WordPress has now been around for many years and has developed a long way since its first incarnation as a tool just for blogging. Of course it is still a powerful blogging tool, but other parts of the software have been enhanced so much that it is now the platform of choice for all manner of websites.
It has overtaken both Drupal and joomla as the most searched for CMS (graphic from Google Trends)
While it doesn’t necessarily correlate that it is therefore the most used CMS, it’s a reasonable assumption that more people are searching for it because more people are trying to do things with it.
So what are the main reasons behind its popularity:
- It’s free.
OK, so are Drupal and Joomla so that doesn’t necessarily give a reason why it’s overtaken them, but it’s a good reason for lots of people to use it.
- It’s simple to set up.
Very simple. Many hosts even have it as a single push button install, but even if you install from scratch you can have a site up and running within a few minutes. There will still be a lot of tweaking to do and content to write, but your framework will be there.
- It’s simple to change the theme.
With hundreds of free themes contributed by the WordPress Community you can pick and choose to get one you like and install it in seconds. And it can be changed and updated to a new theme within minutes as well.
- It has huge flexibility through use of plugins.
I think this is the main area that has helped boost WordPress over and above all other CMS’s. While WordPress is less powerful than Drupal and Joomla “out of the box”, the free plugins contributed by the community give a degree of flexibility that matches anything, and WordPress makes it so easy to install and uninstall plugins that you can try new options without fear of messing up your installation.
- It’s easy to optimize for Search engines.
Maybe this is matched by other CMS’s as well, but by allowing permalinks to give you keyword rich titles, and with the addition of some SEO and sitemap plugins you can create a site that Google will love – just add content.