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On the Web Publishing Tool Race

What if it's not between open and closed but centralized and decentralized?

Estimated reading time: 36 minutes

Our job at Post Status is to help our members think ahead, get ahead, and stay ahead. Thus, I’ve been eager to write more about the Web Publishing Tool Race, as it’s one of the keys I see to ensuring a healthy economy for WordPress.

So I keep asking myself: How are we doing in relation to other tools like WordPress?

How Are We Doing, Compared to the Competition?

This week John O’Nolan tweeted that Ghost is now at $5M ARR, and it took them 5 years to get to $1M ARR.

That spurred me to take a quick look at Ghost again and reflect more deeply on this question: How is WordPress doing by comparison?

Is WordPress at Risk of Losing the Creator Economy?

Ghost caught my attention in relation to two areas I’m watching closely:

  1. The growth of the “Creator Economy. (Ghost seems to cater directly to it.)
  2. Keeping up with innovations in other web publishing tools.

First, WordPress is the veteran of what is now called the “Creator Economy.” But Ghost’s Twitter byline says, “turn your audience into a business.” It’s looking to be a one-stop shop for “publishing, newsletters, memberships, and subscriptions — all in one place.”

Find and Assemble All the Pieces vs. All in One Place

Those are all things where historically WordPress has been dominant, but the “all in one place” speaks to a growing challenge for WordPress in our “assemble all the pieces” model. It points toward customer friction and frustration as more and more individual creators try to find easy ways to monetize and build their businesses.

Second, I want to know how we’re keeping up as a vital web workflow tool, so I keep my eye on other publishing platforms like Webflow. I also constantly experiment with tools/features comparable to Gutenberg. (This week it was ConvertKit’s landing page mini-builder.)

Two themes seem to be standing out for me in my rough anecdotal review: Great modern design “headstarts” and uber-simplicity in creating and publishing content.

Our focus, I believe, as a web publishing workflow tool (and ecosystem) should be our answers/solutions to this question:

How easy are we making it to help our users get the results they want?

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