Is WordPress Right for Your Business Website?
Although it began as a blogging platform nearly 13 years ago, WordPress has developed into a premier content management software (CMS) platform that allows users to create, edit, organize and publish content directly to their websites. This has led to a growing popularity; in fact, it now powers 25% of ALL sites across the web… and this 25% isn’t just made up of small companies either; websites such as Time Magazine, Sony and CNN all use some form of WordPress. Other solid CMS options? WordPress’ next two closest competitors – Joomla and Drupal combine to power less than 5% of all websites.
So no question WordPress is popular, but why?… and more importantly, is it the right choice for your website?
Here are 5 reasons you should give WordPress some serious consideration.
1 – It’s easy
WordPress is considered one of the easiest and most intuitive CMS systems available. Since it started as a blogging platform, WordPress’ interface is geared towards quickly and efficiently publishing content – not getting mired down in all the code. I often tell clients that “WordPress has done to web design, what Microsoft did to personal computing”… it just makes it easier, and allows your creativity and content to shine.
Much of WordPress’ power and ease of use comes through the use of thousands of free and premium “themes.” In some cases, “off the shelf” themes can fully meet the needs of a business, however there is usually at least some degree of customization required to create a truly unique and brand-specific experience for a company’s website. This customization usually takes the form of modifying the theme’s underlying styles (i.e., CSS) and/or extending the theme’s functionality through the use of plugins.
2 – It’s extendable
A theme’s core functionality can be greatly extended through the use of plugins. So what are plugins? Plugins are essentially bits of software that can be downloaded and “attached” to your WordPress install. There are thousands of plugins to choose from, and like themes, there are both free and premium options.
If you want your WordPress web site to do something cool… there’s probably a plugin for that! There are plugins that help optimize for SEO and speed, automatically install AdWords and Analytics tracking codes, support cool visual and interactive features, allow you to add web forms and databases, harden security… and the list goes on and on.
3 – It’s highly visible in search engines
At their core, search engines work by analyzing a website’s content and determining relevance for a specific search term. Since the code that WordPress uses is easy to read and simplistic in nature, search engines can scour your page for relevant content and return results quickly. WordPress also allows you to include SEO-optimized content quickly and easily. Ultimately, this means that your website content will be more easily indexed by search spiders and you have a great chance of ranking in the natural search results.
4 – It’s FREE
Next to usability, this is probably the best features of WordPress. There is no need to pay expensive upfront costs to start your website; all you need is a domain name and a web hosting provider and you are ready to go! Just because it’s free, though, doesn’t mean it isn’t updated regularly; a large network of technology pros are constantly keeping WordPress up to date… including core platform functionality, security enhancements, new themes, and new plugins!
5. It allows for regular growth
As time goes on, your business will grow (hopefully!). This growth could result in a need for multiple employees to create web content. WordPress can accommodate. By creating multiple users, you can ensure that everyone has a unique ID and password, allowing you to keep track of which users created what pages or blog posts. You can even set permissions, so that certain employees CAN create content but CAN’T publish it without your review and approval. This ensures that you don’t have to waste time micromanaging your website.
So are there any cons to using WordPress?
As much as we love WordPress, we’re not blind to the fact that there are some potential cons and cases where it’s just not the most appropriate choice.
Themes (wait… wasn’t that a pro?)
The biggest potential downside to WordPress in our mind is, ironically related to one of its strengths – it’s reliance on themes. Relying solely on the “off-the-shelf” look, feel, and functionality of a popular theme can result in your site looking just like everyone else’s site – not a good thing as you try to differentiate your brand.
The fact is, creating a truly unique and brand-specific website will require some level of technical/development skills. It’s worth the investment to engage an experienced design and development resource who can ensure a solid, mobile-responsive website that addresses YOUR unique needs for functionality and branding.
A “build it and ignore it” approach to WordPress website development is a sure way to get yourself in trouble. WordPress is a dynamic development platform that requires a bit of ongoing care. Updates to WordPress, themes, and plugins are continuous (read “continuous” as at least 1-2 updates being pushed out on a weekly basis). While it’s not difficult to update things, it IS VERY IMPORTANT to stay on top of these updates. WordPress often gets a bad rap for security vulnerabilities… the fact is, 1) WordPress is just the biggest target, and 2) the vast majority of security issues come when folks don’t stay current with updates.
Need a hard-core web application?
In the coding world, technologists often differentiate between “websites” and “web applications” (although that line is blurring more and more). WordPress is usually a solid choice for client-facing websites, but NOT for designing data-intensive web applications. When developing web applications, for example, an inventory management system, point-of-sale system, an ecommerce site with 1000s of SKUs, etc., a full-stack web application framework is usually preferred. WordPress is not the best tool for the job in these cases.
At the end of the day, we think WordPress is impossible to beat for the typical business website. Just be aware that it will require some level of expertise and TLC to ensure success!
If you need help with your next website masterpiece, we’d be honored to help! You can visit our WordPress Design page for details and inspiration!
Until next time…