If you need an easy-to-use website to grow your business or your brand, there are plenty of options to choose from. But for last several years, when asked this question, Iâ€™ve suggest using WordPress in almost all cases. This came up again recently so I wanted to write down why I tend to recommend WordPress as my go-to platform for building basic small business websites.
Earlier this week, a friend of mine asked me what would be the easiest way to setup a website for a non-profit sheâ€™s starting. I get this same type of question from family members or other business owners too. Even though my business focuses on building custom software and custom websites using Ruby on Rails, I direct people to WordPress when its a better match for their needs and am starting to do a fair amount of WordPress related work also.
Here are 9 reasons why WordPress is the perfect option for building many small business websites:
- Makes it easy to publish content: One of the best things about WordPress is that it makes it easy to publish content. This is more important these days since some of the most effective marketing companies can engage in is content marketing. But that means consistently publishing new information on your site â€“ articles, posts, tips, links, etc. WordPress makes this super easy, with a familiar interface thatâ€™s similar to most word processors. This makes it possible for anyone to publish new content without having to know HTML, CSS and so on.
- Has an easy to use interface: WordPress has a simple user interface. Whether its posting new content as mentioned above, or handling some other aspect of your site, WordPress has continued to improve on its user interface and the current layout is pretty user friendly.
- Is widely used: WordPress is also a widely used platform. As of July 2013, 18.9% of the web runs on WordPress. Its being used for content-based websites, e-commerce websites, simple blogs and a lot more. (Note: I am a fan of using the right tool for the right job and donâ€™t see WordPress as the ideal choice for some of these, like e-commerce sites, but for most businesses this isnâ€™t an issue).
- Has a large community of developers, designers, and users: One of the criteria I keep in mind when choosing a technology, especially when it comes to website/software development, is what is the community like for that technology. If there are only a handful of users, its going to be difficult to get support when you get stuck. Its also going to be hard to find people that know how to work with that technology. This isnâ€™t the case with WordPress. The WordPress community is quite large and its no trouble finding experienced folks to help with nearly any aspect of your WordPress-based website.
- Is easy to install: The technology WordPress uses is pretty standard and is found on most web hosts. Contrast that with something like Ruby on Rails (which admittedly is my preferred development platform). Rails requires some specific things under the hood to get a Rails site running. For a Rails application, its easier to choose a web host like Heroku or to build your own server using something like Amazon AWS. But this requires more technical know-how than most non-developers are going to want to deal with.
With WordPress, you simply need Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, which you can find at places like MediaTemple or nearly any traditional shared hosting environment. And as a bonus, with many web hosts, you can install WordPress by filling out a simple form and clicking a button â€“ no need to download files, unzip them, and then upload them.
- Themes: You canâ€™t mention WordPress without mentioning themes. Themes allow you to change the look and feel of your site. Its also common for themes to give you added features for running your site too. For example, some themes include support for â€œshortcodesâ€ which allow you to insert simple snippets of text that WordPress translates into HTML. Other themes allow you to use â€œwidgetsâ€ which allow you to change what appears in your websiteâ€™s sidebar and in what order.
- Plugins: To add even more functionality to your website, you can install â€œpluginsâ€. Plugins are modules that add additional features to your website. For example, on a site I was working on for a client recently, he needed a simple way to display customer testimonials. I did a quick search and found a good plugin for that. This allowed me to easily meet this clientâ€™s need and saved him hundreds of dollars (at least) because I didnâ€™t have to build that functionality from scratch.
- Allows website visitors to leave comments: WordPress started as a platform for blogging. People soon realized that with a few tweaks, it could also be used for other types of websites too. But even in those cases, you can take advantage of one of the features typical of blogs â€“ commenting. WordPress has built-in support for commenting and makes it easy for your website visitors to leave comments on your articles or posts. This is important because it gives you, as a business owner, a way to directly interact with your prospects or customers. This is much better than having a simple, static website thatâ€™s never updated and where people canâ€™t interact.
- Allows people to subscribe for updates: Since WordPress started as a blogging platform, it also has built-in support for RSS (Really Simple Syndication). One of the main goals with any business website is that, if visitors donâ€™t buy today, we want to at least get them to come back to see any updates. The problem is that this relies on your visitor to bookmark your website and to periodically check to see if anything new has been added. It would be better if they had an option to subscribe to your website so that they could automatically be notified when new content was added. Thatâ€™s exactly what RSS does. And its a feature built into WordPress by default.
This article originally appeared on KentonNewby.com and has been republished with permission.
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Article source: http://www.business2community.com/small-business/9-reasons-wordpress-perfect-option-small-business-websites-0786232