In the early 1990s as the World Wide Web became more accepted in general society, people started making their own websites and sharing information about their lives. What resulted was the “Blog” or web log. Back in the 90s, and even in many instances today, managing or updating a website required the knowledge of HTML. In order to make a simple change, or update your blog with a new entry, you would have to go into the source of the website and manually code it all out:
Even though the web was now accessible to millions of people, having a blog or website required a specific technical knowledge set. Enter Open Diary (1998), LiveJournal (1999) and Blogger.com (1999). These new free services allowed anyone who had access to the internet an easy and quick way to create a blog with no technical knowledge. In September of 2000, Open Diary grew to host more than 130,000 blogs. The fad caught on and as of February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs.
As the demand grew for blog hosting, the demand also grew for the ability to customize and individualize blogs. In 2003, WordPress 0.7 was launched as a Content Management System (CMS)/ blogging platform that allowed themes, plugins, and customization to blogs. The great thing about WordPress is the CMS that it evolved to be. WordPress eventually turned into a system with a powerful back end that demanded very little maintenance or technical knowledge for the user to maintain. Posting a new blog entry is as easy as clicking “New Post” and then entering exactly what you want into a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, much like Microsoft Word. The post would then be formatted according to the predefined theme that you had selected for your blog, and posted to the front page. With the growth and development of WordPress, they added the ability to add new pages to blogs. For example, you could have a “Home” page where you talked a little about your blog, an “About Me” page where you talked a little about yourself, and then a “Blog” page that contained all of your posts; all created with the WYSIWYG editor and automatically formatted to the theme.
Eventually people began to realize the power behind this platform and WordPress became more of a Content Management System over a simple blogging platform. Web developers and designers saw an opportunity and started learning the WordPress framework and developing custom themes, designs, and plugins for WordPress. They could then sell these items to people or companies that were looking for a website without needing the technical knowledge of how to maintain it. Today, 17.5% of all websites on the internet are being managed by WordPress. 68% of all websites do not currently have a content management system. This means that any time a change is required, a programmer is needed to update the content. Of the 32% of the websites using content management systems, 55% of them are using WordPress, which is 600% more than the next competitor.
With the features it contains, the popularity in which it is growing and the ease of usability, it is easy to understand why WordPress is the most popular CMS out there.