WordPress as a platform has grown in popularity since its release in 2003. The site now commands almost 40% of the web’s websites and owns close to two–thirds of market share among CMS websites, numbers that will likely only grow over the next few years. Below are some stats about WordPress usage on the web:
WordPress websites are built for numerous use cases in different sectors. WordPress sites are used by law firms, bakers, military contractors, wellness coaches, and everyone in-between. Being an open-source platform, WordPress has attracted and built a robust community of coders and designers over the years, resulting in a wide variety of themes, plugins, and customisations that have pushed up its popularity and usage.
The rise of multi-purpose themes came out of a need to provide more versatility in one theme, rather than having users buy separate themes for different websites. Multi-purpose themes offer choice, flexibility, and faster support from the developer for users. Theme marketplaces like Themeforest host a large selection of multi-purpose themes for use, and purchasing these themes allows users to “buy once and install anywhere” across all their domains. Expect to see even more multi-purpose themes in 2021.
Website builders (also known as drag-and-drop builders) make it easy for non-developers to create beautiful sites without typing a single line of code. Many website builders are extendable and work on a freemium model: a free version that can be upgraded with an annual subscription to unlock more functionality. Several website builders have sprung up over the years, but only a handful of them have won out the race for popularity. Here are some of the top WordPress website builders in 2020:
With COVID-19 grounding most businesses around the globe, companies that lease spaces have taken some of the biggest hits. Real estate companies and coworking spaces have struggled to get feet in the door, and virtual reality tours could prove pivotal in helping customers see, inspect, and select or book apartments, venues, or office spaces. Other places that could leverage 3D virtual reality website tours include art galleries, museums, and eldercare facilities. Check out this list of top WordPress VR plugins to get started.
E-commerce has exploded over the last few months thanks to global lockdowns forcing people to shop online. This growth means that more and more businesses are looking for ways to sell their products and services online.
Themes and plugins like WooCommerce have made it quicker and easier for business owners to set up an online shop and start making sales. WooCommerce is currently used by 18% of all WordPress websites, a number that will likely continue to grow as more businesses migrate online.
As such, expect better e-commerce integrations, newer and more inclusive payment methods, and faster and safer checkout processes in 2021. PayPal, for instance, has recently introduced cryptocurrency trading through its platform, and this latest move will likely solidify the use of other digital currencies in e-commerce transactions.
The web is trending towards greater accessibility for hearing and sight-impaired users. Examples include easier navigation design, captioned media, and voice search capabilities that make it easier to browse, shop, and consume media online. This trend coincides with the rising use of voice-enabled smart speakers such as Google’s Alexa, Facebook’s Portal, and Amazon’s Echo – devices that are expected to herald the rise of voice-powered online shopping in the next few years. Voice search will also require websites to have the right tags and taxonomies in place to improve their SEO rankings and provide a better experience for users.
The chatbots are taking over, and websites all over the world are integrating digital assistants to improve the customer’s experience. Chatbot usage is expected to rise by 29.7% over the next four years—and it’s easy to see why. Seven benefits of chatbots include:
Popular chatbot providers include ChatBot and ChatFuel with entry-level pricing for businesses that want to up their customer service game. And with WordPress website usage rising, chatbots will continue to pepper websites over the next few years.
With WordPress being an open-source platform that requires little to no knowledge of code, expect to see more WordPress developers making a full-time living from building WordPress websites. The no-code movement has made the design of beautiful, intuitive websites more accessible, and more non-coders will be able to make a career out of helping other non-coders establish an online presence. If you’re looking for where to find WordPress developer jobs and vacancies, start your search on LinkedIn and other job boards like Indeed, Careers24, Monster Jobs, Glassdoor, and more.
Google introduced the open-source AMP framework in 2015 to help webpages load faster on mobile. This feature means that websites use less data and reduce load times, drastically improving the mobile user experience. With the clear benefits of faster loading times on SEO, lowered bounce rates, higher ad viewability, and extended session lengths, expect more websites to integrate AMP functionality in 2021. You can learn more about AMP and how to enable it on your website here.
Video backgrounds capture and hold user attention longer than static images or sliders. This effect decreases bounce rates and increases the average session length on your website, both of which are good for SEO (and for your conversion rates). Video backgrounds generally use compressed GIFs to tell a story, showcase products and services, or advertise an upcoming event (among many other use-cases). Website builders like Elementor, Visual Composer, and WPBakery allow you to set a video background on your landing page to engage your site’s visitors. Learn more about how to add a video background to your WordPress website.
WordPress is a versatile, highly extendable platform that will only keep getting better and more popular over the next few years. With a robust code-base, a healthy plugin marketplace, and a large community of developers, there are several trends that you can expect to see in 2021—and to better position yourself to benefit from them. Did we miss any items on our list? Let us know in the comments below!
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Mohammed Shehu writes on marketing, content, and tech for B2B clients in the US and EMEA regions. You can find him online @shehuphd everywhere.