We all say the name Google with hushed reverence for its business model and aggressive ownership of the ability to slice and dice the Internet.
Since its rise, we’ve all sort of hoped for another megalopoly, and while some have reached superstar status (Facebook) and others have pretended to be (Twitter), there’s one tech company quietly growing that we should all be aware of and start taking seriously.
I’m talking about WordPress. It’s not just for blogging anymore. It has morphed into the most powerful, flexible, secure and elegant content management software that the Web has ever seen.
Who’s backing me on this statement? Try Microsoft. PC Magazine recently reported that the software giant was making WordPress the default blogging platform for its Windows Live blog service. Try Time Warner, which has been publishing with WordPress as its content management system for years. Try Robert Scoble, the influential ex-Microsoft blogger. Need I say more? How about NASA, the Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone Magazine?
(Editor’s Note: The Colorado Springs Business Journal also uses WordPress for its web site)
Function following form
Why WordPress? Because people are angry about content management systems. They’re worn out by the bugginess of open-source products like Joomla, and .Net Nuke. They’re afraid of the security risks involved in using a proprietary CMS. I’ll bet you didn’t know that within five years of deployment, nearly 50 percent of all proprietary content management systems are hacked. I’ve lost two sites that way myself.
And they need lots of plug-in functionality — not when the site launches per se, but as the site grows over time. While all open-source CMS software has plug-ins like WordPress, the ones developed for WordPress generally work. ‘Nuff said.
More than anything, I am comforted by the fact that WordPress is an actual company, not a loosely formalized group of developers with no profit-and-loss responsibility for the core software. You can see a picture of the actual people developing the WordPress platform at its website. Gosh that feels good.
A giant step forward
And, as with anything that’s great on the Web, it costs nothing. Well, it’s free to start, but the modules cost anywhere from $1 to $500, just like all other open-source CMS software. I call it the “Free, but…” business model. Feel free to use it yourselves, but if you modify it, you owe me a buck.
In the context of the Web itself, WordPress is another herald of the new, more user-friendly Web. It has crafted a giant step forward for the non-technical and will allow some of us super geeks to save precious time. Gone are the days of relentless software testing and tweaking. These days, we can download a module, click a few buttons and then … I don’t know … go outside?
A new day is upon us.
Marci De Vries is president of MDV Interactive, a Web consulting firm in Baltimore. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.