We look at WordPress’ enduring popularity and ask why so many digital professionals still choose WordPress 13 years after it was first released.
There’s no shortage of web development frameworks, static site generators, and content management systems for a web professional to choose from. Many are excellent solutions for both developers and clients, and yet, WordPress dominates. Most new sites are built on WordPress. WordPress eclipses other content management systems in market share.
It’s fair to say that WordPress is not without its detractors, some of whom make valid points. WordPress is not perfect, but its imperfections don’t outweigh the advantages it offers to professionals and their clients.
What advantages am I talking about?
WordPress recently celebrated its 13th birthday. In its long journey towards becoming a teenager, WordPress made many friends. The WordPress community of developers, service providers, web hosts, professionals, and users is enormous. The WordPress community dwarfs that of any other content management system, and it is a resource that WordPress professionals and their clients can tap into for information and support.
A side effect of WordPress’ massive user base and extensive community is a thriving ecosystem of themes, plugins, and external applications. There are thousands of plugins and themes to choose from. Applications ranging from text editors to analytics packages integrate with
If WordPress Core doesn’t include functionality needed by more than a few people, an integration or plugin probably already exists, that will provide that functionality.
If a site owner needs bespoke features that don’t already exist, there are any number of highly skilled developers who can create it for them.
The combination of a vast community and an extensive ecosystem shouldn’t be underestimated. They provide the momentum that propelled WordPress to its current dominance and will ensure it is actively developed and supported for many years to come.
WordPress is not the most straightforward content management system for either developers or users. But it is simple enough for both that any complexity doesn’t overshadow its capabilities.
A WordPress professional may not love the overhead of creating a WordPress theme or plugin compared to other content management systems, but once the initial learning curve has been submitted, WordPress provides an intuitive, powerful, and flexible framework for building modern websites.
From the user perspective, the admin interface is functional and ever-improving. Writing, editing, and publishing pages and posts are straightforward, and that’s all most users need. If they need more control, the admin interface and plugins can provide it.
There’s no doubt WordPress will be around for a long time. Under the capable leadership of Matt Mullenweg, WordPress continually integrates modern web technologies and iterates on the experience it offers users and developers.
The clearest example of this is the new WordPress REST API, which will make it even easier to integrate new services, applications, and technologies with WordPress.
WordPress strives to make it as easy as possible for users to stay up-to-date. It rarely breaks compatibility with older versions, so, upgrading to a recent version of WordPress is usually a matter of pressing a button in the admin interface.
For those who have tackled the horrible upgrade experiences offered by many other major content management systems, a smooth upgrade path is no small matter. It helps ensure even years-old WordPress sites stay secure, up-to-date, and compatible with modern web technology.
These are just some of the reasons digital professionals choose to build on WordPress. If you’re a WordPress pro, feel free to let us know why you prefer WordPress, in the comments.