The WordPress user pyramid

There are very many WordPress sites on the internet. At the last independent count, 17.4% of the web’s top one million sites (according to Alexa) are running WordPress. But that only  accounts only for 174,000 site, and we know of least a couple of hundred times this number. We estimate the current total to be nearly 60 million.

At the recent Pressnomics Conference I gave a presentation in which I talked about the (vast) numbers of WordPress websites, and how I try to think about these when it comes to the business opportunity around WordPress. It’s basically a rough user segmentation:

I don’t have any great numbers about how many sites fall into each group. But some kind of order of magnitude scale starting at 10,000 ‘Big Enterprise’ sites might not be that far off. What I do see is the patterns that work alongside the pyramid. These users have varying needs that frequently scale up or down depending on whether they’re at the top or bottom of the pyramid:

Top Bottom
Price Sensitivity Low High
Security needs High Low
Sales Process Extensive Quick (to non-existent)
Support required Lots Still need some
Payment terms Months Minutes

It’s pretty crazy that WordPress is able to serve all these different segments so well. It can also be a big distraction (especially for businesses): I do not believe that it’s possible for another product to serve all these markets and be a viable business at the same time.

Focusing on just one segment is helpful: you can learn about its needs and build your business around it. For example, if you hate the sales process, you probably shouldn’t be in an Enterprise business; if you’re into providing rock-tight security, you should be focusing on high end customers that are willing to pay for it.

Who’s that doggy in the WordPress 3.4 Welcome Screen?

Users that have recently upgraded to the latest version of WordPress see a welcome screen that details some of the improvements and new features in the latest release:

Starring alongside Live Theme Previews, Custom Headers and Better Captions is a very good looking golden retriever… who just happens to be our very own Darcy.

We adopted Darcy from Pets Lifeline in Sonoma County, CA when she was a little over a year old (she’s now three). She had been a puppy with a family that had kept her in a back yard and never let her see other dogs. Thankfully they eventually realised that they couldn’t keep her like that forever and we were lucky to be looking to adopt a dog at the same time.

Pete and Evan with Darcy and Stella on Blithedale Summit

Evan and Chelsea are particularly frequent visitors. The picture above (and the one on the welcome screen taken in the back of a car) is from early February, when they brought Stella for a hike with me and Darcy on Blithedale Summit and Chelsea (as always) had her camera at the ready.

Chelsea’s been looking after Darcy for the last couple of weeks while I’ve been in Europe and has some fabulous new pictures of her:


Thanks to her new internet stardom (WordPress 3.4 has already been downloaded nearly 2 million times), Darcy has a whole load of new fans now, and has been (unknowingly) receiving appreciation from lots of strangers:

And I loved the caption added to the car picture in this post. It seems some people figured Darcy out straight away!

If you want to keep up with Darcy’s antics, then you should probably follow the (misleadingly named) Daily Darcy.

How openness can prevail (or why WordPress has grown to what it is)

From this May 2012’s Wired magazine piece How to spot the future

Bank on openness: […] the best example may be nearly invisible, even to a dedicated user of the Internet: blogging platforms. Less than a decade ago there were a multitude of services competing for the emerging legion of bloggers: Movable Type, TypePad, Blogger, WordPress. Today, only the last two remain relevant, and of these, the small, scrappy WordPress is the champ. WordPress prevailed for several reasons. For one, it was free and fantastically easy to install, allowing an aspiring blogger (or blogging company) to get off the ground in hours. Users who wanted a more robust design or additional features could turn to a community of fellow users who had created tools to meet their own needs. And that community didn’t just use WordPress—many made money on it by selling their designs and plug-ins. Their investment of time and resources emboldened others, and soon the WordPress community was stronger than any top-down business model forged inside the walls of their competition.