You know the kind of charitable person in your community who goes around doing good deeds but somehow there always seems to be a camera there to memorialize the moment?
I’m convinced that the success of WordPress is due in part to good marketing. The world doesn’t tend to think of open-source software initiatives as brand-obsessive, but looking back, you can see signs that the camera was always there, and it was no accident.
Early on, Matt Mullenweg and the developers behind WordPress began laying the groundwork for defining and preserving the brand early on.
From the time that you log in to WordPress (the downloadable .org or the hosted “.com” version) to the time that you log out, you’re always reminded of where you are and what CMS software is enabling you to express yourself.
Most of the time, you won’t notice the name of WordPress being whispered. Much of this quiet branding has been baked-in from the beginning when WordPress had a small group of users and lots of competitors. Let me show you what I mean!
Do you remember the first time you started getting comments on your WordPress blog? You probably found out about it from an email notification from your WordPress backend. If you get a lot of comments posted on your blog, you begin to see this quite frequently.
For many bloggers, it’s every day. Even today, I feel a certain rush when I see that email telling me that someone has taken the time to leave their thoughts on my labor of love. And who is the bearer of these glad tidings? The email is from “WordPress.”
When you first install WordPress and choose a default theme, it may take a while for you to realize the followed links in the footer and links widget that point to various WordPress destinations. Most any CMS does this.
When I first started using WordPress version 1.0, I remember struggling with the question of whether it was ethical to remove the footer credit link to WordPress.org.
If you write a great many blog posts, you’ll find your eyes wandering around the admin area of WordPress. During the inevitable times of writer’s block, you may even find yourself clicking around and landing on the dashboard.
Your eyes won’t be able to resist the default WordPress Blog and News feeds telling you about the new update that’s coming soon, a new theme or a plugin that has caught on. Ah, where was I? I’m supposed to be writing a blog post!
When you install WordPress, a default “Hello world!” post welcomes you to WordPress and prompts you to begin blogging.
There’s even a comment on the post left by a certain “Mr. WordPress.” Pssst… the site title, title tag, and tagline may also reflect WordPress, depending on how/where you install the CMS.
You’ll encounter the WordPress login screen quite a bit over the course of your blogging life. If you allow users to register and post as guest authors, so will they.
At the top of the login screen, the bold “W” WordPress logo and link to WordPress.org await all users.
You thought they were dead, right? Meta tags are still around, you just have to look carefully. The “generator” meta tag tells you what application was used to create the page. WordPress, again. Security conscious bloggers often want to remove this so they don’t broadcast to the world what CMS they are using.
Directories and some file names are prefixed with “wp” which means that some of your URLs will reveal what platform you’re running. They don’t harm your blog’s SEO performance or do anything more than just label your blog. Examples:
Default images all have wp-content/uploads in the URL unless you change it.
The WordPress brand is woven poetically throughout its code. Functions are sometimes prefixed with “wp” like wp_nav_menu, wp_update_comment_count, wp_list_pages, etc. The WP_Query class will help you make a custom WordPress loop.
Have you ever seen your WordPress table names? Who would ever notice or care, right? They all have the default “wp” prefix.
Questions for You
You’ll never be seriously annoyed, but you’ll never forget you are using WordPress. You see now that the almost subliminal advertising is there, but did it have any effect on the success of WordPress? What if all of these examples had not been hard coded into the CMS? Would WordPress be where it is today?