Which of these choices would you prefer?
A website that requires custom programming costing $3000 or more, requires a knowledge of complex programming languages in order to make even simple changes to the content, and requires a complete redesign (again costing thousands of dollars) if you decide the look is outdated?
Or a website that is built on free software, allows you to easily update content yourself and you can select from thousands of clean, professional looking designs that can be added to the site in a matter of minutes?
No brainer, right?
WordPress, originally used solely for blogs, has morphed into an incredibly powerful Content Management System you can use to easily and inexpensively create a very professional and functional website for your small business.
Here are 7 benefits to using WordPress for your small business’ website:
1. It costs nothing! Not one penny! WordPress is available for download at WordPress.org at no cost – you won’t even have to give up your email address. To host a WordPress site yourself, however, you will need to find a hosting company. That’s generally not free. But it’s not expensive either. For just $5 – $10 a month you can host your WordPress site at any number of quality web host providers. Many of them include Fantastico with your hosting plan which is software that lets you install WordPress in just a few clicks without even having to download the software.
2. Ease of Use. Using WordPress is really quite simple. Yes, especially for the technically-challenged among us, there will be a little bit of a learning curve. However, there’s no shortage of quality WordPress tutorials online to help you get up to speed quickly. Once you get the hang of things, adding content is a snap. It’s no more difficult than using a word processing program. And you don’t have to know how to write code or do anything vaguely technical in nature to maintain your site.
3. Themes. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of themes available for WordPress. A theme is basically a template that changes the look and feel of your WordPress site (a theme can also alter the behind-the-scenes options to make WordPress even easier to customize and use). Some of these themes are free, others you have to pay for. You can also have a custom theme designed so your site meets your exact specifications.
With themes, it’s easy to get a clean, professional looking site without paying a lot for custom design work. And if one day you decide you don’t like the look of your site – no problem. Find a theme you like better, activate it in WordPress and you instantly have a new look and feel to your site – all without having to change the blog posts or pages on your site.
4. Plugins. Plugins are software the extend the capabilities of WordPress to do pretty much anything you want. Using plugins, you can track site visits, add social bookmarking to your site, automate backups of your site, fight spam, create contact forms, improve site security and a lot more. And, with few exceptions, the plugins are absolutely free.
5. Search Engine Love. Google (and the other search engines) love WordPress. Using WordPress can give your search engine optimization efforts a big boost. And if you take advantage of some of the SEO-related plugins available for WordPress, the search engines will really think your site is the bee’s knees.
6. Technical Support. WordPress does not offer tech support for you to email or call with your questions. However, have no fear, there are still a ton of options for you if you have an issue you need addressed. You can turn to the forum on WordPress.org, which is a very active community of WordPress users who are always willing to help those having problems with the software. In addition, there are a bunch of other websites, message boards and blogs that you can turn to for advice. There are also plenty of wordPress experts for hire to assist you. Whatever issue you may encounter, help is always close at hand.
7. Control. Hosting your own WordPress website puts you in control of your web presence. Need to update your content, add new posts or pages? You can easily do it yourself. Want to update the appearance of your site? Find a new Theme, upload it, activate it and you’re done. Don’t like the hosting company you’re using? Find another and move your site – there are plenty of good hosting companies around.
So there are seven strong benefits to using WordPress for your small business’ website/blog. Without a doubt there are reasons why you may WordPress may not work for your situation and hiring a programmer to develop a custom site is the best option.
For most small business owners, however, WordPress will provide all that you need to get a professionally looking website that you, and the search engines will love. It’s a highly functional, flexible and cost-effective option that is hard to top.