WordPress is the most widely used open source Content Management System (CMS) globally. As of March 2022, the CMS has powered around 43.3 percent of websites worldwide, including the New York Times, Spotify, TechCrunch, and the official White House website.
Now, for the first time since its inception in 2003, the market share of WordPress has dropped a bit to 42.9 percent, according to data released by w3techs.com.
“For maybe 25 years, I’ve said it’s “WordPress or nothing.” Now? Hardly. I could care less,” said Chris Brogan, chief of Staff at Appfire.
On the other hand, Shopify and Wix saw an uptick in market share at 4.3 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.
In the cards
WordPress is built on PHP and MySQL. Today, developers prefer a different approach over PHP. Former marketing and communication lead at WordPress, Joost De Valk, said: “The moment I’ve been fearing would come, has come. WordPress market share is shrinking.”
Discussions around the ease of using WordPress have been going on for some time in the WordPress community, and it is not surprising that its market share is declining.
In a blogpost, Joost De Valk said, in the one year or so, sites on Wix and Squarespace, on average, have improved their site speed more than WordPress sites. Even though WordPress has a performance team now, and it has made some progress, the reality is that it hasn’t really made big strides yet, he said.
WordPress will remain the market leader for a long period, but the decline in market share is seen as a symptom of a deeper problem.
Recently, the company launched WordPress 6.0, named ‘Arturo’, inspired by Grammy-winning jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill. It comes with over 500 enhancements and 400 bug fixes. WordPress hopes to make the platform more user-friendly for developers and provide a rich content creation experience to its end users.
Arturo’s new features include enhanced writing Experience, integrated patterns, and block locking controls.
“Expanding Gutenberg into a full site editing experience in WordPress means that all of the problems the community had to address were complex and far-reaching. WordPress 6.0 is an example of the community’s commitment to tackling these tough challenges together.
“With thoughtful updates to the writing experience, building better block functionality, and adding a new intuitive style switcher, I’m really proud of the work that’s been done in this release to make a great site editing experience,” said Josepha Haden Chomphosy, Executive Director, WordPress.
For the first time in a decade, Joost De Valk said WordPress is being out-innovated. Other CMS like Squarespace and Wix are not doing anything groundbreaking either per se; instead, they’re just implementing best practices for both site speed and SEO.
Time for a reboot
A few years ago, not many small or medium-sized companies were selling their products online or had a website to start with. In the last few years, more so since the pandemic, many businesses are going online, and many internet businesses are popping up worldwide. A small internet business might opt for Wix because of site speed and SEO since they completely rely on their website for revenue.
Nick Wilmot, a member of the larger WordPress community, said that if WordPress wants to maintain its market share or, better yet, grow it, it’ll have to get its act together. For me, as a small studio, that means releasing well thought-through and largely complete features that make it easier to build sites that clients find easy to manage, he added.
Similarly, Jon Henshaw, SEO director at Paramount, said Wix and Squarespace are simpler tools to build a site. As they improve their SEO tooling, there’s less and less reason to switch over to WordPress.
The bottom line is: WordPress has problems to fix.