Ten years ago in early 2003, the self-publishing revolution was taking off but the tools available were rudimentary and lacking. At the time, a freshman at the University of Houston named Matt Mullenweg was worried that the software he used for his blog was at a dead end and mulled the idea of branching it into a new blogging software. The idea was greeted positively and on May 27, 2003 WordPress was released to the world.
This Monday marks the 10th anniversary of WordPress. It’s strange to think that this piece of software has influenced a big part of life and business for myself and countless other people around the world. WordPress today is now in use by 52 out of the top 100 blogs on the internet and it is estimated that one of every 6 websites on the internet is powered by WordPress.
WordPress has enabled a whole generation of independent publishers (bloggers) who make their living online. WordPress has also allowed small businesses to expand beyond traditional bricks and mortar business models to online learning, digital products or simply conducting their entire business virtually.
For me personally, WordPress has become the thing that puts food on the table for my family. This is amazing to me on so many levels because I never had any formal training in programming*, my customers come from all over the world, and because my job still allows me amazing flexibility and satisfaction.
* Don’t panic – I assure you that I am able to support your site as advertised
I discovered WordPress when I caught the blogging bug in 2004. I had started with Blogger, moved to Movable Type, and even experimented with TextPattern. I kept hearing about this WordPress software but it seemed too advanced for me because I didn’t know any PHP at all.
When WordPress 2.0 was released I took the plunge and created my first blog with WordPress. I went on to create many other blogs hoping to earn millions off AdSense. That didn’t happen of course.
I graduated university and went on to work in public relations, events management and digital marketing. All the while I continued blogging. I quit my job to work for myself and although the plan was to provide online marketing for small businesses, I found myself gravitating more and more towards creating WordPress solutions for my customers.
Because of this, I decided to pivot my business and to focus specifically as a WordPress solutions provider. I decided my niche would be providing professional WordPress support and in October 2011, ClickWP open its doors for business.
I’ve told my friends before that I consider ClickWP to be version 3 of my business. And with this incarnation, things have finally clicked (pun not intended). I’m excited about the work I do here, I love working with my customers and ClickWP is something that I see myself involved in for the long run.
WordPress is one of the blessings I count every day because it is entirely free to use. It was created freely and given away freely to the world. I am where I am today because of this generosity.
This is why I don’t see WordPress as a money-making opportunity. I see it as a gift that Matt Mullenweg and all its contributors have given to the world. In turn I try to give back by being an evangelist, educating and creating with WordPress and anything else I can do in my own small way.
And that’s how WordPress has touched my life. I’m sure you have your own story too, please share it on your own blog or in the comments below in celebration of WordPress’ 10th anniversary.
The Blogging Software Dilemma (on archive.org) – Matt’s blog post that birthed the idea of WordPress
A 10 Year Visual History of WordPress.org – WPMU.org