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With WordPress 6.6 beta releasing, and seeing the advancements being made with site building features like Overrides for Synced Patterns — I can’t help but be excited for where WordPress is headed.

And I know you might have your druthers with it all, but I’m hoping you invest now because the future is bright for our favorite platform. Building websites with AI isn’t convincing me all that much, even if our Pillar sponsor Bluehost promises me a robot friend to help me build whatever I want with WordPress. Seriously, check it out.

I like to be in control of the process, tune the things I need, craft a layout that hits the right marks for my brand. Give me a bunch of patterns, blocks, and some ready-made templates and I’ll adjust the 10% that’s leftover.

The Rockbase theme does a great job at this. I recently used it on a new project, Our Beloved Medium, a 6-part audio documentary highlighting the impact of radio throughout history. Coming soon.

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Blocks, patterns, templates, all jiving together in your new web development canvas — the browser. It’s the no code process users have been longing for since Visual Composer left your site with a bunch of unhinged shortcodes.

This is an exciting time, and it’s something we should be sharing with others. We need to keep WordPress thriving, even if you’re using some other tool to build your pages — WordPress remains your foundation.

Rocio Valdivia highlighted that even with the number of in-person events on the rise, new attendees to WordPress events have declined.

In the post, she prompts us with these 4 questions:

  1. What motivated you to attend your first WordPress event? What were you hoping to gain or experience?
  2. If you’ve organized an event in the past couple of years, what relevant feedback have you heard from new to WordPress attendees?
  3. What unique value or benefit do you find at other non-WordPress events that you think could bring value to our WordPress events? (for attendees, organizers, and sponsors)
  4. What type of new event or content do you think would be great for attracting and keeping new WordPress users (of any level) to WordPress events?

If you look at the graph, which starts to decline in 2017 (and putting aside COVID; though a massive contributor) I feel this follows the same dip of WordPress burnout — exhaustion? — that we felt when Gutenberg was first announced.

I’ve talked about this in the past, but the roll-out of Gutenberg came with a perfect storm: In tech years WordPress was already ancient. There was a rise in proprietary tools like Shopify and Wix that satisfied the lizard brain a lot of us early adopters in tech are looking for.

The communication of it all was highly criticized (including yours truly), but looking back, I couldn’t use the classic editor to build pages or write blog posts ever again. Then you thrust the whole industry into warp speed with COVID and lockdowns — yeah, I’m still trying to gather my braincells too.

Take a step back and ask yourself: Are you NOT excited for this software? Or are you just fighting the current because you don’t like change? I’m not talking about the politics of it all, I think it’s something you can abstract from WordPress the software, but to deeply evaluate the enjoyment of building a site with WordPress.

When Wordpress events were at their height, WordPress was fresh & exciting. But most importantly, we needed a place to learn more about it. The advancements of the site editing experience can be that revival moment for WordPress events. Get people excited about building & publishing with WordPress again.

A place to incorporate the real essence of the open source project, where we can stake our claim at the table to provide the necessary feedback to improve the tool.

Maybe loosen up the stuffiness of local meetups, encouraging (and promoting) education & awareness at a local level.

Linux opened my eyes to open source. Drupal showed me how to feel powerful as a non-developer. WordPress gave me all of that + an amazing community on top. For years the “builder audience” in WordPress was passed over for the advanced developers — but that’s all catching up to us, now.

It’s time we revisit sharing with others what they can achieve with WordPress. Keep WordPress thriving!

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