Small business websites need to be mobile friendly and easily scalable. You also have to make sure your website not only looks great and performs well, but can also adapt and grow with your business.If you have been researching online and planning your new website, you’ve probably heard of WordPress. WordPress is an extremely popular and powerful website content management system (CMS). Almost a third of the web runs on WordPress, and every month, WordPress websites get over 22 billion page views.
This popularity is well-deserved. In my opinion, WordPress is the best way to create and manage a business website, and here are just a few reasons why I recommend it to all of my clients.
One thing to note is the difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com. For business purposes, I would not recommend building your website on the .com version of WordPress. For an easy explanation of the differences, check out this Infographic by WP Beginner.
If there is a specific way you want your website to look, a feature you want to have, or a functionality you need, you can achieve it using WordPress.
The beauty of WordPress is the ability to create any layout imaginable, and then continually add pages, features and functions simply by building on top of what you have. It’s why WordPress is the best option for websites that plan to grow, change, and easily adapt, without the need to hire a developer for a redesign or new site structure.
WordPress is popular with small businesses for this flexibility, but even major companies like Sony Music, Mercedes Benz, and even AMC's the Walking Dead realize it’s power and all use WordPress.
Themes and Plugins
When deciding how you want your website to function and look, the WordPress market has an unlimited amount of themes that have been coded and designed to work exclusively with WordPress. A theme controls the overall design and layout and runs on top of WordPress’s core files. The beauty of themes it that if you decide to redesign your website down the road, changing your theme is as easy as selecting a new one, without losing any of your websites content.
When choosing a theme, think less is more. Some themes are packed with features you do not need, and when it comes down to what matters, which is performance and page speed, they can hurt your website. An amazingly lightweight theme that I use as the foundation on most site builds is GeneratePress. GP’s Premium add-on has all the customization settings you would want in a theme, while staying lean and performing extremely fast.
For beginners, one of the easiest ways to customize the functions of your websites is with plugins. Plugins are pieces of software that can add features to your site or improve its performance and capabilities in some way. Plugins integrate seamlessly with WordPress, so you won’t need to hire a developer to design a specific functionality for you, saving you time and money.
Plugins that support e-commerce, photo galleries, contact forms, membership forums, and online scheduling modules are just a few examples of what can easily be added to your website via a plugin.
In short, WordPress gives your website the capability to easily grow and evolve with your company. The days of building a website, and then having to rebuild it when your company expands are long gone.
Website security is vital to the reputation of your business. Hackers can steal customer data like passwords or credit card numbers, install malicious software, and even lock you out of your own site. A website breach means that you’ll lose the trust of your customers, and it could cost you a lot of money. Keeping your data and your customers’ data safe should be a top priority for your business website.
Even right out of the box WordPress is very secure, and the team at WordPress is constantly updating the core files to not only combat the latest security threats, but also add new features. Simple steps can also be taken to lock down your website such as adding a security plugin, and following basic security guidelines such as never using admin as your username.
When choosing web hosting make sure to avoid shared hosting for your business website. Shared hosting is notorious for causing issues like slow websites, hacked accounts and down time. Private, dedicated or Managed WordPress Hosting is well worth the extra money a month if you are serious about your business.
WordPress might seem intimidating when you first look at it, but it has an extremely quick learning curve. Managing site edits and creating blog posts are something even non-techie’s can do, which is nice because that represents a lot of the work you’ll want to do on your site.
When you do come to a point where you need some help, WordPress has a massive support and development community. The people who love WordPress have a reputation for being extremely helpful and generous with their time. WordPress itself has great resources to check out. You can search or post to the extensive WordPress Forums or learn the basics through their Getting Started with WordPress Codex.
If you aren’t interested in the do-it-yourself approach, there are plenty of agencies and freelancers that specifically work with WordPress, who can help you with everything from design to Monthly Maintenance. Additionally, if you decide to hire someone like a content writer or a designer down the line, having a WordPress site will make it easy to find someone who understands how your website works, as the WordPress admin area and structure is universal.
A Built in Blog
WordPress started out as a blog service, so it makes sense that WordPress sites have a built in blog. You can disable this feature, but blogs are a great tool for small businesses. They are a staple of content marketing, which brings more people to your site and educates them about various aspects of your business. It also helps you position yourself as an expert in your field, which can boost your reputation and give you opportunities to earn new business.
Blogs are also a great way to get a search engine boost. By publishing content regularly on your website, search engines will index your website more often, which will help in boosting your ranking and organic traffic.
Everything we’ve talked about so far are features that are easy to see, but a lot of the best features of WordPress happen behind the scenes, as part of the code or the architecture of the platform.
One of those behind-the-scenes features is that WordPress is search engine friendly. While you’ll still have to implement SEO strategies to make sure your website is ranked, you won’t have to worry about WordPress undermining your efforts in the background. WordPress allows you to easily customize your page titles, meta data and alt tags, and has a page structure that makes it easy for search engines to crawl. Powerful SEO plugins such as Yoast are easy to integrate into any page or blog post, which will maximize your visibility in search engines.
With the correct theme and sticking with plugins that only benefit your website, and not slow it down, WordPress performs extremely fast. Search engines pay attention to how long it takes your site to load, and customers will often give up on sites that take longer than 2-3 seconds to load. Speed is crucial, and when you have WordPress Optimized, your customers will never have to wait.
WordPress is also easy for you, as the admin, to access and maintain. You won’t need to download any proprietary software to your computer to make changes to your site. All you need is a web browser and wifi and you can work on any aspect of your website, from creating a blog post to updating your company about page.
From top to bottom, WordPress is the best platform to use to build and maintain your business website. It’s why I use WordPress exclusively to build websites for my clients. As always, if you have any questions or need help with your website please feel free to Contact Me, I am always happy to help.