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WordPress 5.3: Everything You Need to Know

By WordPress No Comments

WordPress 5.3 is on its way. It’s set to release on November 12, 2019, adding a lot of new features and updates to the platform. It’s the last major release on WordPress for 2019, and it’s set to be a big one. From Gutenberg block editor improvements to user interface updates, the update will make it easier for both users and developers to manage WordPress websites.
In this article, we will discuss some of the major features being added in WordPress 5.3. We will also go over what you can do to prepare for the changes before the release date.

What to Expect in WordPress 5.3

This year has been an extremely busy one for WordPress. WordPress 5.3 marks the last major release on the platform for 2019. The update comes with some major improvements to the block editor and user interface.
The major updates to note include:

A New Default Theme

WordPress 5.3 Twenty Twenty Default Theme

Twenty Twenty is a brand new theme being introduced to WordPress. It is a full-width theme that has been fully built to support the Gutenberg block editor. The theme pays special attention to flexibility, clarity, and readability. It also features separate menus for mobile screens and a single-column layout.

Large Image Support

WordPress 5.3 will now support large image sizes. Plus, images will automatically be rotated if they are imported improperly. These updates are especially important for mobile users. Plus, your images will look beautifully crisp throughout your blog posts and website.

Group Blocking

WordPress 5.3 Gutenberg Group Block

In WordPress 5.3 you will now be able to group blocks together by placing them inside a block called the Group block. The block can support a variety of alignments and background colors, giving users a lot of freedom when creating content. You will also be able to save block groups to make designing your website pages much easier.

Column Improvements

With the newly updated Column block, you will be able to choose a layout for your columns and adjust the width of each column from within the settings. Block placeholders are also easy to add to columns, making it easy to create multi-column layouts.

Table Improvements

Tables are also getting a makeover with WordPress 5.3. It will be easy to style tables and even add stripes to your table rows. Plus, the new Table block will make it easy to add header and foot rows to your tables.

Button Improvements

It will become even easier to manage buttons that you add to blog posts or pages. With WordPress 5.3, you can select border-radius directly in the editor. You will also be able to have links open in a new window through the editor as well.

New Social Link Block

WordPress 5.3 is adding a new block to the Gutenberg editor, the Social Links block. This will make it easy to add social media icons to your blog posts and pages. From the editor, you will be able to edit which social media icons you want to include. Plus, you will be able to directly edit the links in each particular block that you add to your site.

Site Health Enhancements

WordPress 5.3 removes the site health percentage that was front and center in the Site Health tool from WordPress 5.2. The reason for this is that some users expressed concerns that the percentage was ambiguous. Users could be tricked into pursuing a 100% score rather than pursuing the website performance and security solutions that served their needs best. In WordPress 5.3, two indicators will now be displayed in the tool: “should be improved” and “good.”

Admin Experience Upgrades

If an admin hasn’t logged into their website for a period of time, an automatic email verification notification is sent out to them. WordPress 5.3 sets the interval to 6 months by default, but developers can change this setting if they wish to do so. A show/hide password feature will now display on WordPress login screens on both mobile and desktop devices. Plus, WordPress will now handle date and timezones more efficiently.

Be Ready for WordPress 5.3

It’s time to prepare if you haven’t already been doing so for WordPress 5.3. This will prevent and disruptions or compatibility issues when it is time to update.

To start, you can try using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin on your website. After you have installed and activated the plugin from your WordPress dashboard, you can use the plugin to test how your site does on WordPress 5.3. 

We highly recommend creating a backup of your site before updating. This will prevent any headaches that may occur if your site does not work properly on WordPress 5.3. Furthermore, this will make it easier for you to upgrade to the full version of WordPress 5.3 once it’s released. 
You can always revert back to WordPress 5.2 from the plugin if necessary. From there, you can work to enhance your site to its ready to handle WordPress 5.3.

WordPress 5.3 Site Health

WordPress 5.3 requires your site to run on PHP 7+. This is significantly different than WordPress 5.2, which required a minimum of PHP 5.6.2. To find out what version of PHP you are using, use the Site Health tool. If you do need to update, check with your hosting provider for specific instructions. You may also consider switching to our dedicated hosting, that way our experts from the team can manage the backend of your website with ease and assist you when updating your PHP.

Conclusion

Your websites will run more optimally when they are running on the latest version of WordPress. With WordPress 5.3, major updates are coming to the platform that improve its usability and performance.

To upgrade to WordPress 5.3, we recommend preparing in the following ways:

  • Test the WordPress Beta Tester plugin
  • Backup your website, database, plugins and themes
  • Ensure you’re running on the latest version of PHP

If this information makes your head spin, don’t worry. We’ve got your back. At Simply Styled Sites we know that managing your website can sometimes get complicated. That’s why we provide maintenance packages to make managing the backend of your website easy and simple. With our maintenance services we will do all the work for you to ensure your website is ready to upgrade to WordPress 5.3. Plus, we will perform scheduled backups, security monitoring, troubleshooting and more. Doing maintenance on your own can compromise the security of website or even cause the website to break. Save yourself the expensive headache and work with us instead to ensure your website continues to run optimally on WordPress 5.3.

We hope this rundown of WordPress 5.3 was helpful to you. If you have any further questions about the upcoming update, feel free to let us know in the comments. We’re here to help!

