2 min read

A win for independents.

This morning I woke up thinking about a story I read yesterday that deserves more attention and celebration. Brandon Kelly, the creator of the Craft content management system, posted this news with little fanfare on Mastodon:

Mind-blowing stat to kick off 2024: CraftCMS is now the 7th most popular CMS among the top 5K domains worldwide, according to Cloudflare’s 2023 trends report.

His message was accompanied by a chart showing WordPress at the top with 53.3% market share and Craft sitting at a humble 1.7%. In between were more juggernauts like Adobe Experience Manager, Drupal, Contentful, Hubspot, and Squarespace.

Even if you’re not a developer, you’ve likely heard of Squarespace as they advertise like crazy on television, streaming, and just about every podcast ever made (except for Sprints & Milestones). And when I say crazy, I mean this year they spent “over $100 million on advertising in digital, print, and national TV in the last year” according to MediaRadar. And if you’re curious, like I am, that staggering amount of money is one-tenth of Squarespace’s expected revenue for 2023.

Craft is highly likely not on track for that kind of revenue and I’m pretty sure I could bet my house and retirement that Brandon is not spending $100M on advertising, and yet his company is within .1% of Squarespace’s influence on the top five thousand websites on the planet. In addition, almost all of those competitors have received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to get to where they are. Craft has been bootstrapped since day one and their team is less than twenty people.

Think about that for a minute.

To be fair, Squarespace’s target market is individuals and tiny companies that sell products and services. That said, for a company that is a fraction of a fraction in size of its closest rival in this report, Brandon and his team are clearly the winners. It is a remarkable achievement for the products they create, their product strategy (the products they don’t create), and their obvious commitment to the thousands of people who create these top five thousand websites with Craft.

Folks, this is the Internet I signed up for! This is exactly the type of business story I want to see, read, and hear more of in the years to come. It’s a great reminder that the independent web is still alive and kicking, and poised for a strong comeback. Maybe it’s time to spin Independents Day back up and celebrate.