May 23, 2023
5 Mins to Read

A look back at 20 years of WordPress

A look back at 20 years of WordPress

When’s the last time you logged into Myspace? Found a fanpage on Geocities? Laughed at a really funny Vine? 

It’s true: most things don’t tend to last long on the internet, let alone grow and thrive for 20 years. That makes WordPress, celebrating its 20th birthday on May 27th, a truly remarkable exception to the rule — and as far as we’re concerned, it’s easy to see why.

What makes WordPress one-of-a-kind

As a content management system (CMS), WordPress excels at customization and ease of use. With a mission to democratize online publishing and under a general public license (GPLv2+), WordPress guarantees four core freedoms that help users of every skill level build on and customize the platform.

That also means it offers you a truly unmatched level of community support. From official forums to third-party experts to meetups in person, there’s plenty of flexibility and easily-accessible knowledge to help you achieve your goals on this CMS.

How WordPress brings passionate devs together

That community support includes WordCamps, a series of WordPress conferences that take place in cities around the world. It’s a pretty staggering list, including cities like Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, Taipei, and Osaka. 

We know because Major Tom (and our team of WordPress developers) are big fans of these events — and the exciting insights that come out of them. Our Senior Back-End Developer, Alfredo, has attended several WordCamps, including the 2018 event in Toronto, where he represented Major Tom and our sponsorship of the event.


Alfredo, Senior Back-End Developer, Major Tom

More exciting still, Alfredo helped organize WordCamp Vancouver in 2018 and 2019, even hosting events at our Vancouver HQ. Not only have these events helped sharpen Alfredo’s skills on the platform, he’s also become the lead organizer for WordCamp Vancouver 2023. 

We can’t wait to see the new ideas that come from the event — and you can follow along, too.

What can you build on the WordPress platform?

Looking forward to the future of WordPress is always exciting, but what’s a birthday celebration without sharing a few memories? 

If you want to see some of the things that you can achieve using WordPress, there’s no better place to start than some of Major Tom’s previous work on the platform:

The Little Potato Company — growing a new site for a new brand identity

After a brand strategy project to redefine their approach and identity, the Little Potato Company (LPC) had a new set of brand pillars — and needed them to come through loud and clear their site. 

Having already built a strong partnership with LPC (along with their previous website), Major Tom used WordPress to fill their new home online with little moments of happiness for users.

lpc website

Spuds that surprise and delight

Adding fun, surprising moments to the site included touches like:

  • Potato fireworks that would go off as the hover state for the homepage’s “Tasty Recipes” section
  • Smiling potato “Spuddies” that pop out from behind bags on the product overview page, or from behind the pre-footer navigation blocks
  • Using these same Spuddy characters in different animations and interactions throughout the site

This helped highlight LPC’s biggest value proposition for their customers: that dinner time together with the family can be simple, fun, and delicious.

Meals (and navigation) for everyday ease

The site had to help position LPC potatoes as a pantry staple, rather than food for a special occasion.

Providing a spotlight meal-of-the-day, along with categories for reusable staples and simple weeknight recipes helped establish this connection — down to a dynamic CTA referencing the current day of the week. 

Major Tom also helped streamline users’ journey through the site, from customers to people looking to join the LPC team. A Careers-page integration with the Greenhouse API would help this last group easily access and apply for open roles. 

You can check out the Little Potato Company’s site (and their delicious spuds) for yourself here

Or, if your own site is starting to show its age, check out our guide to the cost of a new WordPress build.

Copperleaf — scaling to keep up with explosive growth

An enterprise software company that offers decision analytics to help organizations manage critical infrastructure and get the highest possible return on investment, Copperleaf manages over $1.5 trillion of global infrastructure. 

In other words, they’re big. Like really big. They needed a site that could keep up, reinforcing their position as a global leader and helping to generate new leads around the world. Not to mention that with an Initial Public Offering in the works, there was no room for error.

Major Tom’s main tasks were a massive content migration and regionalizing the site to better appeal to Copperleaf’s global prospects.

copperleaf website

Turning a massive migration into a content facelift

For the migration, our main priority was the Uberflip-powered resources subsite, hosted on a subdomain of the Copperleaf page that compromised users’ search experience. Migrating to the WordPress CMS helped us get critical information out from behind these navigation issues, while maintaining compatibility with Copperleaf’s Salesforce CRM and Marketo marketing automation systems.

Working closely with Copperleaf, we used this migration as an opportunity to not only transfer but review, reorganize, and clarify the content.

Seamless regionalization to reach out to global prospects

To help expand their global presence, we created regional sites along with local content, contact info, and language options — ensuring that those audiences would get relevant information and have access to frictionless follow-up options with Copperleaf. We chose the WordPress Multilangual Plugin (WPML) as a secure, flexible option to support these language requirements.

You can see the results for yourself — and explore Copperleaf’s loca content for your region — at their new website. Want to see how WordPress’s toolkit stacks up to another CMS? We can help with that, too.

Thinktum — clearly communicating the complex

An AI-driven leader in insurance technology, Thinktum makes it easy for their clients (insurance providers) start, create, and edit workflows, building the right experience for the end-user’s needs. 

If the insurance industry makes your head spin, you’re not alone — and Thinktum’s biggest challenge was clearly communicating a complex offering in a new tech space. Their value had to shine through the complexity, connecting Thinktum’s products and services with their benefits to insurance providers.

thinktum website

Using custom user journeys to show off Thinktum’s value

Rather than presenting an overwhelming set of options to website visitors, Major Tom carefully crafted custom user journeys that would guide prospective Thinktum clients through their use case and the most relevant products or services.

Each journey would have a clear conversion path lead users to the most useful offerings from Thinktum’s portfolio, and Major Tom’s preferred Advanced Custom Fields plugin would provide the best possible back-end editing experience. This provided a ton of customization and flexibility — perfect for Thinktum’s cutting-edge suite of solutions.

A flexible, efficient, and scalable Chassis 

Building out these custom flows would take time and effort, so to keep things efficient Major Tom used our “Chassis” WordPress starter theme. Flexible and scalable, Chassis would give our team a head start on Thinktum’s site, making the best use of the client’s budget and letting our developers focus on addressing their specific needs. 

We also knew that traffic to Thinktum’s site (and their business) were poised to grow — and quickly. To ensure that the site could scale with them, we incorporated a flexible component approach, which would let Thinktum build out their own custom pages as their business and clients’ needs evolved. 

To do that, we needed to ensure all components would work together regardless of the order they appeared in. This flexible approach ensured the site could evolve as Thinktum did. 

You can explore Thinktum’s low-code, AI-powered solutions for yourself on their website. Or, worried that your site’s user experience (UX) isn’t delivering? Check out our guide to identifying (and fixing) some common UX problems.

Let’s celebrate together

Major Tom is all in on WordPress’s birthday festivities — which is why we’re even hosting an official 20th Anniversary Celebration at our Vancouver Offices on June 1st.

wordpress 20 anni

But the beauty of WordPress is that its impact reaches developers all around the world, from people just starting out to experts who have spent years on the platform. Even if you aren’t attending a celebration in person, taking the next step on your own WordPress projects is definitely an appropriate way to mark the occasion. 

For more insights and support directly from Major Tom’s WordPress devs, be sure to subscribe to our Mercury blog.

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