WordCamp was an excellent experience that I hope to return to next year. The keynote speakers were truly inspiring and I’m ready to hit the ground running next week. I didn’t summarize every session I attended, but as I sit at Regan National Airport, these are three things that stick out in my mind.
Full Site Editors vs. Page Builders
The war on Full Site Editing vs. Page Builders is certainly heating up. For those that are not familar, WordPress core (as of 6.3) now has a set of site-building tools and processes that were only once possible through third-party page builders such as Divi, Elementor, Beaver Builder, and many others. Large WordPress-driven companies, such as WPEngine, fully embrace Full Site Editing as the future of WordPress development.
There may be logistical or business-driven decisions that I’m not aware of, but I did find it interesting that only Elementor had a booth in the vendor area of Word Camp.
In the preliminary sites we have built with Full Site Editor, including lynzaddy.com, a few features need to mature before they can be handed over to content editors who are comfortable with Elementor. We immediately noticed how much faster sites are that don’t have the bloat of a page builder like Elementor. Smaller sites will be easier to transition, and custom blocks are being developed rapidly to provide users with the tools they need to build pages.
Google Site Kit
The surprise find of the conference was learning more about Google Site Kit. Site Kit is a FREE plugin developed by Google to show you core information stored in Google products within the WordPress Admin Dashboard. It also replaces the need for plugins like ‘Code Snipets’ or ‘Monster Insights’ because it injects your gTag into your site upon setup.
While digging in deeper requires you to click out into that specific product, key analytics are displayed for the following Google products:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Page Speed Insights
- Tag Manager
This product provides an excellent overview if you want a way to view basic analytics data without logging into numerous Google Properties. As with any Google product, there is reason to be concerned with security and privacy. However, if you have already signed up for the individual products, this provides an executive dashboard for convenience.
Value Hosting or Cheap Hosting
As a small agency, we constantly strive to provide reliable hosting for our customers at a reasonable cost. It is a fundamental pillar of our business to avoid adding ridiculous upcharges for hosting, as many agencies do. Having hosted with Flywheel for many years, they hit the mark perfectly for small agencies. They provided excellent customer service and uptime at a very reasonable price. Flywheel’s future seems unknown after the acquisition by WPEngine. The company line is repeated that Flywheel isn’t going away, but no new products or enhancements are being developed under the brand. As a result, we are searching for a new host for the sites we manage.
I spent the most time in the vendor area talking with hosting providers. While Word Camp had just a tiny sampling of the numerous options, I am still struggling to find that middle-tier WordPress hosting provider that Flywheel dominated. I’m familiar with the whales, such as WPEngine, that provide phenomenal service but at a premium cost. I also talked with hosting providers that would allow us to host up to 100 sites for as little as $10 a month. Our team will evaluate options next week and discuss the cost/benefit of going with each. Our clients deserve to have reliable hosting at a fair price. But do they all need a 7-Series BMW when a Honda Accord will do just fine?