New data out this year suggests small businesses have increasingly moved to WordPress for their marketing efforts, despite the $40 million dollar marketing spend of do-it-yourself website template giants like Squarespace and Wix.
As a senior in College in 2015, Avery Middleton was about to graduate when he stumbled upon a click-bait headline – "Web Design is Dead" – and it shocked him awake for a second.
After all, he had just spent ten's of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours going to college learning techniques for effective web design.
The article – written by an industry expert, spoke of the rise of Artificial Intelligence to create websites, Squarespace, Wix and the homogenization of web design in general. Avery told me at the time of his interview that classmates had discouraged him from becoming a WordPress designer and developer because the future was in more robust content management systems.
But time passed, and despite the predictions – Avery saw demand for his work as a small business web designer grow significantly in the following 4 years, and he found himself enjoying a higher compensation than many other professionals only 4 years out of college.
The need for custom web design professionals – is partly driven by WordPress.
News recently surfaced that WordPress is used by 33.6% of all the websites, that is a content management system market share of 60.6%. and the other content management systems have had their market share dwarfed, as Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and Shopify only have 6.3, 4.4, 2.4, and 1.9 percent of the share respectively, and WordPress now runs 30% of the top 10,000 websites on the internet.
According to internet diagnosticians W3 Tech's"Squarespace is used by 2.7% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 1.5% of all websites."
Wix has 1.9% of market share and Weebly has .7%. Despite all of the hype, there's very little in the near future – web designer's should be terrified of here.
Part of the reason they small businesses have not moved to 'self-service' platforms like Squarespace and Wix is the ongoing marketing needs their site needs to fulfill – they cited reasons such as "wanting the site to be more content driven so that our company can start leveraging SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)"
WordPress was originally a blogging platform, and it's strength is around content, the organization of that content, and tools for SEO.
The question for small businesses really becomes – not "what platform can a business get a website up on the quickest", but "what platform will really serve our businesses' long-term objectives for SEO, content marketing, and getting leads."
The numbers have spoken – and WordPress, for now, is the clear winner in that department.
Because many configurations of WordPress utilize the efforts of web designers, and the best small business WordPress website's are often custom-designed – the new data out this year would suggest that custom web design won't be dead for the for-seeable future.