While reflecting on my time at WordCamp US last weekend, a conference in which thousands of people who love WordPress from all over the world came together to talk about it and make new friends, I woke up this morning thinking about how many people I know who have never even heard of it.
When I mentioned to my coworkers I was going to a conference about WordPress and asked if they’d heard of it, they said “no.” Most of my friends have no idea that over 25% of the websites they visit are being powered by WordPress. In every pitch I’ve made to a prospective web design client in the last two years, I’ve had to explain what WordPress is (and what makes it great).
The thing that inspired this post is last week, right before the biggest WordPress conference of the year was happening in my own backyard (Philadelphia), one of my oldest clients switched their site to SquareSpace. It took me by surprise at first, but I quickly realized in their mind it was the best decision they could make, because they were a small business owner who wanted control of their own website without having to spend time learning how to manage the backend.
It’s given me a lot to think about considering I have built my business around WordPress and strongly believe in open source and owning your own content, (as opposed to paying for a proprietary service). As I’ve already been thinking and planning for next year, I now have to consider how to improve my pitch to include all the benefits of WordPress.
While WordPress may not be the best solution for everyone, I believe it should be seriously considered in many/most cases. As a WordPress developer, I have grown with the product over the years which means I’ve also lost the ability to see it with fresh eyes, especially in its much more complicated state than when I began learning it. I also embrace change naturally, while others fear or even despise it.
What does this mean for the future of WordPress?
First, I want to be more involved in the community. I was inspired to find more ways to contribute, whether it’s in the forums answer questions, doing theme reviews, or volunteering at WordCamps. I also would like to find a way to contribute to the accessibility team, for many personal reasons.
Second, I want to be involved in educating more people about WordPress. I have a new business idea to create online courses with a friend and previous coworker, so we will be in the planning stages of that very soon. It will mean going (and staying) out of my comfort zone to speak at WordCamps and other meetups or events. I’m not sure about all the ways I can help, but I’ll be thinking about it a lot in the coming year.
How are you planning to give back to the WordPress community next year?