Gear up for a more intuitive WordPress!
Version 4.8 of WordPress, named “Evans” in honor of jazz pianist and composer William John “Bill” Evans, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. New features in 4.8 add more ways for you to express yourself and represent your brand.
Though some updates seem minor, they’ve been built by hundreds of contributors with you in mind. Get ready for new features you’ll welcome like an old friend: link improvements, three new media widgets covering images, audio, and video, an updated text widget that supports visual editing, and an upgraded news section in your dashboard which brings in nearby and upcoming WordPress events.
Adding an image to a widget is now a simple task that is achievable for any WordPress user without needing to know code. Simply insert your image right within the widget settings. Try adding something like a headshot or a photo of your latest weekend adventure — and see it appear automatically.
A welcome video is a great way to humanize the branding of your website. You can now add any video from the Media Library to a sidebar on your site with the new Video widget. Use this to showcase a welcome video to introduce visitors to your site or promote your latest and greatest content.
Are you a podcaster, musician, or avid blogger? Adding a widget with your audio file has never been easier. Upload your audio file to the Media Library, go to the widget settings, select your file, and you’re ready for listeners. This would be a easy way to add a more personal welcome message, too!
Rich Text Widget
This feature deserves a parade down the center of town! Rich-text editing capabilities are now native for Text widgets. Add a widget anywhere and format away. Create lists, add emphasis, and quickly and easily insert links. Have fun with your newfound formatting powers, and watch what you can accomplish in a short amount of time.
Have you ever tried updating a link, or the text around a link, and found you can’t seem to edit it correctly? When you edit the text after the link, your new text also ends up linked. Or you edit the text in the link, but your text ends up outside of it. This can be frustrating! With link boundaries, a great new feature, the process is streamlined and your links will work well. You’ll be happier. We promise.
WordPress Updating Tips
When updating WordPress themes or plugins following the simple steps below can save you some headaches. With full revision updates (for example: 3.x to 4.0):
Doing a quick double-check with theme and plugin developers *before* updating to see if they have any concerns or comments about your theme and the new version is wise. If you are using quality a theme and plugins the developer(s) will be on top of this.
To help you safely and easily update to the most recent version of WordPress.
Before you update we need to do a little housekeeping:
- Save your WordPress XML file to your hard drive. You do this by clicking on the Tools icon in the left sidebar and then Export. On the next screen click on Download Export File. You might want to create a new Folder on your hard drive where you keep all your Website files. Name it WP Backup so you know to save all backup files for WP there (and you’ll know where to find them if you need them). It is a good idea to back up this file once a month anyway regardless if an update is needed.
- Backup your WordPress database. There is a nifty plugin that makes this process a no-brainer, WP-DBManager. This plugin is also a must have for repairing and optimizing your database (which you should be doing minimally monthly to keep things running smoothly). On some WordPress Managed hosts you can create a “back-up point” in your hosting dashboard which backs up your site at that moment in time.
- FTP into your Web hosting server and download a copy of your database backup so you have a copy off your server. That backup won’t do you any good if the server crashes or has issues. Even better, store the backup file in the cloud or on an external drive in case you have computer problems.
- Cover all the bases and download your theme/framework/child theme folders to your local hard drive. This is just good practice if you have customized any theme files.
- Then, to be safe, deactivate all plugins before upgrading.
It is a good idea to review my article:
WordPress How To: Do the Mother of All Backups
Once you get the above tasks accomplished, follow the links in the nag bar (it’s called a nag because that yellow bar will be up there “nagging” you until you take care of the important issue noted) and update your site to the latest version of WordPress.
Don’t forget to reactivate and update your plugins. You’ll see with each WordPress update that plugin developers also update their plugins which you can also do with one click. You’ll see the now familiar yellow nag bar under the plugin name in the plugins area with a link to “upgrade automatically.”
If you find after an update that something is not working as it was, go through the systematic process of deactivating your plugins one at a time until you find the culprit. If the developer has not updated his/her plugin to work with the lasted update, find another plugin whose developer is on top of these things!
Updating should not be ignored or put off. When you keep up with WordPress, have a Premium Theme and Plugin updates, you are not only keeping up with technology, but you make sure your site is secure and functioning error free.
At your service,