As someone who began his Internet marketing career in the late 1990s by developing and hand-programming websites for coaches, therapists, and other small business owners, it’s taken me longer than many to jump on the WordPress bandwagon.
In fact, there’s something about the creative process and control that comes with hand-coding websites that I still appreciate, value, and have a hard time letting go of… But, I’ve finally become a WordPress convert over the past couple of years, and for a number of very important reasons.
However, before we dive into the reasons why I believe almost every small business owner should consider using WordPress for their business website, I want to make sure I’m clear… When I strongly advise my clients to use WordPress for their websites, I’m not talking about hosting a free blog on WordPress.com. Instead, I’m referring to installing and configuring WordPress software on your own hosting provider. This distinction is an important one, and we’ll cover what you need to know about these two WordPress options in a future post.
Now, back to why I highly recommend you use WordPress for your business website…
I can’t begin to recount the number of times I’ve heard business owners’ frustrations over how difficult it is to make updates to their website or, even worse, that they have to wait for the webmaster to make changes for them, and always for an additional fee.
Likewise, I’ve had countless small business owners come to me bemoaning the $40.00, $50.00, $60.00, or even $70.00 or more per month they’re paying for their current website; and this is for sites that are often little more than simple, brochure-style, template websites. While business owners are usually able to update their site’s content on their own using many of these platforms, they are also locked into limited functionality and customization options and are often paying for features they’ll likely never use.
And these are just some of the tales of woe I hear from mental health professionals and other business owners who’ve actually gotten their websites up and running. All too many are still trying to figure out where to begin when it comes to getting their website off the ground. Fortunately, there’s hope…
WordPress to the Rescue
One of the reasons I was hesitant to start using WordPress for myself and my clients was that I had always regarded WordPress as a blogging platform.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with blogging. In fact, blogging is a powerful means of communicating with current and prospective clients and referral sources and getting your message out in the marketplace. But blogging does require some commitment and isn’t right for everyone.
Unfortunately, what I didn’t realize – and what many still don’t understand – is that WordPress is much more than just one of the most powerful blogging tools available… it’s a powerful Content Management System (CMS) that can be used for far more than just blogging, and it’s FREE.
To be sure, WordPress was originally designed as a blogging platform, but with a few simple modifications it can be used to create and manage your website, whether or not you want to publish a blog.
While content management systems such as WordPress can sometimes require a Web developer to set up and add new features, WordPress is a powerful website development and administration tool that is specifically designed to allow users with little knowledge of Web programming to create and manage website content with relative ease.
In fact, many of my clients have used WordPress to create their own websites – websites ranging from simple, brochure-style websites and blogs to highly-complex, multi-media- and membership-based websites – with little or no coding knowledge and little to no technical assistance.
And, even if you do decide to hire a professional to help you get your WordPress site up and running, the one-time cost of doing so almost always pays for itself in just a few short months.
Why I Recommend You Use WordPress
There are numerous reasons why I recommend most small business owners use WordPress to power their websites, but the top five reasons you should use WordPress are:
- Content Management – Because WordPress was designed as a blogging platform, it is optimized for easily publishing and changing your site’s content. You can easily add and update your website’s content with little or no knowledge of HTML or other Web programming languages. So, say “good-bye” to complex software tools or having to “ask” your webmaster every time you want to update your website. Once you’ve got WordPress up and running, you can easily create and edit your website’s pages using a simple text editor.
- Easy Setup – One-quick installation of WordPress is provided by many hosting providers, including HostGator and Bluehost. Additionally, there are thousands of free WordPress template designs and themes available for free, as well as countless others available for a nominal fee (usually in the neighborhood of $25.00 to $100.00). All of this means you can set up a clean, attractive, professional-looking website that is completely customizable in only a few hours for little to no cost.
- Additional Functionality – One of the main features of WordPress that has made it my Web publishing tool of choice is the thriving ecosystem of developers that are constantly creating new plug-ins and themes to increase WordPress’ functionality. In fact, WordPress just keeps getting better and better! Imagine being able to change your website’s design, add contact forms, polls, Twitter and Facebook feeds, and affiliate banner ads, and upload images, audio, and streaming video, all without the need of a webmaster or any programming experience… WordPress makes it all possible and much, much more!
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – One of the main requirements for achieving and maintaining top search engine rankings is a steady stream of fresh, unique content. Because WordPress was originally designed as a blogging tool, it provides an easy-to-use interface that allows you to easily update and add to your site’s content. And, with a couple of free, easy-to-install plug-ins, WordPress becomes an incredibly powerful SEO tool that can quickly propel your site to the top of the search engines.
- Support – Thanks to the thousands upon thousands of WordPress developers and millions of WordPress users, if you ever run into problems with your WordPress site or want to add custom features, all you need to do is type what you’re looking for into one of the search engines and you’ll quickly find the help you need.
This is the first article in a series I’ll be publishing over the next few weeks, in which we’ll explore why WordPress is a good choice for small business websites as well as how to install, configure, and use WordPress so you can make sure your site is as effective and profitable as possible.
I hope this post is helpful! Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below…