4 Reasons Why You Should Use The Salient Theme

By How To, Resource, WordPress No Comments
The Salient theme is one of the most popular WordPress templates available on ThemeForest. It is a highly customizable theme that you can use in a variety of different ways. Salient has a ton of robust built-in features such as page animations, sliders and custom post types. These features allow developers to build websites for a variety of different clients without jumping back and forth between different themes. Throughout the rest of this post, we will discuss 4 reasons why you should be using Salient for your WordPress website if you aren’t already.

The Benefits of Using a Reputable Theme

If you’re building a WordPress site, you’ve probably heard many different terms from plugins to themes to blocks and more.  It can be confusing and if you don’t know what you’re looking at, or even what’s available. It’s hard to compare everything.
Many people get sucked in to the “niche” themes, where a company says, for example, “We build sites for doctors.”  Although in theory that sounds great, these themes can end up being more of a headache than a solution due to their lack of features, clunky code, minimal updates or lack of support. It is much more useful to use a trusted, customizable theme when building websites instead.
There are many themes on the market out there, and I’ve used a ton of them over the years, even the not-so-good ones. Learn from my mistakes and years of weeding out bad themes to discover the 4 things that make Salient one of the best WordPress themes I’ve ever used.
  1. Page Builder
  2. Flexibility
  3. Strong theme support
  4. Timely updates
  5. Compatibility with latest versions
  6. Theme configuration options
  7. High performance
  8. Responsive & Retina ready
  9. E-commerce ready
  10. Social media integration
  11. Design Templates
  12. Solid Documentation
Buy Salient Theme Now!Buy Salient Theme Now!

1. Salient Theme Options Panel

One of the best features about Salient is their options panel. It makes customizing CSS so easy. You can do it all from one place, without having to do any backend coding. Some of the things you can manipulate from the options panel include:
  • Icon styles
  • Button styles
  • Background colors
  • Font colors
  • Typography
  • Header colors, padding & opacity
  • Footer columns & credit text

2. Salient Theme Visual Composer

Salient uses the Salient Visual Composer to build out posts and pages on WordPress. It is a very intuitive drag and drop builder to use on the platform. This allows you to build out beautiful website pages with minimal effort. For those of you that don’t want to always rely on a developer to make changes on your site, the Salient Visual Composer gives you the control to make changes on your own easily and efficiently.

3. Robust Template System

One of the newest additions to Salient is their internal templating system. It features a library of pre-designed page blocks or layouts for quick and easy use when building out websites. This is extremely useful when building out certain features—think testimonials—or pages—think contact pages—on a website which are more standard. Plus, it saves you time, something that we can all use more of. The template system can also save you money, ensuring you can update your website yourself without always having to rely on a developer.

4. Amazing Customer Support

ThemeNectar, the creators of the Salient theme, offer amazing customer support to their users. 6 months of free support are included with every Salient purchase. They not only provide thoughtful responses to support inquiries, they also answer them in a timely manor. Over time I’ve reached out about a variety of different inquiries, ranging from newbie questions to developer-level ones, and they’ve always been able to help me out. This level of support is not always available with other WordPress themes. Knowing that the ThemeNectar team is responsive and helpful makes me even more confident in my choice to use Salient on web design projects.

Conclusion

Salient is a popular WordPress theme that has been downloaded more than 90,000 times. It is highly rated because of its ease of use, robust features and superior support from ThemeNectar. On top of all this, Salient is regularly updated by ThemeNectar, ensuring that it remains a stable theme through every WordPress update.

If you’re not using Salient on your WordPress site, it’s time to make the switch. Contact us so we can set up a consultation and get your site rebuilt on one of the most trusted themes on WordPress.

Why is keeping your WordPress site updated important?

By WordPress No Comments

Performing Updates

Sure, you see the little notification from your WordPress Dashboard or get emails that updates are
available.  Should you automatically do them?  They work fine on my phone and computer…most of the time.   But what about your website where you run your business?  You’ve probably performed updates to plugins many times without fail.  Great!

But, have you ever had weird words in code display at the top! Or, a 500 Internal Server Error?  Or better yet, the dreaded “white screen of death”?

Maintenance and updates might seem easy to do on your own, but can actually be quite risky. WordPress, themes, and plugins generated by third party developers often cause code incompatibility.  If not carefully managed, performing these updates on your own put your site at risk.  Without proper research, sequence, and technical know-how, one can cause the other to break.  Fixing this can be quite expensive and cause unproductive downtime for your business.

So, Now What?!

You can learn more HERE about performing updates to WordPress.  Or, you can let us at Simply Styled Sites handle it for you.  It’s important to know the proper steps to take, and if a site does break, we can follow the troubleshooting steps to get the site running smoothly again.  Have you ever spent HOURS on the phone with your host company, often times speaking with somebody in another country with a strong accent- trying to explain the EXACT steps you took before your site crashed?  This is zero fun.  Using our Maintenance Plan will insure that we’ll perform those necessary updates and keep your site running smoothly- yes, even if it breaks.  By performing backups, updates, checking compatibility and more, our team will take that task off your hands and give you peace of mind.

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WordPress Upgrade 4.7.2 Security Alert

By WordPress No Comments

Learn more about WordPress’s latest security update with 4.7.2 HERE.

To ensure your site always staying up, performing optimally and securely, you might want to consider an ongoing Maintenance Plan with Simply Styled Sites.

We also highly recommend the best hosting platform out there for WordPress sites with WPEngine.  Watch this video to learn more: