Problem Solvers. That's what we are. Middle School Kids can build websites. We get that. But Middle School Kids wouldn't solve problems like this one.
To create fast and super-economical, and of course very professional websites based on what the data says will convert/is converting, we recommend MANY of our clients use a combination of a WordPress Theme called Enfold, and GoDaddy Managed WordPress hosting.
I fully understand that many other web design and creative agencies would NEVER take this approach, but that's honestly why they cost a lot more than we do, and take MUCH longer to deliver projects.
And, while their resources are dedicated to custom development, something typically completely unnecessary in the world of WordPress for a basic website, we're able to focus our resources on what matters most - driving results and ROI for our clients' businesses.
Thus, my business rationale for choosing these platforms.
For the last 2-3 years, my team and I have built dozens and dozens of sites this way.
Happy clients, happy team, happy life. Right?
Correct, until the entry of WP 5.0. WordPress 5.0, the release with the now infamous "Gutenberg Editor."
At first, even though many of my trusted colleagues warned me, I welcomed the release. I tested it for real, blogged about it, and felt pretty confident.
Especially when there was a lot of testing that showed that users could simply use a plug-in that allowed them to keep the old Classic Editor in spite of the presence of Gutenberg.
Until about six weeks ago when I started reading the Enfold forms at Kriesi.at.
I realized that wouldn't really help me in the Enfold situation, because the #1 value prop of Enfold (although there are many) is the drag and drop Avia Layout Builder.
My fellow Enfold super-users and moderators on the forums, were all writing about how the most recent releases of Enfold were not at all compatible with WP 5.0 in their testing.
These releases of Enfold mainly referred to 4.4.1. Not many had tested Enfold 4.5.
Their beef was legit - just how would the heralded "Avia Layout Builder" within Enfold (the best drag and drop editor on the planet), be compatible with the new drag and drop Gutenberg Editor in WP 5.0.
I knew our clients' websites wouldn't break. But I feared they might not be able to update their content in the same way that they have been able to ever since we built their website and trained them on content management.
Had this been too good to be true?
Was I doomed?
A techie person reading this might be thinking, "dude, just DON'T upgrade to WP 5.0 and you'll be fine." Stay on 4.9.8.
🙂 If only it were that easy. You see, WordPress Managed Auto-updates the Core, meaning, I never know when, but GoDaddy ALWAYS updates the WP Core.
So the race began. My team and I needed to figure out what to do. My boy Chris Tooma and I started trouble shooting, trying to figure out how much time we had. We determined that the best course of action, given we have close to 100 client websites running in this manner, was to simply contact Kriesi, the Enfold Theme Developer, via the forums, and get updates from his moderators on when the next Enfold version, the one compatible with Gutenberg, would be available.
Luckily, it became available in November, but another challenge ensued. The Theme Forest Envato API that allows us to auto update the Theme upon the click of a button, was broken, only for the Enfold upgrade from 4.5 to 4.6.
So, this meant I couldn't upgrade my themes easily. I'd have to do it via SFTP for each one, which is a pain in the butt and takes development resources off of development tasks - bad for business basically.
Not as bad as broken client websites, obviously, but there had to be a better way. So Chris set up a WordPress WP 4.9.9 environment up (a plug-in created to test WP 5.0) with Enfold 4.5 running (the version most of our client sites are running, and a version we know we can upgrade our sites to if we need to).
Good news, that test is up and running and the Avia Layout Builder appears to work just fine with Gutenberg. It's super geeky of me, but I actually think this is pretty cool...
Basically, it's just showing what WP 5.0 should look like with Enfold 4.5 or higher running. See where it says "Classic Editor and Avia Layout Builder" ? vs. "Gutenberg Editor" ? It looks like what Kriesi has done is made a theme upgrade that allows the user to make a choice between the two editors.
So, this issue is by no means 100% put to bed. After all, that's the business we're in. I know what I signed up for. I have to be WAY better than someone who just builds websites. That's how I survive. But for now, I'm feeling pretty good about the future situation of our clients' websites related to the release of WP 5.0.
Lastly, just because I like to try to cover all angles, I called GoDaddy support and spoke to them about WHEN they plan to run their infamous WP Core Updates for Managed WordPress Hosting. They don't know when, but they knew it wouldn't be TODAY, December 6, which is the real release date for WP 5.0, and that they'd be doing their own internal testing for "a while - likely until after the holidays so they don't disrupt any websites over the holidays."
We shall see. 🙂
Note: About 2 hours after publishing this blog post for the first time, Kreisi and Enfold released this blog post, which basically says that if you're running Enfold with WordPress 5.0, you have to do one of two things in order to continue to use the Avia Layout Builder.
1. Upgrade to Enfold 4.5.1 OR
If you're one of our hosting clients. We are doing this for you.
Thanks for reading, watching and listening, and have a great day!
Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.