The Rise of WordPress


There is almost an endless list of CMS (content management systems) available as platforms to launch and maintain a business-level website or blog. Why then, has WordPress become a favorite among web designers and business owners alike?

With thousands of users that have jumped on board in just the past few years, it shouldn’t be that difficult to highlight some of the unique features that has given it such a good reputation among everyone from web experts to novices. WordPress’ approach to the way the websites should be managed differs from many mainstream CMS programs in one key way: rather than full access being restricted to copyright holders only, WordPress features an open source. This means that the source code, comparable to the DNA of a website, is the community’s domain and can be altered and tweaked much more easily than closed source. The implications of the Open Source Initiative that allows WordPress easily alterable licenses are vast, but most importantly it creates a community of users that fosters creativity and encourages a constant sharing and improvement of ideas.

While it may seem as though WordPress came out of nowhere like many popular websites and social media platforms, it has a long (in Internet terms) history of building and tweaking that has led it to launch many extremely popular websites, including The New York Times blog, People Magazine, and even iperdesign’s corporate website.

With roots reaching back to 2001, the original code of WordPress was used just to jazz up simple typography. A few years later, WordPress made its debut as a free blogging tool featuring a domain. It has since evolved, combining an impressive list of themes and widgets with a no-hassle user experience that allows companies to define their brand and easily update their content. For example, Italian fashion retailer de Corato’s website and home security juggernaut LifeShield both use WordPress software, but each reserves an entirely different look and feel. Both capture the essence of easy customization.

The sleek user interface allows even those with the littlest experience in website design to benefit from all that WordPress has to offer. More specifically, the dashboard clearly lays out all the features of the website, where those with a password can manage accessibility and permissions.

By far the most advantageous aspect of WordPress comes in the form of the online community that has evolved around the Open Source Initiative. Within this community, the software constantly gets improved and any glitches in the code quickly get ironed out without lag time. The collaboration associated with an open source may be found in competitors like Movable Type, but the simple layout, easy installation, and multitude of free plug-ins has pushed WordPress far beyond other CMS and blog-hosting websites. In addition, the new WordCamp education seminars and WordPress self-help websites like WPBeginner and ContentRobot prove that the community of users is a force to be reckoned with.

With over 73 million downloads so far, there is little indication that the software will be slowing down any time soon. In the future, co-founder Matt Mullenweg says that WordPress will focus on integrating mobile apps and social media into the community. A new ultra-simplified version is also on the horizon. While these new ventures define a new phase in the evolution of WordPress, you shouldn’t expect any compromise in quality or value of the creative user base. In the meantime, start your own WordPress blog, download the iPhone or Android app, and keep updated on where this collaboration-based software powerhouse is headed.