Drupal, Joomla, WordPress Lead The Way

December 14th, 2010
WordPress Discussions

While focuses on all things WordPress, it’s healthy to get out of the house every once in awhile to see what else is going on in the world. In this instance, the world is Open-Source Content Management Systems. Water and Stone which is a digital agency has released their annual open source CMS market share survey for 2010. This survey was comprised of 5,000 participants with more than 2,800 completing the full questionnaire. The report contains a look at various metrics and trends for 20 different content management systems. While the results of the survey are not definitive, there are some interesting trends specifically with WordPress that I wanted to share.

Water and Stone used to determine who has the largest number of books in print, which systems have been the subject of publishing activity in the last 12 months, and which systems are currently the subject of books yet to be printed. While I knew WordPress had a big year in terms of books available, I had no idea how many books there were.

Book Publishers Love WordPress

The other thing I found interesting in this report is their metric of search engine ranking. Water and Stone used the following keywords in Google, Yahoo! and Bing to see which systems made it in the top 30 results: content management system, open source content management systems, open source cms, cms, web cms, web content management system.

WordPress comes in near the bottom of the list. Based on previous market share reports, this is a statistic that has been a weakness for the project. W&S attributes this to the lack of SEO that has gone into the project website.

If you don’t feel like browsing through the entire report which I highly recommend, the conclusion based on the survey results is that WordPress is the market leader. Water and Stone attributes the success of WordPress in 2010 to the release of WordPress 3.0, the continued popularity of and the growing awareness that WordPress can be used for more than just blogging.

A Few Questions I Have:

When reading this survey and others like it, the trend is to see Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress at the top of the list with (insert CMS here) coming in a distant fourth. Why are those three open-source content management systems in the position that they are? Most of the other systems in the survey are small potatoes. I don’t know the goal of each project but what would it take for any of them to become the next WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal? Obviously, there are many aspects that go into a successful open-source CMS or project in general but what is it that the top three have that the others don’t?




  1. Edward de Leau (9 comments.) says:

    I think personally that it is the “adjustability” factor. The code should be simple enough so that even beginning hobby developers can “change something” and it should have things like community, plugins and so on.
    That together IMHO boosts the amount of users who flock to something.

  2. Edward de Leau (9 comments.) says:

    I think this also explains who .NET open source applications score lower: .NET is in technology a generation ahead of PHP (e.g. develop both for web and os using the same code) but it needs more skills and you need to compile the core while php is just go to the server, change a bit and presto.

  3. kim says:

    Adoption. All three have it. Based on my WordPress experience of the last 5 years, here’s the three reasons why I see WordPress getting the lead:

    – fast learning curve: posting is as easy as sending an email.

    – community: you got a problem, they have an answer in the documents or in the forums.

    – backward compability: you can upgrade your old WordPress site without an itch.

  4. Lobos (1 comments.) says:

    “Obviously, there are many aspects that go into a successful open-source CMS or project in general but what is it that the top three have that the others don’t? ”

    Thousands of extensions, 3PD in a nutshell. No 3PD no popular sparky ;)

  5. givesuccess (2 comments.) says:

    I find WordPress easy to use and explain over voice to another user who is haveing trouble. It also has so many themes and plugins to make it hard to even tell if it is a WordPress site or not. I have tried the other top 3 and had to give up. Why learn a new way to do the same thing. IMO if 3 noobies had to try each they would pick WordPress as the most user friendly to set up and use.

    Awesome article Jeff!

  6. VZ (1 comments.) says:

    I have to agree with Kim that I think for most it has a faster learning curve. Another reason is WordPress started out/still is a free blogging system which in terms of use gave it a wider market reach. It is only in the last three years that web developers have given it a look as a serious CMS that can be used on websites.

    For the novice and experienced webmaster – WordPress makes life easy – seriously you could get a website up and running in a couple of hours – get a good designer and add another day or two and hey you got a decent website.

    Having said the above we have in the past and still (in some cases) used CMS Made Simple and have extensively developed upon it – meaning we have pushed it out of the simple tag at times into a more bespoke CMS – and I can say that it is a very good and scalable system and is more in-line with the true meaning of a CMS.

    At the end of the day a developer should build for the customer what is appropriate for the job keeping in mind cost, and future proofing this includes complete custom CMS builds from scratch whether they are php or .net

  7. INKstar says:

    Q: What is it that the top three have that the others don’t?

    A: Satisfied Users and flexibility (plugins)!

    It’s as simple as that, at least I think! As a project you need a “critical mass” of users! Once you have it and make no mistakes you keep it. Why would somebody port his website to another system if everything runs smooth!? It’s not like gasoline where you look everytime you need it which gas station is nearest or cheapest ;) Some of the small CMS are great software … but they might not have good (active) support forums or are simply too “young” – I decided to use WordPress a while ago and once I’m into it I run all my sites and projects on it … I can have BuddyPress for Communitys, Shop Plugins for eCommerce and so on … why would I need to look into another software if I could do better!

    Also WordPress is PHP (kinda) … others have invented their own “language” and stuff … why should I learn acronyms for functions already known ;)

  8. Ianemv (1 comments.) says:

    Among the three, WordPress obviously won for user-friendliness and simplicity. For learning curve, just like the other have commented, guess you really don’t have to read a lot about using WordPress you just have to login and presto!

    For Drupal, if only Drupal’s learning curve as easy as WordPress, guess everyone can have a featured-pack website in no time. Joomla, a CMS or CMP? Component,Module and Plugins? Not to mention theme/template since it’s a core of CMS.

    Well, everything depends on website’s requirements. That’s all I can say if I have to choose among the three.

    Ranking the three its user-friendliness category:

    Drupal as the most difficult
    Joomla! for moderate
    Wordpress as the most simple of them all. No wonder, WP is hall famer in the recently concluded CMS Award by Packt Pub.

  9. Tom Coburn (67 comments.) says:

    Well I still disagree about wordpress being part of the CMS category.
    To me, a true CMS has 3 things:

    1. blog
    2. discussion forum
    3. a portal page that brings it all together

    I don’t believe WordPress falls under that category.
    Buddypress probably does, but not wordpress.
    so comparing those 3 are like comparing apples to oranges, not even a fair comparison. Now if you compared buddypress to Drupal or Joomia thats a different story altogether…

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