WordPress – The Story of The Most Popular CMS Ever Created

WordPress – The Story of The Most Popular CMS Ever Created

Anna Kowalska

WordPress is a content management system that forms the skeleton for more than 70% of websites. It is the first name that springs to mind when people think of an online blogging platform or CMS. But its rise to success did not come overnight. It took years of planning and development to turn WordPress into the magnificent publishing software we know it as today.

So, where did WordPress come from? Who are the great minds behind its rise to fame and how did this CMS obtain such splendid glory and recognition?

We peeled back the layers of this giant blogging platform to reveal the true story of how the King of CMS was born…

Humble Beginnings

As with most ground-breaking inventions, WordPress began as nothing more than a simple idea scratched in a notepad.

Michel Valdrighi created the first “version” of WordPress and named it “b2 Cafelog“. Described as a “classy weblog tool”, this blog posting software used simple UX design and generated pages from the MySQL database. Users entered text and hit “blog this” to publish new content. It was a simple procedure that sparked interest in online blogging.

However, it didn’t take long for two creative designers (Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg), to begin working on their own vision for an even greater online publishing software – WordPress.

WordPress History Timeline

Over 80% of the 40,000 most visited websites in the world use WordPress. However, this wouldn’t be the case if WordPress hadn’t undergone such an extensive development process.

With a starting fund of $1.5 million, the founders of WordPress went from a simple idea to a world-class CMS in the space of just a few years.

It is worth noting that the WordPress development process is on-going and currently spans over a decade.

2003 – 2005: WordPress is Born

The first proper version of WordPress was created by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little in 2003. Back then, the leading blogging platform was called Moveable Type. But the company had unsatisfying licensing terms and users grew tired of its restrictions.

WordPress provided an excellent blogging platform with none of these restrictions. As expected, people began to leave the Moveable Type platform in favour of WordPress. Its new user-friendly software, functionality and plug-in mechanisms, made it stand out from its competitors and sparked further interest in the online publishing software.

In 2005, WordPress.com was officially released. New plugins were introduced, along with new user roles, static pages and a refurbished theme system.

2007 – 2009: Improved User Experience

The 2.1 version of WordPress was released in 2007. This was an exciting time for the company because it marked the first development of a brand-new user interface, a great spell check feature and an autosave option.

WordPress constantly strives to improve its administration UI design. Version 2.2 allowed users to take advantage of widgets, speed optimisation, tagging, customised URLs and update notifications.

In 2009, a built-in theme installer was implemented into the software, allowing users to create their own unique themes. This was paired with a new image editing software, enabling users to edit pictures without having to leave the CMS to do so.

2010 – 2012: Enhanced Customisation Tools

New customisation tools meant that users had even more control of their websites. WordPress users were now able to customise their menus, headers and backgrounds.

The default theme, “Twenty Twelve”, was introduced in 2012. Users were also able to customise their theme even further and preview these new changes before publication.

Whilst this was an exciting time for WordPress users, it also marked a time of great change behind the scenes. The ownership of the famous WordPress logo was transferred from Automattic to the WordPress Foundation in 2010. As you may know, Matt Mullenweg (co-founder of WordPress) pioneered Automattic, and by transferring the official ownership over to WordPress, it marked a clear high-point in the history and growth of the CMS.

2013 – 2015: Improved Media Experience

In 2013, WordPress security was greatly improved and quickly made the system one of the safest platforms online. The 3.7 version of this giant CMS allowed users to automatically install new system updates, without having to manually download new software.

In the years that followed, WordPress worked to improve its media experience and implemented live widgets, responsive images, embeddable posts and emoji support. These new updates allowed users to experience all that WordPress had to offer from any device. This included mobile, tablet and desktop and meant that screen size was no longer a contributing factor. It also tied in well with Google’s algorithm updates at the time, which were beginning to focus more on ranking responsive sites higher in search results.

In 2014, WordPress introduced an improved visual post editor. This new update made image editing more user-friendly. Users could now drag and drop images directly into their posts without having to manually upload each image.

2016 – Present: Innovative Formatting and Growth

2016 witnessed the release of WordPress Version 4.5, otherwise known as “Coleman”. The main purpose of this new update was to refine and improve the overall responsiveness of the software.

Changes include implementing new inline links and adding formatting shortcuts to improve the user experience. One of the best updates, however, is the new preview process available in Customiser. This allows users to view responsive previews before publishing changes online.

What to Expect from WordPress in 2017?

As you can see, WordPress is continuously evolving. Over 342 posts are published every minute and around 48% of the most popular blogs are currently running on the WordPress platform.

Just last week, WordPress released its latest 4.7 version (beta 2) to the public. This new software is still under development and includes new updates such as edit shortcuts, new post type labels and new post type templates.

In addition to this, users are now able to use exciting video headers and experiment with these using the default theme, “Twenty Seventeen”. Another fantastic new option is the ability to custom CSS with live previews of the results.