If the CMS wants to conquer the remaining 75 percent of the Internet, it will need to reach out to people that aren’t using it now. Mullenweg laid out ways WordPress will become more accessible in 2017 and reach even more people.
In 2016, there were 116 WordCamps attended by over 36,000 people. With that, there were 3,193 meetups in 58 countries. That number is way up from 2015, and Mullenweg believes it is still growing. These numbers are a huge testament to the power of community, and how people are coming together to learn about WordPress.
Of course, the more countries use the CMS, the more translations will be needed. 2016 was a great year for progress in this area. The ten most used plugins are 82 percent translated into WordPress’ top 12 languages. 1,589 plugins and 1,224 themes are currently using language packs.
After the second annual WordPress Translation Day, Ahmad Awais and his meetup were able to translate WordPress 4.7 completely into Urdu for the first time ever.
These numbers are incredibly encouraging and are expected to rise in 2017. Events like Translation Day and local meetups are making translations easier. We’ll see more small groups getting together to widen the scope of WordPress.
In the past, the Foundation was used to hold the trademark and assist with WordCamps. Because it was considered a nonprofit, there were very specific rules all WordCamp organizers needed to follow, some of which were incredibly limiting. For the last year, the team has been working on creating a subsidiary of the Foundation called WordPress Community Support. To make the WordCamp process easier, as well as protect the trademark, all WordCamp business will be done under the subsidiary.
This move opens the Foundation up to new opportunities. The revenue for 2016 was $4.3 million, which was up from $2.8 million from the previous year. That’s a good chunk of change that Mullenweg announced will now be used for charitable causes.
The money will be used to support “like-minded projects” such as Hack the Hood, Black Girls Code, and Internet Archive. Mullenweg said the Foundation will also create educational programs in underdeveloped countries and promote hackathons.
It will be exciting to see the places the restructured Foundation will go. One barrier to WordPress is understanding of the platform, but these programs will make education easier to come by.
WordPress Growth Council
One of the ways to expand the reach of WordPress is to advertise. Marketing has never been a big priority for WordPress, and typically users found it through word of mouth. That is going to change in the coming year. Mullenweg announced the WordPress Growth Council.
In a blog Mullenweg wrote on the subject he said, “In the WordPress world when we look back on 2016 I think we’ll remember it as the year that we awoke to the importance of marketing. WordPress has always grown organically through word of mouth and its passionate community, but the hundreds of millions being spent advertising against WP has started to have an impact, especially for folks only lightly familiar with us.”
The Growth Council is a place where people can send their marketing ideas. It only makes sense that the community should help grow the CMS. The cool thing about the platform is anyone that works on it can take some kind of ownership. That’s why we should be the ones that help bring users in.
According to Mullenweg, “a lot of our opportunities to grow in the coming year is on the human side.” The thing that will propel WordPress further is reaching out to more and more people. That means more translations and meetups around the world. It means supporting educational programs that reach people who wouldn’t normally be able to access WordPress or coding in general. It even means looking at new ways to market the CMS.
Something WordPress has that no other software does is the community. If we continue to support the person and the user first, there is no telling where the platform can go. 2017 can and should be the year of accessibility, and we as a community can easily make that happen.