What Does 2018 Hold For WordPress Users?

1st January, 2018 by

WordPress has steadily grown from small beginnings into the world’s largest and most popular content management system. Last November saw the latest incarnation of this endlessly flexible open source package being rolled out, but even bigger changes are on the way for users of WordPress in 2018.

Even though this CMS now holds 60% of the global market, we’ve looked into how WordPress in 2018 could improve upon last year’s all-conquering platform…

Greater focus on security updates

November’s WordPress 4.9.1 rollout fixed a number of issues relating to external attacks on the platform in general. Some of these patches are quite technical, such as preventing certain users from uploading JavaScript files. The security of WordPress has been questioned last year, with attackers apparently able to find new sites within half an hour of their first installation. An SQL injection vulnerability was identified on over 300,000 WordPress websites in July, so expect security to be a key theme during 2018.

Increasing ecommerce functionality

Ecommerce spending lags far behind real-world purchasing, but increasingly sophisticated WordPress site templates and ecommerce plugins are bridging this divide. WooCommerce is widely regarded as the market leader, but popular alternatives include Uncode and Shopify. Any ecommerce portal has to be intuitive and simple to use, with the ability to save basket contents for later. There’s likely to be a growing diversity of payment options next year, from PayPal to Bitcoin, while HTTPS security should be a given on any ecommerce portal.

Less focus on gimmicks

As attention spans dwindle and search engines prioritise loading times, page load speeds are becoming one of the most important attributes of any website. As a result, WordPress in 2018 will move away from cluttered designs and lengthy homepages. Monochrome minimalism and greyscale graphics are on-trend, with plenty of white space and a couple of ‘hero’ images dominating individual pages. Animated GIFs and multiple fonts should be avoided, though parallax scrolling is gaining popularity despite being relatively bandwidth-intensive.

More mobile minimalism

With most internet traffic now displaying on mobile devices, the days of designing primarily for desktop monitors are over. Indeed, 2018 will see fully responsive sites with fewer pages, controlled via menus that can be navigated equally easily on desktop or mobile platforms. This requires large menu buttons for touchscreen devices; some people struggle to use hamburger menus, which shouldn’t be necessary on a site with fewer than six pages. Choose a crisp sans-serif font that’s equally legible in heading or body text formats.

Multimedia will dominate WordPress in 2018

Video content is increasingly valuable for ecommerce and marketing purposes, providing files aren’t set to autoplay (startling people as they buffer into life after the page has loaded). Video clips convey more information than text ever could, blending memorable visuals with the calm authority of a voiceover. However, video is more relevant to dynamic industries like architecture than dry ones like accounting. Ensure files are remotely hosted to avoid overloading your server, letting the host (typically YouTube) handle streaming requests.

Drag-and-drop simplifies site design

As WordPress becomes more ubiquitous, making popular templates seem dynamic and original is increasingly challenging. Fortunately, the rapid growth in drag-and-drop themes enables IT beginners to create fully customised sites without having to enter a single line of code. A key advantage of drag-and-drop design is the ability to experiment with different layouts or site elements, undoing any changes if the audience response isn’t positive enough. Examples of flexible WordPress themes include Divi, BeTheme and Foundry.

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