WordPress is heading towards being the next global tech powerhouse to dominate it’s market similar to how Microsoft, Google and Facebook have become the master of their own domains.
According to W3Techs.com, 58.8% of websites using a CMS (Content Management System) are now WordPress? And as of January 2016, Wordpress hit a new record hit of 26% of global websites. http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cm-wordpress/all/all.
Over the years I have written a few blog articles about WordPress and its viral growth. I remember when WordPress was boasting 8% of global websites around 2011. At this rate, if you look at this chart, WordPress clearly will be heading towards being 30% of global websites by the end of 2016.
It comes as no surprise. Back in 2006, when I was a web group manager, we had to make a choice between existing custom in-house CMS solutions, high-end enterprise level CMS products like Interwoven and lowly WordPress. We made the choice to push WordPress as a solution for all systems and replaced some seriously written code! WordPress was definitely not the best solution, probably still is not best. But when it comes to building websites, WordPress is like the socialist of CMS systems. The hot water sometimes does not run, the lights sometimes have brown outs, but everybody has healthcare.
Not sure if that analogy makes sense. Let’s take a quick look at how WordPress has become a real zen lesson for tech startups that less is often more when it comes to conquering the world!
You need to be very simple and easy to use in order to conquer complicated and difficult.
That’s an easy battle you probably understand by now if you are in the startup world! You need to sometimes focus on solving small problems not big ones. And, you have to pivot to something bigger sometimes, and that is what WordPress did.
First, WordPress has always been free. There were a few early competitors like Typepad and Blogger. X that. Blogger was not a competitor, because blogger was not downloadable, and once it became part of Google, it was over in terms of growth.
There are 2 serious competitors of WordPress still hanging in there, namely Drupal and Joomla. If you are not familiar with these two alien species, then you are have probably come to the wrong Linkedin article. But let’s get serious, because history has a way of the letting the victors write the history, WordPres was not the heir to the throne it has become. It was a bit of an anomaly at first and was introduced as a blogging system. But the real critical success came for WordPress when they made it a system for virtually everyone out there. I don’t even think they had a normal web page builder in the initial version of WordPress. Matt, from Automattic, if you are out there and read my drivel, please correct me on this.
WordPress is really a DIY, Do It Yourself system, and that is what made it go from ok to ginormous.
I feel Joomla and Drupal never reached for that distant and hard to achieve star out there. They absolutely require some tech-head.
So, WordPress was created as a way to blog, and it was popular, but maybe not as popular as Typepad at first. What’s funny is I have not heard the word Typepad in over 10 years. When at some point, WordPress figured out that web pages for real websites were probably more important than blog pages, they found themselves going for the whole enchilada. So, they pivoted ever so slightly into website building. That became their new thing and now that is everything.
WordPress’s pseudo-military marketing tactics has evolved into a multi-prong approach with a few crazy viral methods. You can download a “free” version of WordPress. They have a free upgrade almost monthly. WordPress is really not free. It is freely usable under open source rules. Open source means that it is free to use and thousands of programmers add to the code every day around the world. But then there is the WordPress.com site you could also use to get a site for free without paying for hosting.
As every website hosting company and cloud provider on the planet adopted WordPress, it became who it is today. Basically, WordPress can be instantly available on your website if you purchase a hosting account today.
The next part of the WordPress domination comes from the amazing amount of third party functionality you can add to WordPress via Plugins and Themes. These plugins and themes are in the tens of thousands and most are free as well. Really there are probably about 1,000 that you would ever want to use, but like third parties writing software for Microsoft DOS and Windows, plugins have given rise to a new level of add-ons we have not seen since all the floppy disk dealers at the early computer shows. (if you can remember that) And this is where Eastern European and Indian developers (PHP based) have been moving in and finding a kick-ass market!
What is so amazing about all of this is that WordPress did not get their domination and growth through monopoly or unethical business tactics forcing out competition. (wink wink Microsoft).
Rather WordPress grew through the simple fact that they built a viral system that would conquer through the lowest level of user (a person who wanted to just have a blog or web page available). And that produced millions of WordPress users. Those users like me brought home the virus of WordPress to corporate america!
I can understand that Drupal is better at this and Joomla is better at that. I have set up both of those products. At least the programmers I am friends with swear that they are better! Better is not what wins in the end. What wins is user acceptance by large numbers of users.
Now a days, WordPress is a little easier to use than it was 10 years ago, but not much for the average user. In fact there are so many plugins and choices that users get like kids in a candy store and jam up their WordPress like stuffing toiletpaper down a bowl. [I have had to fix this for client very often] WordPress kind of reminds me of Windows 3.0. Yes, do you remember that version that did not work very well? There is always a nicer version next year! or in this case next month. Thanks Microsoft for letting WordPress know that once you dominate you don’t have to innovate much; you just hang in there and keep on getting the user base bigger and bigger!
Not sure what the endgame is here, though going public and becoming evil dictators is usually where this heads next, if Matt loses control of this rocket ship!
Have little to plug today in my article, though if you have a chance, please visithttp://StartupPOP.com, our website, and get on our email list to find out about Startup Pitch Events at a city near you! We are planning on running events this year in NYC, Northern New Jersey, LA, Tampa, Orlando, Miami and a city near you! If you think you can run our event (it’s a part-time gig), then let me know and visit this page here to learn more information.