The Power of WordPress: Potential and Perspective
At Noble Studios, we support many platforms and technologies. One of our favorite “go to” content management system (CMS) platforms is WordPress. When it comes to market share for CMS, there is some dispute over the popularity of WordPress. Some say it’s 90% of the CMS market, others say it is 50-60%. Regardless, it’s currently the most popular CMS platform with some 60,000,000 WordPress websites worldwide.
What is WordPress?
Released in May 2003, WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a CMS based on PHP and MySQL. It has many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by more than 16.7% of Alexa Internet’s ‘top 1 million’ websites and as of August 2011 manages 22 % of all new websites. WordPress is currently the most popular blogging system in use on the Internet.
It’s a system for managing, updating and displaying content on your website. It serves small clients and Goliath sized enterprises such as Time Magazine, Dow Jones, UPS, TED, CBS and more.
Why use WordPress?
WordPress has a very large development community behind it. Imagine having a staff of more than 100,000 developers, users, businesses and individuals constantly working on your project to make it better. This is why WordPress has been and continues to grow at a rapid pace. The brains behind it know this.
“Everything you see here, from the documentation to the code itself, was created by and for the community. WordPress is an open source project, which means there are hundreds of people all over the world working on it. It also means you are free to use it for anything from your cat’s homepage to a Fortune 500 website without paying anyone a license fee and a number of other important freedoms.” – WordPress
- As needs from the community emerge, such as features, bugs, and security issues, there’s an ever growing user base and a dedicated core team of people constantly addressing these needs.
- Robust documentation. The WordPress Codex is something, that as a developer, I really appreciate. It means training for users and developers alike are easier to accomplish.
- A rich, mature application programming interface (API) for integrating with the platform – everything from building plugins, themes or writing code – is easier with well documented APIs inside of WordPress.
- The ease of upgrading the core platform and all of its extensions is incredible. Throughout my career, I have used dozens of CMS platforms. Upgrading can be a real nightmare. On WordPress, it is much more streamlined. That means as security updates come out or new features are released, users don’t need to login to servers or learn FTP.
- There’s a huge, established repository of themes and plugins. Themes, the core aesthetic of your site, can be robust and vary in functionality. They can be forums, e-commerce systems, community management systems, or blogs. They also go through a review process before being accepted into the WordPress repository. Plugins do not at this point go through the same review process, but there are many plugins that compete with each other to satisfy your needs, meaning ever increasing quality.
There’s much more I can go into, such as branding, caching, scalability, integration with other platforms and tools, the amount of talent out there available for hire, community events, IRC communities, workshops, entire markets built around WordPress – but that’s another article, for another time.
Is WordPress right for my business?
If the idea of open source doesn’t interest you, it’s probably not the right fit. If e-commerce needs to be the foundation of your site, you should integrate with a third-party platform like Shopify or Magento. If you need a marketing platform, a place to publish content, to establish a community, to teach, or anything having to do with the dissemination of information, WordPress is a great CMS.
How do you get started on WordPress?
For the do it yourself (DIY) crowd here are some ways to get started. The tool needs to live on a server, and it’s preferable to have a domain pointing to that server. If you’re curious about WordPress, sign up for an account and play with it. Every day new people are starting to use WordPress and realizing the power behind it.