By Tom Fanelli
There’s a lot of support within the WordPress space, with time and energy given voluntarily by contributors to the WordPress project. It’s the beauty of open-source software, and yet, I’d argue that those good intentions get misplaced after the contributions are done – when it comes to deciding how to spend our money.
While the intention is to make WordPress better, more secure, faster and more accessible, when WordPress businesses and agencies focus all of their attention on giving back, they don’t always stop to consider the bigger picture. To make WordPress stronger, you must invest in its future.
How can it be that WordPress is still the number one Content Management System, or CMS, to get hacked? No matter how well-intentioned WordPress contributors (and the brands backing them) are, there are technical vulnerabilities that need to be resolved and these aren’t getting fixed at Contributor Days.
WordPress can be vulnerable, slow and bloated. Badly written plugins cause problems for speed and security. Many businesses, agencies and freelance developers use low-quality hosts that don’t care about WordPress or its future. To solve these problems, as an industry, we should be investing in research and development (R&D).
Now is the time to level up, but the amount of money in R&D for WordPress is far lower than it should be, particularly when you consider that WordPress powers 37% of the web. Despite such an impressive feat, in many ways, WordPress is still treading water instead of making waves.
Managing a fragmented ecosystem
There are currently 57,519 plugins that can, as WordPress.org puts it, “extend your WordPress experience” in the plugin directory, not to mention other plugins that aren’t listed in there.
This number gives a snapshot of the power of this ecosystem, revealing the enormous range of tools that enables anyone to create their own website.
However, while this is no doubt an enviable number from the perspective of CMS competitors, more is not always better. What is also created with such a plethora of plugins is a fragmented product ecosystem, instead of an industry working towards the same goals.
From a user’s perspective, choosing the right plugins from thousands of options is difficult. Some of these plugins will be old, slow or no longer maintained, which creates a serious security vulnerability for any website that uses them.
This fragmentation of WordPress products also creates industry-wide weaknesses. Imagine the marketing potential for WordPress as a whole if the ecosystem was better connected and stimulated to drive towards unified goals.
By maintaining that sense of unity and considering the bigger picture after the doors have closed on a WordCamp Contributor Day, there are growth opportunities. Until then, the problem of research and development resources being under-funded or under-utilised, which ultimately stifles progress across the board, may continue.
The problem: Low-cost, low-quality technology doesn’t benefit the future of WordPress
When you invest in low-cost technology, it may also be of low quality. That’s a compromise that many businesses accept, but what they often fail to explore is the wider implications that can have for an industry.
Take cPanel as an example; it’s the cheapest hosting technology available, but spending your money on a technology that has no loyalty to WordPress does not help build up the WordPress industry or community.
cPanel is used as the default dashboard by many hosting companies, and yet it typically leaves website owners high-and-dry to face websites that suffer poor speed and security.
As with cPanel, using VPS hosts, choosing low-quality hosts that don’t care about the future of WordPress, or opting for shared hosting all cause problems for the wider ecosystem.
Ask yourself this: Instead of choosing the cheapest option every time, how can your business select technologies that will help strengthen and develop the WordPress space now and in the future?
A great deal of WordPress product companies do genuinely innovative work and they deserve to be given a chance to demonstrate that. You invest your money in these companies simply by purchasing their products or services. By doing so, you give them a critical opportunity to grow, enabling them to continue putting resources back into R&D.
Your purchasing decisions can become a critical point in a cycle of innovation, development, growth, and reinvestment for the cycle to start again.
The solution: Support companies that care about WordPress and its future
While the nature of WordPress as an open-source platform makes it a complex comparison, competitor CMS platforms spend vastly more on their R&D than WordPress businesses do.
Shopify, Squarespace and Wix have much smaller market shares but spend vastly more on research than WordPress does. Nobody is investing in the future of WordPress, and under-investment means issues of security, speed and performance aren’t getting fixed.
The solution is to support companies that are investing in the future of WordPress: Platforms that prioritize uptime and support like Convesio and Kinsta, as well as products like CoBlocks and WP Fusion and Gravity Forms that revolutionize the capabilities of WordPress.
We built Convesio as the game-changer for WordPress by offering the first self-healing, autoscaling platform-as-a-service for creating and managing websites. Convesio is an innovative container-based platform that boasts ultimate reliability, speed and optimum performance.
A next-generation website platform, Convesio was designed to host high-performance WordPress sites. When there is a spike in traffic, the platform scales out instead of up and there is no risk of downtime. Burdens like uptime monitoring, as well as security, speed and performance are all taken care of.
Another example is Kinsta, a fully managed WordPress hosting provider that aims to go above and beyond when it comes to taking care of your website needs. Using cutting-edge technology with constant monitoring and scaling on-demand, they offer support as their number one priority.
In terms of innovative plugins, you can find ambitious progress with the likes of CoBlocks, WP Fusion and Gravity Forms.
CoBlocks is a powerful but lightweight way to add functionality to the WordPress editor without bloat, which opens up a whole new way of thinking about what WordPress is capable of.
As a no-code solution that connects WordPress to anything, WP Fusion integrates your website with marketing automation tools. This connects everything you need behind-the-scenes and sets up your business for growth.
Gravity Forms is a form management plugin that offers time-saving tools and features as well as a vast number of integrations. It’s a perfect example of a business that is still innovating, even after, as they put it, “more than 10 years in the WordPress forms game.”
In a letter to his rival, Sir Isaac Newton famously remarked: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” In business, we have the power to lift one another up, and at Convesio, we don’t just think about our future but the future of WordPress as a whole. We can all succeed if we are in this together.
By using forward-thinking technology like Convesio, you help this industry to grow and evolve. A stronger future for WordPress is only possible if our global community chooses to invest in products that will not only benefit them, but benefit this entire ecosystem.
Learn more about Convesio by booking a demo.