In 2003, Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg found themselves in a tough spot. The developer of the b2/cafeblog software disappeared, leaving this proto-cms project dormant. Devastated by the loss, Mike and Matt forked the b2/cafeblog source code. They kept the good bits and added improvements, with the first version of WordPress launching in May 2003. They never intended for WordPress to eat the internet — all they wanted was a way to blog that was simple and easy to use. Since then, WordPress has grown to be the leading CMS in the world, with a whopping 76% of global market share (source: Wapalyzer).
Where WordPress is Compared to the Competition
Content Creation and Publication
At the time of writing, Wix is the only website building platform that is slightly easier to use than WordPress. To get started in Wix, you don’t need a theme — just create a page and start adding your content! Most of the rest of the WordPress competition isn’t as easy to use, while a handful of startups are just easy but lack the ecosystem to drive faster growth.
WooCommerce has helped make WordPress a leading platform for e-commerce websites. In May 2015, Automattic acquired WooCommerce, bringing the successful plugin into the WordPress fold. Out of the box, WooCommerce provides power and flexibility without requiring the user to write a single line of code. Wix comes the closest to WooCommerce in terms of UX, while Shopify tends to require custom coding if you want a layout that’s not already available in one of the Shopify themes.
There is a perception that WordPress is not as secure as other platforms. Like Microsoft’s Windows operating system, WordPress gets a bad rep because it’s the leading CMS. It powers millions of websites, and hackers see those websites as gold mines of personal data that can be stolen. When compared with the competing platforms, WordPress core is just as secure as the others. When it comes to themes and plugins, however, the level of security varies widely from one product to the next.
This is the weakest link in the WordPress chain. While WordPress core is developed with fast load times in mind, the countless themes and plugins created for WordPress often aren’t optimized for performance. A single plugin can drag your website to a crawl when someone lands on it. The best workaround for this is to stick with popular themes and plugins that have a lot of downloads and a high number of 4-star reviews or higher.
Ease of Use
WordPress is getting there, but they have a little ways to go. Wix arguably has the easiest user interface (UI) for designing pages, adding content, and publishing them. The current default theme for WordPress, Twenty Twentyone, is ok, but it’s still kind of limited in what you can do. Also, if you never used Gutenberg, learning how to use this theme may take a bit of effort on your part.
Thankfully, there are some popular page builders that offer a Wix-like experience. Here are the top five page builders for WordPress:
- Elementor (5,947,367 user)
- Visual Composer (4,168,660 users)
- WP Bakery (3,567,074 users)
- Divi Builder (2,177,591 users)
- Beaver Builder (229,473 users)
Of the three, only Elementor has a free version. The paid version is a lot more powerful than the free version. It offers more modules which make it even easier to create custom layouts for your website. Overall, each of these page builders is fairly easy to use to create your custom design.