When everyone is talking about one thing, and you notice another, the juxtaposition is a wake up call. 

Something is trying to get your attention. 

I’ve had that experience multiple times. Most recently, it was a ride in the back of a Lyft where the driver told me about quitting his job and starting a business… on Wix. I sat listening while scrolling through my Twitter feed seeing friends celebrating WordPress’ 20th birthday. 

Hello. WordPress has evolved in so many ways. It’s more secure than ever before, and it’s even easier to get started. 

But our market has changed, too.

There are many ways to create a website. There are many ways to create an online business. Owning as much of your platform as possible is freedom. You find freedom from algorithms, freedom from fickle social media trends, and freedom to publish how and when you want. 

And, WHAT you want.

But it can often be much easier for some to get started on Wix, SquareSpace, Webflow, or even Substack. 

I set down my phone and asked questions. And I couldn’t honestly give him a reason why he should switch platforms today. Not while he is in growth mode. 

He had heard of WordPress, but he did not know what open source software is or why it should be considered. 

He chose Wix. He chose to build his business on a platform. It’s much like building a house on someone else’s land. 

In the age of almost-done-for-you platforms, WordPress has to get a little louder about the benefits of building on open source. We have to get more vocal about the freedom of open source.

There is a continuum of ease vs. ownership.

The easiest thing is to build on someone else’s platform. The hardest thing is to start with raw HTML on your very own bare metal server. Somewhere in between there is a right answer for each of us, and that answer can change over time. WordPress works throughout that continuum. You can go WordPress.com and build on someone else’s platform. Or you can go bare metal in a data center. You can also move from a variety of places in the middle on that continuum.

The question of where and how to build is different for us all. And we have to ask that question: What are you willing to give up for ease? 

When do you move to your own server for speed and scalability? How do we as a WordPress community help those new to their own web presence navigate this world and find freedom through ownership? 

I made a new friend with my driver, and I’m excited to be a fan watching his success. And I’ll be there when he grows beyond Wix.

This essay was originally published on my newsletter. To subscribe, complete the form below.

Similar Posts