With the first beta of WordPress 4.8 released last week, it’s a good time to update you on all the new features that will be introduced in this version. This first major version release of 2017 is currently scheduled for release on June 8th.

WordPress 4.8 will be the foundation of the Gutenberg, a project aimed at increasing the post editing interface and user experience. Additionally, this release will include new types of widgets that most users will appreciate.

Image Widget

Currently in WordPress, if you want to add an image in a widget, you have write out the HTML for the image in a text widget. While this may be easy for people familiar with HTML, it does not help the average user insert images. Additionally, images that are added with HTML rely on the user to add the proper title and alt tags, which are very important for SEO. The new image widget will resolve those issues. The user can now drag and drop the image widget anywhere they want, then use a previously uploaded image, or add a new one.

Video Widget

Similar to the image widget, the WordPress 4.8 video widget allows users to easily add a video to any sidebar or widget area. Users can feature any YouTube or Vimeo video or upload their own video. Note that uploading a video is not recommended, mainly because this will place a lot of strain on your web server and, depending the size of the video, cause the site to load slowly.

Text widget visual editor

The plain text widget, which is a very commonly used widget will support a visual editor in WordPress 4.8. This is a great add on to this popular widget, and it will eliminate the need for plugins that many users have installed to add a visual editing component to their widgets.

After A WordPress Update, Review Your Plugins

Plugins are fantastic for expanding the functionality of the WordPress platform and allowing people of varying (or no) coding ability to customize their sites. An excessive number of plugins, however can negatively impact the site’s performance, decreasing site speed and introducing code conflicts and errors. Now that you know about some of the key new features in the WordPress 4.8 update, review your plugin list to see if you can remove any plugins. This is a great opportunity to get your site running more quickly and smoothly, so don’t miss out.