I have been a web developer and web designer for 25 years. And I remember one time, many years ago, I was a bit insecure about the future for me as a web designer. Back then I felt that every company already had its own website. This was before WordPress, and I was building websites with HTML or maybe the Mambo – server (before Joomla). I was so unsure about the future, that I was thinking about doing something else. Fortunately, things changed.
The evolution of Content Management Systems
I won’t go into details about CMS’s, because then this will be a very long post. But suddenly companies needed to fix or upgrade their existing websites from old or outdated technologies. They needed dynamic content solutions, and since I was a computer engineer and not so much a designer, suddenly I was back in business.
The increasing popularity of WordPress
As we all know WordPress popularity exploded with all the bloggers and influencers in the mid-2000. But for me, it still took a while before I went from Joomla to WordPress. WordPress wasn’t great in the beginning and you really have to get a grip on the WordPress eco-system to be a good WordPress developer.
Now WordPress has almost 40% of the CMS market and maybe you would get the same feeling again that I had many years ago. “Everbody” has a WordPress website, or can easily install their own. With a page builder, they could also build websites themselves. How can I survive as a web developer?
Gutenberg – the WordPress block editor
Thankfully, things changed again. Matt Mullenweg realized that the “rise of the WordPress page builders” was not doing the WordPress trademark any good. People were not using WordPress anymore. WordPress was reduced to a kind of development platform and the content editing was done in external page builders.
I was frustrated. I always felt something was wrong. I wasn’t teaching my clients to use WordPress, I was teaching them Divi or Elementor.
With the launch of the WordPress block editor “Gutenberg” in 2020, I saw a solution to my problems. While everybody was busy complaining, saying it was the worst thing they have seen, all I saw was the future.
In my eyes, suddenly every WordPress website build with an external page builder (Gutenberg is also a page builder), were old and outdated.
The page builder companies reacted exactly as I predicted. They increased the developing speed to stay ahead of the native WordPress editor and of course each other. Desperately adding more functionality and features to their plugins, the result was even more bloated software you will never need for building a website.
The days when you needed a page builder are long gone. And with the Google Core Web Vitals, page builders companies are blogging about how you could achieve top scores in the Web Vitals – tests, with more speed performance plugins.
The truth? If you need speed performance plugins, you are doing it “wrong”. This website scores pretty well. I have to work a bit on my images, and I have Google Site Kit, Rank Math, Kadence blocks, and more. But no performance plugin.
So now I feel that there are millions of websites out there that are building WordPress websites the “wrong” way, and I have to fix them all. It’s hard manual work that no robot can do. And I will never again get that nervous feeling about my future as a web developer. In fact, the future as a freelance WordPress web developer has never been more bright. Thank you, Gutenberg 🙂