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WordPress 2023 Survey: Block Editor on the Rise, Positive Feeling about Contributing Drops

The results of the 2023 WordPress Annual Survey are in, revealing a steady growth in the adoption of the Block Editor, along with a lukewarm response to upcoming Gutenberg enhancements.

Automattic-sponsored contributor Dan Soschin posted a breakdown of the results:

“Overall, awareness and/or use of block-based features is up year over year, as well as resources such as This reflects project-wide efforts to increase utilization of these respectively. However, positive sentiment about WordPress is down modestly, and more so among contributors.

The data collected is used as one of many signals that inform the project’s road map and areas of focus, both near and long-term.”

A total of 3,922 people completed this year’s survey, an increase of 17% compared to 2022 but still lower than the goal set by the team. Interestingly, a new metric captured this year shows that approximately 11,153 viewed the survey without answering a question (more on that later).

Below are a few interesting findings from the slimmer-than-usual 54-page report (PDF):

Key findings

  • NPS, measuring responders’ willingness to recommend WordPress, is down, marking a continuous downward trend: 27.9 among contributors and 32 among non-contributors.
  • Most responders use WordPress for business-related activities: 48.8% offer the service to clients, and 43.1% use it to run their business.
  • The majority (39.9%) use the Block editor or Gutenberg plugin, 20.2% use the Classic editor, and 19.9% use both. These figures represent a steady rise in the adoption of the Block editor. However, this year, 12.3% of respondents chose the Other category (likely referring to site builders).
  • As to their satisfaction with the Site Editor, 45.1% said it meets their needs for building websites.
  • 51.7% built websites for others, and 41.9% created a plugin, theme, style variation, or a block pattern.
  • Some activities that saw a significant increase include consuming learning materials on and various types of contributions and involvement with the community: participated in a meetup/WordCamp, contributed to the platform, and joined the Making WordPress Slack.
  • Seeing as most responders develop, design, or maintain WordPress websites, it’s good to see that 61.1% say they are familiar with Block-based themes and plugins.
  • 63.3% think WordPress is as good as, or better than, other site builders and CMSs, down from 68% in 2022. Interestingly, many also regularly use other blogging and newsletter tools to publish content, mainly Medium, Tumblr, and Blogger. The top reasons respondents preferred WordPress were open-source, familiarity, maturity, and cost.
  • The figures above correspond with answers to the question, What’s the best thing about WordPress? where performance, scalability, and accessibility registered a huge spike while parameters like ease of use, flexibility, cost, and block themes dropped significantly.
  • Ranking “essential plugins” out of the 20 most popular ones provides a glimpse into day-to-day use: Yoast SEO, Classic Editor, and WooCommerce were the top three, with None of the above coming fifth, Elementor Website Builder coming at 8th, and two plugins that enable post and page duplication closing the list. Gutenberg is absent.
  • On the other hand, too many plugins were the primary cause of frustration (133% rise from 2022, with too many themes seeing a 72% rise), followed by dissatisfactory site editing, designing, configuring, and publishing experience. The cost complaints, meanwhile, are directed at hosting companies: 7% in 2023 vs. 3% in 2022.
  • 57.5% see phases 3 and 4 of the WordPress roadmap as beneficial for developers, creators, and publishers alike, with the rest either neutral or disagreeing. Performance, security, and developer resources were the top three areas responders wanted the project to focus on, with collaborative editing at the very bottom of the list.
  • Finally, many had poor experiences when contributing to the community, with fewer people feeling welcome to participate in various ways. Asked what prevents you from contributing more, 35.3% cited bad experiences and not feeling safe, welcome, or appreciated.

Mapping the Road Ahead

After reading through the results, one can’t help but notice a certain disconnect between the people who use WordPress and those tasked with maintaining and leading it into the future.

Responders appear less interested in new features than they are in optimizing core functionality and delivering a stable experience; many still find the Site Editor and blocks-based posts overwhelming, holding on to the Classic Editor plugin; and both audiences—extenders and end-users—crave guidance, training, and support.

A chart showing the distribution of answers to question number 10 in the 2023 WordPress Survey, "The WordPress Site Editor meets my needs for building websites". From left to right: 13.4% Strongly disagree, 15.2% Disagree, 26.3% Neutral, 32.6% Agree, 12.5% Strongly agree.

Summarizing the next steps, Soschin mentioned the plan to replace or refine some of the questions “to ensure people continue to provide valuable insight into the project’s trends”.

One possible way is to bring back open-ended questions that could help the team better understand what matters to people.

Looking at the high percentage of people who replied “None of the above” to several questions and the comments to the post inviting WP Tavern readers to participate in the survey, community members seem eager to share their opinions; they’re just frustrated with the format.

Have you participated in the latest annual survey? Share your experience in the comments.