There are more alternatives to WordPress than ever before, so why should bloggers build their sites with WordPress?
WordPress is far and away the most popular content management system in the world, but there are more alternatives available than ever before. The list of content management systems grows longer every year as developers seek to offer alternatives to WordPress and chip away at its market share.
There are self-hosted alternatives like:
SaaS alternatives like:
Static site generators like:
The CMS old-guard is still going strong, notably:
So, why should bloggers choose WordPress? And more to the point, why are they picking WordPress, which is just as popular as it ever was.
To lay my cards on the table, I think that a self-hosted website built with a WordPress blog theme is the best option for bloggers, with a couple of caveats.
If we think about the serious blogger, we have someone who wants to publish content either for pleasure or to make money, who has moderate but not expert technical ability, and who is more interested in focusing on the content of their blog than on maintaining a server, writing a theme from scratch, or otherwise tangling with code.
While all the WordPress alternatives serve specific market segments and are the best choice for people with particular needs, for the average serious blogger or business blogger, WordPress hits the sweet spot of user-friendliness and functionality, which, combined with an enormous ecosystem of themes and plugins, makes getting up and running smoothly without limiting the choices bloggers can make.
Other self-hosted solutions like Statamic and Craft are good content management systems if you’ve got development skills, and that’s the problem. Those applications are designed to be developer friendly, but they aren’t great for someone who doesn’t have the time or the inclination to learn HTML, CSS, or PHP. The static site generators don’t capture the average blogger for the same reason. Personally, I love Jekyll, but I wouldn’t in a million years advise my friend who blogs about cupcake recipes to rebuild her site with it — there are tradeoffs to be made, and WordPress makes the right tradeoffs.
Hosted SaaS solutions have the opposite limitations. To maintain ease-of-use, there are lots of restrictions to what can be achieved. Serious monetization is limited, as is the ability to modify a site in arbitrary ways to suit unique requirements. I’m also uncomfortable with the idea of putting all my eggs in one basket: moving from one web host to another is a pain, but if a SaaS provider goes out of business or decides to delete a site because they perceive it as breaching their terms, you’re in much more trouble.
A managed WordPress web host offers more flexibility without the limitations.
And as for the old-guard: they have niches in which they are competitive and professionals who love them, but the reason that WordPress supports 20 percent of the web and they don’t is because they miss the sweet spot.
WordPress manages to be almost infinitely flexible while at the same time being relatively easy to use, which is why it’s still the best choice for the majority of bloggers.