The latest-and-greatest version of WordPress is out, and according to the oversized odometer counter thingy, has already been downloaded well over 1,000,000 times. (Note to WordPress guys: Congrats… but The Social Network-style odometers are now officially a cliche.)

Should you take the plunge and upgrade? In a word… yes.

As I’ve said before, keeping WordPress up-to-date is generally a good idea – both for site performance and security reasons. But this version also includes some new features that even casual WordPress users will find exceptionally handy.

WordPress Admin Bar

One of the first things I do when building a new WordPress site is disable the “edit this post” links that pop up in various places. They make managing a site more convenient, sure – but I want to see the same version of the site as the people who are visiting. (I’m funny that way.)

The new admin bar is a great solution. Instead of links on the site itself, it offers a toolbar that appears above the site.

If you’re logged in to your site, the toolbar offers quick access to just about everything you’d ever want to do, and can even be configured to show recent site traffic.

The toolbar can be disabled if you’d rather access the tools through the usual admin panel.

Internal Link Finder

Say you’re writing a blog post, and you want to link to something else you’ve written on the topic. You could open up your site in another window, find the article, and cut-paste the URL. On some of my sites, I do this probably 100 times a week.

WordPress 3.1 makes that process a whole lot easier. When writing a post, highlight the words you want to link and click the “link” icon… and you’ll see something that looks like this:

That “link to existing content” tool allows you to search through all the pages on your site and create links – right from the “add new post” screen. That’s exceptionally handy – especially when you consider the fact that using internal links can give your site’s search standing a significant boost.


There are tons of other features… custom post formats, changes to WordPress multisite, and other goodies – WordCast has a good rundown.


Should you upgrade on your own? Depends…

If you know your way around the WordPress interface well enough to back up your database and theme files and turn plugins on and off, you’re more than capable of upgrading. Check the Upgrading WordPress section of the Codex for instructions.

If the words “back up your database and theme files” cause you to sweat uncontrollably, break out in hives or have any other adverse physical reactions, give me a buzz and I’ll be happy to help out.

Remember, offers hosting for clients – and keeping WordPress up-to-date is one of the features of that service.


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