When you consider the popularity of privately run blogs on the Internet today, you probably wouldn’t be too shocked to know that WordPress powers a good portion of the web. In fact, for many people looking to start their own blog, WordPress is the first place they go. But just how much is surprising. WordPress also has a bustling business web site service that hosts a number of small and large business pages, and when you combing all of the sites they power, you’ll see that WordPress runs more than one fourth of the Internet today – 27% actually.
And what’s even more surprising is how they got to this point.
The software was first developed in 2003 with an “open source” development method, meaning users could create their own themes and plugins, expanding the software’s functionality at no cost to the company. A vibrant third party developer community arose, and word of mouth quickly brought WordPress into the spotlight.
Thanks to WordPress’ open source, there are limitless options as to how a page can look. You could visit thousands of web pages powered by WordPress and not find two identical. That customization is a large part of what makes the software so popular with users today, and that’s how WordPress wants it.
“It’s aimed at non-developers who want to get a beautiful site up and running in seconds,” WordPress Chief Marketing Officer Chris Taylor told TechRepublic. “We see tremendous growth in the small business category, and so we want to provide them with offerings that are, on one hand, very simple, but on the other hand, a door to the millions of other [users] who can offer their own expertise. In this way, I see a lot of opportunity for us to integrate traditional marketing with the power of community.”
What’s also kept WordPress so popular with users is that there’s a free version available. A paid version that unlocks more features is also available, but if someone wants to get a simple web site off the ground, they can use WordPress’ free version and still have an appealing, professional looking site. And that’s what’s allowed many people to take a personal blog and make it into an actual money making opportunity.
In a tremendously crowded web design landscape, WordPress has managed to quietly become the most powerful name in the industry. And they’ve done it thanks to people that don’t even work for the company. The third party developers are “so, so important to WordPress,” Taylor said,
and what makes it special. A brilliant, diverse set of people contribute and build their own specialized services and features on top of WordPress. That means if you’re a small business and want to find a solution for something, the chances are very good that someone has built a plugin or theme specifically for that need.”