“I can’t update my website!”
“I’ve got to get my webmaster to do that, but it’s going to cost me…”
“Nooooo, I just hosed my website!”
If you talk to enough small business owners, or friends that want to have a website but don’t spend evenings and weekends tinkering around on the web, you’ll hear frustrations like this a lot.
And that’s from the ones who have figured out how to get a website up and running in the first place. There are many who are still trying to figure out where to start. But wait, there is hope!
WordPress to the Rescue
WordPress is one of the most popular blogging tools available. But what many people don’t know is that it is a powerful Content Management System (CMS) that can be used for more than just blogging. With WordPress you can build a blog, a website, or both. This is the first article in a series where we’ll explore why WordPress is a good choice for small business websites, and how to install, configure and use it for your small business.
Web Content Management Systems
A content management system is a tool that helps you manage the creation and updates to web pages on your web site. In 1998 I was one of the early members of a Silicon Valley start-up called Interwoven. Interwoven provided Web Content Management solutions for large enterprises like Ford Motor, FedEx, Cisco and eventually thousands of others large and small companies. I learned a lot about web content management by meeting with hundreds of companies – ranging from the Fortune 100 to smaller companies – and digging into their web site architectures. The web was exploding at that time, and there was a tremendous demand for managing the ever expanding amount and types of content. During that period, our software sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Using WordPress as a Website
Fast forward to today, and now we have WordPress – an amazingly powerful content management system that is FREE. And it has a lot of power under the hood for a small or medium business looking for an easy way to manage their web site.
WordPress was designed as a platform for blogging, but you don’t have to use it as a blogging tool. With a few tweaks it can be used to run your website, with or without a “blog.” The fact that WordPress was designed as a blogging platform gives it some compelling advantages.
It is optimized for easily publishing and changing content. And getting good search engine rankings requires fresh, unique content. You need a system that does not get in your way when you want to update your website with a new article or newsletter.
So why is WordPress a good choice?
Top Five Reasons to Use WordPress for Your Small Business Website
- SEO – WordPress provides good search engine optimization (SEO) right out of the box. There are a few tweaks you need to make, but there are many seo benefits that WordPress provides for free. In fact Google’s own Matt Cutts says WordPress is “made to do SEO well” in this video: Matt Cutts gives tips to small business owners.
- Content – it is easy to update content on your website without knowing HTML. Do you hate the idea of having to learn to use a complex HTML editor tool like Dreamweaver? Do you have to “ask” your webmaster every time you want to make a small change to your website? Well no longer – once WordPress is set up for you, you can easily create new pages or edit existing pages using a simple rich text editor.
- Extensions – There is a thriving ecosystem of developers creating themes and plug-ins – imagine free design themes, or the ability to extend your website with polls, contact forms, ratings or hundreds of other cool features without having to hire a web developer.
- Support – If you do have problems, or want to add very custom features, it is easy to find support and developers who can help you. There are literally thousands of WordPress developers out there. And there are so many people writing about WordPress that help is only a Google search away!
- One-click-installation – Quick installs are provided by many hosting providers, including Bluehost and 1and1.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing tips and tricks we’ve learned by using WordPress for a bunch of small business websites.
More WordPress Articles:
See my WordPress for Small Business Series websites for links to more WordPress articles on topics like: How to install WordPress, should I use WordPress.org or WordPress.com, How to make WordPress look like a Website, and more.
Are you using WordPress for your Website, or stuck with something that isn’t working for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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