As we approach the final "real working days" from this year, we finished our annual full-analysis of our competitions: providers of WordPress Services. This was a simple review, of what they are simply doing, strictly as public communication. We are talking about their blog posts and social media content. We didn't analyse the performance (how many interested, how many likes/retweets, etc), we only get the pieces, that simply shocked us. This is how we compiled a list of things, that we need to address in the next year. Sort of worst of the worsts, (strictly from our point a view, as a competitor from the same business niche).
subpar WordPress Services - as a standard business approach
It is not our place to judge, everybody surely does the best from its point of view. We just analyse the raw information and formulate our point of view, based on our experience and strategies.
- - Example #1: this post - 10-Step Checklist for WordPress Monthly Maintenance (wpbuffs.com/wordpress-monthly-maintenance/)
- -- Issue #1.1: still advocating for a monthly approach regarding WordPress services. We live a period when the 15 minutes monitoring is not enough even for entry-level customers. This means, that doing vital tasks, once a month only is a highway to a total crash. Proof: check out this common GDPR plugin development log: plugins.trac.wordpress.org/log/cookie-law-info/. Two months ago - version 1.6.7; today latest version 1.7.0, from 5 updates, with EACH solving several issues. Do you still think, that using every "other" version from each of your plugins is a good idea? Yeah...neither us!
- -- Issue #1.2: still recommending unattainable things as professional advice. We're doing security monitoring, and it is by far the most challenging segment. We use highly expensive tools, highly trained people, we invested a huge chunk of our resources into this area - yet we always play the game of catch up. When we added prevention to a new vulnerability, another ten new one appears. Five years ago nobody used security plugins; two years ago a single free security plugin was enough. Now any customer has at least two security plugins and hosting mostly resolves the rest of the shortcomings. So, "The first thing you should do for your clients’ sites, in that case, is to monitor for known threats." ... and then search for WordPress Service providers, that are capable to solve those problems, that you are monitoring. Or, maybe prevent ... wink-wink.
- -- Issue #2.1: has nothing relevant for WordPress owners during the holiday. Heck, it's not even something relevant for a business consideration, during holidays. Those are recommendations for any website owner, any time - exempt high-pressure times. During holidays, you face lack of time; an increasing number of attacks; unreachable employees in charge of key solutions to solve holiday-related problems; expected outages and so on.
- -- Issue #3.1: Reposting the same thing, without consideration. We smile when we notice this on new entry competitors. Its understandable, and we did the same in our early years. Young ones, lack historical knowledge. Meh. Yet, this trends seems to sip to the big players from our niche. Gutenberg is a news, that is almost as controversial as Facebook's privacy concerns. Yet it did not arrive, and we bet, that after arrival owners will barely notice it. Why? Because this is how it should be! A bug-free release creates less buzz, which is good. Second, almost everybody uses a page builder already, that "hides" or even "blocks" Gutenberg. And again, this is as it should be. The less crashes it creates, the better for end-users and for itself.
- -- Issue #3.2: Incorrect affirmations: "Gutenberg is a complete replacement for the current way content is managed in WordPress." Nope, it's not. It just brings a new option to the ones already have visual and text editor, front-end and backend editors of your builder. These four will still exist when Gutenberg arrives as the 5ft option.
- -- Issue #3.3: Incorrect affirmations: "This powerful, new content editor will... Gutenberg is a complete replacement for... Gutenberg is a complete rethink..." Buzzwords; PAID marketing done almost right; viral news JUST BECAUSE of copy/paste from one to another. The reality is, that "the reality is a cruel adversary". Gutenberg targets a market, that has no problem. The current page builders solved the problem of creating the structure for the content. And they work... NOW (when they appeared, they were horrible; so horrible, that a few had to rebrand themselves). And then the segment exploded with a plethora of options and features. And it created partnerships between once adversary development companies. When Gutenberg arrives, first it has to prove, that it works. Its countless delay and our latest test prove otherwise. And when it will work, it becomes a candidate to a feature vs feature consideration. And page builders have years of experience, with such huge list of options, that from our point of view, maybe 2020 will be the starting point of Gutenberg's adoption. Until then, it will be like internet explorer on Windows. Just there, the default one, that is used as an argument to switch to a better competitor.
- -- Issue #4.1: Incorrect technical specs: While they present the raw data - "Jetpack increased… Page size from 48.7 KB to 299 KB and HTTP Requests from 10 to 44"; they still affirm: "There’s definitely an increase in page size and HTTP requests, but you can see that the overall page load times didn’t move too much." This is mainly done to the second scan when caching is helping make their point. Actually, several hosting providers disallow using Jetpack on their servers. While it's a popular plugin, with more than 5 million users - it also has (as of today) 956 Open known issues here: github.com/Automattic/jetpack/issues
- -- Issue #5.1: Spotlight on a single piece from a collection of proposed legislation, presented in a self-interpreted way :
While we enjoy caricatures, it raises a serious question: Will a huge influencer like the USA, affect the online niche of WP Services, as it does globally in several other areas? Should we look out for drone attacks and not just DDoS 2019? And why a highly technical niche, like a WordPress Services provider (our USA competitor), is so interested in a barely explained and freshly proposed and not yet EXISTING law? Meh. Our reaction was: so bandwidth throttle is ok, but a copyright law is over the line? And since when protects copyright the small, newly entered entities from the market?
- -- Issue #6.1: Ranting on something, that will happen in 2020 made us cringe. Reading how bad privacy and security for the common people is ... not going into this discussion. We loved, however, the Russian hints from the post: CCP, bear flag. Also wondering if all bad things, that happen to Americans will replace blaming Russians with blaming Chinese in 2019 or just 2020.
- Example #2: this post - Prepare Your WordPress Website for the Holidays (maintainn.com/prepare-wordpress-website-holidays/)
Corporate agenda - scare tactics used against WordPress owners
We understand, that exactly for this exists a marketing budget. However, admitting ten-fold underperformance; yet pursuing the same push over and over, just increasing "the news" diversification is bad for everybody, especially for the WordPress community.
- Example #3: this post - WordPress 5.0 Arrives November 19 (maintainn.com/wordpress-5-0-arrives-november-19/)
- Example #4: this post - Jetpack Review: In-Depth Look At This Popular WordPress Plugin (gowp.com/blog/jetpack-review/)
Political propaganda - scare tactics used against WordPress owners
This was new to us. Somehow, being an extremely dynamic business niche and strictly online, WordPress Services was relatively safe to be and not used as a tool against the people. It seems, that our protection services must diversify in the upcoming years, not just protecting against hacking/scamming/spamming/spying, but simply being and doing nothing illegal, (yet attacked legally, that you broke the law).
- Example #5: this post - EU Copyright Directive Could End Fair-Use Rights You Currently Enjoy (valet.io/eu-copyright-directive-curbs-fair-use/)
- Example #6: this post - Not to Be Outdone, California Comes Up with Its Own Version of GDPR—the California Consumer Privacy Act (valet.io/california-consumer-privacy-act-compliance-help/)