WordPress 5.0 causing “Updating failed” messages

On one of my sites, having updated to WordPress 5.0 and its new Gutenberg editor, I found I couldn’t update a new or changed post. Instead, an “Updating failed” message appeared.

To remedy this, I installed Classic Editor and Classic Editor Addon to replace Gutenberg. In other words, back to how it was in 4.9.

(The Classic Editor Addon prevents accidental activation of Gutenberg.)

Both plugins are available from WordPress. Select Add New from the Plugins menu and enter “Classic” for the Keyword search.

When to Use Pages, Categories and Tags

When creating content for a new site, the first item to consider is whether it will be shown as a Post or a Page.

A Rule of Thumb

A useful rule of thumb is to make menu items like About, for example, which usually comprises static information, to be created as a page. The other items should be posts, grouped into categories. For example:

Too Many Menu Items?

To avoid too many categories, use Tags within categories. For example, Microsoft Office is a category; Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint are tags.

If you display a tag cloud as a widget in a side column or footer, users can select all posts relating to that tag. For example:

The tag is shown at the end of each post as well. This post has the WordPress tag just below the content.

 

GeneratePress

GeneratePress is a free, fast, lightweight theme I work with now instead of other themes I’ve previously bought. I use it in conjunction with the GP Premium plugin, which adds a lot of optional features and control to the theme. (See this post for my review of the plugin.)

With well over a million installations, it’s clear that GeneratePress is a popular theme for WordPress developers. On the WORDPRESS.ORG website, 572 out of 578 reviews awarded it 5 stars. It’s responsive, as all themes should be these days, and can be used as a base for developing your own theme, should you be so inclined, which was Tom Usborne’s original intention.

Tom Usborne is the developer and works full-time on this and related products. He provides excellent support.  His documentation is also comprehensive.

GeneratePress is lightweight because it lacks many features that other themes offer, though it does include Font Awesome. The advantage of this approach is that the theme isn’t laden with features you don’t need. Those you do need can be supplied via plugins.

I’m a big fan of GeneratePress and only wish I’d come across it before shelling out for a variety of paid themes that never quite met my needs.

My Essential Plugins

The experts say you should keep plugins to a minimum for performance reasons, and they’re right, but I consider these to be essential.

Here they are, in alphabetic order:

Antispam Bee

This is a simple, undemanding plugin that does what it’s supposed to do. However, if you use Wordfence Security, as I do, you shouldn’t need it. Free.

Custom Meta Widget

The standard WordPress Meta widget has five options, and you can add a custom link if you want one:

Custom Meta Widget enables you to show only the ones applicable to your site. Free.

Easy WP SMTP 

If your site needs to send emails, this plugin lives up to its name. Free.

Perfect Pullquotes

For those longer articles, easy to use shortcode. Free.

The SEO Framework

I’ve replaced Yoast SEO with this plugin. Yoast is an effective and widely used SEO plugin. However, it’s branded, where as the SEO Framework isn’t. It’s a jungle out there and having good search engine optimisation is your only chance if you want to get noticed, even though I’m not too concerned about that. Free.

Short Pixel Optimizer

An almost free plugin that optimises your images. Given that image size can slow down load times, this is well worth its low cost. A bonus is that you can use it on an unlimited number of sites.

Smart Maintenance Mode

I leave this deactivated until it’s needed. When changing the structure of a WordPress site, putting it in maintenance mode is a courtesy to your users. Free.

Spots

A neat widget that can use text, images, etc as snippets to be placed anywhere on the site. Free.

Tiny MCE Advanced

Extends the visual editor with a range of useful features, including tables, lists, text colours, videos, text alignment, and so on. Free.

W3 Total Cache

A heavyweight solution to caching. It takes up most of a site’s load time, but is worth it for improved overall performance. It’s compatible with CloudFlare, which is a content delivery network (CDN) I use to propagate sites to servers around the world.

Wordfence Security

This is good at keeping  hackers from getting into the site. I’ve permanently blocked a number of hackers because of it. I use the paid version for added security, but the free version is adequate for most non-commercial sites.