The whole point of this exercise was to get a proper feel for the WordPress.com experience. Like I’ve already said, I’m impressed, but I woke up this morning thinking, “Is that it? Does that represent the sum total of what you’ve learnt in a whole day of playing with it? How’s about some depth to your so-called analysis…”
Building the site in a day was obviously a bit hectic, so I can cut myself some slack, but I don’t want to fall into the trap of a) not taking the time to reflect on the experience, and b) only writing stuff on here that’s just superficial guff.
One thing did strike me in the 10 minutes I gave myself to ponder (before tackling today’s task – writing the covering letter for my application). The world of blogging and online presence has blurred a lot in the last couple of years, and my new understanding of WordPress.com has brought that even more sharply into focus. (I think that’s called an oxymoron, and I wish I could claim it was deliberate.)
To make sweeping over-generalizations, a few years back there were providers like Squarespace or Wix, where you could build a pretty site that did absolutely nothing but look pretty – and that was fine for lots of things. Then there was WordPress.com for (I thought) relatively simple sites and non-techie minded folk. The next step up from that was a WordPress application, which could be used by inexperienced people who just had a techie-type brain to do slightly more complex things. Or it could be used by developers to truly whizzy stuff. Finally there was the all-singing all-dancing pure custom build.
Nowadays, everything is converging. Squarespace has got some nifty functionality going on. The WordPress application is on a path heading towards much more drag-and-drop user-friendliness – take the block editor, for example. And now there are loads of highly effective page builder plugins which are very close to the sort of drag-and-drop approach available on Squarespace. WordPress.com, I now see, sits right in the middle – so very similar to the WordPress application, but bundling together all the hosting, domain and application stuff into one easy-to-use package.
Back in my management consultancy days, I’d be churning out phrases like “crowded market”, “over-capacity” and “inevitable consolidation”. I’m not yet deep enough into this world to make any predictions over how it’s going to pan out, but I’m pretty sure there are going to be some winners and losers in the not too distant future.