When potential clients ask me why WordPress is the ideal foundation for the Web design for a small business web-site. I sometimes have to withhold the chuckle inside my brain. I mean really, why has the world not yet recognized the incredible power and yet simplicity that is WordPress?
WordPress is just the blog software that bloggers use to create little blog sites and talk about pet rocks, or whatever, isn’t it? The client might ask…
WordPress is much more than simple blog software!
Yes, WordPress is utilized by tens of thousands of bloggers around the world yet it also it powers millions other (non-blog style) websites as well. According to Wikipedia, in September 2009 there were 202 million web-sites driven by WordPress throughout the world with 62 million here in the USA. An incredible 54% of all Content Management System managed websites published today are run by WordPress and WordPress is the sole technology operating 13% of all of the top 1,000,000 websites in the World! It is simply the most used, and most popular Content Management System in use today, no other CMS comes close.
What makes WordPress Ideal for a Small Business Owner?
- WordPress is extremely simple to use.
Not long ago, the majority of small business web sites were developed and managed by web-site designers or web masters. This is great if you have a good relationship with your web person but If you wished to add anything to the web site or modify a bit of its content you would really need to see your web design specialist and pay them to make the modification. Sometimes this turns into a weeks long ordeal and really, should it be that hard? Adding your own content, or changing a paragraph here, adding a new employee profile there, is a breeze in WordPress. If you can write an email in gmail, you can also create a page or post in WordPress.
Today, as an interactive web presence becomes more and more important to small businesses, business owners need to be able to keep their own sites up to date without having to hire an expert. Compiling, adding or changing content on a WordPress content management system site is as easy as using a word processor. Really, anyone can do it.
- If you can dream it, WordPress can pretty much do it!
WordPress is considered the most powerful and flexible publishing software available today period.
This simply means it can be very easily extended to add functionality and so can be almost any type of web site a small business might want. With commercial and open source plugins (software, or Apps) WordPress can be morphed into whatever task its owners and developer wants it to do. WordPress can be a portfolio site, it can be an e-mail marketing site or a unique social network. WordPress can also be a members only website, allow some content to the public and keep other content for exclusive access and it can be set up to perform multiples of these features or tasks at the same time. You can add a product catalog and run an e-commerce business with it. Use it for event scheduling, sell event tickets. Offer video streaming and podcasts, image portfolios and more. And yes, it can also be a blog even if it does not look like a blog.
- Using WordPress, – you have control
There are lots of proprietary website systems out there that one can use to build a website. However, those proprietary systems are dependent on you continuing to use the service provider. You can’t pick up your Hubspot website and take it to your own Internet host. You can’t take those Site Builder sites anywhere else. A Go Daddy “Website Tonight” website has to stay at Go Daddy. And in most cases so does all of the data that you spent your time and effort in compiling on “your” website. With WordPress you can simply export an .xml file of your content, back up your database or with certain hosting companies using a cpanel you can back up the entire installation in one file and move hosts in a matter of hours, without losing anything.
- WordPress is always growing
Yes, WordPress started off as a blog engine, but it has turned out to be much more. With every new release new methods are added. And since it is “Open Source” there are a huge number of developers creating plugins to extend its operation and the way that WordPress displays information is constantly changing. Premium theme and plugin developers are constantly adding new features and design capabilities to the framework that is WordPress.
The modular nature of the system is one of the most incredible features. If one particular theme design that your company starts out with is not what you have in mind for your site a year after it was implemented, you can change the look without losing any content, without re-creating a single page and without having to worry about losing your ranking in search because your page URL’s remain the same. Similarly, if you decide next year that you want to add a directory of your best suppliers or customers, (or both) to your website – poof, you can just plugin either a custom, customized or off the shelf directory plugin to do the job. Need to offer banner advertising and manage that from your back end administration panel? No problem. The tools available to customize a WordPress website are nearly endless and they are growing every day!
- WordPress is SEO friendly!
Really, this is the core benefit to WordPress, it takes the mystery out of SEO!
With a WordPress CMS website, properly set up and optimized. with the correct SEO plugins and a Site-map export to Google, Yahoo and Bing… New content can be indexed within 24 hours, not months as in some other website platforms. This is not magic and it does involve some common sense, diligence and establishing best practices for publishing content related to the keyword phrases you wish to target for your business, but without a doubt WordPress has the highest percentage of opportunity to place anyone on the first page of results for any targeted keyword phrase. To rank the entire site will take time and effort, just as in any marketing and advertising strategy but with WordPress as your CMS and if you follow the best practices, not one moment of that time will be wasted.
