WordPress News and Links — Mar 23, 2021

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Here is our update on the latest WordPress news and recommended reads for Outcome Labs WordPress Care Plan customers and our newsletter subscribers.  We provide this so you are current on things that may impact your site and to highlight opportunities to enhance your site to support your business goals. You can see other WordPress-related posts here.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us.

Gutenberg 10.2 Available

The Gutenberg team announced the availability of the latest update to the plugin, Gutenberg 10.2 last week. This update includes updates to Global Styles and the Site Editor, improved core block options, and a number of bug fixes. You can read the release post here

Justin Tadlock did his usual thorough deep dive into the update.  He discussed the new horizontal spacer feature which he really does not like. He also gives an overview of new Full Site Editing features. You can read the full post on WordPress Tavern.

There were some issues reported by users who updated to Gutenberg 10.2 who had not updated to WordPress 5.7.  The WordPress core team is responding to the issue, but we are not sure why you would do this. As we have discussed before, we do not recommend using the Gutenberg plugin on production sites. On your sandbox, you should always update to the latest released version of the core platform.

More Block-based Tools Emerge

Many popular plugins have been adding blocks to replace shortcodes or enable new capabilities over the past several months. We are also following new offerings like Newsletter Glue which enables you to build newsletters for the leading bulk email service provers with the Block Editor. We are using it for our newsletter here at Outcome Labs.

Birgit Pauli-Haack highlighted a couple of great examples of this in the latest Gutenberg Times newsletter. She featured two new plugins, Formality and Gutenberg Forms, that enable you to create forms with the Block Editor.  We are evaluating both of these plugins here at Outcome Labs.  We don’t think that either one can currently be a replacement for established products like Gravity Forms, WP-Forms, or Ninja Forms that have a broad feature set, we are excited to see this kind of innovation being enabled by the Block Editor.

Optimizing WordPress Page Experience

This May, Google will start rolling out the new “Page Experience” ranking factors.  If you haven’t started to drill down into this yet, a pretty good “basics” overview was published recently on Torque.  It gives a concise explanation of the three Core Web Vitals that Google will be using.  These are:

  • LCP aka Largest Contentful Paint 
  • FID aka or First Input Delay 
  • CLS aka or Cumulative Layout Shift

The post also lays out key considerations and actions for WordPress sites. While they are basic, they are a good place to start. You can read the entire post here.

Yoast also published a good overview article that can help you learn about Core Web Vitals.  You can read it here. Yoast also did an article where they walked through five specific strategies.  you can read it here.

WordPress Caching: All You Need to Know

The team at Delicious Brains posted a solid “basics” tutorial about WordPress caching. As they point out “caching in WordPress is often misunderstood and sites run slower than they should as a result.”  They explain what caching is and the three “layers” of caching that can be used for a WordPress site.  These are browser caching, page caching, and object caching. They also cover plugins and Cloudflare. If you are confused about caching and want to make sure your site is as optimized as possible, this is definitely a recommended read.

You can read the post here.

WordPress Tallahassee Meetup Reminder

The Tallahassee WordPress Meetup has its next meetup scheduled for Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at 6:30 p.m.   This will be a virtual session on Google meet. You can get more details and register here.

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