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WordPress 3.5 – The King Arrives

Code named Elvin, a new update to the WordPress CMS platform arrived this week with new features that make media management a lot easier and more intuitive. Most of you that read this blog know we’re a big fan of this website platform, along with millions of others.

Already boasting a 55% market share for CMS websites, it seems nothing can challenge it in terms of popularity. Certainly a lot of its success comes from it’s easy setup and the size of the development community providing add-ons and enhancements. Even those coders that participated in the latest release exceeded 250. Automattic, the company that provides the open source WordPress scripts has 100+ staff. And the WordPress market really is immense. The last big update, v3.4 was downloaded 28 million times! When v3.1 had 15m downloads last year, I though that number incredible…

So, where does this leave all the others, including the proprietary options provided by locals like Zeald with just a few thousand clients, or the estimated 1,700 other developers around the world coding proprietary or open source CMS technology, with a diminishing user base?

Let’s fact facts. When you only have a handful of in-house coders working on your own platform, how on earth do you compete [feature-wise] with CMS developers like WordPress that have 10x more resource to throw at development and a 1,000x more third party developers to test, extend and add value through plugins and themes?  And please don’t tell me that WordPress is ‘just a blog’ and not a ‘real’ CMS for business use. Or it has performance or security issues. Like any brand of CMS, it’s how well you put it together and the quality of the host you run it on that largely determines features, speed and security… 

Yes, WordPress is now a ‘real’ Content Management System

As the highly respected smashing magazine stated “…While WordPress might have been ‘just blogging software’ for a time and didn’t have the features needed to be a true CMS, those days are gone. Anyone who says otherwise is trolling or living in the past…”

WordPress doesn’t suit everyone. Just 95% of the market.

But I do admit it is not for every business. Many other CMS alternatives provide unique features WordPress does not, or has any intention of adding.  There will always be a place for other open source and proprietary CMS solutions, especially in the corporate arena. WordPress doesn’t suit everyone – Just 95+% of the market, being small business operations with under 20 staff. (NZ govt stats)

The CMS arena certainly provides some interesting options for business. One local proprietary system we do like is www.contegro.com. They have defined a good niche for this high-end offering and it sits well with those in the design and agency sector. Adobe’s business catalyst is another that appeals to non-technical graphic designers and marketers. Then there’s dozens of special CMS offerings like sharepoint, drupal etc, able to link into business backoffice, accounting and document management systems, which is something I’d not want to attempt with WordPress. Although I now see there’s a new Xero accounting plugin for some WordPress shopping carts…

WordPress has the biggest development and support community

One of the things constantly mentioned by developers is the size of their community, being a key indicator of ongoing support and development. We’ve examined regular meetups around the three top CMS platforms, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. As New Zealand is a bit more insular than most markets, it has no regular developer meets from a coding platform perspective.

A more representative and active web development market is across the ditch in Melbourne. We’ve recently joined the Melbourne WordPress group to keep up to date and extend our support alliances. The last Melbourne developer meetups is shown below:

WordPress – Really Good For Small Business

WordPress really appeals to the small business sector, wanting an affordable, high traffic website that’s easy to update and maintain. It has an ever-growing range of extensions, like the woocommerce toolkit and the free SEO tool from Yoast.com, to help optimise the site for Google – I’ve yet to see anything similar unless it came with a huge pricetag.  Add-ons around mobile and realty sector is exploding too, providing [often superior] website options for realtors, at under half the cost. And cost is a big issue today.

WordPress – An opportunity

So, with WordPress now the entrenched market leader, the only question is how long can the other mino providers last? Even Microsoft threw in the towel a few years back, ditching it’s ‘spaces‘ publishing platform in favour of WordPress.com technology. Yet there’s nothing stopping any developer that may have their own CMS offering from using the free WordPress.org software if they believe it better than what they currently offer clients. Or run it as a parallel offering. WordPress is really not a threat, but a huge opportunity.

Being heavily involved in WordPress development myself has certainly been good for my business this year and that of my small retail, marketing and graphic designer clients. Want to learn more or help me out? Contact me using the form below.

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