- Lots of help available
WordPress is the reverse of proprietary, i.e. it’s designation as an Open Source content management system (the best in the world as voted on in 2009 by Packt). You can take it anywhere, add virtually anything to it and easily find someone to work on it. There are thousands of web developers and web designers who specialize in WordPress. Is there some new thing you want to try with your site? You won’t have to look very far for an expert. It has been said that, if you can conceive of it, it can be done with a computer, but WordPress takes the difficulty from it. The real difference is in who actually does your Web design for you. Yes, you can, if you wish, add content to your WordPress web-site, but an expert WordPress designer can add usefulness you’ve probably only dreamed of in the past.
- Access anywhere
WordPress has advanced tools and capabilities that other website publishing sites just do not offer, some of the most important of these are the basics which are included in every install of WordPress. RSS feed generators which publish your content to the world via Real Simple Syndication will bring in readers (and possible customers) from the far reaches of the world or from your very own neighborhood through the advanced system of RSS readers. WordPress also “pings” or notifies search engines, directories, and other sites when you have added new content to your website. This increases real traffic as well as search engine spyders which is one of the reasons why WordPress is indexed so well and so quickly. In addition, you have access from anywhere. You can publish to your WordPress based website from any computer or smart phone in the world, as long as you have Internet access, you are in control of your website.
- Database Driven
WordPress uses mysql databases to manage content and data. Why is this important to a small business owner? Because if you decide to use a free web builder or website tonight to manage your business website, you will not have a database. If you do not have a database, your users can not search your website for information. You can not manage products, or a catalog, or images, or do any kind of data capture from your potential leads. Without a database a website is simple a virtual brochure with no way to capture or track leads, create forms or manage & sort any kind of data you enter. This means you will need a menu item on your home page of your website tonight or site builder site for every piece of content you ever want your clients to see. How cluttered will that become?
- Widgetized Display of Content
All WordPress websites installed today are what is called “Widget ready”. Widgets are really just modules which can be displayed in what are called sidebars (which can be both verticle and horizontal and on some WordPress themes can be located anywhere within a page or post). These widgets can be as simple as a text paragraph with your company address, or they can display an interactive Google Map of your location or possibly an interactive Google map of all of your locations (if you have multiple retail stores).
Once you decide what you want to populate a widget with (map, text, video, form, etc etc) then you can decide where it should be on the site. Not only can this be moved or changed to suit your testing and style, but widgets can also be designated to display only on certain pages or posts or both. This make WordPress a serious CMS because every page created on a WordPress website can offer task specific information in an easy to use and managable way.
- Multi-Site Capable – perfect for business
Multisite or MU or Multi-Site, what does that mean? WordPress has merged it’s two main forks to become an all in one publishing platform, no matter whether you wish to manage just one website or 100 websites. Multisite simply means that any installation of WordPress can be setup to offer the same capabilities of WordPress.com (the free blogging version of WordPress) which hosts and manages millions of websites and blogs.
For business, this means that any firm who has multiple locations but does not want to have to manage a website for each location or store, can install WordPress on a single dedicated server and then create individual websites for each location throughout the Country or State. Why is this great? Let say you have a company with 10 or even 25 locations and lets say you want to present a consistent look to the public of your brand but you also want each location’s website to draw traffic from a geotargeted search strategy instead of a national search campaign. What would you do?
Without WordPress you will either be creating multiple separate websites in each area for each location or store and then have to maintain each one of those websites with a different login and with different schedules of backup etc. With WordPress this can all be done from one installation, all software and plugins are updated by one administrator and all design criteria can be managed in one place. Yet, each store manager or local marketing person in each local area can manage the content, adjust the keyword strategies, place local menus, or special pricing or offer deals to local geotargeted consumers in a way that a single corporate style website can not do as effectively. Each localized website can have it’s own identity with it’s own specific domain name and be found online as a local site yet still be connected to the main brand website on the back end and through internal linking strategies.
Multisite WordPress is the premier way for a company to manage it’s national Internet marketing campaigns while also being capable of drilling down to localized search strategies for each locations website. This is true if you have 3 stores or 3 hundred stores.
Why should small business be interested in WordPress? If the ten reasons above do not peak your interest I should say that you will be quite happy with a basic static HTML hand coded old style website, but I know that you will not.
Touch base with me sometime to chat about it, I am sure we can come up with a few more reasons why your business should have a WordPress website leading the way online for your marketing strategy.
by: Scott Pooler Contact me here at iBusinessLogic.com