The WordPress community is constantly changing. New technologies and capabilities lead to new user expectations, which inform UX trends in turn. Web creators who actively stay on top of these changes are able to get higher quality projects and earn healthier incomes in return.
But identifying how technology, culture, and the experience relate to one another isn’t always easy. At Elementor, we ran a comprehensive survey of web creators, designers, and developers so we could identify some of the trends that will define the community through 2022. We wanted to discover the trends that today’s web creators are putting time and energy into today.
The results are in – we received over 5000 valid responses filled with valuable demographic data, web creator pain points, and web design trends.
This survey gives us deep insight into some of the latest data on the WordPress industry. We’re publishing it to help web creators like you develop a successful strategy for managing what may turn out to be a challenging year.
Demographics: Who WordPress Web Creators Are
We began our survey with a few simple demographic questions. First, we wanted respondents to tell us their age. Here’s a breakdown of the responses we got:
While the largest age group is between 35 and 44 years old, there are two significant cohorts on both ends of this range. The younger one (25.34) is slightly larger than the older one (45-54).
We know the WordPress community grows every year, so this might mean that new WordPress users are getting younger, overall. We plan on conducting more annual surveys to find out if this is the case.
Next, we asked respondents to state which gender they identify as:
Around 3/4ths of WordPress web creators identify as male. That means that a significant number of users identify as female, which is almost certainly a number that has been growing over time. Around the same percentage of women are employed in technical roles at IT enterprises as well, so we should expect the trend to continue.
What Web Creators Consider First When Building New Websites
We asked respondents to rate the concerns they have when building new websites, and got the following results:
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Let’s break down the top three:
Website performance is the number-one priority for web creators today. This makes sense because user experience design relies on robust web infrastructure. Nothing ruins a web experience faster than sluggish, non-responsive performance.
Not all WordPress sites run equally well, but WordPress is capable of best-in-class performance when properly optimized, and we can prove it – The Fastest Website in the World runs on WordPress!
Check for yourself and prepare to be impressed:
Copy the link above and paste it into PageSpeed Insights. You’ll see a perfect score of 100 for desktop and a score of over 90 for mobile. This kind of performance is possible with WordPress!
Most marketers recommend 80+ for desktop and 40+ for mobile. You may be able to dramatically improve performance by checking the following things:
- Use a lean website builder. A good website builder won’t weigh down your website with complex scripts and extra loading time.
- Upgrade your hosting. Choose a robust, high-quality hosting provider whose service is compatible with your tech stack. For example, Elementor offers its own cloud hosting package for WordPress.
- Reduce plugin usage. Don’t weigh down WordPress with unnecessary plugins. Try to find the most efficient way to get the plugin functionality you need.
- Use advanced caching. Caching plugins can go a long way towards improving website performance. You might even consider investing in a global Content Delivery Network through your host.
Finding Design Inspiration
Not all clients are equally communicative about their design expectations. Sometimes you’ll have tons of valuable data on end users, and sometimes you’ll simply have a blank slate. Good designers have to be able to deliver in both scenarios.
Many professionals rely on fully developed web templates and site kits to get their projects going. This can help speed things up and keep you from reinventing the wheel every time you start a new project.
Work Process and Client Communication
Remote work has become the norm for many web professionals around the world. For many, this was a welcome move, but it’s not without complications.
One common consequence of remote-enabled teamwork is that it’s harder to prevent scope creep and keep clients focused on project specifics. It’s now much easier for clients to shift scope, change feature requests, or simply get distracted in the middle of a project.
Consider investing in a free project management software that gives you lean, streamlined control over the web creation process. Both monday.com and Clickup are useful tools that can significantly improve project efficiency and support easy communication.
Top 10 Web Trends Creators are Actively Researching
We asked survey respondents about the web design trends they’re most interested in learning about this year. These ten issues represent some of the things web creators are actively studying right now.
Let’s take a look at each one:
- Website Load Time and Page Speed Improvement reinforce that performance issues are web creators’ number-one priority. PageSpeed Insight scores reflect how closely websites adhere to Google’s Core Web Vitals. Find out how to improve your Core Web Vitals scores so your websites run smoothly and efficiently.
- Smart Content Loading shows different content to different users according to pre-defined parameters. Plugins like Dynamic.ooo allow web creators to decide what will be visible to each user on every widget, column, or entire section on the website.
- Automation tools like Zapier allow web creators to automate almost any task and free up time for more important ones. This allows small agencies and freelancers to compete with major marketing agencies and web design firms.
- Progressive Web Apps allow web creators to deliver capable, reliable service directly through web browsers. These apps are somewhere between native apps and regular web apps. Learn more about how these apps work here.
- Micro Animations display animated feedback that encourages visitors and tells them they’re in the right place. Discover how to use micro animations to create an intuitive interface and clarify context on your web projects.
- Headless WordPress websites rely on WordPress’s content management system (CMS) but use a different frontend stack to display web content. This separates content editing and development tasks, allowing teams to work independently of one another, which may have advantages for some agencies.
- Webhooks allow web creators to integrate different applications through simple one-way triggers. That makes them similar to APIs, but much simpler to implement. Learn more about the differences between the two.
- Accessibility is key for people with physical, auditory, or visual disabilities. Web accessibility also includes a wide range of language and display settings. Find out more about making your website accessible with the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative.
- Chatbots give brands the ability to automate interactions with customers in natural language. Clients have begun asking web creators to incorporate chatbots in their web projects. Learn more about how chatbots work.
- Micro Interactions are small, friendly animations that enhance the user experience. Discover some of the ways web creators are using micro interactions on today’s websites here.
The State of WordPress in 2022: From the Clients’ Perspective
Web creators can’t do anything without clients. Before you develop a strategy for success, you’ll need to know what clients are looking for, and what they expect from their web creator partners. We’ve collected our own data on that subject right here:
Let’s briefly look at each of these points:
- Web creators need to be upfront about their prices and explicit about their design philosophy. Both premium customers and bargain-seekers prioritize web creators who are communicative about their expectations, and whose tastes resonate with their own.
- Clients don’t want to have to spend time and money on complex integrations. It’s much easier to simply find a web creator familiar with the technology they use. They may also value having extensive support and documentation available, or using a reputable, well-established software platform.
- Web creators are expected to do more than simply build websites. Branding, marketing, and optimization services are no longer optional “add-ons”. They are integrated expectations that web creators should be aware of.
- It might be surprising that portfolios and recommendations are not that important. It looks like clients view their projects as unique, and are likely to dismiss examples of similar projects as being irrelevant to their interests. As a web creator, you may know better, but you should be careful about how you market your service accordingly.
Use These Insights to Become a Better Web Creator
We hope that this data will prove itself to be a valuable part of your marketing strategy throughout the rest of the year. Now is the perfect time to examine the services you offer clients and the way you communicate with them. The more you know about the WordPress community, the more likely you are to thrive as part of it.