It seems like this year, more than ever, there’s a lot of speculation regarding the State of WordPress. Where is it heading? What bold predictions are experts sharing?
Let’s take a look:
eCommerce Educator & Entrepreneur
2017 was the year WooCommerce decided to focus on developers. They had WooConf (the WooCommerce Developers Conference) and they’ve sped up their release cycle to 4 releases per year (twice what they had previously). With their focus on developers and other improvements going into WordPress core, like Gutenberg, WooCommerce is poised to be the most customizable eCommerce platform on the Internet.
People always want easy to use (no one has ever said, “I’d like to do that but harder!”) but there’s an unsaid value a lot of store owners have. And that’s flexibility. The ability for a platform to do whatever the store owner wants. No one wants to migrate away from a platform because it’s a huge amount of work. They want their current platform to handle the needs they have today and the unknown needs they have tomorrow. As more WordPress developers focus on WooCommerce, the more we can offer those customized experiences and make eCommerce & WordPress better.
CEO & Co-Founder at Pagely
2018 is all about Gutenberg and the consolidation of the ecosystem. From a user-centric point of view the eventual core merge of the new block based editor named Gutenberg will dramatically shift the WordPress editing experience. While the development approach has its share of critics within the WP community, the outcome will create new opportunities for more fluid and robust content editing for WordPress. On the ecosystem front I would expect continued consolidation of business channels with new acquisitions, partnerships, and ultimately some channels contracting. The maturation of the WordPress ecosystem shall continue for better or worse
Owner at Copper Leaf Creative and Press Managed
I am out-of-my-head excited to see Gutenberg take shape in the wild. It feels long overdue to be able to create modular content blocks beyond widgets in a declared sidebar area – and without resorting to drag-and-drop builders. My favorite thing about new tools is seeing what unexpected flavors of awesome people create with them. On the hosting side of things, I’m also curious to see how some announcements made in 2017 start to play out in 2018 including Liquid Web’s hosted WooCommerce offering and WordPress.com allowing installation of third-party themes & plugins.
Co-Founder Orbit Media Studios
More and more blogs are going to remove dates from their template, so content is no longer date stamped by default. This gives the blogger the freedom to include a date in the header and body text if and only if the date is relevant.
Readers might groan, but it’s a great approach for any content strategy focused on evergreen content. It lowers bounce rates and increases sharing. Besides, you can always go back and update old content later.
And there’s a second trend for 2018: updating old content. The secret is out. Bloggers have learned that there’s often more value in updating an old post than writing a new post. According to the latest blogging survey, 55% of bloggers now update older posts. It’s great SEO because the page may already have good link popularity and authority. And it’s great for social media because you can share it again with people who commented and shared on it the first time.
Director of Business at Folsom Creative
2018 is undoubtedly going to be an exciting year for WordPress users, designers, and developers. With Gutenberg on the horizon, the entire community will need to work together and find ways to implement and support the new editor. While there seems to be a lot of controversy around the implementation of Gutenberg, I imagine it will quickly be adopted, similar to when the Customizer was implemented. In the long run, Gutenberg seems like a great way for the WordPress community to start implementing React into their development process.
Additionally, in the next year, I’d like to see WordPress core upgrade the minimum PHP version and implement stronger password hashing—both of which have been on the core track for some time now.
Head Buff at WP Buffs
Being in Nashville in November for WordCamp US and sitting in the audience for Matt Mullenweg’s annual State Of The Word has stirred up a lot of thoughts about the direction WordPress is going.
Clearly at the forefront is the community’s push towards Gutenberg. This new editing experience won’t only have an effect on users trying to format content; it will have ripple effects on the entire WordPress ecosystem. Theme builders will have to adapt theme functionality to work around the new editor and page builders like Beaver Builder and Elementor will have to rethink the direction of their entire companies as much of what makes them unique becomes native to WordPress.
Community engagement is also something to keep an eye out for in 2018. WordPress naturally has a strong digital community, but WordCamp and WordPress meetup attendance was up over 30% in 2017. When it comes to democratizing publishing across the world, WordPress is moving forward here too with language packs now supported by 1,166 themes and 2,023 plugins. I think both of these trends suggest that in-person engagement will continue to grow in 2018 as will communication across borders, languages and cultures.
Security will also continue to be a big focus of the WordPress space in 2018. Free SSL provides like Let’s Encrypt will continue to see massive adoption and fully managed WordPress hosts, like Kinsta for example, will continue to see a wave of new customers begin to realize that managed WP hosting is the best option for serious website owners.
Finally, as WordPress continues to grow in popularity, I feel pretty confident predicting that it will hit 40% market share in 2018. By 2019, 4/10 websites online will be run on WordPress.
Onward and upward!
P.S. Lots of statistics and data came from Brian.
