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The Future Of WordPress With Josepha Haden Chomphosy

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The Future Of WordPress With Josepha Haden Chomphosy

This year, at WordCamp Porto, I had an opportunity to interview Josepha Haden Chomphosy, Executive Directory of WordPress.

She gave us some very in-depth answers about what is happening in the world of WordPress, and what we can expect in the future from the top CMS.

WordPress powers nearly half of the web. What challenges does WordPress face as a CMS in the coming year and how does it plan to overcome them? 

Chomphosy: “WordPress in the next year. One of the biggest difficulties we face in general is the fact that we are rewriting our entire codebase as we also continue to move forward as a functioning piece of software.

In a lot of cases, you would see a software stop every contribution from their community and rebuild everything while no one else is in it and just kind of use a closed model of re-envisioning how their software would work.

We are five years into this probably ten-year project and so the next year as with all of the years in a project like that is making sure we are still as stable and capable as a CMS as people have come to expect while also still pushing forward with a newer more modern way to manage your content online.

No big deal, Small problems.”

I know about Matt’s “Five for the Future” initiative which aims to solve the challenges of supporting  WordPress as it grows. How do you see that working? Do you see enough response rates from the community?

Chomphosy: “The Five for the Future program initiative has been around since 2014, so quite a while. It wasn’t until 2016 or 2017 that we had a more codified program around it where people could pledge their time to specific teams and those teams would know we have some volunteer work that we can send to people and we can see the people who are interested in doing that kind of contribution.

It funds the project from a time perspective so that it’s easy for individual contributors to say what they are interested in it’s easier for contributor teams to see who is interested in them and recently, we also have expanded that program to include what’s considered a Five for the Future team.

I think that major corporations in the WordPress ecosystem should give back substantially to the WordPress project, especially if they make a substantial amount of money or revenue using WordPress.

Overall I would say that we have had a good response from both our community of contributors and our economic partners in the ecosystem. I do think we’ve had a good response, but we can always use more.

The WordPress CMS is used all over the place and is maintained by less than 1% of the people who get a benefit from that and people in corporations who get a benefit from that and so I always want more people to be involved and responding, but we do have good response to it.”

Do you foresee any changes like WordPress becoming paid, for example?

Chomphosy: “It’s hard to predict the future, but I don’t see any way for that to happen, no.

Free open-source software I’m sure you know but many people get confused about whether that means it’s free as in not any money or free as in provides freedom to people.

We like to remind everyone all the time that it’s free as in freedom to people, but also making the software freely available is incredibly important to WordPress. So I can’t see a future where we’d be like just kidding, pay for licenses.”

What’s going to make WordPress continue to stand out/above its peers and competitors? How is WordPress future-proofing?

Chomphosy: “I think that the thing that makes WordPress as a project stands out from its competitors is the strength of the community that’s around us and interestingly enough the thing that makes our community stand out compared to other open-source projects that also have communities is our in-person event series and so not having those for the last two and a half years certainly has been a struggle for us.

And so this flagship event is the first in-person flagship event since we had to cancel WordCamp Asia in 2020 and we’re very excited to have everyone back together.

There were 800 people at the contributor day and that is the biggest contributor day at a flagship event that we’ve ever had. And so you can see in not only the number of people who are coming to this event but also in the number of people who showed up to learn how to give back to WordPress, the project, the CMS, and the ecosystem. The strength of what we are and how we will sustain ourselves into the future lies in that group of people that just wants to be here and continuing to make it better.

I think that’s how we set ourselves apart and also from a future-proofing standpoint, in the way that we invest in those contributors the way that we bring them into the space and how they can make it better if that’s what they want. I hope that’s what they want. That is certainly how we’re future-proofing things.

A little side note from a leadership perspective. It’s always important for me to look at how we can make sure the organization outlasts anyone who’s leading right now. Outlasts me, outlasts Matt. Because everyone is one just catastrophic event away from not being able to do what they used to do.

That’s always a very important part of this for me. I’m constantly training people who are with us in this work toward WordPress. I’m always training them to do what I know how to do because it’s never appropriate for me to be the only person who knows how to do anything that is vital to WordPress’s success.”

