Why is WordPress so popular?

WordPress websites are everywhere – the latest W3Techs statistics show the content management system (CMS) currently powers over a quarter (27.1%) of all websites and has a market share of 59.4%, putting it miles ahead of its nearest rival, Joomla, which has a 6.1% market share.

This got us wondering about what it is that makes the WordPress content management system so popular that it has complete dominance over its rivals – here’s what we came up with…

WHY IS WORDPRESS SO POPULAR?

IT’S FREE

You can set up a WordPress website, with some great looking themes, absolutely free of charge – just make sure you take note of these four WordPress security need-to-knows.

IT HAS ITS OWN HOSTING SERVICE

WordPress.com is a hosted WordPress platform that provides an easy way for non-developers to develop a blog or website presence and familiarise themselves with the WordPress environment. This creates demands and familiarity around the full WordPress.org website solution.

IT’S EASY TO INSTALL

A fully-functioning and good-looking WordPress website can be set up in as little as 10 minutes.

Jade Masri, a content marketing specialist, had this to say about his experience with the platform: “My first install in 2007, as a newbie developer, took 5 minutes. I was gobsmacked. I started doing presentations in which I created a new WordPress website, applied a theme and wham bang in front of a crowd of people watching me created a new, professional looking website in under 10 minutes. At the time, the general belief was that a website took at least two months to build.”

IT’S EASY TO UPGRADE

WordPress runs frequent upgrades to patch up bugs and security issues across its entire CMS and all associated plugins (of which there are over 44,000), and they can all be carried out with just the click of a button on the dashboard.

Jade Masri said: “I have a site from 2008 which I have been able to continuously upgrade to this very day without much more than clicking a button and pretty much without a hitch.

“Contrast that with the insanity of other Content Management Systems (CMS). You’ve just gotten used to the bugger and a new version comes out.  You ask the question ‘how do I upgrade’ and get the answer ‘well it is theoretically possible but it’s not straightforward’. Sheer madness. You have an established user/advocate and you are actually going to make it difficult for them to continue to use your product. That may be a development model but it’s not a business model.”

IT’S CONSISTENT

Not a lot about WordPress has actually changed since it was launched on May 27, 2003. While many other CMSs have opted for overhauls and redesigns that all but changed them beyond recognition, WordPress stands out as it opts for incremental enhancements instead.

The WordPress codebase hasn’t changed radically either, meaning developer skillsets don’t really need to evolve much, and the three directories that make up a WordPress install are the same as they’ve always been:

  • wp-admin
  • wp-includes
  • wp-content

In contrast, other platforms have rewritten the entire code base and user interface, meaning developers have had to re-tool – a knock-on effect of this is that sites can’t be upgraded, and the user experience changes dramatically.

This, in turn, creates barriers and encourages people to look at other solutions, especially when upgrading becomes a problem.

IT’S STRAIGHTFORWARD FOR DEVELOPERS

WordPress has successfully evolved from blogging platform to feature-rich, highly effective CMS, but just like any development platform, it can be badly implemented or well implemented.

That said, WordPress is relatively simple to install and develop with, and as a result, a huge developer community has grown to create countless plugins and widgets that make the platform a highly cost effective for small businesses and individuals.

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