WordPress Executive Director Talks 20 Years of Innovation

On May 27, 2023, WordPress celebrates 20 years of extraordinary growth. It powers approximately 43% of all websites and is by far the leading content management system.

How did WordPress achieve this milestone, and can it continue to be the most successful open source project of all time?

About this article

This post was originally conceived as a comparison between Duda, WordPress and Wix.

However, as I talked to the developers and the people behind the scenes at each company, I realized that each platform was best at solving the problems they were intended to solve.

So what started as one article on the three platforms became a three-part series, one for each platform.

Today we look at why WordPress is popular with web design agencies, search marketers, corporate publishers, and e-commerce sites, and some successful uses of WordPress.

This post features Josepha Haden Chomphosy (LinkedIn), Executive Director of WordPress, and others who work with WordPress, discuss why WordPress is so successful.

WordPress democratizes the internet

Before WordPress, people had to pay a fortune for an enterprise content management system (CMS) to get the content WordPress provided for free. Another option is to learn how to code, or at least know how to use software such as Dreamweaver.

The introduction of WordPress democratized online publishing and became arguably the most important innovation on the Internet. The positive economic impact on millions of people around the world cannot be overstated.

A powerful case can be made that the free and open source software WordPress is the most important innovation of the Internet age today.

The Secret to Success: Ease of Use

What drives WordPress' success is that it's specifically designed to be easy to install and quick to publish. This is actually the guiding principle for almost every decision in WordPress development.

This principle is stated in the official statement WordPress Philosophy:

“Great software should require very little configuration and setup. WordPress is designed to get you up and running and fully functional in no more than five minutes. You don't have to struggle with using WordPress' standard features.

We work hard to make sure each release lives up to this philosophy. We ask for as few technical details as possible during setup and provide a full explanation of any requests we make. “

The basis of their philosophy is a devotion to freedom.

Philosophy Pages promises WordPress users:

  • “Freedom to run programs for any purpose.
  • Freedom to study how the program works and change it to make it work the way you want.
  • Freedom to redistribute.
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified version to others. “

Start a million business

This focus on simplicity, freedom, and nurturing an ecosystem of innovation has led to the launch of millions of websites and the success of millions of businesses around the world over the past 20 years.

Tom Zsomborgi, chief business officer at managed web hosting company Kinsta, said about the power of WordPress:

“Small businesses benefit greatly from WordPress. For them, the budget for building and maintaining a website is often limited, and not all of them can afford a developer.

WordPress gives them the software for free with no monthly fees, including a free WooCommerce eCommerce plugin that unlocks eCommerce functionality.

Tens of thousands of plugins give merchants the freedom and flexibility to tailor WordPress to their custom needs.

Plus, it doesn't require a steep learning curve. Learning how to use WordPress is easy.

But all these benefits are not only attractive to small merchants, but also to large corporations and large media companies.

How many times have I seen a store start with one product and turn into a massive eCommerce store with thousands of products in just a few years, or a blogger share her thoughts and turn that little blog into an industry news site with millions of visitors. “

WordPress is adaptable

One of the main reasons WordPress is so popular is that it seems to be suitable for any use case, from simple blogging to e-commerce and even enterprise-level publishing.

WordPress is used by leading sites like TechCrunch, Southern Bancorp, Vogue, Sony Music, Harvard University's Nieman Journalism Lab, and many others.

Jason Cross, Senior Vice President of Digital Business and Commerce at Newfold Digital (Bluehost's parent company), shares his thoughts on the remarkable adaptability of the WordPress publishing platform.

He shared:

“WordPress offers broad compatibility with existing technologies and rapid compatibility with emerging technologies.

The greatest strength of WordPress is its flexibility and the way you can incorporate almost any functionality imaginable through plugins.

An open platform allows web developers to build custom functionality if a certain functionality doesn't already exist.

Managed WordPress, in turn, bridges the best of both open source and proprietary CMSs by offering a powerful all-in-one solution with the relative ease of use offered by many closed platforms, but through open source software and data formats.

All the data and code on your website is yours; you take it with you when you upgrade to a more powerful platform, switch domains, make backups, or move your data to another platform or service.

Since WordPress is portable, you can start an affordable shared hosting plan with a low barrier to entry considering the cost, flexibility, and features available.

Once your website is popular, you can upgrade to a managed hosting plan for more peace of mind and most of the same features that closed platforms offer.

Many hosts, including Bluehost, are actively working to simplify the website setup process. “

Managed WordPress hosting takes care of the technical overhead usually associated with using WordPress, allowing publishers and eCommerce stores to focus on publishing and selling their products.