The CMS market becomes competitive day by day. Do you see a decline in WordPress’s market share or it is growing?

Chomphosy: “There was, in the WordPress community recently, a bit of a discussion about W3Tech’s market share and usage numbers. There was a small decline. It’s publicly available and we had discussions around it. There’s no point in saying there wasn’t a decline there.

However, I don’t think that there’s anything to be worried about. With W3Techs, as they are working toward deprecating one of its major datasets, it will always change what we’re seeing there. We can’t be sure what they’re doing and not doing, it’s very closed, very proprietary.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s basically level at the moment as far as I’m concerned there.”

There were complaints from users that WordPress by the introduction of full site editing now does change too frequently and drastically and they now have to spend a lot of time/resources to learn it again and fix broken parts of websites when it was used to work for them just great. What will be your message to those users?

Chomphosy: “I know that it is frustrating to have to relearn something that you spent so much time learning, but that is the way that we have chosen to do that rework of WordPress as kind of a phased evolution over time as opposed to a single point of a revolution was so that people could learn gradually over time based on what they found in small places.

As we make the editing interfaces of the CMS more and more similar they’ll only have to learn they can use the same type of user flow, the same type of interaction pattern across the CMS and so the basic understanding of all of the mechanisms should start to translate into the rest of the CMS as well.

Every open-source software builds everything in public and it is people who are telling us, “This is hard to learn. This is hard for me to use.”

It’s that sort of feedback that helps us to make it better, but it has been for many, many people seeing full site editing right now, a long time since WordPress do such big changes in public, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily faster than we expected.

If you’re following the beta and in the plugin, you get a new release in every two weeks, but if you’re not following the beta and the plugin, you get three releases a year and that is, I think, a pretty fast pace, but tolerable as well if you are keeping track as you go.

So I guess my message is to make sure that you don’t just wait until every ten releases to update because then you are going to have a lot that you do to have to learn.”

There are classic editor plugins which is around for those who do want to use the old style of WordPress. Do you think the plugins are going to be maintained for a long time? Do you think you will deprecate them?

Chomphosy: “We have been taking that year by year as we see people’s need for it and as we end up with something much more robust in the CMS itself.

I don’t see any future where we just remove it from the repo or any of the directories. I don’t think we’re planning on deprecating it and having it be gone forever. But it is always better to try to keep up with things as it’s coming out slowly so you are not overwhelmed by all of the things at one go.”

How do you decide what features to ship in new versions? What the process looks like?

Chomphosy: “That’s all a very public process. Fortunately, we get by with a little help from our friends on that one.

So we have core chats every week and every major component most major components inside core have public chats where people talk about the tickets they’re working on, the features they are working on, the bugs they can’t quite solve, and prioritize based on what is the most impactful for users and what is feasible based on the timeframe we’re working on for any given release.

The decision is based on what is ready at that moment, but also certainly but also what the general impact is.”

What is one major fix you would like to see WordPress make?

Chomphosy: “Our next big need is to focus a lot on the menus and navigation, and that is a very complicated thing. That is hard even in the best of moments. No one would disagree that spending a lot of time on that and getting a good solid fix that is user tested and approved is the right way to head next.”

Almost all WordPress users complain about built-in internal search. Do you have plans to improve it? For example giving website owners decide which articles to exclude from search, or adding customizable search indexing weighing factors?

Chomphosy: “The short answer is yes there are thoughts around how to fix it and there is a lot of research that is being done by contributors.

I don’t think that anyone has found a solution that we all agree is as functional as we want it to be while also being as elegant and performant as we need it to be. We have not figured out what the proper solution is to that. But yes absolutely it is something the community discusses frequently and does ongoing research on.”

Gutenberg has Full Site Editing (FSE) but Gutenberg is said to still be in Beta. Is there an ETA for that label coming off?

Chomphosy: “I don’t know that there is an ETA for it coming off. It is true that in the WordPress project we use those terms of it differently just like we do sequential ordering as opposed to semantic versioning.

