You may have heard about the release of the latest version of WordPress 4.7. It comes with some new features and improvements that are especially time savers for people, who want to set up a new business site.
I have listed the new features in this blog post.
The New Default Theme: Twenty Seventeen
WordPress always focussed on building weblogs, so all the previous default themes, that came with WordPress were set for blogging. You could modify them to use a special homepage instead of showing the latest blog post per default, but you always had to do these modifications.
This might be one reason, why WordPress was not so popular as a business solution. But now, the new default theme is building a business site by default. It has the homepage set as default content, and there is a blog page, just in case you also want to publish blog posts.
The homepage is also divided into sections. It means, that you can have your about us and contact information on the single homepage without the need to switch pages.
When you want to modify your site layout, WordPress encourages you to use their customizer function. It was not easy to navigate in the past because you always had to search through the customizer menu to find what you needed to change.
Now, WordPress has added small pen icons in front of each element in the preview section. With this, there is no tedious searching, because when you click on the icon, the customizer will automatically open the right section, where you can edit the content.
It also works for other themes, so it’s not limited to the new Twenty Seventeen theme.
If you install WordPress for the first time, you wish that you would have some sample content like an about us page and a contact page. It is now possible for theme developers, to add sample pages when the user activates the customizer after the activation of the theme.
If you try it with the new default theme Twenty Seventeen, you will see, that you get a homepage, a homepage section, an about page and a contact page with some sample content in it. So you just need to modify the content or remove the pages that you don’t want to use.
If you activate Twenty Seventeen on a site that already has all these pages, nothing will be changed.
Using full-size video background is very popular these days. So, WordPress now supports a video header for a theme. The theme still needs to support it, but you can see how it works when you try out the new default theme Twenty Seventeen.
Just select a youTube URL for your header video, and it will show as the new animated background. You can also upload your video to the media manager, but the youTube option is even easier and doesn’t waste storage space and bandwidth on your server.
Easier Menu Setup
How often were you frustrated when you wanted to add a page to the menu, and the page did not exist? It is one of the most tedious tasks if you just want to modify your main menu by adding another page quickly.
Normally, you had to leave the menu settings. Then you needed to go into pages and add a new page. After that, you could switch to the menu again and insert the new page there.
Now, you can just type in the page name, and WordPress is creating the new page for you in the background. Just a quick and simple feature, but a great time saver.
If you upload a PDF file, you will usually get a default icon on the media library. WordPress 4.7 now supports creating a thumbnail image for the PDF. For each new PDF that you upload, after you have upgraded to 4.7, the first page of the PDF will become your new thumbnail.
When I tried that out today, I got disappointed. I still got the default icon, so I researched a little bit. It seems that the PDF thumbnail generation needs some special settings on the hosting site. So if you still get the icon instead of the preview, you need to talk to your hosting company.
New Language Setting
When you wanted to switch the language, you had to change it globally for the whole site. For example, if somebody hired me to fix their site, I sometimes had to switch it to English. I did not understand the site language if it was French or Spanish. But this also meant, that the front end also changed the language. So the regular visitor could see some elements (like “Search”) in English instead of their Language.
WordPress has now fixed that problem, as you can now select the language for each user individually. So I can now just log in and go to my profile settings where I switch the language to English. Then I can work on the site, while everybody else sees it in the original site language.
Improvements for Developers
WordPress 4.7 also offers some improvements for developers. This fact might not be interesting for you as a WordPress beginner. But you can expect more exciting features that will come in new plugins and themes. The developers can use these improved features.
The new WordPress 4.7 is worth upgrading, not just for security reasons. So, if you don’t have updated yet, go ahead and do it now. It’s just one click away when you use the update button in your WordPress dashboard.