In recent months the feeling throughout the industry has been one of pessimism. Giants of retail have fallen, seemingly untouchable tech companies have found themselves in court and social media platforms are looking less and less relevant. Perhaps even obsolete.
So, it’s incredibly refreshing to see one of the old-boys of internet, WordPress, doing something exciting and forward thinking!
At a glance, WordPress Gutenberg might just seem like an updated user interface to an already established and widely-used platform. However, if you take it in context of where WordPress has come from, and where it’s going, it becomes a bit of a game-changer.
The humble Blog was, for a long time, the backbone of the internet. Before social media was all-encompassing and before the word Vlog had become a thing, blogging was the main way for the majority of us to have our voices heard. And, despite the move towards users consuming content through video and interactive media, the written word is still alive; In fact, I think it’s more relevant now than it’s ever been.
Is Voice the future of Search?
I heard a talk at the Internet Retailing 2018 conference discussing (amongst other topics) voice search. The angle was whether voice is the natural next-step for search. We’ve gone from typing simple keywords to phrase recognition and now we’re moving to mobile-first, or in some cases mobile-only search.
The answer is, yes voice is going to form a large part of our relationship with digital, but only in the context of a fully immersive experience. i.e. users might search with their voice, but they want the answer in the form of text, images and videos not a disembodied voice lacking any context. Just look at the latest generation of voice assistant devices, they’re now moving in the direction of integrated screens to provide the answer in context of a full SERP. Not only do these provide the user with a more complete answer to their query, but also tackle issues of trust by listing multiple sources.
The Gutenberg Press
But how does any of this relate to WordPress? Well lets look at the name of WordPress 5.0 (currently in Beta) – it’s a throw-back to the Gutenberg press. An event referred to by many as the start of the modern world. The first time knowledge was available on a such mass-produced scale. The internet of its day.
WordPress has taken its humble beginnings as a blogging platform and over the years added features that users really wanted. They’ve continued to evolve and mutate what the name WordPress actually means. And, as a result, have not just survived, but thrived.
WordPress – The out of the box solution
WordPress has long been my go-to platform to recommend to anyone looking to set up their own website and now Gutenberg has taken them into another league. Out of the box WordPress is now a fully-fledged CMS. From a single interface the user can now create customised layouts, create and test responsive designs and pages packed with good content. This a truly advanced interface with easy to use tools even for the not-so tech-savvy amongst us. For many, Gutenberg will remove the need for a custom theme making it more accessible than ever. Truly in the spirit of the original Gutenberg Press; WordPress 5.0 is about accessibility and the sharing of knowledge.
Sure, the original Gutenberg press might have been a bigger achievement – but the overall message here is the same. The written word is as relevant now as it’s ever been!
Will Voice Search make Written Content redundant?
From a search perspective written content is still the backbone of everything we should be doing. Users may be consuming more video than ever and social media platforms might be pushing us towards quick-consumption content. But the driving force behind it all is written content.
In fact if anything the advent of voice search, and therefore more natural speech based queries, means we as marketers should be focusing more than ever on the long tail opportunities and creating content that can genuinely answer these more complex queries.
No longer are users searching using single keywords or carefully selected phrases. They want to be able to talk to Alexa, Siri and Google as if they were a friend. And just like a real-world conversation, they expect the answers to be multi-faceted, layered and conversational.
Find out more about how Voice Search is impacting Search Engine Results in my piece of SERP Features here.
Which is why I firmly believe WordPress is a tool for the future. A platform that allows anyone to produce relevant content, in-line with the latest technology trends and to the highest of standards. Not a ground breaking revolution, just an evolution of the written word with its ethos firmly rooted in the dissemination of knowledge and accessibility for the masses.
Also, it’s a rather snazzy new interface that should make writing much more pleasurable experience! Check out the new interface here!