It’s beta in that it is going to keep moving and iterating, it’s not beta in that it is unstable. It will be in beta at least through the current phase, but not because it’s generally dangerous to use. Just because it will change frequently.”

I think it’s fantastic that WordPress has a performance team working on improving the core so that it has fast performance. But no matter how fast you make the core, it seems like all it takes is a sloppy theme to undo all the good work that the core had put into it. So it seems like the next step is to get theme and plugin developers on board. Is that something on the horizon?

Chomphosy: “Themes are particular. Themes are essentially a core issue.

I have not run into many people in the world, many users in the world who feel like their theme was not WordPress. No one has got WordPress the CMS and then also a theme and they think, “I had a bad experience theme, I’ll switch out that theme.”

I shouldn’t say no one, but regardless, themes are considered such an inextricable part of WordPress that we have to consider them almost as a part of the core sometimes. And so do we want themes and plugins to also make some effort around performance, yes absolutely. But do we have any rules in place at the moment? Not really.

Themes has been undergoing a bit of a transformation along with the core because we have offered new functionality, and we’re trying to reshuffle whether you’ve got functionality or just the visual representations in themes. As that moves forward, probably we will have to move forward with some of the ways we guide all of the contributors.

That’s true for plugins as well as features in plugins kind of move with the way core is able to support them in that it makes sense that we would have to have some sort of refreshed guidelines down the road. But at the moment, no one is discussing them because they’re still trying to figure out how to make everything work well with Gutenberg.”

Do you have plans to introduce badges like WordPress certified? Like team developers can get those by passing a test or an interview process with the WordPress core team got those pages and whenever they are developing have those badges in place so everyone knows that those teams really have skills like the WordPress core team. Like Google Certified Partners, but Certified WordPress Developers.

Chomphosy: “It’s interesting that you ask because questions of certifications are coming up in the community right now. I’ve had so many conversations with attendees at this particular WordCamp. It’s on everyone’s mind.

Historically we’ve never offered any certifications. The logistics of it are hard. The documentation we have is not always easy to keep up to date. There were some logistical hurdles to it, there were some philosophical questions around open source and certifications and what that would mean for how we could help our community stay together with each other through their learning and through improving the CMS.

The conversation has come back up because we have started to provide some training via leran.wordpress.org. It’s getting more and more true that you can get a lot of information that you need about how to use the WordPress CMS not only through written documentation but now also through workshops and social learning spaces.

As we are providing more of that, the question of how we can give some indication that people went through those workshops and went through those training and succeeded at them. So it’s a new old question back on the table.”

The Redirection plugin is installed on over 2 million websites. Clearly, there’s a need for that, so is there any chance that a redirection function similar to the plugin will be integrated into the core and if not, why not? Does it bump up against WP’s goal of keeping it simple for everyone to use?

Chomphosy: “I don’t think that better native features and functionality ever make WordPress hard to use it shouldn’t and if it does we shouldn’t put it in there. But there is currently not a discussion about that.

There is a feature plugin proposal process where people can say that this plugin is basically used everywhere we would like to propose that we find a way for it to be included in core. No one has brought that up. No one has brought that to the table.

I was talking to the performance working group about that yesterday. Not about that particular plugin, but about the feature plugin approval process. The documentation around that needs some updating, but it’s certainly a thing we have always done in the WordPress project and would be the first step in including something like that in the core.”

Conclusion

We hope you’ve enjoyed these insights into the current and future plans for WordPress. Remember that the WordPress project continues to improve based on the contributions of its users. Be sure to learn more about the many ways you can contribute to and give back to the WordPress community.

For more on WordPress from WordCamp Porto, don’t miss our interview with Ivan Popov of Vipe Studio on Headless WordPress SEO.


Featured Image: monticello/Shutterstock



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8 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring Page

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8 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring Page

TikTok and Instagram may be taking their moment to shine, but Facebook is a social media platform your business simply can’t ignore.

Facebook’s monthly active users have continued to rise since its inception, with nearly 3 billion (2.96) monthly active users as of the third quarter of 2022.

