Talk Proposal: Sustainable WordPress, for WordCampLA 2015.
Evolution: On Saturday of WordCampLA’ 14, I worked the Happiness Bar and had a conversation about WordPress sustainability. That conversation carried over into a chat with Alex Vasquez on Sunday at Contribute Day. I then decided to develop this question and solution information into a talk for WCLA’15.
WordPress is Solid!
WordPress is one of the largest and most successful projects in Open Source history. An incredible collection of developers, perhaps including you, have built, maintained, and expanded a robust and powerful platform that should be with us for a long time to come. WordPress as a platform seems like a real sustainability success story.
But what about my Blog?
But what about the individual websites that people create with WordPress? Are those specific instances sustainable too? I worry that as the years go by, they won’t be.
It’s not hard for a business site to stay up as long as it needs to: as long as the business generates income, it can pay someone to maintain the website; if the business should come to an end at some point, probably no one will mourn the website going down. But what about the legions of people who are “just a blogger”? Often they pour heart and soul into websites that generate little or no money. Many would like their site to stay up even after they’ve had a couple of kids and haven’t had a minute to look at the site in the last 5 years. Many would like this document of their life and ideas to stay up in the years after their passing.
We all know about the troubles Themes and Plugins can bring. Even for the best written ones discovering a vulnerability is a matter of when, not if. Web hosts are quick to take down sites that have issues. In fact they tend to take down your whole cPanel, so a single vulnerability can take down a whole family of websites.
Could it be that if you’re “just a blogger” sharing content about Health & Lifestyle, Politics & Religion, Art & Culture, or any other topic, that your website would stay online longer if you’d used Tumblr or Blogger instead of a self-hosted WordPress site? Could it be that if you pour your heart and soul into a WordPress blog, the only long-term sustainability of your ideas is to hope they’re captured on The Internet Archive?
Talk: Sustainable WordPress
In this talk I will:
- Look at long-term sustainability issues for a WordPress blog
- List best practices for sustainable WordPress websites
- Describe solutions for individuals
- Describe solutions and business opportunities for hosting providers
- Survey how other Web2.0 platforms are approaching these issues, eg: Google’s “Inactive Account Manager” or Facebook’s “Memorialization Request”
WordPress and other Web2.0 platforms have been spectacular at opening up new communication possibilities. As relatively new tools, less thought has been given to the sustainability of individual websites. Now is a great time to start addressing these issues. While we still have time.