43% of the Internet Runs WordPress: To Democratize Publishing!
43% of the internet runs WordPress? No way! Actually, yup way. Of the top 10 million websites, WordPress runs by far more than any other software. It is the most popular content management system, used by more than 10 times the number of sites than Shopify, and more than 20 times the number of sites than Joomla, Drupal, Wix, Squarespace or Weebly. So, what gives?
Hmm… a few obvious things: It can’t go out of business, it’s free, and it’s open source.
But, you say, that’s all true about Joomla and Drupal, the two other most popular content management systems. They can’t be discontinued, they don’t cost anything, and you can get under the hood and make any changes you want. So those are not the reasons why WordPress is used by so many more sites.
Another reason is that it’s always been more user friendly. It was written for bloggers, and it’s always been easier to use than Joomla or Drupal. Also, because it was written with writers in mind, lots of writers have been writing about WordPress since day 1. Got a problem with WordPress? Someone’s written about how to resolve it.
Another reason, and I think this is a big one, is that it’s always been much more backwards compatible than Joomla or Drupal. Updates are much less likely to break your site.
But, back to the money you say, sure, even though WordPress itself is free, it is certainly not the least expensive way to go if you’re an individual or small business that needs to hire a developer to build your site.
That’s true, and that’s why I’ve recommended to quite a few folks that their best option is to use a subscription service like Shopify, Squarespace, Wix or Weebly. If you are able to develop your own content, you could build and maintain a site a hella lot cheaper than hiring someone like me to do it for you. For some folks, it is likely that a subscription service like Shopify, Squarespace, Wix or Weebly may very well meet their needs.
But what if Shopify, Squarespace, Wix or Weebly goes out of business, or gets bought, or gets totally revamped, or becomes totally obsolete? This would require you to completely rebuild your site, or require you to learn a whole new interface, or to put up with an increasingly inferior and out of touch site. Yeah, so, what if you’ve invested a lot of time and energy into building your site and then suddenly you find that you need some functionality that Shopify, Squarespace, Wix or Weebly can’t or won’t provide?
My take on it is that WordPress is for individuals and businesses that depend on their sites. It is for folks that need to know that their site will be able to do anything the web can do, and that it will continue to be able to meet all their future needs.
All these reasons may be enough for WordPress to be the leader of the pack, but what about the mission of WordPress? Well, when I first heard about the mission “To Democratize Publishing” it seemed insignificant, just branding, simply a slogan, rather glib and self-aggrandizing. I thought: Oh c’mon, that’s ridiculous, what does WordPress have to do with voting?
So I looked up the term “democratize” and saw that yes, Oxford Languages says it does mean “to introduce a democratic system or democratic principles”, but the second definition is to “make (something) accessible to everyone.” Truly, that is what WordPress is doing. It is making the web accessible to everyone, more than any other software in history. The mission to democratize publishing is why I believe WordPress is increasing in usage so dramatically.
People desire to express themselves. Much like the inventor of the printing press Johannes Gutenberg gave so many people the freedom to publish, to express whatever they wanted to say, WordPress has given so many people the freedom to publish whatever they want to say on the internet. And it will continue to offer all the functionality the internet will offer in the future.
Matt Mullenweg, the developer who started WordPress, has written that the idea of democratizing publishing is to help make the web a more open place. The foundation of this concept begins with the software itself, as outlined by the Four Freedoms:
0. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
1. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish.
2. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
3. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions, giving the community a chance to benefit from your changes.
I believe that these four freedoms and the overall mission to democratize publishing are what has inspired thousands of volunteers all around the world. Anyone can contribute and anyone can become involved in making WordPress better.
It is run by and for a community. The conferences, Word Camps, are informal and run by a community of volunteers… so they are really cheap! What other technology conference costs $40 for the weekend?
Everyone involved knows that WordPress will not go away, and that inevitably it will continue to get better.
But of course the biggest and best web content management system is the biggest target for hackers. It’s crucial to consistently back up your website to a remote location, to keep your software up to date, to monitor for downtime, and to maintain the newest and best possible security features.
And yeah, here we go. I’ve got a sales pitch. I’m selling our internet service Web WatchDawg that does all those web site essentials for you. Plus we give you an hour of expert WordPress developer support each month so your everyday needs are taken care of, and you continue to keep the growth of your website on your radar.
Got WordPress? We’re your Dawg.