In this episode Chelsea and James go through the history of WordPress and how it evolved from a blogging tool to powering some of the world’s biggest brand’s websites.
History of WordPress
Podcast History of WordPress
On today’s episode, we’ll be talking about how WordPress has gone from being a blogging tool to powering some of the world’s biggest brands websites.
So that’s a marketing we, we really do just focus on WordPress websites. In the past, we’ve worked on different platforms. We used to use a combination of WordPress and Magento for E commerce websites. But in recent years, we’ve sort of changed our focus to only be WordPress. One of the things that we commonly get asked by clients who come to us is why’d you use WordPress? Probably back 10 years ago, the common question was really isn’t WordPress is a blogging platform. And to be honest, when it first started out, yes, it was WordPress when it first originated, which was just an easy way for people to create blog posts and share them on their website in a relatively basic WordPress admin, over time, that then expanded to become more of a sort of overall content management system for clients websites. WordPress itself is a nonprofit sort of organisation in the same way that the people that make Mozilla Firefox are. And it is worked on by members of the developer community constantly. And what that means is that functionality is always changing on WordPress. Just give you an idea it as a platform, WordPress tends to release a new version about every 40 days, which is a very frequent release cycle compared to any other platform. Every time it brings out new features, it’s always expanding sort of new things you can do with it with the site fixing bugs issues, and basically turning it into a more well rounded piece of software. So one of the sort of selling points that WordPress use themselves is that it’s been used by some of the world’s biggest companies now. And yeah, it power, it does actually power somewhere between a third and a half of the entire internet in terms of websites, which is an enormous statistic for how many websites are actually out there. And this can this compares to other content management platforms like Drupal, and Joomla and Magento, and Shopify and E commerce and all these other ones, which make up then sort of the remaining half in varying percentages. Every developer, every agency has their own preference. And one of the reasons that we use it is it’s easy for clients to understand, especially from the admin point of view. But yeah, the knowing that it’s used by so many big companies is absolutely key, really, because I think if those companies didn’t have confidence in WordPress, then they wouldn’t be using it. We just give you an idea. Some of the people that use WordPress are there, the Walt Disney Company, MTV News, New York Times, Mercedes, BBC America. And from our point of view, we’ve got people from sort of small startup businesses, sort of small shops or, you know, small ecommerce clients all the way up to very, very large multinational clients or using WordPress in different ways. One of the sort of main things that WordPress has done over the years is sort of become an E commerce platform, which is where WooCommerce comes in, which originally was a plugin to WordPress, and it kind of still is, but it’s now owned by WordPress themselves. So they are really trying to take over the market and become sort of the the ideal ecommerce platform for like a small to medium business size. And this is where WordPress is models been changing over the years anyway, and that it’s adding new functionality to just try and address their core audience as time goes on.
That’s really interesting what you said about the 40 day cycle. So WordPress in itself sounds really iterative. Am I right in thinking that this is a really good tool for businesses that are constantly evolving and changing their own strategies and constantly changing their content as well?
Yeah, that’s a great question. And so it’s got its pros and cons, the fact that it changes so often. And so like with all software, when software changes, it can sometimes have knock on effects. When you’ve got a very highly customised WordPress website that’s doing functionality that’s been sort of customs backed by the developer and the client. Sometimes if a new version of software comes along, it can require the business to then change some of that. But on the whole, it is great because as WordPress brings in new features in this sort of frequent release cycle, it tends to add things are actually quite useful. And it tends to bring in good ideas from other platforms. So things that people ask time goes off, so it’s now 2020 When we’re recording this but WordPress starts Did life you know back in the 2000s, it’s kept up to date with how technology has moved on. And one of the things that I often say to clients is that WordPress looks like it was made this century where some of the other CMS is really don’t, because it’s updated so frequently. So everything down to the way the editor works on its support for modern web standards. And some of the add on functionality you can get is absolutely bang up to date, which is great, as long as you keep WordPress up to date, which is where we tend to help our clients out with our support package, because we actually make sure that all the client sites that we host and manage and sort of support our clients on are fully up to date all the time. This means that our clients do benefit them from the updated features that WordPress does bring out. And we can then advise them accordingly when they’ve got new ideas they want to implement.
So while WordPress is changing constantly, and the digital landscape is always changing constantly, too, with the rise of new social media platforms, and just new ways and means of producing content. So for WordPress, then to be powering some of these really big brands, especially news companies, like the New York Times Company that are obviously wanting to keep up to date. How does this reflect with clients business strategies and their overall digital strategies in terms of syncing up their website with the content that they’re producing on other platforms too.
So the benefit of WordPress being used by so many people across the world is that it’s also the most widely supported platform. So every time there’s a new social media network that comes out every time a new integration is required, someone’s already done it for WordPress, which from the clients point of view is a enormous cost saver because they haven’t got developed that software to actually do that integration. Because it is just so massive. And it is literally the widely supported content management platform in the world, which is the main reason that we use it. All it takes is a quick look on the WordPress product plugin directory, we can always find an integration with a third party piece of software that the client wants to use the old and improve a business process for them, which can then be bought into their websites. So yeah, the developer time to make functionality is massively cut down by using WordPress as a core platform. Especially compared to other platforms, which are maybe maybe once were very popular, but now aren’t. And then they start to get abandoned by developers. And WordPress has really seen their popularity just grow. at the agency level, actually, it’s there’s another really key point with WordPress and the developer availability is significantly improved. So one thing that we come across a lot is customers that have got a legacy platform who are having issues with it because the developer doesn’t work at the agency anymore, or they can’t find anybody to work on it. Because WordPress is just so big and so popular. We Yeah, we don’t get that problem with WordPress. So yeah, most developers understand it. Most developers have worked on it. And so if the client comes to us with a WordPress site, we can look at it straight away and go, that’s great, we can help you with that challenge. If they come to the site, on a on a CMS platform that’s really not as big as WordPress, then that’s where we have issues when we start to say, actually, you might want to think about re platforming your whole website into WordPress, because it also prevents issues around agency lock in which is in our industry a typical problem where a client feels very beholden to a particular agency, and they, they sort of can’t get away from them if they if the relationship breaks down. And we’re always a fan of believing that relationships work two ways. And if they, you know, if the client wants to be able to move their website, then they should feel free to when they’re on WordPress, that’s great, because they can, but when they’re on another CMS platform, it’s just very, very hard to do because it kind of feels stuck to using someone that understands the platform they’re on. And the technical challenge of moving away from it just seems sometimes a bit insurmountable. But you know, it’s just a common challenge that we get to see probably at least once a week really, as an agency where someone contacts us with an eight with a platform that they had previously. We can’t help them and then we will normally try and propose a WordPress alternative for them.
Thanks for that, James. So I guess the key takeaways for clients are that it gives you the freedom to have a platform that will grow with your business, and it adapts to what it is that you’re using it for it streamline, it streamlines really effectively with other software’s and platforms. And you don’t have the trouble of agency lock ins so that you can go to many agencies that are able to work on your WordPress website and understand the usability of it as well. So yeah, it’s a really, really effective tool for building your site on. So yeah, thank you very much for listening. And if you have any query on what it is that we’ve been speaking about today please get in touch with Hello at SU marketing.com