WordPress 4.9 was just released and it’s  nicknamed “Tipton,” honoring the American jazz musician and bandleader Billy Tipton.

WordPress comes out with major updates a few times every year, and this is the second major release for 2017!  WordPress adds new features, improves performance, and more. (Not familiar with updating WordPress? Check out my easy-to-follow step by step guide and video on “How to Update WordPress to the Latest Version”)

Short 10 min video on the New Changes to WordPress 4.9

 

5 Important Design and Work Flow Changes in WordPress 4.9:

Customizer Drafts and Scheduling

Ever since WordPress introduced its own “Customizer,” it’s getting better and better! Here are the new features you’ll in the Customizer.

1. “Draft” New Design Changes Before You Go Live and Create a “Preview Link”

WordPress 4.9 made it possible for you to not only play with a new design by letting you save it as a draft while you are working on it. Once you save your new design as a draft, it automatically creates a link that you can share with others so that they can preview the new design before you go live.

screenshot of WordPress 4.9 saving design drafts

It’s now easy to get a friend or colleague’s opinion on your new website design before making it viewable by the world!

2. Schedule Design Changes to Go Live on a Future Date

WordPress 4.9 made it possible for you to not only make design changes and save them in a draft, but it also allows you to schedule when those changes  it will be made public. This is a pretty cool feature!

screenshot of WordPress 4.9 scheduling design changes

How about changing your header image to a holiday image and scheduling it to go live on Christmas? Or adding a special header banner when you start a promotion?  There are lots of possibilites here!

Easier Search for Themes and Theme Switching

3. Search for New Themes Right in the Customizer

You can now search, preview, and install any of the themes you have installed in your WordPress site, plus try out the free themes from WordPress.org while you are in the Customizer. No more going back and forth between the Customizer and the Themes area.  This makes it faster to try out other themes and see which theme is the right one for you.

WordPress 4.9 Theme searching

See the Filter button at the top? It will even make it easier to find the best theme for you by letting you narrow down the themes by the look and features you need.

 

Changes to Widgets:

4. Easily Insert Pictures in a Text Widget

As convenient as the Text Widget was when it got added in the release of WordPress 4.8, it wasn’t exactly a user friendly tool if you wanted  to add a picture. Inserting an image in a Text Widget,  always required using a bit of HTML code, which isn’t fun for many people.

Not anymore!  The Text Widget now lets you insert pictures or any media with just a click of a button, just like the post and page editors!  See screenshot below

screenshot of clicking the add media button to add an image into text widget

You can also link the image to a URL and even embed other types of media (like a video), too.

5. NEW: Display Multiple Images with the “Gallery Widget”

With WordPress 4.9, a new widget was introduced: Gallery Widget. You can now display multiple images in the widget area in a gallery style.

screenshot of WordPress 4.9 Gallery Widget

Those are just the some of the big highlights I like, there are also a bunch of other small changes that improve your workflow with WordPress.  And, as usual, there are even more improvements made for WordPress developers and programmers.  If you’d like to see the full details, go to the official WordPress.org’s blog post here.

Are you ready to update your WordPress site to WordPress 4.9?

Since WordPress 4.9 is a “major” update (ie. It’s not a minor security update.),  you will most likely need to do your update manually.  You do this  by logging into your WordPress admin panel. (Please note some hosting companies may handle it for you and automatically update your WordPress site)

If you don’t remember the steps to update your WordPress yourself, check out my step by step guide and video on “How to Update WordPress to the Latest Version” here.

 

How to update WordPress Button