In this post I will explain why I believe WordPress is the best solution for many business websites, especially those belonging to sole traders, companies with few employees and those wanting to use a website as a way to communicate with customers and promote their business.
First things first, WordPress is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can use if off-the-shelf, without any kind of customisation, or you can spend countless hours adding extra functionality and tweaking the design.
Millions of businesses and people around the world use WordPress to power their websites, including many well-known brands and large corporations.
Why is it so popular?
WordPress is popular because it is very easy to use and with a little training, people with little or no coding or website experience can easily update their website whenever they feel like.
This puts a lot of power in the hands of the small-business owner.
Sure, there is a learning curve to WordPress, but once mastered, it gives website owners so much more control over their website. There’s no more waiting for a web developer to do work; just do it yourself!
We’ve used WordPress since 2006 and recommend it to anyone looking for a website or a blog (you can use it for either).
The reasons we like it so much include:
- It’s very easy to use
- The core software is free
- It’s search engine friendly
- WordPress sites look professional for very little cost
- There is a huge community developing the platform to make it more powerful
- Once installed, non-techies can use a browser to easily add articles, pictures and videos
- It empowers people and businesses
So, I’ve talked about the benefits of WordPress, but what does it look like, and how do you access it?
All you need to access your WordPress website is a browser or app. You don’t need any specialist software, just your laptop, computer, tablet or smartphone. This means you can manage your site from anywhere; home, the office or on a train.
The picture below represents the WordPress dashboard. It’s what you see when you first login. From here, you use the menu on the left to perform certain tasks and manage your site. The menu remains constant whichever part of the site you are in, but the area to the right changes.
(Click the image to get a better view.)
(This screenshot is taken from our dedicated WordPress site. Head over to WordPress Made Easy for tutorials, advice and to find out more about WordPress.)
I know for some people this looks quite daunting – plugins, tools, settings; it’s all a bit scary. But what you see in the image is what site administrators see. If you want a WordPress site and only want to manage content, it’s possible to hide most of these menu options by creating a specific user account, such as Editor, to perform certain tasks.
WordPress has five user levels built-in and it’s possible to create more if needed.
What can you do with WordPress?
WordPress is an open source program, which means coders and designers have full access to the code. As a result, coders write scripts (known as plugins) that bring more functionality to the WordPress platform. There’s a plugin for just about everything, from social sharing buttons to shopping carts.
Many WordPress plugins are free to use, and whilst they are useful, some can cause problems through poor coding or lack of support. Alongside the free plugins is a growing number of premium plugins, which may cost a few pounds to buy, but with that comes added support and reliability.
Over the years we have used many plugins, and we tend to stay with the sames ones for tasks like SEO and backing up the website’s database.
Whatever you want to achieve, you can be pretty sure there is a plugin out there that will complete the task for you.
When talking about or using WordPress, another term you will hear a lot is WordPress themes. These are skins that change the look and feel of a site. As with plugins, there are free themes and premium themes. A premium theme is much better for a business website as they are designed by professional web designers and coded by professional coders.
Our current favourite premium theme design team is Studiopress. They create some wonderful, clean and simple themes that are easy to customise.
Creating content with WordPress
Creating content in WordPress is really simple. It really is. It’s just a matter of opening the editor and typing. When you are done, hit the publish button and your page is live on the site. When you are new to the system, it does look a bit scary, but really it’s very simple. It’s just a matter of learning how to use it.
WordPress uses the popular TinyMCE system. The writing area looks like this:
There are lots of buttons to help with formatting, so you can use bold, italics, lists and colours to get your message across. There is even a button to import Word documents.
In the not too distant past, web developers had a hold over website owners as uploading images to a website and placing them on the page required dedicated software and coding knowledge. Not so with WordPress. You upload images through your browser and click on an icon to add the pictures to your page (see the Add Media button on the picture above?, you use it to upload images and place them in your page). If it doesn’t look quite right, you can resize it or move it to another part of the page.
What’s more, WordPress creates images of different sizes to use in different parts of the site. And if you ever have the need to resize your images because you want to change the theme, there is a plugin for that.
Adding videos from YouTube is as simple as copying the code from YT and pasting it into your page. And again, there’s a plugin for that (there’s quite a few, actually).
For many people, their use of WordPress need stretch no further than the writing page. You can hand the tech support to somebody else and just concern yourself with content.
More reasons why you should choose WordPress to power your business website…
Schedule content to publish in the future – Create content in advance, such as during holidays or time away from the office, and you can arrange for it to publish in your absence. This works well for bloggers who post on specific days.
SEO friendly – As long as they are set up correctly, plugins make WordPress very SEO friendly.
Customer/reader interaction – WordPress has a built-in commenting system, so your readers and/or customers can respond to what you say on your site. They can ask questions, leave suggestions and ask for feedback.
Unlimited growth potential – Travelling back in time again, to the days when web developers controlled everything web related, it would cost a site owner to have new pages added to their site. WordPress eliminates this, as you do it from within WordPress. You can create as many pages as you like!