It was also the most popular social network worldwide as of January 2022 when ranked by the number of monthly active users.

Knowing a substantial portion of your target audience likely uses Facebook regularly, it’s crucial as social media marketers to keep up with the Facebook marketing tips that can help you grow your business.

Your business is probably already leveraging Facebook to reach your target audience – and if you’re not, you’re missing out on valuable lead and conversion opportunities.

You’ve likely set up a Facebook Page to communicate with current and potential customers, share current updates, and build social proof.

But, is your Facebook Page optimized to engage your target audience? Have you invested ample time into ensuring you’re leveraging every form and field possible?

The good news is, starting from scratch is the most challenging part of getting your Facebook Page off the ground.

Since you’ve already done this, revitalizing your page is the easy part – and we’re here to help streamline the process even further.

This deep dive guide will succinctly outline what it takes to transform your Facebook Page from vapid to vivacious with the following eight marketing tips.

Read on to ensure you maximize the world’s most visited social media platform to your advantage.

1. Beyond The Facebook Page Basics

Your business can be found in many places online, from your Google Business Profile (GBP) to review sites and social platforms.

Potential customers should be able to find accurate information about your business anywhere they can find you. This includes your current physical address, website link, phone number, and more.

In fact, 20% of consumers are unlikely to visit a business with incorrect or missing listing information.

Ensuring all information on your Facebook page is up-to-date is a good place to start.

Next, it’s time for optimizations that go beyond the basics to help your Facebook Page stand out from your competition.

2. Leverage Facebook Pages’ Templates

Facebook offers numerous templates designed to enhance your Page and help customers find what they’re looking for.

There’s a standard template that you’ll most often see when visiting other businesses’ Facebook Pages.

But there are also templates that cater to different types of businesses, such as nonprofit organizations, restaurants, services, retailers, and more.

To find the template most applicable to your brand, once you’re on your Facebook Page, click on the More drop-down menu and select Edit Tabs.

In the template section, click the Edit button.

You’ll then see a list of available templates. Select the template that is most relevant to your business category.

Screenshot from Facebook, December 2022Facebook Page template example

For example, if you’re a service business and you select the service template, you’re able to clearly showcase the services you offer to customers, along with reviews and offers.

3. Use An Attractive Cover Photo

Visual content has the power to capture attention and increase conversions.

According to Google, businesses that add photos to their Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.

Your cover photo is the first element that will draw people’s attention. It can be the make-or-break point, helping people decide to scroll down to learn more about your business.

Pick a photo that aligns with your branding but captures your audience’s attention.

Use a real photo or an illustration that showcases your brand’s style in terms of colors, mission statement, and values – and be sure to avoid stock imagery.

Stock photos fail to convey a visual representation of your brand and, in turn, can make your brand feel less authentic.

When selecting your cover image, Facebook recommends it:

  • Left aligns with a full bleed and a 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • Must be at least 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall.
  • Loads fastest as an sRGB JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall, and less than 100 kilobytes.

4. Choose A Professional Profile Picture

Your profile picture, while not as prominent as your cover photo, appears prominently at the top of your Facebook Page.

It also appears as your avatar on all posts and photos you publish on Facebook (on your page and others).

This photo should represent your brand effectively any time someone sees it.

For most businesses, using your company logo is typically common practice, as customers may already be familiar with it, and associate it with your business.

8 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring PageScreenshot from Facebook, December 20228 Facebook Marketing Tips To Revitalize A Boring Page

It should be easy for someone to discern which brand they’re engaging with when they see your Facebook Page.

Your profile image displays at 176×176 pixels on your Facebook Page on computers, 196×196 pixels on smartphones, and 36×36 pixels on most feature phones.

Ensure your profile image is clear by following the aforementioned sizing guidelines and using a high-resolution image.

5. Create Content That Resonates With Your Target Audience

Your Facebook Page should be a one-stop shop for your audience.

It’s an opportunity to learn more about your business, read reviews from loyal customers, and consume relevant content.

So, create quality content that resonates with your wider audience.

