Anil Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder at Multidots.
With a market share of 64.2%, WordPress is the most popular content management system. Brands across the board love it for its simplicity, scalability and Google-friendliness.
Big enterprises like Microsoft use the same open-source WordPress CMS as any hobby blogger or small business. But, there is a huge difference in the publishing workflow and overall use of WordPress between these user groups.
So, what matters most to enterprise brands using WordPress to manage their websites?
If you’re a WordPress professional looking to work with such big-ticket clients, then you must understand the answer to this question.
In this article, I’ll recapitulate the WordSesh workshop I was honored to be able to conduct back in May 2022. My decade-long experience lets me nail down seven critical factors that constitute a successful enterprise WordPress setup.
Big enterprises often have intricate business structures with multiple product lines, departments and international operations. This intricacy translates into a complex website structure, too.
So the standard single WordPress instance that fits the bill for small websites may not work well for enterprise websites.
I recommend exploring two implementations.
You can create multiple websites (one master WordPress setup with multiple child websites) and decide how you want to structure the control and resource sharing between them.
For example, Ask Media Group leverages WordPress’s multisite architecture to host its web properties (including Ask.com) and gain the flexibility to easily update the content, design and user-sharing between them.
In a basic website, content creation and publishing are done inside the same WordPress backend. In a headless implementation, either of these activities occurs elsewhere.
For instance, Sneaker News has four WordPress websites and a mobile app under its brand. They use the headless architecture wherein they maintain a central repository of sneaker-related content (not on WordPress) and aggregate the same to their web properties using REST API.
With a huge customer base spanning continents comes the need to comply with various web regulations. For example, if your client has operations in the EU, you would need to comply with GDPR, one of the toughest web privacy laws in the world.
CCPA, AODA and ADA are some more examples of compliances you might need to address when working with enterprise websites.
Even if it’s not a legal mandate, advise clients to make their website accessible to all user groups—it’s the right thing to do.
Plugins like accessiBe and CookiePro help tick all the boxes for meeting accessibility, GDPR and cookie compliance requirements. You can also use this handy list from W3C to find the right tools for your client’s compliance needs.
Speed to Publish
The sheer data volume—in terms of the editorial team size, monthly visitors and the number of pages—adds complexity to the enterprise publishing process.
For enterprise editorial teams in the media and news industry (where things are time-sensitive), publishing speed is a pivotal success metric. In fact, 80% of the companies I’ve worked with have publishing speed as their biggest frustration with other CMSs.
So, how can you improve the publishing speed?
I recommend simplifying the content creation experience wherever possible.
For instance, Wonderwall.com, a popular celebrity news website, uses a custom drag-and-drop Gutenberg interface for their media library where users can quickly find the images (with meta info such as celebrity biodata) they need to publish pieces faster.
Another effective way to speed up the publishing time is to use reusable blocks in Gutenberg.
Every brand needs a fast-loading website. That’s because site speed heavily influences the user experience and Google rankings—and consequently—conversion rates and revenue.
But the impact of a slow-loading website is much greater for enterprises. And the complexity of an enterprise website makes it trickier to achieve optimal performance.
In particular, media websites (like TechCrunch) serve a global audience, with ad revenue as their primary monetization strategy (which means plenty of resource-draining ad integrations).
While the usual speed optimization best practices apply to enterprise websites too, I recommend paying special attention to these three key areas:
• Write clean and optimized code that follows all the coding standards.
• Invest in a managed hosting platform (like WordPress VIP) built for enterprise websites.
• Use a fast content delivery network for multimedia-heavy websites.
Enterprise websites process sensitive user information. It’s their responsibility to protect the privacy of their users.
Being well-known brands, these websites tend to be obvious and often easy targets for hackers. Thus, security is a critical concern for enterprise clients.
I recommend approaching security with a two-pronged approach, protecting the system and protecting the user. This includes:
• Follow the best coding practices when developing custom themes and plugins.
• Implement a secure WordPress configuration using plugins like Wordfence.
• Use a reliable hosting server with the highest level of security, such as WordPress VIP.
• Enforce two-factor authentication (2FA) and strong passwords for all user logins.
• Provide cybersecurity training to users on how to use WordPress securely.
Enterprise teams use a variety of third-party tools to monitor various business KPIs.
They often need to integrate their tech stack with their WordPress website to streamline things like:
• Digital asset management (DAM)
• User analytics
I recommend solidifying your knowledge of REST API to create custom plugins for integrating tools that don’t have a plugin.
Enterprises run a mission-critical business. If the website encounters any error that leads to downtime, the damage can be serious in terms of brand reputation, revenue loss, etc.
So, reliable support and maintenance is vital for enterprise WordPress clients. As a WordPress professional, your client service strategy should include:
• Training material for editorial teams on how to correctly use the WordPress backend.
• SLA-level support, such as 24/7 technical support in the client’s timezone.
If you’re working your way up to land enterprise clients—or are already working with some large WordPress websites—ensure you and your team focus on these seven crucial areas.