Why Does WordPress Have No Real Competitors?

WordPress has been at the top of the content management world for many years. Its closest rivals in the CMS market are Joomla and Drupal (note: CMS = Content Management System). Both of these platforms are very capable and are used by many website design companies; however WordPress is by far the most dominant CMS online.

The numbers are startling. An infographic released by Moove Agency in July 2013 noted that WordPress powers 19% of all websites in the world, compared to Joomla’s 3% and Drupal’s 2%.

When you look at the use of content management systems on its own, the numbers are just as convincing. WordPress owns 59% of the CMS market and this number is going up every year. This is huge compared to the 10% market share of Joomla and the 6% market share of Drupal

Why is WordPress so Dominant?

WordPress is dominant for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the number of plugins available for WordPress is much higher. A quick look at the official WordPress plugin directory shows that there are currently 29,251 free plugins available (at time of writing). In comparison, Joomla offers 7,579 extensions and Drupal offers 14,566 modules (plugins, extensions and modules are all the same thing – they are sometimes known as add ons).

WordPress has a thriving premium plugin market too. CodeCanyon, for example, currently sells 2,231 premium plugins for WordPress.

WordPress Plugin Directory

The official WordPress plugin directory offers around 30,000 free plugins to website owners.

The number of themes available is arguably the biggest reason why more and more people are using WordPress. Whereas some smaller CMS communities make do with less than one hundred designs, WordPress users have access to over ten thousand designs. These themes allow you to use WordPress as a blog, magazine, portfolio, business website, discussion forum, online shop, question and answer service, and much more. This flexibility is very attractive to bloggers and website owners alike.

Last, but certainly not least, is the WordPress community itself. The sheer number of people using WordPress means that not only are there more people developing for the platform, there are more people discussing WordPress, and there are more people writing tutorials for the community. This promotes the WordPress brand even more, which convinces more people to use WordPress.

This goes a long way to explain why WordPress has no real competitors. WordPress is Coca-Cola. WordPress is McDonalds. WordPress is Facebook. WordPress is Google.

WordPress has become so popular that a large percentage of people who use it do not even know that it is a content management system; which is a indication of WordPress’s huge popularity.

Heirs to the Throne

Over the last decade, WordPress has grown from a simple blogging script to a complete content management system. I first used WordPress around 2006. Up until that point, I had tested and used dozens of different content management systems; however I now use WordPress for every content website I develop because I know that it can handle anything I throw at it.

Because of the market share WordPress has, I think it is going to be very difficult for another CMS to rival WordPress unless it gets serious investment and backing from a large technology company. The WordPress platform is just too big and too mature to lose the top spot.

However, from a blogger’s perspective, I feel that there is room for competition. The more versatile WordPress becomes, the further it moves away from being a platform for bloggers. Of course, from a functionality point of view, WordPress can do every blogging task you can think of; which is why so many top blogs use WordPress.

Not everyone needs these additional bells and whistles. Many bloggers are looking for a minimal solution that is fast and efficient. SquareSpace, for example, offer a beautiful interface that is easy to use and their blog template collection is beautiful.

Another great option is Ghost. Released in 2013, Ghost is a true blogging platform in every sense of the word. It is quick to use and has a minimal interface that ensures the focus is on content.

Ghost Dashboard

Ghost brings a refreshing approach to blogging.

Another service you may want to watch out for is Medium. It may not seem that special, however Medium was developed by none other than Evan Williams. This is the man who actually inventing the term “blogging” when he founded the popular service Blogger in 1999. After selling the service to Google in 2003, Evan went on to start a podcasting company and followed it up by launching a small company called Twitter. You may have heard of it.


Could Medium change the way we blog?

Medium is still evolving, so it would be silly to rule them out. Williams is intelligent, rich and ambitious – he also has over two hundred million users on Twitter who he can market Medium towards. Not a bad way to kickstart a new project!

All of this competition will help WordPress become a better platform for blogging. My hope is that we see more content management systems pushing WordPress forward. Competition is healthy. Unfortunately, it is going to be very difficult for a CMS to give WordPress a run for its money as WordPress has become the de-facto standard for building websites.

What’s your view on this issue: Would you like to see more viable WordPress alternatives enter the market? Please share your thoughts in the comment area.


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