WordPress now represents a third of all websites. If you opened a web browser today, chances are you visited a WordPress site.
Data Source: w3techs.com
This “it’s everywhere” reality is making waves in the larger tech industry. More companies, especially those with web-focused technologies, are investing in WordPress to achieve product and company goals. However, just throwing resources at WordPress won’t necessarily move the needle. A “first class” user experience and a clear understanding of the WordPress ecosystem is key to achieving success.
This article is the first of a series that unpacks why we believe that WordPress should be central to product strategy and what we have seen, learned, and applied as we have worked with web tech companies.
So, why invest in WordPress?
1. Your Customers already use WordPress
WordPress hasn’t reached its Content Management System (CMS) market share by chance. Fifteen years of iterations mean its use cases have been tested by millions of users on millions of sites.
The platform has evolved beyond its blogging and basic CMS roots. Its modern flexibility means it comfortably serves large segments of the market.
WordPress site owners, whether solo bloggers or enterprise companies, have embraced this flexibility and have customized WordPress to solve their needs their way. Each implementation serves its creator in the way they uniquely prefer. When adopting tools and products, site owners seek those that complement and work with what they have, not those that unravel their established systems.
Your customers are invested in WordPress and don’t want to undermine their investment.
Products that plug into existing workflows, including established CMSs, mean minimal friction and simpler onboarding, ultimately leading to better long-term adoption.
Marketing Automation apps are a go-to example of a web tech product that makes sense for WordPress integration. Tying site visitor interaction with content means Marketers are able to trigger a variety of actions and insights.
The CMS of the site owner is set up to handle content, ecommerce, users, etc and they will be looking for a Marketing Automation solution that works well with their setup. The experience of setting up workflows/sequences should be tied to the space where the content creation occurs.
Marketing Automation apps that require a user to pull their established content creation and management practices away from their CMS, or even just toggle back-and-forth between the two platforms, will lose out on adoption. On the other hand, Marketing Automation apps that embrace the CMS of the user will be rewarded with adoption, simpler onboarding, and richer long-term use.
To succeed, a WordPress integration needs to offer more than just “drop in your tracking code.”
2. Leveraging WordPress frees you to focus your Product on what it does well
Some of the fastest growing web tech products are gaining ground because they do less than their competition. Their narrow focus means their users can implement faster and achieve ROI sooner. This same focus means product teams can implement at a higher standard on the product features that set them apart in their market.
An example of a company applying this strategy is BigCommerce. They recognized their ecommerce platform has specific strengths and would be valuable to a wide range of WordPress users. Because of this, they are developing their integration plugin to bring BigCommerce features/value into the WordPress admin for a native WordPress experience. WordPress users will be able to run their website on WordPress, leveraging all the flexibility of WordPress, while using the class-leading ecommerce functionality of the BigCommerce platform to manage their store.
We asked BigCommerce, a client of ours, for their thoughts on why they invested in WordPress and they shared the following.
“The worlds of content and commerce are now, more than ever before, inextricably linked. We know just how powerful WordPress is as a CMS, but we were seeing that existing commerce solutions didn’t match that scalability. Our goal was to build a plugin the WordPress Way that helped bring together the best of both platforms: the flexibility and extensibility of WordPress and the scalability and security of BigCommerce. Build and manage beautiful front-end experiences on WordPress and tap into the security and scalable commerce engine of BigCommerce in the background. Best of both worlds.”
– Travis Balinas, Director of Product Marketing, BigCommerce
A screenshot of BigCommerce’s WordPress plugin Admin UI
3. WordPress Integration factors into your customer’s decision making
“Will this work with WordPress?”
Site owners are invested in WordPress and they want their tools to work with WordPress. It goes beyond this though. The quality of WordPress integration is an essential factor. Web tech companies should invest in WordPress because their audience are not just assessing if they have a WordPress integration, but how good it is.
Features are important, but how and how well those features work with their existing tech stack, including their CMS, are also important. The considerations include code quality, UI (WordPress Admin) integration, integration with other plugins, etc. Introducing new tools to a team includes friction. A cleaner, richer, and simpler integration reduces friction. Users know this and will judge the standard of WordPress integration when selecting new tech products.
4. The Open Web matters
The Open Web has changed the world and we have all benefited. We’ve learned skills, launched careers, formed friendships, championed causes, and experienced the outputs of infinite creativity. We’ve also built businesses – many of them centered in web technologies – that wouldn’t exist without the Open Web.
WordPress is a product of the Open Web, built on the four core freedoms of open source software. It represents a multi-billion dollar economy spread over a wide range of ecosystems across cultures, languages, and geographies. For businesses relying on or connected to the Open Web, WordPress matters.
Of everything covered in this article, this is perhaps the most philosophical point. Investing in WordPress and Open Source should be a component of every able web technology company. Companies in this space wouldn’t have been able to build what they have without the freely-given contributions of others. In part, “investing” in WordPress is simply giving to the people and projects that formed the foundation on which every web technology company stands.
Feed the giant whose shoulders we stand upon.
Wrapping things up
Web technologies and companies that offer technology-based products should invest in WordPress. From direct integrations that meet specific customer to creating entire sub ecosystems (e.g. hosting, services, and marketplaces), WordPress is the best vehicle for expanding the reach and impact of a web technology.
Investing in WordPress impacts the bottom line through the sheer size and potential of the WordPress economy and the success of WordPress means a stronger future for the Open Web.
If you’re part of a company that should be investing in WordPress for all these reasons above, we’d love to talk.