Special Delivery for Year End
Named in honor of jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown, WordPress 4.4 was officially released last week. Updates to the codex aren’t really earth-shattering, as there have been 10 updates (not including related beta releases) in 2015. Since I focus on content, there are several improvements from this perspective that I think are worthy of celebrating.
Images Are Smartly Responsive
Sometimes images look fabulous on a page or post when viewing it from your desktop or laptop. However, on a smaller screen, the display sometimes didn’t translate well especially for wider images. WordPress 4.4 changed the code so that graphics and pictures work regardless of your theme. With the explosive adoption of smartphones, phablets and tablets, having a website that’s mobile responsive is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity. Google’s announcement earlier this year in April was pretty clear: sites that didn’t cater to the mobile experience would suffer in organic search. Now you don’t need to worry about your images being mobile responsive. Just make sure that your theme — the code that makes your website’s design unique — is using the latest responsive technology. If you’re looking to upgrade your theme, check out StudioPress’ Genesis themes. There’s a variety of designs and the code is clean.
New Embeds Feature
If you blog regularly, you’re most likely familiar with the YouTube embed feature. You simply add a video’s url by pasting it into your post. Imagine that same feature for a post. By adding a post’s url, a preview of the post will appear which includes a featured image, title and an excerpt. WordPress 4.4 also supports other oEmbed provides such as Reddit, VideoPress, etc.
2016 Commemorative Theme
Every year a new free theme is unveiled. The Twenty Sixteen theme was released as part of WordPress 4.4. Over the last couple of years I haven’t been too impressed with the featured themes for various reasons. While I’m a fan of white space, I didn’t like the left-side menu and bloggy look — it seemed too unsophisticated for business use. The Twenty Sixteen theme has a horizontal masthead and navigation bar. For those who don’t want a fussy-looking website, this is definitely a beautiful and elegant design. Because of its simplicity, make sure you have high-quality images as without them it could look really plain. Dress it up with a customized header with a logo, choose one of the five standard colors, add your navigation menu and page structure (e.g., sidebar or not), and you’re good to go.
Upgrade to WordPress 4.4 for Security Too
If the above content-related upgrades aren’t motivation enough… your website should be kept up-to-date for security reasons. We also recommend “hardening” your WordPress installation so it’s even harder for hackers to crack into your site.
Have you upgraded to 4.4 yet?
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photo credit – top: Christopher Ross