A few days ago, I shared a recap of some of the biggest events that happened in the WordPress world in 2017.
Now, I want to switch things up, get out my Magic 8 Ball, and look into the future to give you my predictions for what will happen to WordPress in 2018.
Give them a read. Then, bookmark this post and come back in 12 months to either praise or mock me!
I’ve got five predictions for you - let’s dive in...
1. New WordPress Users Are Going To Love Gutenberg
You may have noticed that the new WordPress Gutenberg editor is a bit of a contentious topic in the WordPress community.
And I understand, and agree with, a lot of the complaints. I think retroactively applying Gutenberg to the massive numbers of existing websites and users is going to be a painful transition.
And while I hope WordPress comes out of that transition stronger, I sympathize with:
- Developers who are having to rethink the way they implement features
- Casual users who have to learn an entirely new interface
- Developers who have to try to teach those casual users that new interface (try not to pull too much of your hair out, friends!)
But after playing around with newer versions of Gutenberg, I’ve come to this conclusion:
New WordPress users are going to love the Gutenberg editor.
That doesn’t mean I’m predicting that Gutenberg is an overall success right away because I think change on this scale is always going to have stumbling blocks.
But I think if you look at a person who’s using WordPress for the first time, that person is going to have a vastly improved WordPress experience thanks to Gutenberg. And I think that’s going to be great for WordPress’ growth going forward.
So - as long as the Gutenberg team can handle the tiny issue of the 29.3% of all websites that are currently chugging along with the TinyMCE editor, I’m excited for its release!
2. Developers Are Going To Keep Pushing The Limits Of The WordPress Customizer
As part of getting to write for lots of different WordPress clients, I get to try a ton of different themes.
And one thing that I’ve been consistently impressed with about these WordPress themes is how forward-thinking developers keep pushing the limits of what the real-time WordPress Customizer can do.
Remember back when most themes forced you to customize your theme using those user experience black holes that were custom theme options panels?
Tweaking your site was a battle. Edit a setting. Refresh. Edit another setting. Refresh…
Now, it’s pretty common for themes to at least let you make basic style changes via the WordPress Customizer.
But I think that with more time and experience, as well as the core team’s continual improvements to the WordPress Customizer, we’re going to see even more cool implementations in 2018.
I think in 2018, we see continued growth of the WordPress Customizer to the point where it’s how most users will style their websites.
I’m not talking about just color tweaks - I’m talking customizing whole pages and sections:
Plenty of developers have already built this functionality in their themes - but I think that we’ll continue to see increasingly full-service implementations of the WordPress Customizer in 2018.
3. Developers Are Going To Do Awesome Things With Blocks, Too
One of the things I’m most excited for in 2018 is seeing what the awesome community of WordPress developers can do with blocks.
As you’ve probably heard by now, the new Gutenberg editor uses blocks to help you build your content.
And while it will include a whole bunch of blocks by default, it also opens the door for third-party developers to create their own blocks.
We can already see this happening with BlocksWP from Caldera Labs and Easily Amused. And as Gutenberg’s imminent release date draws closer, I’m sure we’ll see additional projects pop up centered around Gutenberg.
Keep your eyes peeled because I guarantee developers are going to do some awesome things in 2018!
4. WordPress Will Almost Hit The 1/3rd Mark For Website Usage
In my WordPress 2017 recap, I shared some numbers for WordPress’ growth in 2017 in terms of how many websites are powered by WordPress on the Internet.
If you didn’t catch that post - the quick summary is that WordPress grew from 27.3% to 29.3% market share by the end of the year in 2017.
My prediction is that we see that trend continue and WordPress continues to gobble up market share of the world’s websites.
I wanted to say that WordPress will power one-third of all websites by the year’s end. But...I think that’s a little optimistic.
Over the last three years, WordPress has increased its market share by around two percentage points each year.
I think we see that continue and WordPress ends the year around ~31.5% market share.
This way - I can save the 1/3rd number for my 2019 predictions!
5. WordPress Plugins Are Going To Get Some Security Updates
Another thing that I talked about in my 2017 recap is the rise of plugin backdoors in previously trusted plugins.
In a few different cases, unscrupulous marketers purchased existing trusted plugins and then added a backdoor to insert links for SEO purposes.
I think in 2018, we’ll see changes that help make this situation more unlikely.
First, I think we need to see some changes at WordPress.org where a plugin gets extra scrutiny when it changes ownership.
I’m not sure of the best way to implement this - but given that legitimate plugin purchases seem to be a common vector, it makes sense to look more closely at plugins that have recently changed hands.
Second, we’re going to hopefully see the introduction of the Tide plugin.
If you’re not familiar, the Tide project basically audits and grades the code used by themes and plugins.
You can see a potential implementation of this below:
For non-developers, code quality is pretty much something we have to take on faith. But with Tide, regular users will be able to see a rough score of every plugin and theme’s code quality, which will hopefully make for a more transparent and secure extension ecosystem.
Tide won’t be a cure-all for security issues - but I’m a fan of anything that gives regular users more tools to assess a plugin and theme’s code quality and check compatibility.
What Do You Think Will Happen To WordPress In 2018?
I’ve said my piece! Now I want to hear from all of you guys - what are your predictions for WordPress in 2018?
Are you optimistic? Or are you one of those folks who thinks Gutenberg will be a disaster and WordPress is going to get forked in 2018?
Let me know in the comments!