As an (almost) full-time, 90% custom-code Wordpress developer, I feel the main reason for its popularity and staying power is how extendable it is. It began, and still remains a blogging platform at its core, but can be expanded, enhanced and modified to be a full-blown CMS, have e-commerce functionality, handle CRM/leads or even just work as a way of organising data for a json API with very little tinkering under the hood.
It gets a bad rap because it's "jack-of-all-trades" requirements for themes cause a massive amount of bloat, poor optimization and hacky implementation (even if the frontend looks beautiful); never mind security risks due to poorly built third-party plugins. But, if you do a Wordpress build with a laser focus and custom code the necessary template files yourself, it's an efficient and effective way for non-technical teams to manage large amounts of data without overbearing training documentation.
The very basic requirements and simple config and setup (in comparison to something like Drupal or Joomla) make Wordpress easy to understand and very effective when extended.
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