We continue to deliver web sites based on the WordPress content management system, and I am still amazed at the power of the platform. I have been doing web development for more than a decade and have never found an easier way to create a functional web site (from a content perspective) that looks amazing and doesn’t break the bank to get it done. I realized last week when I heard feedback from three of our customers that supported this claim, that I need to dig in and explain why WordPress is so much different than traditional web development projects.
So here you go… ten reasons why you should consider using WordPress to power your next web site:
1 – Maintain Your Own Content… For Real This Time
Over the years, there have been promises from web development companies that you can maintain your content with their content management system. This was always hamstrung with a ton of limitations. You couldn’t truly control the flow of the content. You could only edit the text in a couple of canned areas, not the whole page. You couldn’t move around functional areas of the left or right sidebar. It was basically a redesign to change any of the colors. WordPress and Premium Themes are a marriage that overcome the majority of these limitations. You are free to make significant changes to the content and layout of your site without being a hardcore HTML and CSS developer.
2 – Update the Look and Feel Easily with Premium Themes
There are a ton of companies out there creating Premium WordPress Themes that look amazing. Basically, a Theme dictates the look and feel of your site including colors, fonts, where things are positioned, page headers, where the logo is placed and hundreds of other design elements. We prefer RocketTheme themes but have also implemented themes from ThemeForest and WooThemes with great results. Even better, let’s say you want to update the look and feel of your site two to three years after creating the initial site. Your content lives in a MySQL database, and all you have to do is implement a new theme. All of the content, including text, images, links to documents, links to external web sites, the navigation bar and more fit right into the new theme with little or no effort on your part! Basically an instant facelift when you are ready for a new look!
3 – Take Advantage of Built In Search Engine Optimization
The simple and standardized layout of the code in WordPress sites, support for permalinks and easy linking make your site more attractive to Google as it crawls through your site and content. Also, you can add great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plugins and I refer to this blog article with a great list of 9 plugins to consider.
4 – Open Source = Cost Effective
The software that makes up WordPress is FREE. WordPress is an open source development project with hundreds of developers involved. New features come out regularly!
5 – Get Even More Options if you Install and Maintain a Self Hosted Version
You can have a free WordPress based site at WordPress.com, or you can download and install the WordPress code into your own hosting platform for significantly more control and functionality. Many web hosts, like HostGator and The Small Business Authority have a push-button install of WordPress making it easy to get set up.
6 – Expand the Functionality of your Site with Thousands of Widgets
There are literally thousands of free widgets that you can install in a self hosted WordPress site… These widgets do things like making it easy to embed YouTube videos, embed a Google Calendar of events, create a web based contact form that emails the form entries to you and so much more. These kinds of features used to be coded by hand which means time and money.
7 – Implement New Features Quickly Without Being a Programmer
The drag and drop nature of WordPress allows you to change the navigation, add new pages, drop widgets in to predetermined locations and more. With a little training, you can make significant changes to how your site looks and works without knowing any programming.
8 – Easily Embed Documents, Pictures and Video
There is a built in Media Library feature in WordPress that lets you upload documents, videos, MP3s and more that you can easily link to in your web site.
9 – Allow Your Home Page to Update Often as you Add Content
There are widgets that will show the most recent blog articles that you have written, or the next 3 upcoming events in your Google Calendar of Events. These widgets can be placed on your home page and will change often as you continue to add content to your site. This solves the stagnancy problem that many web sites suffer from. A visitor comes to your site a couple of times and never sees anything change… they will stop coming.
10 – Create a Blog for Your Audience
I saved this one for last because I believe this is one of the most important parts for a web site to actually grow your bottom line. A blog becomes the place on the web where you can put all your stories. Customer success stories, new product announcements, charitable activities in your community, staff stories and more. This is the life blood of your company letting everyone else know what is going on. It is the first step of the infrastructure that you want to have in place so that you can link to your web site from social media sites. WordPress blogging capabilities are the best available.
Things have changed a lot when it comes to how a web site is created. WordPress short circuits many of the timely (in other words costly) aspects of traditional web design projects, but the results are still professional. It is not often that you can say that you are getting more for less, but WordPress is one of those tools that can make that happen for your business.