I’ve had the question a few times now of what I’ve been up to since I got appointed lead marketing for WordPress. The first few weeks have been busy, but very interesting. The marketing team is doing a lot of things. I won’t go over all of them here, but wanted to show some of the projects we’ve worked on and how the processes around them work. As you’ll see, most of my focus so far has been on WordPress.org itself and team processes.

Quick wins

During the first weeks one of the things I started working on were some quick wins: making some of our about pages more reflective of the current state of the project. We:

  • updated the roadmap page (actually a couple of times already, most recently after the 5.1 release);
  • removed mentions of jQuery and other libraries from the features page and added a lot of links to the support pages to it;
  • fixed the testimonials page as it was broken;
  • and finally: started working on a better history page.

Showcase

One of the things that immediately became clear as I was talking to the marketing team is that the showcase needs an update. The marketing team has been publishing great WordPress case studies on the make marketing blog, but those deserve a better place. At the same time the Showcase, where this content would make a lot of sense, obviously needs more love.

When I proposed changing the showcase I got an immediate enthusiastic response from quite a few people, which was very warming. Pragmatic offered to help with design time and has been hard at work based on my (admittedly very simple) outline, leading to some very cool first designs. In the last meeting of the WordPress design team we’ve been discussing their first designs and based on the feedback that came from that, we’ll iterate on those designs a bit more.

This process has already showed me what an enormous ecosystem we have. Let me show you: in this case the marketing team comes up with a plan. The design team, at our request, starts thinking about a design, someone steps up and starts designing, on which the entire design team gives feedback, along with marketing and the accessibility team. Once we’ve agreed on a design, the meta team will start implementing the changes, after which I’m guessing the accessibility and marketing team will once again review the result. At the same time other members of the marketing team are coming up with a process for what a showcase entry will now require and how to get all that data. WordPress really is a huge organization.

Team processes

We’ve made some small adjustments to the team’s processes and I’m certain more will follow. The team’s Trello board is very useful for smaller tasks, but for bigger tasks like the Showcase redesign, we really need to figure out how we can do that more efficiently together with other teams. This is something that I’m hoping (and honestly, expecting) Josepha Haden, the new executive director for WordPress, will help us improve on.

SEO

Last year, as one of the actions leading from the growth council I was part of, Jono Alderson and I did an SEO analysis of WordPress.org (Jono really did the bulk of the initial analysis). Over the last few months we’ve been creating meta tickets to fix those issues one by one. The meta team (the team that handles all things WordPress.org) has been hard at work fixing these, leading to 55 closed tickets at the current count and 19 open ones.

Google Search Console is showing us that errors are going down. It’s also showing a small uptick in traffic that could probably be attributed to these improvements. I expect this is a sign of things to come, as I truly think we can get more traffic to WordPress.org.

Analytics

As we’re working on SEO, Jono and I are also slowly improving the Google Analytics implementation. Using Google Tag Manager we’ve started improving our measurement, for instance by tagging more events. This means we can better track events like downloads, thread creation and replies on the forums and other events.

We have already had the first few requests for analytics data from the Docs and Support teams, who want to use that data to improve their pages. It’s been very nice to quickly be able to answer those as our data gets better.

Is that all?

No, not even close. There is some very exciting work being done by the team on social media campaigns for WordCamps, something I hope we can build and expand on in the future. Another project is the promotion of sustainability for WordCamps. yet another one is the ongoing promotion of WordPress.tv stuff (which probably also deserves a more prominent spot on WordPress.org). There’s also work being done on the mobile page on .org, we’ve started discussing what should happen to the Gutenberg page, and I’m probably still forgetting tons of things as there is so much.

What’s next?

A lot of the above is ongoing work that we’ll have to work on for at least a few more months. At the same time, as I now understand our challenges a bit better, I want to take a step back and produce a “meta view” of how I think we should be marketing WordPress. This marketing plan will then serve as a discussion starter for the marketing team, but I certainly hope also across a wider part of the community.

It’s been very exciting to see what people in the marketing team are capable of. I hope to be able to shine more light on what they do and also to amplify the reach of what they do in the coming months. Combined with my own experience, I look forward to making a meaningful difference in WordPress’ growth.

Published by Joost de Valk

Joost de Valk, Founder & Chief Product Officer at Yoast and Lead Marketing & Communications for WordPress.org.

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2 Comments

  1. Great stuff, and quick wins ALWAYS first ofcourse. Oh, and for every person that starts with SEO, just go through the 78 Tickets for the Meta team for WordPress.org, you can learn a lot from Yoast and Jono!

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