Factors such as site speed, automated backups, hacker protection, software updates, and maintenance are all handled by managed WordPress hosting providers.

An example of the remarkable adaptability of the WordPress publishing platform is that web hosts can configure WordPress to provide an experience similar to a closed-source system.

Interview with WordPress Executive Director

we interviewed Josefa Haden ChomfisiExecutive Director of WordPress, discover why WordPress is the choice of many publishers and developers around the world.

WordPress was originally known as a blogging platform, but it's actually a great eCommerce platform that can be as simple or as complex as you want.

What kind of business would benefit the most from creating products with WordPress?

WordPress Mission is about democratizing publishing, which means businesses of all sizes and types can benefit from using it to create.

Whether they use WordPress to build their entire business—from store and customer management to marketing and communications—or as part of a suite of tools, they gain more control and ownership of their brand over time.

However, if I were to pick one group that would benefit the most, it would have to be small and medium business owners. They can get high-quality sites and tools at a cost that fits any business budget, while ensuring their software stays put.

Can WordPress Scale Your Business?

“The versatility and freedom of tools WordPress offers over other solutions is a major advantage for businesses of all sizes.

It's software that gives you everything you need, but also lets you remove anything you don't need, no matter your size or what you're doing.

But in addition to being flexible, it's definitely extensible.

WordPress is a high-performance platform with strict security standards, powering millions of websites ranging from bloggers to internationally renowned companies and media organizations, attracting millions of page views every day.

This is a testament to the power and credibility of WordPress as an open source content management system (CMS) and its scalability to meet the needs of the largest volume, most security-conscious, and most demanding digital properties. “

What is the cost-effectiveness of platforms such as WordPress compared to closed-source solutions?

“While owning a copy of the WordPress software is free and requires no licensing fees, as with any site solution, there are some costs associated with hosting, domain registration, and premium upgrades.

However, the cost-effectiveness of choosing WordPress lies in the long-term predictability and ownership.

No matter what platform you choose to create your online presence, it can take a few days to get started.

After that, you may need months or years to build your audience.

The great thing about choosing WordPress is that you have all the hard work (and hard-won audience attention) at your fingertips for as long as you want to keep your website.

We have no centralized content recommendation algorithm, no claims of ownership of your published work, and no terms of service changes that affect your efforts.

is yours. That's it.

How Managed Hosting Adds Value to WordPress?

From the outside, managed WordPress offers the same benefits as any hosted proprietary solution, namely the convenience of not having to manage your own server.

As a bonus, content and configurations created on managed hosting remain yours. So, if you want, you can migrate your website from a GDPR-conscious to a sustainability-conscious host without having to start from scratch every time.

WordPress Creates Opportunity

WordPress empowers people to create businesses and livelihoods online.

But it also helps create thousands of jobs around the world, from web hosts and domain registrars to theme and plugin developers, and web developers where jobs exist for WordPress.

WordPress has a huge community of supporters who help make it possible.

Here’s what Josepha had to say about the WordPress community:

“WordPress creates jobs all over the world. I'm thinking web developers, plugin developers, etc.

The WordPress ecosystem creates opportunities that other closed systems cannot.

WordPress owes a lot of its success to the open source community, and one of the key things that open source has given us is that we are open in design, which allows us to be inclusive in design.

Contributors explore problems, test solutions, and teach each other in public, creating an environment for software innovation and a vibrant town-square mentality for contributors.

By adhering to the guiding principles of Free and Open Source Software, we can recognize that “Good ideas can come from anywhere’ applies to all parts of our ecosystem, including who can participate and thrive in it.

This understanding led us to create five futures Plans and initiatives to ensure the continuity of the software and the future sustainability of the project and its ecosystem. “

WordPress is here to stay

WordPress is a viable product because it has a strong community behind it, which means it’s here to stay.

Five for the Future is a program that encourages WordPress-related businesses to give back to the community to help keep it healthy and alive.

According to the WordPress Five for the Future webpage, contributions can take many forms:

“Anyone can contribute to the next five.

Many contributors focus on the technical aspects of WordPress, such as core development, but there are also teams working in other areas such as marketing, translation, training, and community.

No matter your skill set, there is always a way to get involved. “

WordPress is the most popular publishing platform today, and its supporting ecosystem can help anyone create a website and grow a business, no matter the type of business.

It changed the face of the Internet and is responsible for the creation of millions of jobs. Websites published on this platform can easily become a part of everyone's life today, even if the readers who discover something new don't know it.

Happy 20th Birthday WordPress!

Featured Image Shutterstock/Ink Drop

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