Content Management Systems (CMS) have grown in recognition over the past decade. In 2011, over 76% of websites were hand-coded. Today, that stands at 36% and dropping. This is due to the easy availability of CMSs like WordPress, Joomla, Shopify, Wix, and Drupal.
But why are CMSs popularity growing so fast? The simplest explanation is their ease of use: you can literally whip up a fully functional website in almost no time with little to no coding skills. Moreover, a CMS makes it easier to maintain and adds additional enhancements to your site via templates and plugins. With most CMSs, you don’t even need to know any web scripting.
So which CMSs are most used today? Let’s see.
WordPress: The Champ
As you can already guess, the CMS market is dominated by WordPress. W3Techs estimates WordPress’s CMS market share to have grown from 51% to 65% in just ten years. Additionally, it powers 41.0% of all websites, and 34.68% of the 1 million top-ranked websites on the internet today.
Top 10 CMSs between 2010-2021 by market share (W3Techs)
|2010 Jan||2011 Jan||2012 Jan||2013 Jan||2014 Jan||2015 Jan||2016 Jan||2017 Jan||2018 Jan||2019 Jan||2020 Jan||2021 Jan||2021 Jun|
A few more different open-source CMSs have debuted in the market, however WordPress remains the most popular. It is affordable, powerful, and highly flexible. Its huge library of themes and plugins make it very versatile. WordPress also has a built-in blogging platform and supports most languages. It is also especially strong in SEO. Additionally, you have the right to your own content and can host your site wherever you want.
WordPress is used for all types sites from massive, well-established names like SonyMusic.com and Beyonce.com, to blogs like TechCrunch and Facebook Newsroom. (We run this website on it!)
WordPress is just one of the many open-source CMSs out there. Other open-source platforms, such as Joomla, have not seen the kind of progress WordPress has. Joomla’s market share has been declining over the years and presently holds about 3% of the CMS market share. Joomla began out as a platform for large websites. however, it did not grow in the way in which WordPress has, with the platform usually considered outdated and sluggish. Its smaller plugin library is one more reason why folks are likely to go for WordPress.
Drupal is another open-source CMS which holds about 2% of the CMS market share. Drupal was created in 2001 and thus has been around years longer than WordPress which launched in 2003. With its superior access controls and taxonomies, it’s most suitable for websites with lots of material and users. But it has a steeper learning curve than WordPress and customarily requires huge customizations.
This pattern can also be mirrored in Google search trends. Looking at Google Trends, we are able to see that at some point Joomla was more popular than other platforms. But since 2009, WordPress has turned out to be probably the most-searched-for CMS, whereas curiosity in Joomla and Drupal has dropped off considerably.
WooCommerce and Shopify are eCommerce giants
Even though it’s the CMS with the second largest market share, Shopify is still far behind WordPress with only 5.5% of the market.
Why is WooCommerce not on this list? Well, that’s because it’s a plugin for WordPress and not a standalone CMS. It’s one more reason why WordPress is popular even with the eCommerce crowd — 19.6% of all WordPress sites use WooCommerce.
WooCommerce’s might be more popular because it’s free and availalbe for an open-source CMS like WordPress, which indicates that there are limitless choices for personalization. It is an obvious choice for cost-conscious store owners even though some bit of coding expertise might be needed to effectively use it.
Shopify grew significantly between 2020 and 2021. That is possibly because of the increased online shopping necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic forced a lot of retailers to move their brick-and-mortar stores online. It also created a lot of new customers forced to shop online throughout the different lockdowns.
Wix and Squarespace: The big website builders
From W3Tech’s data, the 2 largest favorites for the website builder title are Wix and Squarespace. Squarespace has been around a few more years than Wix has. It has seen gradual growth, even though Wix has caught up. Both platforms hold over 2 percent of the overall CMS market share.
Each platform is continuously bettering their templates and introducing new features. Wix is innovating into new spaces with products like Ascend by Wix, Wix Velo, and Wix ADI. Squarespace as an alternative has engaged its resources in acquiring out-of-house tools: Acuity Scheduling (a scheduling tool much like Calendly), and Tock, a web-based reservations solution for the hospitality industry.
