What is the future of WordPress?

WordPress is THE blogging platform of choice. The relative ease of use and simple set up made it a big hit. But what does the future hold for wordpress? Where is it headed? Let us discuss this today.

wordpress

 

Greater adoption by larger websites and firms and a greater acceptance of premium themes and plugins.

I think the WordPress world is maturing and the users are expecting more robust features and functionality within the themes and plugins.  The only way to truly accomplish that is to increase the usage of themes and plugins that are for sale or license based.  I think every premium plugin I’ve purchased has been worth it’s weight in gold.

WordPress is, on the one hand, becoming more and more user-friendly to non-tech types. For example, the theme options. At the same time, it’s increasingly a framework of sorts, with APIs, filters, loops that allow developers to develop almost anything on it. It’s actually quite amazing that the development is managing to please both the non-tech and tech types at the same time!

View of the system as more than just a blogging platform by the general informed public, and a push toward more websites built on the platform. Many hosts will have an increase in standard WordPress installation with new customers, and setup will be simplified for those who want to use the platform with ease.

What’s coming in the future for WordPress.com? CEO Matt Mullenweg shared some insights into what might be coming for WordPress at a SXSW panel earlier in March that Laura Hazard Owen of Gigaom narrowed down to three key areas of focus: long-form content, curation, and native advertising.

Long-form Content

Matt explained that most content on WordPress.com is 280 words, which is double the short-form content limit for Twitter posts and other social networking site updates. With that in mind, WordPress wants to bring more attention to quality long-form content rather than simply following the pack to short-form content.

I completely agree with Matt that there is an extremely important place for long-form content online, and I’m sure most Authoritative Content publishers would agree with me. The most successful, quality publishers understand how to offer bite-size content for snacking as well as more detailed content for indulging longer than a few seconds. Twitter and Facebook might be great for quick-hits, but long-form content is essential.

Content Curation

Putting the company’s stated focus on long-form content into action, Matt explained during the panel that the WordPress.com “Freshly Pressed” feed now features more long-form content than ever before. This feed is where WordPress highlights new content from all of the WordPress.com blogs. With a stronger focus on long-form content and galleries, traffic to the feed has grown by double digits in recent months.

These results prove that people want long-form, high quality content despite the dominance of short-form content in social media and the assumption that people aren’t willing to take the time to read or look at anything that requires more than 5-seconds of their time. People will make time for quality content that is relevant to them.

Matt also reported that WordPress.com blogs will soon link to each other with automatic suggestions of related content from other blogs to keep visitors engaged across WordPress.com blogs. We’ll have to wait and see how that will work once it rolls out. This is the area that sounds great for WordPress but could cause problems for visitors and blog publishers. Recommending content from other sites through an automated feature won’t be popular for everyone.

Native Ads

WordPress is a company. and companies need to make money. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that WordPress is considering offering native advertising. However, Matt did explain that WordPress will only partner with a company that offers compelling native advertising which doesn’t hurt the reader experience. It’s reassuring to know he said, “At the point where advertising becomes as good as the content that surrounds it, I will applaud it.”

Excited? I am! Thanks to Susan Gunelius for the info from Matt!

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