A few years ago, I was listening to a discussion between members of our development team. After a bit of back and forth about different technical considerations, one of them said this:
“…since we don’t do any WordPress development work…”
These eight words gave me pause. While they were right that we had no new projects using WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS) for one of our websites, it was clearly a disconnect from how I perceived our approach to technology. Since we were still maintaining a series of legacy WordPress projects, and our experience with it went back to the mid-2000s, I didn’t perceive our relationship with this ubiquitous technology as over.
In fact, little did they know that I had recently submitted two proposals for WordPress driven work!
What is a CMS and what is WordPress?
If some of the above words seem foreign to you, I want to take this opportunity to explain CMS and WordPress. If you are well aware of these concepts and know what developing a digital project is all about, feel free to skip down to the next section.
A Content Management System (CMS) is a backend system that drives most modern websites. It gives website administrators control over day to day updates, without needing to dig into the code or structure of the site to make any substantial changes. It means you don’t need to contact your IT departments or digital partner to keep your website content fresh and up to date. There are thousands of different solutions and approaches to making this happen, with WordPress being one of, if not the most popular CMS worldwide.
WordPress, first launched in 2003, is an open-source CMS which originally started as a blogging platform. Over time, as it grew more popular, WordPress grew into a solution for the overall content management of a website. With just over 60% of the CMS market share, and more than 30% of the web, there is no other option that comes close to its level of popularity. WordPress also offers as standard many core tools such as; comprehensive search, extensive homepage controls, URL customization, enhanced image and video galleries, and the ability to add pages throughout the whole site.
It was clear that our relationship and upcoming work with WordPress was not well communicated within the company. If our team perceived that we didn’t work with WordPress, and I clearly did, I wasn’t conveying that message effectively. More importantly, I needed to begin a series of steps that would ensure this technology platform was at the heart of what Plank is all about.
While doing Laravel-based development is a core part of our development work, we needed to communicate that it was one option for certain projects and that WordPress was a viable option for others. While our technical toolset is curated to be streamlined, we do want to make sure that WordPress is selected for a project because it’s the best fit.
Given WordPress’ popularity and ubiquity, clients and prospective clients often ask us directly that we use WordPress. We always ask the question “why” and the answers we encounter are usually good ones. If someone has worked with WordPress in the past and knows that it will save them time or let them do their jobs more efficiently, then it should be seriously considered for a project. If clients want to offer a platform that potential candidates have worked with, WordPress is a good choice. If there are concerns about having a platform that will have a long life and is easy to keep up to date, WordPress is a solid solution.
To make sure our team reflected our renewed commitment to WordPress, we hired our first lead, fully-dedicated WordPress developer in Dave Kellam. Dave brings over 15 years of experience developing themes and plugins and building WordPress websites for Fortune 500, higher education, media and news publications. In addition to making contributions to the WordPress core, Dave has developed sites on WordPress’ VIP platform. Most importantly he brings a passion for WordPress that has inspired other members of our team to double down on the technology and invest into pushing forward our skills and abilities with this important platform.
In a recent client meeting, it was mentioned how much they appreciated WordPress. They enjoyed being able to easily handle changes and updates. They found satisfaction in demystifying some impenetrable black box. It also wasn’t lost on them that if they have questions about how WordPress works, a Google search will almost always yield some kind of non-tech answer. We like it when we can make our clients happy.