The State of WordPress 2008: Awesome Growth

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Today at WordCamp, a User and Developer 1-day conference for the WordPress blogging platform, Founder Matt Mullenweg announced impressive growth figures and reaffirmed Automattic‘s focus on fixing some of WordPress’s biggest weaknesses. The theme for the “State of the Word”, Mullenweg’s yearly keynote, was “Strong,” and growth from both WordPress.com and WordPress.org (their hosted and self-hosted platforms, respectively) sure show it. Here are the stats for WordPress.com over the last year:

  • Page views grew from 1.5 billion to 6.5 billion/month
  • 1/3 of the page views come from VIPs like CNN and LOLCats
  • 120-160 million global unique visitors per month
  • Two million new blogs created for the year
  • 35 million new blog posts (up from 20 million)

This growth is also seems significant versus WordPress.com’s main competitor, Typepad. Comscore numbers put US numbers at 20.9M uniques for WordPress.com against 7.2M on Typepad.com, and internationally 97.8M vs. 16.8M. Here’s the Compete graph (which only measures US traffic):

And for WordPress.org (the self-hosted, open-source version), Mullenweg announced today that there are 2.6 million active user-installed WordPress blogs in the wild. This figure is based on real data (not sampling), similar to Mozilla accumulating browser stats. Downloads from WordPress.org went over 11 million since last summer (up from 2.8 million the year before), thanks to over 11 new WP releases.

The focus for 2009? Easier upgrades. Their growth, Mullenweg says, is not dissimilar from other popular products (he mentioned Microsoft, OSX, iPhone, Facebook platform as examples), and believes that good platforms need good self-updating systems. Automattic has a three-prong strategy for better updates: better community awareness, working with webhosts, and adding automatic upgrades functionality to WordPress. Mullenweg envisions the upgrade process to work just like Firefox: one-click, with a list of plugin and theme incompatibilities generated. WordPress.org’s plugin directory (and a recently-launched theme directory) will help make this possible. Many new features are also in the pipeline, including the much anticipated BuddyPress, but that a clean update system will remove one of the biggest thorns for WP users.

Also up for 2009 is better security. Their most recent release, 2.6.1, was an optional update (no security patches), which is a nice departure from their previous, critical ‘dot’ releases. WordPress has received a lot of flack for this recently: they were given a 2008 Pwnie for Mass 0wnage for numerous vulnerabilities that led to mass hacking.

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