WordPress 6.0 has been released, and another niche jazz musician will be enjoying Spotify’s extra royalties next month.
WordPress 6, named for Latin jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill, is the change of direction taken by the WordPress Foundation several years ago.
Each version of WordPress now powers about 42% of the web. That’s about 810,000,000 sites. If you looked at each site for just a second, without stopping to blink, it would take over 25 years to see the homepage of each of them – of course, if you take into account how long it takes on a normal WordPress site to load. take well over a century.
Some people (i.e. me) are predicting that WordPress will decline so long that we had to be right, sooner or later. And, despite its great scope, there are some signs that its market share may now be declining. Even the W3C abandoned it in favor of Craft.
Of the 1,930,000,000 sites currently on the web, only about 400,000,000 are active. The long-term dominance of WordPress, coupled with a stagnant market share, means that WordPress is disproportionately a number of abandoned sites. With site builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify building a huge chunk of WordPress’ s share of new sites, WordPress is facing a cliff edge.
What the uninitiated (ie me) did not take into account was that WordPress had already seen the writing on the wall and a plan put together…
WordPress’s problem is always its legacy code; there is a lot of work involved in supporting outdated ideas and source code like spaghetti to make anything new. As a result, the last few releases have seen great ideas stifed by labored implementation. Even the most loyal WordPress user has to admit that Gutenberg does not work, even though it is full of capacity, as it should be. However, with WordPress 6, chances are all the work is starting to pay off.
With version 6, the block editor in WordPress is starting to feel like a design tool that, if not perfect, is at least usable. The editorial content no longer feels like you are fighting against the UI. More importantly, the bar for creating a site is much, much lower. WordPress 6 also offers improved performance and accessibility, both areas that have traditionally been lacking. Security is still an issue, but that’s primarily because of the ROI for hackers who generate huge market shares.
WordPress seems to have reached two conclusions: its main competitor is not another CMS but other site builders. To maintain its market dominance, it must serve not professionals but amateurs.
Don’t get me wrong; the WordPress ecosystem will benefit from WordPress 6, at least notoriously. Finally new sites run by amateurs become established sites run by at least knowledgeable amateurs, if not professionals.
Okay, so WordPress is probably not a good choice for enterprise sites. And there are definitely better options for ecommerce. And as for SEO, well, it’s probably not mentioned best.
But in WordPress 6, we have a free open source site builder that lowers the bar to make a new site. It is a great credit to the community who have made the determination to produce it.