The WordPress Features Dropped in 2020 (Plus Predictions for 2021)

The WordPress Features Dropped in 2020 (Plus Predictions for 2021)

The world of WordPress is ever-changing, and we want to keep you in the know. We look back at the WordPress features bought to us in 2020 and what we can expect from the rest of 2021.

Gutenberg Updates

The introduction of the Gutenberg editor has already transformed the way users build and edit their WordPress websites. Introduced in 2018, Gutenberg is still relatively new – but that hasn’t stopped the company looking to the future, with plans to further develop the tool by adding new and exciting features.

The Four Phases of Gutenberg

The Four Phases of Gutenberg - WordPress: The Latest Plans That Users Should Be Excited About

In its current roadmap WordPress states they intend to work on four major phases over the coming months. They are as follows:

  • Easier Editing – Already available in WordPress, with ongoing improvements.
  • Customization – Full Site editing, Block Patterns, Block Directory, Block based themes.
  • Collaboration – A more intuitive way to co-author content.
  • Multi-lingual – Core implementation for Multi-lingual sites.
  • Gutenberg is one of the most significant additions that WordPress has introduced in a long while, and work on the project is ongoing. So, how have the WordPress gurus added to Gutenberg in 2020, and what’s on the horizon for the next year?

    Gutenberg in 2020/2021

    Unfortunately, we haven’t had any major additions for Gutenberg in 2020. The WordPress devs have been working hard on phase two across the year. According to the current roadmap, Gutenberg phase two is slated for release in 2021.

    However, that doesn’t mean that WordPress hasn’t given us some useful tools in the latest 2020 updates.

    2020’s Major Releases

    WordPress 5.5 - WordPress: The Latest Plans That Users Should Be Excited About

    2020 gave us three new major releases:

  • WordPress 5.4 “Adderley” – Released in March.
  • WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine” – Released in August.
  • WordPress 5.6 “Simone” – Released in December.
  • So, what did each new update bring us?

    5.4 – Adderley

    2020’s first release included:

  • Improvements to the Blocks in block editor, as well as two new blocks: Social Icons and Buttons.
  • Streamlined user interface and navigation system for ease of use.
  • Updates and improvements to privacy issues.
  • 5.5 – Eckstine

    In August 2020, the WordPress features they gave to us included:

  • Improvements to page speed thanks to lazy loading.
  • A new sitemap to help users find your website more easily.
  • More features for the block editor, including block patterns and a new block directory.
  • Accessibility features to help make sites more inclusive.
  • 5.6 – Simone

    Last but certainly not least, here’s a brief overview of 2020’s final update:

  • Greater layout flexibility.
  • The signature theme for the coming year, complete with pre-selected color palettes.
  • Auto-updates, taking the hassle out of keeping your site up to date.
  • Did WordPress Deliver in 2020?

    Lazy Loading Makes Its WordPress Debut - WordPress: The Latest Plans That Users Should Be Excited About

    Back in May 2020, we talked about the expected updates coming in WordPress 5.5. While not everything made the cut in time to be featured in the Eckstine update, WordPress have, all in all, delivered on their promises for 2020.

    Automatic Updates

    We’ve had improvements and additions to the auto-update features. These have been a big bonus for WordPress users, as automatic updates really take the hassle and worry out of manually updating plugins and themes.

    Lazy Loading

    Lazy loading made its debut. For those unfamiliar with web development jargon, lazy loading is a technique used to optimize web page speed. Instead of loading a whole website in one go, lazy loading is where content only loads as the user needs it – this saves on resources and can significantly decrease loading times. WordPress have delivered on their promise to give us this, and it’s been a positive feature for many.

    XML Sitemaps

    Another one of the exciting WordPress features implemented in 2020 is XML sitemaps. XML sitemaps are meant for consumption by search engines such as Google. It is essentially a roadmap for your website – listing pages and the date they were last updated. This signals to search engines that there is new content to crawl, which can in turn help to boost your SEO credentials.

    WordPress delivered the new sitemaps in version 5.5.

    Predictions for the Future

    Predictions for the Future - WordPress: The Latest Plans That Users Should Be Excited About

    The world of web development and content management is changing all the time. Without the aide of a crystal ball it’s hard to say what will come next – but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate!

    Here are a few ideas for what might be up next for WordPress:

    More Freedom for Themes

    With the introduction of Gutenberg, themes and theme developers have seen somewhat of a renaissance. It’s possible that this will only continue into the future – as themes become increasingly decoupled from content and plugins.

    That means more freedom and even more creativity for theme developers, and more opportunities for users to create stunning, totally unique websites – what’s not to love?

    Even More Mobile Optimization

    Even More Mobile Optimization - WordPress: The Latest Plans That Users Should Be Excited About

    We know that the future of the web lies in mobile devices, and so it makes sense for WordPress to further optimize their offerings for mobile. Gutenberg’s editor tools have already made steps in this direction – but we predict we’ll see more updates for mobile devices in the near future.

    Unified Management

    Currently, if you manage multiple WordPress websites you have to log out and log in again, using different dashboards for each site.

    With WordPress features focusing on streamlining and ease of use over the last couple of years, we predict that this could soon change. A unified dashboard would allow you to manage multiple WordPress websites from one singular dash. Watch this space!

    Want to Focus on What Matters?

    If you prefer skipping all technical details and going right to the point, hire a WordPress developer to implement your ideas!

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