This week we just went live with our own page builder, Forge. It’s a pretty nifty tool if you ask me, although it’s just getting started. There is still a long way before it can go from good to great.
But what’s important is not the plugin itself; it’s the philosophy behind it.
When building Forge, I wanted to lean back and ask myself an important question: what would be the ideal experience for creating content in WordPress?
Let’s be honest: the standard visual editor included in WordPress by default has its shortcomings. It’s a great tool for writing, but when it comes to content design it falls short. By quite a large margin. For example, the simple act of adding columns is a cumbersome experience, even with shortcodes.
The visual editor was made for pure writing, after all.
The line between writing and designing content
When it comes to creating content, there is a fine line separating copy and presentation. On one hand, there’s the actual content you write into the visual editor, and on the other there’s the way such content is laid out.
However, I think great content is born from skillfully combining both.
You can’t build a great sales page if your copy is brilliant but your presentation suffers– and the same happens the other way around.
There is also the issue of marketing– your marketing efforts should not be disconnected from your site any more. The tools at our disposal are getting smarter and better, and the content we create should become smarter as well.
For example, you might want to display content depending on whether a user is subscribed to your email list.
The core philosophy of Forge
So, what would make for an ideal content design experience?
These are the answers I came up with:
- It has to be in the front-end, fully integrated with your site.
- It has to be fast and intuitive, making things snappy.
- It blurs the line between layout and pure content.
- It integrates with the marketing aspect of the website.
This is by no means a complete list, but it approximates the idea fairly well. We’re moving from static content, to a more dynamic approach that changes based on the person viewing it.
In any event, the ultimate objective is to be able to create content that is smart, flexible, and easy to manage.
Forge is just getting started, but we will see what it turns into after a few updates. For now, you can check it out at the official WordPress repository.
Time will tell.