With 14 years of development and unprecedented usage, it’s time to provide some business perspective on why WordPress will be the winning website platform (CMS) for the foreseeable future.
It’s worth mentioning that I came to WordPress reluctantly several years ago. It continues to suffer from the perception of not being a professional solution. In the past, web designers or developers would steer clear of WordPress, as its options were rightly limited for the intended audience.
It also used to be that a WordPress template could be spotted a mile away – slider at the top, plain and boxy, outdated, etc. Designers tend to bristle at designing within walls and WordPress had a reputation for being among the worst cages. Now WordPress is the standard in UX/UI design flexibility, including mobile.
Developers said WordPress suffered from bloat. Years of open-source additions and requirements of backward compatibility resulted in a mishmash of dead plugins and cumbersome code. Security was also typically discussed at this point. “Analogous to considering the Windows operating system insecure, WordPress provides frequent updates, and a myriad of third-party tools and hosting options that solve security issues. As with Windows, it’s attacked because it’s so popular. One wouldn’t dream of using Windows without proper configuration, maintaining updates and installing security software.
Now, while WordPress is not the solution for every site, it highly configurable and extendable via an incredible collection of plugins. Years ago WordPress has overcome its origins and I converted long ago. Since then, I rarely encounter a web development project where it wasn’t a great solution – with client’s only deciding on something else due to internal IT requirements (or pesky misperception).
WordPress has had many detractors, but its adoption is steamrolling ahead of the competition. More client dollars have meant more developers, which begets more plugins and capabilities, which begets more clients and so on. The results have been hockey-stick growth for years. Competitive solutions may currently be better at solving particular problems, but to quote Bill Gates in the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, “That doesn’t matter.” (Still holds true 30 years later, at least in desktop market share.)
In the famous marketing book Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore, the first to reach the early majority (the ‘pragmatists’) becomes the de facto standard. Compounding adopters leaves the 2nd place platform further and further behind. In the open-source, easy-to-use and flexible CMS market, WordPress has definitely crossed the chasm. Its biggest challenge is whether it will survive Inside the Tornado with challenges in organizing the developer community and polishing the software even further for the mainstream market.
- 75 million websites utilize WordPress
- 37 million on WordPress.com (approx. 50 percent)
- 50-60% of all CMS websites use WordPress
- 28 of the entire internet is powered by WordPress
- 31% of the top 10,000 most trafficked CMS websites
- 18.7 million websites
- The current version of WordPress has been downloaded 25 million times (a current counter)
- 48% of the top 100 blogs use WordPress
- 41% of all ecommerce sites use WooCommerce (a WordPress plugin), more than any other system by a factor of 10.
- WordPress is translated into 72 languages
- WordPress.com gets more unique visitors than Amazon.com
- 40,000 WordPress plugins with over a billion total downloads, and counting
Current usage statistics for WordPress are simply phenomenal in their own right*. Competition does exist in open-source Drupal, Joomla, DotNetNuke and others and they all have their bustling communities and strong proponents. But, of the closest two competitors, Joomla represents 8 percent, Drupal with 5 percent, while WordPress runs 50 percent of the most common CMS-based websites. WordPress is widening this gap across the board, while the competition is either flat or slowing down. No single website development platform has held this market share in the history of the Web.
Detractors may have had legitimate WordPress issues. There are new solutions everyday though. There are probably 10-100 plugins to solve any given problem or desired feature, several of which will survive the test of time (and a few that will become successful spin-off businesses in their own right). There are thousands of online consultants that you find in minutes or hundreds of support forums and YouTube step-by-step videos for free help.
WordPress is creating its own weather at this point. WordPress is still winning.