WordPress Usage Survey- How We Can Move Forward in 2018

In 2016 at WordCamp US, the Marketing Team for Core decided to put out the WordPress usage survey. The survey aims to act as a resource for freelancers and agencies and to take the temperature of the platform.

At his State of the Word address, Mullenweg announced that WordPress now powers 29 percent of the Internet. That’s a huge number and the CMS shows no signs of slowing down, however, it’s important to understand what that number really means.

In November, the Marketing Team released the 2017 results, and they provide valuable insight on where the platform is going in 2018.


Respondents and companies are kept anonymous but the company does provide a breakdown of the demographics. In this round, 36 percent of respondents were developers, 35 percent work at agencies, and 54 percent of companies have between 2-24 employees.

50 percent use only WordPress and 39 percent are flexible but prefer WordPress.

All of these people are actively using the platform and answered questions about how they are using it and why.

Why WordPress?

One main goal of the survey is to see exactly why users are choosing WordPress over other CMSs. The three biggest factors for choosing the platform are familiarity (77 percent), reputation (65 Percent), and market share (56 percent).

This is a huge win for the CMS. In a market with Squarespace and Wix, it’s important to know users are choosing WordPress for its reputation. Not only are successful and notable sites using WordPress, they are talking about it. Users are excited to share their experiences and people are picking up on that.

Another factor people chose WordPress is market share. We talk about the 29 percent a lot, but it truly is impressive and important. Saying your platform powers nearly one-third of every site is invaluable, and clearly, it’s working to bring new users in.

Another question the survey asked was why people continue to use WordPress. The top three answers were ease of use, open source, and extensibility. Let’s break these down one by one, because they’re important.

In the past, there have been rumors that WordPress has a big barrier to entry. It’s only for developers who know how to code. However, because there are thousands upon thousands of plugins, anyone can customize their site just by downloading. All you have to know how to do is log into your account and start looking around for the feature you want. If that is daunting, getting together with a dedicated host is a great way to make a killer website without doing anything on the backend yourself.

There are so many ways to get what you need out of the platform. Because WordPress is open source, anyone can create something to enhance it. Whether it’s a patch, plugin, theme, or Gutenberg, WordPress is always being improved.

Lastly, extensibility is a huge factor. Not everyone begins a website with the idea of growing in, but if that happens your site has to be ready to handle it. Whether you sell enamel pins that take off or write a cooking blog if you get noticed you don’t want to have to create an entirely new site. WordPress has the power to support you no matter the size. That peace of mind is important for any site owner. One of the most embarrassing things online is a site outage or 404, there are ways with the CMS to ensure these don’t happen.

Agencies and Enterprise

WordPress has grown from a blogging platform to support enterprise-level websites, and entire agencies dedicated to the CMS. A large part of this survey was looking at these groups.

The survey gathered anonymous quotes from agencies on why they chose to work with WordPress.

“Confidence in a CMS I can help clients use with minimal training. Educating clients that if they choose to leave my services, they will be able to find someone easily to help with the CMS (as opposed to other CMS’s  with fewer technicians available at a reasonable price).”

67 percent of agency respondents are likely to recommend WordPress to others.

“WordPress has enabled us to deliver larger, more complex sites than we could without it. It’s our favorite general-purpose solution.”

The fact that there were so many agency and enterprise respondents says a lot about where WordPress has come in the last 14 years. What began as a blogging platform is now used to power some of the biggest enterprise sites out there. Not only that, they are willing to speak about the benefits of the CMS openly.

It’s clear from these results that it has grown way beyond its blogging roots.

Looking Forward

The survey concluded with a question asking what respondents want to see in WordPress that is not already available. The answers were things like modular template tool support, native app integration without coding, official training videos, and module/block editing. Some of these features are actively being worked on. Gutenberg is set to add block editing to every WordPress install. Others are still a way off like native app integration without coding, but all of the suggestions are doable.

More than doable, they are possible. WordPress allows anyone to build anything they want. 29 percent is just the tip of the ice burg for the CMS. Big changes are already scheduled for 2018.

Where do you see WordPress going in the future? Answer in the comments below. 

Emily Schiola

Emily Schiola is the Editor of Torque. She loves good beer, bad movies, and cats.

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