When Wordpress first came about, setting up your own website was a nightmare. I remember people who had an entire side job out of installing Movable Type. Wordpress was one of the first powerful (and very extensible) that came with a really easy (relatively) install path.
It was pretty easy for people to make plug-ins for too which allowed people to expand it from just a blog into a powerful CMS. This helped it grow quite a bit, but it's also why it has a bad reputation for security (another day another Wordpress security hole). But it was the right product at the right time so it got huge.
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