new to WordPress, WordPress is a piece of software, plugins, and themes or other pieces of software that are interacting with each other.
WordPress has an updated plugin or theme that may not have been updated to the latest WordPress yet and it could potentially break your site. That’s kind of layman’s terms so what but what WordPress core is now going to allow you to do. It’s going to allow you to pick and choose which ones you want to auto-update. So it’s not a blanket overall you have to do it all or nothing it allows you to go into each plugin on your site each theme or one theme your theme. You know it’ll allow you to go in and choose whether or not you want a specific plugin to do an automatic update and there may be some that are safe they don’t know have a ton of functionality. It’s not going to destroy your site and you know you may want to just go ahead and allow it to auto-update every time.
So it’s a great new feature and if you do that only do it if you already have daily automatic backups happening because otherwise, it could get disastrous. Maybe some of the ones that maybe aren’t as key to the functionality of your website would be the safe ones to enable.
Default XML Sitemap
The next feature is that XML sitemaps are going to be built into WordPress. So if you don’t know what an XML sitemap is, it’s essentially a map of all of your pages on your site. All of the content and the links for that content gets submitted to google via google search console and it tells google here’s my website now go and index it and it’s you telling google where to find all your stuff for your website.
Now typically you have to use some sort of a plug-in whether it’s an SEO plug-in Yoast an all-in-one SEO framework. I’m pretty sure all of the major SEO plugins have sitemaps built-in or there probably is also standalone sitemap plugins as well but either way, you used to have to use some sort of a plugin and it when you create new content automatically updates the site map and so Google’s notified through that.
When you add content, you just have to use an additional plugin as I mentioned and so now with WordPress 5.5, it’s going to be built-in. Which it’s something that should have been built years ago because every website needs a site map that wants to be found on the search engine. So that’s pretty cool. You want to configure it and a plugin is going to be configured natively within WordPress.
Default Lazy Loading for Images
The last feature that I want to focus on is native lazy loading images and you may be asking yourself what the heck is native image lazy loading. You know basically what lazy loading is. Is it the technique that defers the loading of non-critical resources images in the case that we’re discussing right now and leaving them off-screen until you need them images or iframes loaded on the page only when the user needs to display them? So if you’re scrolling down the page and you come upon an image it’s going to pull up that image.
Whereas normally without lazy loading attributes it loads all the images on the page and everything regardless of whether or not you’re down at the bottom looking at those images and stuff. So adding native lazy loading into WordPress core is a pretty big deal because guess what it’s going to go back to point one which is site speed which is going to allow your pages to load a whole lot quicker. Especially for your user and it’s a great user experience because your user doesn’t we don’t have to wait for everything to load on the page.
We can only know as we get to it loads and we need it and stuff and it just makes things run a lot faster as opposed to everything loading at once.
There are other things mentioned that will be released in WordPress 5.5. A lot of the ones I haven’t talked about yet are centred around the block builder. Some of them are like being able to drag spacing copy and paste styles, responsive controls device previews, and a lot of those things are kind of copied directly from page builders like Divi and so if you’re already using Divi then those things will seem familiar to you.
There’s a lot of cool things that have arrived. I would call it a major WordPress update. So that’s it. Thank you so much for reading the article. Stay safe out there. If you like this article, then please share this with your friends and subscribe to get regular updates. You can also follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.