About the author

Avatar for Joel McDonald Joel McDonald is a web designer, developer, and communications consultant with a penchant for politics. He created his first website at the age of 14. He founded Comit Strategies in 2012. In addition to web design and development, Joel was elected to the Virginia Beach School Board in 2012, becoming the youngest person ever to be elected to local office in Virginia Beach.

At Comit Strategies, we’re a 99% WordPress shop. Virtually every project we do is built on the WordPress platform. Sure, there are a few one-off projects we do that are static HTML/CSS, like the site we did for Evans Position, Norfolk Commissioner of the Revenue. We’ve also done some work in Drupal, which runs the Blue Star Families site. However, we always come back, and much prefer to work with, WordPress.

Often, our prospective clients ask us why we use WordPress. It’s a good question with a good answer.

The WordPress Community

I think the driving force for us using WordPress is how large the WordPress community is. W3 Techs just updated their usage stats for content management systems (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.), and WordPress came in at the top of the list powering 23.7% of all websites and 60.4% of websites using a content management system. That’s a huge share of the market. The next most popular content management system is Joomla, with only a 7.3% market share for content management systems.

You might ask: So what? What’s the big deal about how huge a market share WordPress has? I’ll tell you what the big deal is. With WordPress being an open source platform, the more people using and contributing to the software, the better the software becomes. In addition, the more people using WordPress, the more plugins are developed for the platform.

The Power of Plugins

Plugins are critical for extending the functionality, and value, of WordPress, or any content management system. There are currently 37,276 plugins available in the WordPress Plugin Directory. These plugins have been downloaded almost 900 million times. Joomla, the second most popular content management system behind WordPress has 9,041 extensions (what they call plugins). That’s only 24% of the plugins/extensions available to WordPress users.

We’re always finding new plugins to experiment with and integrate into client projects. With the sheer volume of plugins developed for WordPress, there’s likely to something out there are provides a solution to a problem. If not, it might provide a foundation for developing a custom plugin that will provide the functionality we need.

How Clients Benefit from WordPress

As fun an exciting as it is to talk about WordPress’ massive share of the content management system market, how awesome the community contributing to WordPress is, and the power that plugins have to extend the functionality of websites powered by WordPress, clients want to know how WordPress impacts their bottom line.

2014 WordPress Website Development Time 2012 WordPress Website Development CostDuring the 2014 State of the Word, Matt Mullenweg shared survey data that showed that 91% of websites developed using WordPress were complete within 4 to 5 weeks.

In the 2012 State of the Word, the survey data shared included average costs for Websites developed with WordPress. The breakdown was $2,000 for non-profit sites; $2,500 for small business sites; and $4,200 for larger business, organizations, and enterprise sites.

There was a time when custom content management systems would have to be programmed, and then websites would be designed and developed on top of those custom systems. This was very cost prohibitive. From the data shared above, I think it’s safe to say that using an open source content management system like WordPress, along with plugins and extensions to provide additional functionality, allows for faster and less expensive development of websites.

I do want to provide a bit of a caveat regarding the cost and time data shared at the State of the Word addresses. This data is based on survey responses, and it represents the average amount of time and money spent to develop a site using WordPress. Not every designer or developer provides the same level of service, and not every agency ensures the proper amount of discovery to understand the needs of their clients and develop solutions to those needs during the web design and development process. An above average price for a web project may not be unacceptable when you consider the level of service, and the value provided by the agency or freelancer. For those contemplating how much to spend on a new website, considering the value added by the agency’s process is as important as the aesthetics of the final product. In fact, it may be more important and have a significant impact on the quality of the final product. The point I hope I’m making by sharing the time and cost data is to say that WordPress allows for significant time and cost savings during the actual development of a website.

Conclusion: We love WordPress

With the high market share WordPress holds, the active WordPress community, the universe of plugins to extend its functionality, and the time/cost savings developing on WordPress provides, we absolutely love WordPress. I didn’t even get into how easy content creation and management is for both us and our clients. Those who have never used WordPress before are often pleasantly surprised and extremely happy about their ability to add and edit content. Of course, that makes us happy too.

Considering having a new website developed, or have questions about WordPress? Feel free to send us an email. You can also find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.