WordPress, perhaps the most popular content management system (CMS) on the planet, has released a brand new version with some formidable new features of special import for web development and content marketing folks.
What does this mean for your business website? Read on to learn everything you need to know about WordPress Version 4.6.
New Version Out Now
WordPress Version 4.6 was released to the public just about two weeks ago on August 16. Codenamed “Pepper” after jazz saxophonist Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams, the new version follows close on the heels of WP Version 4.5 “Coleman” which came out in mid-April.
There’re some notable improvements this time around that warrant a closer look for all our readers who use WP for their business websites. The CMS, after all, continues to pick up new users and is now the CMS of choice for 26% of all websites on the planet.
Updates and Backups
Firstly, before you consider updating to WP 4.6, please take a moment to make a full backup of your entire website — both files and database. In the unlikely event some feature of your site isn’t compatible with the latest release, you will want a way to get back to a working version of your site before you or someone else on your team clicks “update.” If there is a problem, you can always keep your existing site while checking with your web development in-house team or agency on what needs to be done to get your site up to date. If you’re unsure whether your site is ready for an update, web development test environments can let you try out updates before applying them to your live site.
And yes, you absolutely should keep your website up to date — so don’t skip this update. Out of date CMS software and decommissioned plugins and code are the primary avenue for hackers. Keeping your site as up to date as possible is the best protection against a data breach, not to mention it gives your customers the best possible web experience.
New and Notable Features
Speaking of updates, that’s one of the big new features for WP 4.6. With the new implementation of AJAX on the WordPress backend for site administrators, you can enjoy streamlined updating, installation, and deletion of plugins and themes. Where past versions of the CMS took you to different screens or menus, the new update keeps you on the same screen, making for a smoother admin experience.
The newest update also takes advantage of native system fonts in the admin screen. While that may seem like a small change, WordPress claims this will mean faster load times and a more “native-feeling” experience for users.
WP Version 4.5 added a convenient inline link editing feature that let admins and content creators quickly and easily insert web links from the visual editor. WP Version 4.6 builds upon that process by automatically checking the link you type or paste to make sure it’s not broken. That matters a lot for businesses, where broken links lead to a poor user experience which can impact your whole website’s SEO performance.
Also of note for content editors and creators, WP Version 4.6 offers improvements to content saving and recovery. While some previous versions of WP have featured auto-save for the visual and text editor input, the new version leverages user’s browsers, saving data every 15 seconds. So in the event you lose your WiFi connection, or your laptop runs out of battery, your latest blog post draft will be there for you when you log back in.
For developers, a number of technical updates are included in WP Version 4.6, including:
- Resource Hints rolls out for performance improvement
- HTTP API internal changes including Requests PHP library usage
- Multisite performance improvements included
- Translation load has been improved
- Improved API for setting validation in the customizer
- Meta Registration API has been updated and improved
Implications and Advice
The latest version of WordPress looks like it will have some positive implications for content marketing and web development professionals who use the software, as well as for the many, many businesses who rely on the WordPress CMS.
Our advice is always to aim to use the latest version of CMS possible (which may be limited by your specific website build and requirements, so check with a professional). Staying up to date will give your web customers the best and most secure user experience possible.
For those business owners who are not very familiar with web development and the technical use and maintenance of their WordPress site, always consult with a trusted web development professional before trying to backup, update, or alter your site yourself.
Need help updating to WordPress 4.6? Considering an upgrade to your existing website or a fresh start with a new web presence? Call us at 313-566-4849 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how our full-service digital agency can help.