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Using WordPress as a Growth Driven Design Launch Platform

WordPress has come a long way since it was first released back in 2003. It has grown from a blog platform into a fully functional content management system.

Natively, it still manages pages or posts, but there is a multitude of ways to have different content types on the platform.

## Market Share and Usage
### % Install Base
### % Market Share
### Million Downloads of 4.7 since Dec 6
Starting with the numbers, WordPress runs the board for a platform install base on the internet. It is reportedly the easiest and most popular CMS on the web supporting more than 60 million websites. While WordPress has an install base of 27.3%, the next is Joomla at 3.4% followed by Drupal at 2.2% of all currently running sites. While Drupal and Joomla have been holding steady, WordPress has continued to increase its install base.

(Currently, more than 53% of the market is not serviced by a known CMS)

Why might this be? We can look to G2 Crowds reviews to help identify why.

## Ratings

These numbers are only part of the picture, however. G2 Crowd collects information from those who use different services. WordPress gets a G2 Score of 85, where Joomla gets a 50, and Drupal gets a 48.

These scores aggregated from the number of reviewers that have answered questions about the services (or products) reviewed.

A closer look at WordPress shows a better idea of why they got a higher G2 score.

Across the line, WordPress beat out the other content management platforms in satisfaction, support and ease of use, with exception to Joomla being reviewed to be “easier to do business with”.
### G2 Crowd Favorable Reviews

The following review excerpts may be about earlier versions or regarding service limitations but are ranking as top Favorable and Critical Reviews on G2 Crowd. Please do further research if you are still deciding on a Website Platform, or contact us.

WordPress is great for blogging, but the open platform has expanded beyond that to accommodate most of your website needs!

G2 Crowd Review

Jill A.

Flexibility, ease of use and many great extensions.

G2 Crowd Review

Eric P.

I’ve been building websites for over 10 years and usually coded everything manually in HTML. Using a CMS like Drupal just makes building and especially maintaining/updating a website effortless.

G2 Crowd Review

Bill B.

### G2 Crowd Critical Reviews
The free version doesn’t allow embedding Java Scripts and other applets which kinds of restricts its scalability.

G2 Crowd Review

Ravaraj R.

If I compare Joomla to another free CMS, I feel like it has a lot of shortcomings. It isn’t organized in a logical way but rather in a way that makes it friendly to a non-tech user.

G2 Crowd Review

Erin H.

Unless you know your way around Drupal, have tech savvy folks who can utilize the system and designers who create a website for you that is easy to update, you may have trouble.

G2 Crowd Review

Jessica P.

## Features


WordPress has many great features that have helped it earn these accolades. A couple of the main reasons reported to G2 Crowd – and I have heard myself – is that it is easy to setup and update and that they have a clear direction for growth that makes it easy to move forward with feature and security updates.

Posts (Pages)

To create new posts is as easy as logging in and “Add New Post”. There are two ways to edit the posts, Visually or Text. In Text mode, adding in HTML tags can be easily done, or you can write the text using Markdown.


Starting with 3.4, WordPress started making it easier to edit segments of the site. Now, with version 4.7, the Customizer gives you the ability to add site-wide CSS and see how it will affect the site live and then saves so it can render to the head of your site.


There are a lot of themes available to launch your site. The WordPress Theme is the base structure that sets the look and feel of your site. There are many places to get a theme – Envato’s ThemeForest, Elegant Themes, or even WordPress. Some will feature a very simple look, while others have a layout customizer or page builder included.

For a GDD platform to build for testing, I have built a child theme that extends Elegant Themes Divi. It allows for live editing of a page, some canned layouts based on a need to start from, and a way to build in A/B testing, and quickly iterate for need.

With 60 million sites built on WordPress, you can guess there are a plethora of Themes to select.


WordPress has a lot of plugins easily available for download for free. Premium ($) plugins that either extend some of the free plugins or are wholly their own. Reading reviews, longevity of the plugins, the last time it was updated, and reputation of the developers supporting can give you a solid idea of what plugins are going to be best for the long-term security of the site

### Hosting

WordPress does have a hosted solution at WordPress.com, but it is more limited to what it can do, and to extend the site. The beautiful thing about starting a site on WordPress.com is that when you decide to move the website to another host, it is much easier to move it than from SquareSpace or another service to a private host.

