1. Advancements to the block editor:
WordPress 5.0 came with a block-based editing experience, tagged the block editor, or the Gutenberg alternatively. WordPress 5.5 takes it to another level with the introduction of block patterns, a new block folder, alongside a couple of conspicuous alterations to the UI. This furthers the trend of every WordPress release since the inception of the block editor coming with betterments to the editing experience. Block patterns would be very useful for you as regards some of the very basic components of your sheets or posts. These are like templates designed with some recurring settings, and can be easily located when you create a new block. It saves a lot of time and effort in the block designing process, and the quantity of such ready-made blocks available will only increase with time to provide you with a vast expanse of options.
2. The Block Directory:
This is an interface that has a whole lot of WordPress snap-ins to increase your block collection in your editor, and the best part is the package comes with a large number of predesigned blocks. Get familiar with The Block Directory, and your writing experience is going to a whole new level. An easy way to get a lay of the land is simply to select “add block”, input a feature or type of block you want to use in the search bar above, almost like searching for an emoji or GIF on your keyboard. Search results from the block directory that are related to your search will be displayed by the editor if there are no existing blocks that match your request. Gives you options like never before.
3. Image editing improvements:
Despite the wide array of image editing features already supported by WordPress prior to this version, the improvements that come with this should generate excitement, and rightly so. It is now possible for you to edit your images in the editor itself without opening the media library, which enables you to do on-the-spot cropping, rotating, resizing, etc. You can also instantaneously view the effects of your editing in the context of your whole content, which saves time and effort without compromising but rather improving the user experience.
Owing to the fact that this feature is presently tilted towards standard block image, it might not work for all your images yet. You might have to open the media library to edit images added within another image-supporting block, like our FAQ block, for instance. But this feature is bound to be improved with time and is still worthy of excitement.
Lazy-loading images: Another noteworthy mention is the fact that your images are now set to be lazy-loaded by default. This implies that images on your page will no longer be loaded simultaneously, but rather as they approach your viewing range. This is sure to get your site viewers elated, as your site will load a lot faster.
4. Advanced Content Previews:
This is a feature that allows you to thoroughly preview your post before actually publishing it, providing an extra line of defense to ensure your content comes out like you intend it to, even though merely creating the post in the block editor is designed to give you an insight as to how the page will come out.
An increased number of preview styles coming with this edition offers you the flexibility to preview using sizes ranging from mobile screen, to tablet, and even desktop size. That way, you can effectively cater for the viewership need of your audience across several devices, which has become even more pivotal due to an increment in traffic over the years.
5. Automated Plugin Updates:
It is now possible to receive automated updates for each snap-in and theme. It’s now a luxury you can afford thanks to WordPress 5.5. It simply affords you all you need to enable the feature and enjoy it. To enable it, go to your admin dashboard, select “plugins”, and click on “enable auto updates” right beside the specific plugins you want to receive updates for.
If you’re interested in enabling auto-updates for your themes, select “Appearance” in your side menu, and click on “enable auto-updates” link that appears beneath your theme’s name. When you’re not so sure about your choice of this feature, you should bear it in mind that you’d be on the safer side testing new versions of plugins in a less delicate environment, like a staging website, to confirm the effects before using on your live site(s). But in reality, not many site managers can, or will afford to do this. In this case, you can choose to proceed with auto updates regardless to ensure maximum security for your site and instant access to new and improved features, as opposed to the chance that an update with bugs or faults finding its way into your site. However, it’s a decision each manager will need to make regarding depending on the peculiarities of each plugin. The best step regardless is to test updates as much as possible, and making sure you understand the differences in updates by keeping an eye on change logs.
6. Default XML Sitemaps:
This release has granted WordPress the ability to conjure its own sitemaps, a file that allows search engines to easily locate the content hosted on your site and index them, a necessary tool for Search Engine Optimization. With the placement of XML sitemaps at the base of WordPress operations, over 30% of sites out there have these set on default, which is a very welcome development. With that already in mind, you should know that your site already has a XML sitemap developed by our snap-in if you’re a user of Yoast SEO. You have nothing to worry about as we’ve already considered the possible implications of this duplicity of sitemaps for you. Although our update will provide millions of sites worldwide with ranking opportunities hitherto unavailable, we can categorically confirm to you that XML sitemaps in Yoast SEO are stronger and better.
Thus, the new XML sitemap enabled by WordPress by default will be automatically disabled by Yoast SEO 14.7 as it is even better, and search engines will not run into any trouble detecting the sitemap to use for your site. More details are provided in the FAQ section of both WordPress 5.5 and Yoast SEO.
In this post, I was able to share with you some of the more headlining features of WordPress 5.5 such as the Default XML sitemaps, automated plugin updates, advanced content previews, amongst others, but I can assure you there’s way more to it than this. If you have any questions, observations, clarifications, or any features you’re particularly buzzed about, feel free to share in the comments!