Over a decade since its birth, WordPress has evolved from a simple blogging platform into a feature-rich and popular CMS (content management system), cementing itself as the mainstayer platform of choice for users to create and edit websites.
WordPress’ market share continues to grow, and yet, many WordPress developers and marketers are beginning to discount the platform in favour of others. Challenger, headless and visual rivals such as SquareSpace and Duda are on the rise, with some heralding the inevitable demise of WordPress.
So, it’s time to look beyond the premature grave-dancing and answer the question: Is WordPress dead, or dying, and more importantly, why that might be the case. Strap yourselves in, this should be interesting!
4 reasons WordPress is dying in favour of other CMS platforms
With the multitude of alternative CMS platforms out there, there are a myriad of reasons why you might consider choosing them over WordPress. We’ve taken a look at some of the popular ones, and believe there are 4 main reasons:
1. Rise of the self-selection tools
One of the main attractions of rival CMS platforms like Wix is the self-selection functionality. Search behaviour has rapidly evolved to put users in full control of their buying decision, with personalised searches including the phrase “for me” growing by more than 120% in recent years.
This is where self-selection is key, giving users a sense of specificity, ownership and instant gratification.
Take Wix for example. Upon visiting their site, you’re immediately greeted by the “Get Started” button, which then prompts you with the statement: “I want to create a site for [blank]”. You’re given a series of options that allows you to self-select the right site for your circumstances, based on criteria such as sector, desired features and more.
Compared with WordPress, self selection setups like this are interactive, easy and friction-free, allowing users to quickly get setup.
In comparison, WordPress sites can have a much longer lead time, involving paying for and installing WordPress themes, page builders, plugins and more.
2. All in one competitors
Another attractive feature of DIY platforms, is by nature, they are all-in-one platforms, meaning everything is often included under one subscription.
For example, Duda includes AWS hosting as part of your subscription, and other platform plans often throw in extras such as email domain hosting, SEO features, mobile optimisation and analytics.
By comparison, a lot of those aforementioned features are not included in WordPress by default, meaning you have to install WordPress plugins for additional functionality, and costs can quickly stack up and spiral out of control when paying separately for web hosts (if not considering fully hosted solutions), paid plugins and more.
3. Cheap and fast, but not necessarily good
In all kinds of services, there is the conundrum of “cheap, fast and good”, whereby there’s a tradeoff in that you can only ever have two of those qualities.
HubSpot CMS, SquareSpace, Duda and so on all have one thing in common: Their subscriptions are cheap, and building a site using them is fast. But you might end up questioning if they do indeed stack up against WordPress.
Disclaimer: We recommend doing a feature comparison when comparing platforms such as Duda and SquareSpace against WordPress. We’re not discounting them entirely in this blog post, and it’s important that you do your research before committing to a platform.
4. Visual builders are all the rage
One of the biggest headaches caused by WordPress is the slight learning curve needed to get to grips with the platform. It’s classic editor and default WordPress theme means that you might need to spend some time familiarising yourself with how to code and build using the platform.
You don’t necessarily need to learn code, but some WordPress interfaces can be more difficult for a newbie to understand. However, extensions and plugins such as WPBakery and Elementor fix this to some degree, but can be more technical to manage.
On the other hand, other platforms almost always allow you to build visually, using block editors that are fundamentally built around the “drag and drop” mentality. Default themes are also designed to allow you to “plug and play” meaning you can hit the ground running faster than when compared with WordPress.
Losing your [CMS] head… What about headless?
There’s a new kid on the block, and that’s headless CMS. This is where the design and the content of the site are two separate entities, allowing marketing teams to create content with the CMS, and developers to retrieve said content through APIs using a preferred front-end software.
We could write an entire blog comparing WordPress (and other platforms) to your typical headless CMS. What we will say (for now!) is that for the vast majority of businesses, a headless CMS won’t be right for you, largely due to the sheer technical proficiency needed.
However, it’s worth consulting with an agency to find the right platform for your needs, and even exploring WordPress headless as an option, so don’t discount losing your [CMS] head just yet!
4 reasons WordPress will remain the mainstayer
If you’ve read this far, you might be thinking that we absolutely hate WordPress, which is not the case. We believe that WordPress has, and will remain a staple CMS for most people.
If you don’t believe us, here’s 4 reasons why we think WordPress is here to stay:
1. It continues to evolve
As we alluded to at the start, the WordPress of yonder is not the WordPress of today. WordPress 5.0 was released in December 2018, and WordPress versions continue to evolve even further.
With each iteration WordPress comes further evolution that enhances the experience for WordPress users, and 65 million downloads for WordPress 5.5, it’s safe to say that users are not disappointed by recent version updates.
2. It’s widely available, and highly scalable
When you think of “WordPress”, you don’t just think of it as a CMS platform. It’s a rapidly growing community of developers, designers and content creators. The community has become a popular destination for both beginners and professionals, making WordPress widely available to users of all skill levels.
It’s also available in so many languages, which sets it apart from other platforms, being used in over 100 languages around the world.
Additionally, because WordPress is open source, WordPress websites are easily scalable, meaning your website can quickly grow as your business grows.
3. WordPress plugins dominate
The number of plugins developed for WordPress websites has skyrocketed, and there are now over 50,000 plugins to choose from, many of which dominate various sectors.
For instance, over 30% of all eCommerce sites now use WooCommerce, a plugin that was acquired by Automattic, the operator of WordPress and core contributor to the WordPress software. Akismet has also blocked over 400 billion spam comments, being actively installed on over 1 million websites.
4. WordPress keywords still rank higher
Data from Google Trends shows that keywords from WordPress websites consistently rank higher than competitors in search engine queries.
That means that WordPress is almost the default choice for businesses looking for a website platform that will help with building traffic and generating leads longer term.
Is WordPress dead? No, far from it…
It’s not time to bring out the box of tissues to say goodbye to WordPress just yet. Whilst competitor and challenger CMS platforms are on the rise, WordPress continues to be the right platform for a lot of users.
But, there’s no denying that “drag-and-drop” DIY platforms have their place in the CMS market, and when starting your website journey, it’s important to do your research, explore the pros and cons, and determine which platform is right for you and your circumstances.