WordPress started in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with fewer users than you can count on your fingers and toes. Since then it has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day.

WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a content-management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL, which runs on a web hosting service. Features include a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by more than 18.9% of the top 10 million websites as of August 2013. WordPress is the most popular blogging system in use on the Web, at more than 60 million websites. WordPress is an Open Source project, which means there are hundreds of people all over the world working on it (more than most commercial platforms.) It also means you are free to use it for anything from your cat’s home page to a Fortune 500 web site without paying anyone a license fee, while having a number of other important freedoms.

What Can You Use WordPress for?

WordPress started as just a blogging system, but has evolved to be used as full content management system and so much more, through the thousands of plugins and widgets and themes. WordPress is limited only by your imagination.

WordPress vs. Other Platforms

Unlike Joomla and Drupal, which were designed as proper CMS, WordPress was designed to solve a problem. Also, because WordPress had a clear target audience (bloggers), its developers were able to build a successful business at WordPress.com pretty much from day one.
The story of how WordPress established itself is simple: bloggers had problems, and WordPress provided services to fix those problems.
By contrast, Drupal and Joomla tried to be “everything a geek might need”. Alas, capitalism always wins. Having clearly defined users is more effective than working in the abstract.
Let’s face it: WordPress is the easiest CMS for a non-techie to install and set up, and the easiest to use out of the gate. That counts for a lot.
Anyone can set up a blog on WordPress.com and be up and running in a few hours. It’s easy enough that a 60-year-old IT employee can set up a company CMS without losing face for not being up to date on the newest technology. It’s easy enough that a hobbyist can start their own website or blog in a weekend. It’s easy enough that an old-school marketing firm can set up a website in-house and, just as importantly, understand how to use it without reading pages of manuals.
WordPress is committed to serving non-technical users who want to communicate easily and effectively. So, its appeal makes sense when you consider that people who go into communications fields (including sales and marketing) tend not to be introverted technologists.
And because of its corporate ties, WordPress never had the luxury of being able to tell its users to RTFM, nor could it shrug and say, “It works for me.” Rather, the features of WordPress were driven by content people, not techies. Every feature had to be usable by bloggers, including non-technical ones.
Ease of use is an issue that both Joomla and Drupal are working on. But it doesn’t come naturally to them, evidenced by the slow progress they’re making and the fact that their ships are still being sailed by technologists. For example, Drupal still doesn’t even ship with a WYSIWYG editor. Unbelievable but true.
OK, I know that calling WordPress “blogging software” is taboo in the WordPress community. But before you hardcore aficionados get defensive about WordPress being “more than blogging software,” hear me out. The blog factor is a great strength that helped to establish WordPress as a CMS.
First, let’s admit that WordPress is great blogging software. Consider the following:
• WordPress.com is the 18th most visited website in the world. Its tagline is “A better way to blog,” and it claims to have “355,355 bloggers.” Quite simply, a lot of bloggers use WordPress.
• Of the new blog posts featured on WordPress.com’s home page, three out of eleven of the blogs run on their own domains, and one out of eleven (or 9%) is in the top 1 million websites, according to Alexia.