You may also want to incorporate a mixture of different types of posts – such as video posts when you have impactful customer testimonials to share, or high-quality photos when you’re launching a new product.

No matter the type of content you choose to share, make sure that it is relevant and impactful to your readers. For example, if your wider audience is Gen Z, video content may be the way to go.

When creating content, ask yourself: will this post add value, or am I trying to reach a quota? If your answer is the latter, you may need to revise your Facebook content marketing strategy.

Consider your post timing, too.

In the past, mid-morning posts drove the most engagement, as people often use the app on their commutes to school or work. However, posting during the early morning hours has now taken the lead.

Post timing also varies by industry, so find the best time to reach your customer base.

6. Create An Incentive For Following Your Facebook Page

Deals and discounts play a significant role in consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Americans say offers are a top factor when deciding where and what to buy online. Deals are so important that 48% of Americans said they will avoid brands that do not provide offers.

Your Facebook Page enables your business to promote offers for free.

These offers can be:

  • Percentage-off.
  • Dollar-off.
  • Free product or service.
  • Free shipping.
  • Custom offer of your choice.

Create an offer that is unique for your Facebook followers. This incentivizes them to follow you and engage with your posts.

These offers can change and vary. We advise that you keep your offers fresh and switch them periodically to encourage your audience to continue to follow your page.

Facebook marketing tips, creating a new Facebook offer exampleScreenshot from Facebook, December 2022Facebook marketing tips, creating a new Facebook offer example

Respond To Customer Feedback

One of the most fundamental Facebook marketing tips (and digital marketing tips in general) is to respond to all customer feedback whenever possible.

This includes any time customers reach out via Facebook Messenger, during a Facebook Live, when they leave a review on your Facebook Page, or when they reply to your Facebook Stories.

Being proactive with your responses, whether the customer leaves negative or positive feedback, shows your brand cares about its customers.

Your response time matters, too.

According to ReviewTrackers, 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week, but 1 in 3 expect a response within 3 days or less.

Ensure you have a reputation management strategy and team in place to triage responses. Set standards and expectations with your team when it comes to reviewing responses.

Creating response templates is a good way to quickly and efficiently respond to customer reviews across multiple platforms.

7. Use Every Character In Your Page’s Description

Your Facebook page allows you 255 characters to describe your business.

Use every character possible to share what you do, what you sell, and why it matters. Use original content relevant to your business when drafting your description.

You’ll also want to add complete information for your:

  • Your business contact details (phone number, address, and email).
  • Business categories.
  • Website.
  • Social media accounts.
  • Hours.
  • Price range.

8. Add A CTA

Allow your customers to quickly perform the call to action (CTA) of your choice.

This button appears beneath your cover image and to the right of your profile image. You can choose from a variety of CTA options, including:

  • Follow.
  • View gift card.
  • Start order.
  • Book now.
  • Call now.
  • Contact us.
  • Send message.
  • Send email.
  • Learn more.
  • And more.

For example, a restaurant brand would benefit from adding a Start order CTA.

This eliminates friction in the consumer’s path to purchase, allowing them to start the order right from your Facebook Page, rather than navigating to your website or a third-party food delivery app.

Keep a pulse on your engagement metrics to see if the CTA you’ve selected is driving measurable results. If it’s not, consider adding a different CTA to see if your audience engages better with alternative messaging.

To find your engagement metrics, click on the Insights button in the menu.

Facebook Insights offer a wealth of information from likes, story reach, actions on the page, post engagement rates, how different types of content are performing, and much more.

Check these insights often to better guide your Facebook marketing strategy.

Facebook CTA exampleScreenshot from Facebook, December 2022Facebook CTA example

Concluding Thoughts

As you can see, updating and optimizing your Facebook Page doesn’t take much effort.

Instead, it requires continuously keeping up with your social media marketing strategy and leveraging the tools and features available to you.

Following these Facebook marketing tips is a good place to start.

To keep up with Facebook’s evolving functionality, do a quick audit every quarter to see what’s new and available to you.

This ensures your business is taking full advantage of your Facebook Page’s capabilities and staying one step ahead of your competition.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

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