WHAT’S NEW IN WORDPRESS 5.3? 11 November, 2019 | Industry | 3 min read. WordPress 5.3 is expected to be released today (Tuesday 12th November) and it will be the last major release of the year. The update centres around WordPress’ efforts to futureproof and prepare for forthcoming hosting updates in the new year. It’s also packed with new updates in accessibility, image optimisation and block editor improvements. Clients on our Web Care Plan get the latest WordPress features, which include: Updates to help with search engine optimisation Image size optimisation Improvements to time and date reporting Gutenberg version 6.7 introduces new content blocks Performance increase as our hosting platform migrates to PHP 7.4 SEO UPDATES WordPress 5.3 has announced an important change to how it will block search engines from indexing websites. Abandoning the traditional Robots.txt solution in favour of the robot’s meta tag approach, the change keeps hidden pages from showing in Google’s search results. This means that there have been improvements in how your website will be indexed. ‘Indexing’ is the means of a Search Engine Bot, such as Google’s, discovering all your pages. WordPress 5.3 will aid indexing by adopting a more reliable robots meta tag approach. This means that our clients can be secure in the knowledge that private web pages remain hidden and away from search engines. IMAGE SIZE OPTIMISATION The new update has imposed sensible limits to the process of uploading images to your site. Previously, images straight from mobile phones or digital cameras would be too large, resulting in longer page loading times. This would mean that images often had to be re-sized, outside of WordPress, using programmes such as Adobe Photoshop. Now, WordPress 5.3 does this automatically. It will automatically resize and upload the images in one go, meaning your website can now upload your images without having to worry about these being too big. This is an extremely helpful update for those with e-commerce websites, as you can upload multiple pictures which show the clear quality and design of your products quickly and without having to use any third-party apps. IMPROVEMENTS TO TIME AND DATE REPORTING The latest update has made it easier to create more accurate and reliable reporting for its users. The new update means that you can receive accurate and real-time date and timestamps when people interact with your website, including when they have bought your product or left a comment. NEW BLOCKS There are many changes also coming to the Gutenberg block editor in this release. Aside from the improvements to several of the existing blocks, the overall user interface and experience is improved with new animations and visual hints. They have even made it even faster. Some of the major block updates include being able to create groups of blocks and interact with them as a group, the new image block allows you to select a style for the image, and the columns block now asks you to choose a layout for your columns. These updates have largely increased user experience, making it even easier for our clients to update content and amend their website as needed. MITIGATION TO PHP 7.4 WordPress’ update moves to support PHP 7.4, which is the general-purpose programming language for website development. Staying up to date improves performance on the site, increasing efficiency and speed for users. This is beneficial for clients by creating a highly optimised website that responds quickly. Not only this, by moving to support PHP 7.4, the WordPress update prepares for hosting updates in the new year. As a client on our web care plan, all appropriate updates will be made to ensure that your website remains safe, secure and up to date. Without a Web Care Plan, your website may be currently running an old WordPress version, which will have reached the end of its universal support life. This means that your site may be vulnerable to malicious material. If you’re interested in updating to the latest version of WordPress, EDGE Creative can help. Our Web Care Plans provide our clients with peace of mind that their website is always current, safe and secure. Our expert team of developers will upgrade your site to the latest version of WordPress and upgrade your bespoke plugins to ensure security updates are supported continuously. In order to find out more, call us on 0121 355 8092.