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Is WordPress Falling Behind?

Is WordPress Falling Behind?

In the last few weeks and months, WordPress has been doing something quite impressive. 

It has been publicly acknowledging its failures when it comes to the speed of its websites and in particular its performance when it comes to Core Web Vitals. 

And it’s true. When it comes to the performance of content management systems, WordPress is slipping behind its competitors, despite remaining comfortably in first place when it comes to the popularity of content management systems. 

It was the developers themselves that opened up about the struggles of WordPress; the people who are responsible for the creation and development of the platform. 

Despite highlighting its weaknesses, it’s also showing its strength: the conscious – and public – acknowledgement of weakness advances improvement. Being oblivious has never been a strength and only a detriment. 

It soon proposed the creation of a WordPress performance team, which stated the believe that: “WordPress needs an official performance team responsible for coordinating efforts to increase the performance (speed) of WordPress. 

“This proposal outlines why we believe that this is necessary, how we envision such a team might function, and some potential initial areas of focus.” Is WordPress Falling Behind?

The proposal went on to name its competitors: “Compared to other platforms (e.g., Wix, Shopify, Squarespace), WordPress is falling behind. Other platforms are on average faster, and becoming increasingly faster, than WordPress websites.” 

Perhaps that is an admission in itself; that the reason why the CMS has been slipping behind the growth of other platforms may be down to not having a team in place that monitors site performance and enhances performance. 

The reality is that while there have been volunteers working on the improvement of WordPress, there has been no organized and coordinated effort to improve performance in a sustained way. 

“To better understand which area are hurting most WordPress sites, we have conducted analysis on the 100 most popular themes and various real WordPress sites (from small to large),” said Thierry Muller, a WordPress core contributor and software engineering manager at Google. 

“The results of our analysis are that the largest offenders are modern image formats, responsive images followed by JavaScript execution time, unused JavaScript, render-blocking resources, redirects, long cache TTL,” Thierry added. 

“This analysis (or further analysis based on other criteria) may inform our roadmap,” he continued. “Depending on the number of contributors we will be able to work on multiple projects simultaneously.” 

The idea would be to have a permanent team dedicated to the performance of the content management system, including its Core Web Vitals performance. But beyond that, this team can extend their capabilities to adding performance signals for its themes and plugins. 

From a critical perspective, the fact that it has taken WordPress more than two years to engage with Core Web Vitals and take them seriously, it has come to the detriment of those with a website hosted by the content management system – and ultimately the platform itself as competitors catch up to it. Is WordPress Falling Behind?

Plus, there is nothing certain about the setup of this performance team. It is only the idea that has been sparked. 

The competitors 

Wix and Duda are quickly improving their site speed performance metrics, including their Core Web Vitalstals scores. Both of them are private platforms. Yet open-source platforms are also experiencing success in speed performance.  

Drupal is one such success story of an open-source content management system platform improving its speed performance. So there is no excuse as to why WordPress can’t follow down this path of development. 

So while Wix, Duda, and Drupal are leading the line for site speed through Core Web Vitals scores, WordPress is only just getting started. 

What will the CMS race look like this time next year? 

PS: ArganoUV is one of the world’s leading digital products & experiences dev shopsContact us to see how we can work together. 

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