The Evolution of WordPress

 In Web Design

The Evolution of WordPress

WordPress is a platform to help almost anyone set up a website of their own. However, it hasn’t always been the same service we see today. Here’s a quick look at the WordPress history to see where it came from, what it is now, and where it might be heading.

How It Began

WordPress grew from the ashes of an earlier blogging platform. That platform, b2/cafelog, was shut down by its creators in 2003. Two users of the platform, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, decided to build a new platform on top of the old one. And thus, WordPress was born.


The interface was centered around blogging. A new version of WordPress came out the following year that extended the capabilities of the platform and allowed users to create and share their own plug-ins. At the same time, the largest blogging platform Moveable Type announced new licensing terms. Many users didn’t agree with these terms and began looking for a new platform. WordPress was there to fill this gap.


This influx of new users helped push the platform further. The community expanded upon what was already there. They helped introduce new features and continue a discussion that would inform the future of WordPress and what it offers.


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How It Grew

Another new version was released in 2005 that expanded upon the customizability of the pages. It included a new default theme, the ability to moderate comments, pages, and a reconstructed theme system. Mullenweg released a statement ahead of the release of WordPress 1.5:


“1.5 has been our most user-focused development ever: we’ve listened closely to your requests, complaints, praise, pleas, and we’ve done our best to address these both in the core and through enabling plugin authors more flexibility. Any sentence that started “I love WordPress except for…” was fuel for the fire.”


WordPress 2.0 came out later that year with an entirely updated dashboard. Users gained the ability to avoid loading new pages for simple tasks such as adding tags and categories to their posts. This continued with the trend of addressing user issues and adapting toward accessibility.


These changes would continue as the platform moved forward. Changes to the dashboard, post capabilities, and general useability help guide the platform to becoming more than simply a blogging service. It was growing toward a fully-functional content management system (CMS).


Eventually, e-commerce capabilities would be added allowing users to operate their website as an online business. Media managers, theme updates, and a customizer helps users create image galleries which are used to display their merchandise.


The platform became adaptable to any screen type as mobile usage became more prevalent. New versions and updates were released multiple times per year to keep up with the changing market. This flexibility has helped WordPress not only remain at the top of their industry but become a leader.

What It Is Now

WordPress currently hosts 34% of all websites on the internet. There are an estimated 200 million active websites on the internet, which would put WordPress’s number around 68 million active websites. For comparison, the second most used website builder is Joomla, which hosts 2.9% of all websites on the internet.


Why is this? Ease of use. All of the updates throughout the years have made WordPress quite versatile. No matter what you want to do with your website, there is probably a WordPress design to help you accomplish it. And you don’t have to be a developer to figure out how to update your site. Plugins, tools, and themes all help computer novices create elegant pages with up-to-date information.


WordPress helps your website gain traction with built-in SEO boosts. Search engines throw a wide net into the ocean of the internet, and SEO helps your website to get caught in the drag. Permalinks, image optimization, HTML markups—all of this is built into WordPress’ websites and helps to rank better in search results.


Mobile usage is extremely popular these days. WordPress sites are optimized so your pages come through clear and usable, even on smaller screens.

The Future

The WordPress community continues to grow. Each passing year brings more updates and more features, which will only continue this upward trend. Updates to the available SEO features and improved functionality of the dashboard are expected to be coming soon. These improvements will only go to serve an already strong platform that seems poised to continue to grow.


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