The next generation of digital marketers are different, they’re demanding a more hands-on approach to digital operations, they’re collaborative and highly agile.
They understand the mantra of “deliver quickly and respond to opportunities” and this means disrupting the old-school web development approach and replacing it with a far more agile process. What used to take day or weeks to develop can now be prototyped in a matter of hours as a result of some key changes in the world of web development.
- Widespread adoption of Content Management. The use of WordPress, and other CMS applications, has empowered anyone to contribute to an organisation’s digital services. With WordPress, the marketer can directly make changes to the web sites and see the difference immediately. You’d be nuts to specify a new website today that doesn’t have a CMS attached to it, and WordPress is the world’s number one CMS for good reason
- Reduced cost of deployment. Just a few years ago, the corporate website was a highly regimented space that rarely changed – the estimated cost of changing a single block of content in 2010 was approx £2,000. By comparison, the average cost in 2014 is less than £300 – a seven-fold reduction. This encourages change and speeds up the process of improvement and the quality of content.
- Cloud-base services. Websites of old were hosted on carefully managed, dedicated web servers, they were costly (typically £1000+ per month per box for hardware, support and personnel) and also quite fragile. As a result direct access was restricted to old-fashioned systems managers and complex deployment tools that only hard-core developers could use. Today, we have off the shelf hosting solutions such as Amazon AWS and WPEngine that provide highly scalable and simple-to-manage services that are more reliable, faster and cost 75% less.
- Democratisation of coding. Everyone is learning to code and that’s empowering a wider range of brains to help solve digital marketing problems. Marketers and operational staff are now as likely to know the basics of code as they are to know Excel or Powerpoint.
- Responsive, the mobile challenge. Whilst traditional programmers can adapt to using the technology required to deal with mobiles and tablets, they have been slow to embrace it. In fact, web development and design agencies have been slow to adapt to mobile full stop. Re-factoring an existing site into a mobile or responsive layout is a step too far in terms of resource and cost creating a legacy of old-style digital services. This wouldn’t matter, except the speed of growth in the mobile world has forced the hands of the decision makers and the easiest, lowest cost and simplest solution is to re-build, from scratch, using WordPress.
- Content is king. SEO is dead. The grown in content planning as the recognition of quality content is driving a need for companies to publish high quality, relevant content. The simplest way to do this is via a publishing platform, such as WordPress, that is easy to use and adheres nicely to search engine and social media best practices.
The future is not WordPress-only, other solutions do exist but the domination of WordPress and it’s Open Source roots together with the pace of development makes if difficult to ignore. If I was asked for a recommendation in terms of what of learn that will be of value in the next few years the answer would be “WordPress”.
By Martin Dower
Disclaimer: Connected are a WordPress Digital Agency. We develop using WordPress only (and associated supporting services). Founded in 1996, we have developed using other frameworks and standard, at one point we were a full-blown development house with a team of 15 full-time programmers, not any more – we think this mode of operation is outmoded.