The theme for the 2022 State of the Word Keynote focused on the Four Freedoms of Open Source. Speaker and Co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, focused on the CMS’ growth through its nearly two decades of existence in an ever-changing technical landscape
As the CMS continues to change with time, we connected to some of the top Influencers in the community to get their thoughts on the trends we could see coming in 2023. From improvements to Gutenberg, plugins that incorporate AI tools, and more, 2023 is shaping up to be a great year for the advancement of WordPress.
2023 WordPress Trends Predicted by Influencers
Market Growth and AI-Powered Plugins
WordPress has become a powerhouse in the open-source CMS market, and it’s not going anywhere soon. Look out for WordPress to make a big jump in 2023, as WordPress trends will help increase its market share.
That being said, closed-source products will continue to grow and eat into WordPress’s total market share—think of WordPress as the Pac-Man of CMS systems!
We can also expect an influx of AI-powered plugins, which will help website owners build new sites quickly and easily or work on existing ones.
The WordPress block editor is expected to expand; however, there’s still an issue with new users figuring out how to set it up. Fear not, though, as WordPress hosts continue to offer quick launch options, so you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting by yourself.
-Mike Demo, Head of Partnerships at Codeable.io | Twitter: @mpmike
An emerging trend I believe will continue and strengthen in 2023 is the formation and growth of partnerships within and between the leading product and enterprise agencies in the WordPress ecosystem. [… ] I hope we are beginning to see leadership and industry self-regulation start to emerge.
The WordPress business ecosystem can define standards touching performance, security, and the kind of experience WordPress users should (or should never) have regardless of their hosting platform. They can proudly establish and share best practices for plugin and theme development. They can raise expectations across the board for professional WordPress product and service providers. We may see some new industry events and associations emerge to support these goals.
I hope we’ll also see increasing cooperation between the WordPress and PHP communities through the PHP Foundation. Finally, I hope and expect we’ll see new momentum for community-sponsored core development through the WP Community Collective. All of these trends circle around a single theme of progress through cooperation and creative initiatives within the WordPress business community.
-Dan Knauss, Technical Content Generalist at StellarWP.com | Twitter: @dan_knauss
Changes to eCommerce Tools
2023 will bring an increase in the uptake of WordPress performance-enhancing plugins that optimize UX and elevate the sales pipeline of eCommerce stores, as making it faster for customers to find what they’re looking for and checkout with ease continues to be fundamental to increasing revenue.
Growing Global eCommerce Sales:
While the economy may be sliding into recession, cross-border commerce helps to keep businesses insulated from the worst of the impact. Many businesses are already mitigating the risk of economic downturn, with two-thirds of global online retail shoppers in major global markets contributing at least 10% of their monthly online spending towards cross-border commerce.
As a result, more online merchants will look for targeted ways of improving the CX of a growing international customer base. Implementing tools that support multiple languages and multiple currencies will be key to unlocking this.
Streamlining customer journeys:
Over two-thirds of companies compete mostly on the basis of CX, highlighting an accelerating need for eCommerce sites to deliver more convenient and intuitive customer journeys.
I expect this to translate into more merchants opting for WordPress plugins that enhance user-centric functionality, such as advanced search filters, custom permalink management, and ‘buy now’ buttons. This uptake will see many eCommerce stores refining their overall site structure to improve customer journeys and, therefore, revenue performance in 2023.
-Iain Poulson, Project Lead at Premmerce.com
The Effects of Gutenberg and Full Site Editing on the CMS Market Share
In 2023, WordPress will continue to iterate and build out Gutenberg and Full Site Editing (FSE) features.
We believe that this continued push toward FSE and Gutenberg will cause the market share to slightly drop due to the impact on new WordPress users. Webflow and similar tools will continue to eat into the WordPress market share.
However, once the WordPress FSE becomes more stable and more user-friendly, the market share will continue to grow. WordPress will continue to be one of the best options when it comes to websites, blogs, and e-commerce due to its flexibility, community, and awesome open-source developers that continue to build and improve the platform.
