What Would it Take For WordPress to Lose its Dominance?

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WordPress is 11 years old and used on over 20% of the web. Its popularity is made up of many facets including, the community, themes and plugins. In the realm of open source content management systems, nothing comes close to what WordPress has accomplished. Although it’s the market leader, its dominance won’t last forever.

Mike Johnston of CMS Critic asks, “What It Will Take to Dethrone WordPress?” In the article, Johnston explains why WordPress is on top and why Ghost is on the right path to possibly achieving similar success.

We’ve seen some successful upstarts come out of the wood work to try to take a piece of the pie and some are doing quite well in gaining momentum. One particular contender that comes to mind is Ghost.

While Ghost is doing well in its own right, I don’t think it will knock on WordPress’ door anytime soon. Johnston lists four things contenders must do in order to dethrone WordPress.

  1. Focus on marketing to developers
  2. Offer a migration path
  3. Offer hosted and self hosted options
  4. Build up a community

The four steps he lists are a good start, but it’s going to take a lot more than that to take a chunk out of WordPress’ market share. In 2009, I outlined six ways WordPress could die and named Habari as a viable competitor. Five years later, WordPress is bigger than ever and no one seems to remember the Habari project.

A Combination of Factors

I don’t think any one thing will put WordPress in second place. Instead, a combination of factors would likely need to take place. In no particular order, here are a couple of things that might lead to the project’s demise.

  1. Project leadership routinely ignores the majority.
  2. It becomes a large, bloated, legacy project that blocks innovation.
  3. A competing CMS comes along that does everything WordPress does, except better.
  4. The community in mass disappears or loses interest in favor of a competing product.
  5. A huge scandal takes place involving Automattic, the WordPress Foundation and those close to the project.

I doubt any of these things will happen and WordPress will continue to be the market leader for at least the next 10 years. What risks or series of events do you think would lead to WordPress losing its dominance?

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