The WordPress world has seen a lot of changes over the past months, here are the five most common WordPress trends of 2014.
“People who follow all the rules and chase every trend tend to get forgotten – they look great, but they’re not as memorable” – Dita Von Teese
1. The Rise of Multi-Purpose WordPress Themes
“The Only WordPress Theme You Will Ever Need”
Over the years, Jetpack has been criticised for its all in one solution, but as every journalist turned politician would say; “If you can’t beat them, join them”.
This year, it seems theme developers finally decided to join the party. Theme developers are now beginning to focus all their energy into a single theme as opposed to the existing model of releasing new themes periodically.
Elegant Themes have focused on their new Divi Theme instead of releasing new themes monthly and they are not alone. Kyle Wakefield, founder of ThemeCo, used this same strategy to rake in over $1 million in sales for the X theme in just six months.
A look at the top selling themes published on themeforest tells the story. The X theme leads with close to thirty thousand sales and every other theme on the chart is a multipurpose theme.
2. Visual Page Builders
A new WordPress trend of 2014 is that of drag and drop front end and back end page editors.
Visual editors make it easy to design your WordPress site.
Most WordPress themes released this year feature a drag and drop visual page builder which help users without any coding experience to design pages without hassle.
Divi by Elegant Themes, Avada, and many new themes either comes packed with either the developer’s own powerful visual page builder or the popular Visual Composer plugin.
Visual composer has become the highest selling plugin on Envato’s CodeCanyon amassing over 42,000 sales. It has consistently remained the top selling plugin on CodeCanyon for several weeks.
3. Plugins For Theme Functionality
WordPress purists have been calling for theme developers to keep plugin functionality separate from themes and it seems the WordPress green team has made a significant step in keeping the WordPress environment clean. Jonathan Atkinson has an article on wptavern on the benefits of keeping plugin functionality separate from themes.
For your sanity, this simply means theme developers should not try to build things like SEO functionality into a theme. An awesome plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast handles this perfectly.
Most WordPress themes now call on you to install required plugins instead of cramming all these functions into your WordPress theme.
A major advantage of this is that, when you switch themes, you retain a lot of your settings and even customization as long as these plugins remain installed.
4. Commoditization of WordPress Themes
Allow me to borrow the term “Commoditization” from my MBA class. Commoditization is when products become so identical that it becomes difficult to tell them apart, which means consumers will probably make buying decisions on price alone.
A good example, is the Android phone market, where most of all android mobile devices feel the same.
WordPress themes are becoming very difficult to tell apart. Sometimes it feels like the same theme dressed in a different color and branded under a different name.
Developers build themes on the same framework, call similar plugins on install (Slider Revolution, Visual Composer, BuddyPress), and even describe them similarly (“Multipurpose theme, “One Page Theme” etc.).
5. More User-Friendly & User-Centric
Page builders are putting more control in the hands of users, WordPress core updates have become more user friendly; a new grid style media library, easy embeds, and finding a plugin is easier than when I started with WordPress.
In terms of hosting, many users are also experimenting and getting more hands-on, adopting solutions like Digital Ocean and actually rocking it.
WordPress has become so user-friendly that anyone with a smartphone should have enough technological background to be able to put together a working WordPress install.
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