Founder at WP Newsify & WP Pluginsify
I am convinced that 2018 will be an amazing WordPress year. Personally, I follow with great interest the Gutenberg project since it has been the big talk for the past six months. The current WordPress visual editor doesn’t feel up to date anymore and hasn’t undergone many changes in the last couple of years, it feels exciting with a new approach with Gutenberg as new text editor/builder in WordPress. When Gutenberg will be implemented in the WordPress core (hopefully in WordPress 5.0), it will be a huge improvement and hopefully, take WordPress to a new level of user experience.
CEO at Comrade Web Agency
The biggest change in WordPress in 2018 will be how different media impact the experience users have on websites.
For example, how will better mobile delivery affect what images and videos admins use on mobile WordPress sites? Social networks like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram show how experiential video works successfully on various devices. WordPress plugins like WPTouch and Easy Video Player improve the media experience for visitors, and make it possible for any WordPress site owner to replicate the experiential feel of video on their site.
Finally, we need to look at how virtual reality will change the media landscape for websites. With the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR headsets, it is only a matter of time before we start consuming more video on VR headsets. We are just starting to see VR-ready WordPress plugins and themes.
Smart At The Start
Mobile Apps are the new websites. Fortunately, WordPress websites offer a great launch pad to turn any website into a mobile app.
With a host of WordPress plugins, the process is easier than ever. The only thing you need to do before you set up your mobile app is have a plan. Just because you can set up a mobile app, does not mean you should. If a mobile app falls far outside your current marketing strategy, then do not force the issue.
CFO at Kinsta
The last few years were about a race to the bottom in the WordPress ecosystem, which, in general, hurts WordPress businesses and users as it creates unrealistic expectations. Companies who plan for the long-term will maintain prices or even raise them, making sure to provide high-quality support and deliver new features/updates for their customers on a regular basis. More WordPress businesses will transition into a SaaS, taking advantage of the recurring revenue model. Theme or plugin companies who fail to build a brand will face a hard time and they will slowly disappear or get acquired by a bigger player.
Director of Inbound Marketing at Kinsta
I think we’ve all seen WordPress developers and companies migrating like crazy to the SaaS business model this past year.
Working for a WordPress SaaS company myself, I can tell you first hand that this simply makes more logical sense, from both a revenue and support perspective.
At the time of writing this, WordPress now powers over 29% of the web! That’s pretty awesome. And because of that, there are a lot of businesses and individuals that are willing to pay on the subscription-based model to get higher quality plugins, themes, and services.
Also, two words… “WordPress Maintenance.” Two years ago nobody could tell you what that really meant. In 2017, there have been a flurry of WordPress maintenance companies popping up. I think there was probably a gap in the marketplace there, a need, and it’s filling up!
I’m both interested and excited to see what happens with Gutenberg in 2018. As I’m sure are a lot of people. Are some WordPress companies and developers going to have to change things up? Yes… as this is a huge change.
But long term I think it will make WordPress a better product and help us continue to grow the community.
Host at iThemes Training and Business Coach for WordPress Freelancers
In a few years, I think we’ll look back at 2018 as a landmark year in the history of WordPress. The addition of Gutenberg to the WordPress core this year will create ripple effects throughout the WordPress ecosystem that will affect users, theme and plugin developers, and business owners.
Gutenberg has the potential to completely change how people will interact with their websites. As with any change, some will welcome it and others will protest. And since WordPress powers almost 30% of the internet, responses both positive and negative will likely be loud and plentiful.
Many forward-thinking theme and plugin developers will also be challenged this year to adjust their products to account for the changes Gutenberg will bring. A number of Gutenberg features like custom blocks and saved blocks could spark a Cambrian explosion of creativity from developers. Others may find Gutenberg’s changes to be too burdensome to deal with.
For WordPress business owners like me, 2018 will likely be a year of significant challenge. As we watch the theme and plugin developers we rely on making big changes because of Gutenberg, we will need to adjust our tools and processes to adapt to these changes as well.
Whichever group you fall into, 2018 will probably hold a mix of excitement and frustration as we experience the evolution of the WordPress platform.
SEO Content Machine at The Blogsmith
This post was originally supposed to be about my opinion as to the state of WordPress going into 2018 and beyond. Honestly, the topic was so overwhelming to consider that I felt it more appropriate to call in some of my WordPress expert friends to share their own two cents to round it out!
That said, I suppose that I can’t actually end this article without weighing in, myself. Instead of talking about new features that are exciting, or speculations about where WordPress will go, I want to weigh in on the fact that going into 2018, WordPress can no longer be ignored by web developers.
Though hotly contested by many, core version improvements like the Gutenberg page builder seek to make WordPress more user friendly, even for those that don’t understand web design. Because of this, it seems fair to forecast even more exponential growth of WordPress adoption, since features like this make it easy for web developers to hand off their finished designs to clients for day to day updates.
The State of WordPress in 2018
You’ve heard from the experts—now it’s your turn.
Where do you see WordPress going in 2018 and beyond?