Taking a look at the top 1 million websites, the numbers paint a distinct image. Shopify dominates the hosted solutions market with 37% share, with Squarespace holding fort at 16% in comparison to Wix’s 8%.
Based on the stats, larger websites with large numbers of site visitors are more likely to make use of Squarespace than Wix. Our assessments point out that Wix websites had among the slowest web page loading speeds, so this wasn’t entirely surprising.
They are not as feature-rich as Wix and Squarespace (and in Webflow’s case, the software is also complicated) so that might account for their dismal popularity.
CMS vs site builder: Telling them apart
Clearly, open-source CMSs and website builders are becoming more prominent – however, how are they different? They’ve numerous similarities that trigger confusion for a lot of people. For example, they both let you create a website with little to no coding or special skills.
The principle distinction is that for CMSs – and particularly, open-source CMSs like WordPress – you have full access to the source code. This gives you authority over the design and features of your website. With the multitude of ready-to-use themes and plugins available to you, it is easy to modify and tweak them to fit your needs. A lot of CMSs have options to let you host your website with them. A truly open-source CMS, however, allows you to choose your own web hosting and to be able to migrate your site(s) from one server to another without much hassle.
This kind of flexibility and choice also means that you are required to maintain the website as well as the hosting space. Luckily, a lot of CMSs will let you know about updates and patches. Also, a lot of web hosting companies will take the bulk of maintaining the hosting servers.
A site builder is a kind of CMS that permits you to create a website via the builder’s hosted platform – for instance, Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify. They’re usually simpler to make use of than CMSs, letting you create your site by drag-and-drop builders and visual editors. Web hosting, server upkeep, support, and the necessary safeguards are all tended to by the vendor.
The principal drawback is that you just (often) can’t obtain and transfer your website to a different host. The site builder’s instruments and code are proprietary. When you build your website on a builder platform, you usually will be incapable of exporting it, even though there are some exceptions.
Honorable mentions: Blogger and Bitrix
It is important to mention Blogger and Bitrix, which make up #7 and 8 on the list. Bitrix provides a variety of digital marketplace options, including their site builder. They might not be a widely-known CMS, but their market share is gradually increasing. Their website says that they have over 9 million organizations in their portfolio.
In contrast, Google’s Blogger appears to be declining in market share. In reality, looking at Google Trends, you will see that interest in Blogger was highest in early 2010 and has been declining ever since.
In comparison with different site builders, it’s very restricted in features and usability, which might be the rationale behind why it hasn’t been well-liked. It’s nice for a very simple blog, however, you’ve got much less management over your platform. Google can restrict your account at any time and there’s no way to obtain and host your content somewhere else.
The way forward for the CMS market
CMSs are anticipated to build up more reputation as more entities, companies, entrepreneurs, creators, and customers get online and build advanced websites—actually, they’re expected to generate an estimated $123 billion by 2026. Based on Zion Market Analysis, CMSs will keep gaining on custom-built websites that require much more time, special skills, and a lot more money and resources to build and run.
This shall most likely be the trend primarily amongst small-to-medium enterprises, with Europe and North America driving most of this evolution (and in Europe, Germany, and the UK specifically). The Asia Pacific may also be a significant driver of this evolvement sooner or later. The industries which are anticipated to significantly utilize CMSs are largely IT, telecommunication, healthcare, and life sciences.
The utilization of CMSs and site builders has at all times been trending upward, however, the Covid-19 pandemic has sped up this progress. As an increasing number of content creators, freelancers, and small-to-medium enterprises transition online, lots of them need a quicker and less expensive solution than coding a website from square one. For this reason, CMSs and site builders are gaining popularity and will keep doing so.
WordPress holds an exceedingly huge share of that market because of its user-friendly interface, affordability, and flexibility, and community. Various other systems have also found a niche, with Squarespace getting clients among the artistic crowd, Wix with small enterprises, and Joomla with larger organizations.
For a lot of people, however, WordPress still offers the most value for their time and money.