Simon Dickson has been blogging about online government, politics and WordPress since 2005. Some important people read it.

Tuesday 12 August 2008

New Number10 site goes live

Today sees the long-awaited launch of the new Number10 website, based on WordPress and built by New Media Maze with occasional interventions by yours truly. The reaction so far has been positive, although as the team have admitted to Twitter contacts, there are numerous rough edges still to be smoothed out. (Some more serious than others: as I write this, the site's gone down.)

Although I've been contributing to this project for several months, today's public activation is the first time I've actually seen it 'for real' - and I'm struck by just how stripped-back it really is. The homepage really does feel like a blog; and it's a pleasant surprise to see quite how much prominence has been given to the Twitter, Flickr and YouTube activity. The image / video unit at the top of the homepage really is huge, and represents a brave move: keeping it fresh will be quite a challenge, but good on them for trying nonetheless.

The exciting aspect for me is the sheer potential opened up by the move to WordPress. There has been a lot of hard (and frankly unglamorous) work done by the guys from New Media Maze to migrate everything to the new platform. But now that's done, we can all start thinking about extra functionality and presentation ideas, and add them into the site with relative ease.

The 'beta' label in the header isn't just an industry in-joke, or an attempt to excuse any temporary difficulties: it's a statement of future intent.

PS: If anyone's interested in the background to today's launch, you can look back through the archives. And please note the URL of that link, for another cool WordPress trick. :)

Comments ( 25 )

  1. Jon Worth says:

    Good work! Pity about the glitches today, but that's normal... All the usual whingers are having a go at it (Dizzy, Guido) but it's ace that the Number 10 site has been built with open source software.

  2. [...] Number10 has gone online with a wordpress powered website and a brightcove powered TV channel number 10tv. It’s all flickr and community orientated. [...]

  3. [...] akhirnya berhasil masuk ke situs web tersebut setelah sempat down, kembali saya tertegun. Ternyata, di samping menginstal skrip WordPress, situs web resmi itu juga [...]

  4. TourPro says:

    Congrats! That's a slick looking site.

    I love that you've chosen WP to be frugal with the public's money.


  5. Simon says:

    Thanks TourPro... Of course, the £0.00 pricetag on WordPress was a factor weighing (heavily!) in its favour - but we've got plenty of other good reasons to go down that road.

    And incidentally... BBC News is setting a very dangerous precedent, by making a story out of 'new X-thousand page website takes a few hours to bed in properly'. Next time they get a tag out of place, they can expect a call from Ofcom. :)

  6. [...] New Number10 site goes live [Puffbox] Powered by WordPress! [...]

  7. Jon Worth says:

    BBC seems to have copied Dizzy's 'scoop'... The BBC is not immune to technical problems either but it's silly season after all.

    I do wonder how resilient WordPress is to a (Russian?) spam attack. Is there any political project as high profile as this running with WordPress? Perhaps not quite what Matt Mullenweg expected when he started to write WordPress...! Having said that no system is completely secure anyway.

  8. [...] as Twitter, Flickr and YouTube to deliver content (just like our own KBB site). And, according to Puffbox’s Simon Dickson, built on blogging platform WordPress. The only thing missing is what I would call the Prime [...]

  9. John Welsh says:

    I absolutely agree about its similarity to a blog. Perhaps Prime Minister Brown is learning fast. But not as fast as Barack Obama who has posted a sign-up page on is official site ( encouraging people to submit their email address to "be the first to know" who will be his running mate. Very useful for the actual election. Now that's digital!

  10. [...] Read more from Simon Dickson, who’s been involved in planning the project. [...]

  11. Simon says:

    Lloyd Davis puts it beautifully: 'What’s happening here is that we’ve got some better plumbing installed, and while that in itself does a little to raise the quality of the drinking water, there’s so much more to be done.'

  12. Geoff says:

    I didn't think Blair was PM any more?

    From their code today:-
    meta name="description" content="10 Downing Street website, the official website of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.


  13. milo says:

    Choosing WP as a CMS is a good move,
    unfortunately the design has some serious flaws, not even a proper h1 tag via an image replacement (CSS),
    not speaking about the easy to maintain validating errors.

  14. Atlee's Ghost says:

    Beta? This isn't even alpha quality.

    Excuse me while I roll in my grave.

  15. [...] beta phase at all. Puffbox (another body involved in the production, but they’re normally OK) says the beta is a “statement of future intent” - future intent to rip us off even futher, [...]

  16. [...] Street website has been rumbling on for a short while and having commented about it on a few blogs it’s probably worth summarising what I make of it. I have had nothing whatsoever to do with [...]

  17. Wydrtimes says:

    Not much chance of a spam attack with the comments turned off eh? You tube - comments off. No 10 comments off. Wow really embracing the internet age.

    And they want to engage with the electorate and have conversations on this that and the other?

    Just more government bullshit.

  18. [...] plus No 10’s wordpress relaunch, and DIUS’s continual innovation… I can’t help feeling just a bit professionally [...]

  19. Magnus says:

    Really interesting facts here... and I agree really hard work from New Media Maze!

  20. Robbie Dee says:

    Wydrtimes times sums things up beautifully above for me. Sure - big sites attract more traffic and therefore more potential problems that smaller webmasters have to deal with, but your site is not 'interactive' because you can change your data easily. It's interactive when they can effect the content of the site and offer opinions.

  21. [...] is running on WordPress (open source software), the same platform as my blog.  New Media Maze and Puffbox built the [...]

  22. Steffan says:

    Let me know if you find something that works. I need something like this for another project.

  23. sandy says:

    Great looking site. Wanted to say goodluck and you made a smart choice going with wordpress.

  24. julie says:

    Awesome looking site full of some great info. Just wanted to let you know. I just spent sometime on it. Good luck

  25. Don Builder says:

    The official site of the Prime Minister’s I only use it to read and swear...but sometimes if I feel depressed then I go and read some stuff...