Course Update

Why WordPress

With all of the powerful platforms out there to build websites on or build products for, why should we still choose open source platforms like WordPress today?

Lunar Scene

With all of the powerful platforms out there to build websites on or build products for, why should we still choose open source platforms like WordPress today? Why are upwards of 4 million WordPress sites being launched each year? Traditionally, WordPress hasn’t been known for best user experience or the prettiest user interface. And from a code perspective, PHP, which WordPress is largely written in, isn’t exactly the language of choice these days. JavaScript and Python have all but taken over as the most popular programming languages. 

And yet, WordPress still remains a dominant and growing force on the web and has plenty of impressive numbers to back it up. According to W3Techs, WordPress powers 35% of all the websites on the Internet, and is still growing over 20% each year. As a quick comparison, its closest competitors, Joomla, Drupal, Squarespace and Wix only comprise a mere 7% of the market share combined

[Image of WP growth over time]

Everyone from hobbyists to Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Target, Microsoft, and even the White House host websites on WordPress. From the outside, the draw to WordPress might not be so obvious, but for those who’ve invested even a little time into the software’s capabilities and explored the expansive product ecosystem around it, it couldn’t be more obvious: there just isn’t anything else quite like it.

In an Internet era where privacy and freedom are waxing and waning, WordPress remains free and open source. From a technical perspective, WordPress has unmatched content editing capabilities, it’s highly customizable, and with the arrival of the JavaScript block editor, the software is getting a second wind and quickly maturing beyond its PHP roots. It’s becoming more capable, appealing to even more users, attracting even bigger development communities. 

The WordPress product ecosystem is an open economy where anyone can create free or paid products for it. Anyone with an idea and the drive to bring it to life are met with a massive consumer base unlike any other community out there. The extensible nature of WordPress encourages its patrons to create premium solutions for analytics, payments, personalization, specialized tools, and eCommerce. These premium solutions are debatably what make WordPress shine, as they take the software from a fairly benign CMS to a full-blown platform capable of launching any kind of website one can imagine.

And then there’s the financial opportunities flowing through WordPress. Many millions of dollars are generated by WordPress product businesses each year. Millions of dollars are transacted by WooCommerce and other eCommerce solutions built on WordPress. Millions of dollars are earned by WordPress professionals and agencies who use WordPress as the engine to create bespoke solutions for their clients, large and small. And it’s not just big companies or agencies generating these impressive revenue streams. According to survey data between 2015 to 2017, 38% of people who took the survey were self-employed WordPress designers and developers. What has been a WordPress economy of millions will soon be an economy of billions.

Why WordPress? Because a third of the internet (and growing yearly) has chosen WordPress as the go-to way to build websites. Because the open and vibrant product ecosystem around WordPress breeds innovation and empowers creators of all backgrounds. Because the block editor has solidified the next 10 years of WordPress’s success and created an opportunity for a new era of WordPress products and services. Because the free and open frontier is still thriving here.

Mike McAlister

Typed up by Mike McAlister

Purveyor of finely-crafted products, pixels, and repositories. I created Liftoff to give you a 10-year head start on launching a kick-ass, lucrative product business. Find me killing time on Twitter and Instagram or take a peek through my lens.

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