There are also the VPS (Virtual Private Server), or shared hosting choices that exist. GoDaddy has provided a WordPress option built into their hosting. You can buy your domain and host it in the same service. GoDaddy has gotten better about its hosting.

BlueHost, DigitalOcean, and MediaTemple give you a bit of a step up in complexity for hosting, allowing for a bit more flexibility to you hosting needs. In the end, they are all on still on a shared host (unless you pay for your private space). Meaning, if one of your server neighbors are busy, your site can be a lot less performant.

WP Engine
Two services have stepped forward to build a dedicated WordPress hosting platform – WPEngine and Pantheon. (disclosure – I host on Pantheon and provide services as an organization in their Partner program). WPEngine specializes only in WordPress and provides hosting on AWS or Google platforms. Both WPEngine and Pantheon use container-based deployments in a GIT staging environment and feature daily backups. Because both providers are focused on hosting, they tailor to optimizing the environments to hosting websites.

## So, smart guy! What is your typical WordPress Platform?

Powered by PantheonI don’t have religion about offerings, but I am talking about WordPress here. I like to start development on Pantheon.io. They are stable, secure, and the client doesn’t have to pay for hosting until the website goes live. I also have some clients using Drupal and WordPress, and my local development environment pulls down from Pantheon the full environment so I can test and break sites before pushing it out to the server.

Pantheon’s service is also super secure. As a second I would recommend WPEngine, but really, I don’t see much of a difference between the two hosting providers. I don’t know if WPEngine’s dev environment is free, so…

I, of course, keep my site up to date with the latest version of WordPress.

Personally, I like to take the extra time to minimize all the CSS and JavaScript files into single files when I can. The fewer times a website connects to the server, the less time it takes to load a page. Not all clients are willing to put in that much forethought, so a strong alternative is to signup for WPMU Dev’s Hummingbird.

WPMU HummingbirdHummingbird optimizes your site for performance and will minify your JavaScript and CSS files. It might take a bit of fiddling as somethings work better if they are loaded at the top of the site or the bottom of the site.

WPMU SmushAdding in WP Smush Pro from WPMU Dev lets you optimizes your png and jpg images for the internet. Using WP Smush Pro saves space on the server and also saves download time for each image.

Divi by Elegant ThemesPart of the solid platform I have been moving towards is Divi from Elegant Themes. With Divi 3.0 and WordPress 4.7, page content now can be created and edited live so you can see what it looks like while you are typing it.

There are a number of child themes available for purchase from Elegant Marketplace (and some free if you look hard, but they are hardly worth it) to quickly create a starting look for a Divi powered WordPress website. I have created my own child theme for Divi that allows me to more expediently create customized CSS stylings and gives me a way to create a more tailored base look for my clients.

Yoast SEOBuilding into the base of the site, I like to use Yoast SEO Premium. You can see the Flesch Readability score, and how well the site scores for each element of Search Engine scoring. While content is kind and worth more overall on a site, knowing if your images are alt tag descriptions, understanding what images and text are going to represent your articles are all important, and Yoast helps you with that.

(There is also a free Yoast SEO that you can use, and is effective)

The last basic part of the install I like to add in is analytics. I put Google Analytics, and HotJar on each and every site I deploy. Google Analytics helps to track how people have arrived at your website, and the journey they take on the website. HotJar shows where they link, what parts of the website they click on and records the journeys so you can see roughly what the users are looking at.

## Is there more you do?

AutoPilotI like to use AutoPilotHQ to help automate the customer journey. It gives a popup chat dialog and can create a highly customized advanced user interaction to help tailor customer offerings based on interactions from the user. Do they prefer to connect through newsletters or are they actively researching a product or service? Providing segmented, tailored information can help steer them to the right results.

Diving deeper for some clients, I will pull data from SEMRush, Moz, and HubSpot to provide research into competitive fields, who the customers are, what the competitors offer, and research areas to test. But that delves into an area better served in a separate article.

Darren Odden

Darren Odden

The charismatic megafauna of love. Built by Divine Design architecting strategies designed to engage. Frank Lloyd Wright shed a single glistening tear at the beauty of his application architecture.

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Using WordPress as a Growth Driven Design Launch Platform
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