We launched our first WordPress website in 2006, and since then I’ve been involved in developing hundreds of business websites. I’ve helped many people start to use WordPress to manage their own website, and also responded to questions that come up about day to day usage.
From my perspective, the single biggest factor driving WordPress adoption is ease of use. Even though there are books and other documentation available, most people learn to use WordPress by logging in and using the Dashboard to edit their own content.
Because of ease of use, end users have been adopting WordPress in droves. A few figures from recent surveys on market share make this clear:
- WordPress is used by over 13% of the Alexa 1M, the largest 1 million websites in the world as tracked by Alexa (2)
- WordPress is used by over 14% of all websites (1)
- WordPress is the dominant Content Management System (CMS), used more than 54% of the time where a CMS is used in a website (1)
- WordPress was reported as averaging almost 1M downloads a week in 2010, more than 8 times the downloads of its nearest rival (2)
The growth has not been driven by website developers. For a while there was some talk (touted by non-WordPress people) that WordPress might be ‘just a blogging platform’. Drupal and Joomla developers seem convinced they have the better development tool for websites. It isn’t true and isn’t the point. Even if WordPress WAS harder for developers to use the Drupal/Joomla, developers couldn’t drive the kind of growth that is being seen with WordPress. When it comes to a CMS, the end user is pretty much the whole story.
Check out this view from Google Trends:
The trendline for ASP suggests the platform has imploded. The flatline trend shown for DotNetNuke (the open source CMS that uses Microsoft’s ASP.NET) suggests that it isn’t just about open source vs proprietary systems.
Ease of use is one of those things that is easy to say and hard to do. WordPress has done it, and is reaping the benefits.