We think that the future of WordPress is bright in 2023 and beyond.
– Nat Miletic, Agency Owner of ClioWebsites.com | Twitter: @natmiletic
WordPress’ Open Source Roots Will Continue to Differentiate it from Competitors
WordPress will continue to dominate the market share.
At the beginning of 2023, it’s reported that 43% of all websites on the internet run on WordPress. While we all would love to see this number surpass 50%, this likely won’t happen for a few more years.
There are other great paid proprietary platforms out there that continue to grow (some of which are built on top of WordPress), but since WordPress is open source and free, it has a nice advantage to remain at the top.
– Tony Florida, Founder of TonyTeaches.tech
2022 State of the Word Keynote: The Four Freedoms of Open Source
Josepha Haden Chomphosy highlighted the importance of open source to the WordPress community in her introduction.
“These four freedoms [of Open Source] enable the removal of barriers to opportunity in the world. And by continuing to remove those barriers, we secure a free, and open, and interconnected web for the future.”
The four freedoms of Open Source are as follows:
Run the Program – The freedom of running the program for any purpose.
Study and Change – The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so that it does your computing as you wish.
Redistribute – The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
Distribute Your Copies -The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions, giving the community a chance to benefit from those changes.
Josepha then answered the question she provided at the beginning of her segment: Why WordPress?
“The best answer […] is that we secure opportunities and freedoms long into the future, for people who may not even know that those freedoms should matter to them yet.”
This brought the relevance of the keynote into focus as Matt Mullenweg took the stage to update the community on current and future projects.
20 Years of WordPress
Established in 2003, WordPress has grown exponentially in the past twenty years. Because of this, there are many plans to celebrate the CMS in 2023.
“We’re going to have a lot of exciting stuff going on with the 20th birthday of WordPress. If you’d like to follow along at wp20.wordpress.net, we’re going to be having a site that’ll have special edition swag and merchandise.”
The Milestones book, commemorating the history of WordPress, will get an update on the last ten years.
On social media, users can share their thoughts and posts with the community using the hashtag #WP20 all year.
An important part of WordPress is Gutenberg, which is entering the end of Phase 2.
Mullenweg stated his excitement for the future of the Block Editor and its wide adoption.
“I actually believe [Gutenberg] is going to be bigger than WordPress itself, as a contribution and adoption to the web and to mobile apps.”
Some of Gutenberg’s updates include the ability to create full, responsive, themes within the block editor or with the help of the Create Block Theme plugin.
For more information on the future of Gutenberg, we recommend reading the January 2023 release article on Make WordPress Core.
WordPress and Openverse
Openverse is WordPress’ free-to-use stock library with 22 million images and 1.1 million audio files.
WordPress acquired this library in 2021 as a way for everyone to have access to Creative Commons licensed media.
In the future, Matt hopes to fully embed this project into WordPress, but currently, users can access it from the WordPress.org site.
Introduction of Playground
Mullenweg received a round of applause with the introduction of Playground.
Using WebAssembly, Playground allows users to create and customize a WordPress website directly on their browser without the need for a database or host connection.
Although Matt did emphasize how this new tool is still at its earliest stage, he is hopeful for its future.
“This could be used for web development, try out a plugin before you even install it […] Imagining a staging site, built into WordPress instead of having to spin up a whole new web server and virtual machine to test out things, you could just click a button [and clone] your existing WordPress, downloads it to your browser, and then you can make any changes you want. When you are done, deploy it back to your live website.”
For more information on the 2022 State of the Word, and to see the Q&A session, we recommend watching the entire keynote on YouTube, or WordPress.tv.
In 2022 alone WordPress had 1,399 contributors. With the re-introduction of live meetups, including the WordPress Community Summit after a 6-year hiatus, the community is expected to continue to grow.
These community members with a passion for WordPress and open source include our influencers above.
WordPress is a major part of the internet’s history, and the predicted trends from our influencers paint a bright future for the CMS in 2023. Learn more about WordPress, Gutenberg, themes, plugins, and more on our WordPress Education Channel.