WordPress – Five ways your business will benefit

WordPress continues not only to improve, but to become an essential marketing tool for small business owners. Below I have listed five solid business reasons why using WordPress for your business website is a good idea.

I originally wrote this blog post last year for Finisher Creative, a digital marketing agency in Bradford run by Haroon Rashid. Haroon has become a great online friend of ours and we like his no-nonsense take on the reality of digital marketing. He knows his stuff and isn’t scared to say what people don’t want to hear. He is now working at Khemeaia Consulting.

So here’s five reasons why I think YOUR business should be using WordPress:

1. Phenomenal scalability:

“A WordPress website is for life, not just for startups”
This is a phrase I use all the time to indicate to people that WordPress isn’t just a solution for now. It’s not a quick fix, a short-term solution, or a stop-gap.
It’s something that will suit most small businesses, whatever the size, and yet grow with it. The hosted version of WordPress is an excellent way to try out the software if you’ve never used it before. You can have a site up and running in under five minutes at wordpress.com and this will give you an introduction to the way WordPress works and the tools it has, and all at no cost.
But it’s the software download at wordpress.org that has the most benefit for businesses. This is also free but you need to pay for hosting. It  has the added benefit that you are free to modify it as much as you wish.
It’s phenomenally successful, with something like a quarter websites now built on WordPress, and over 145m downloads have been recorded at wordpress.org, a third of them in the last year. Moving from hosted to self-hosted is easy because you can simply export content seamlessly from wordpress.com because it uses the same structure.
As your business grows, or indeed, as your content grows, a well-made WordPress site will grow with you, allowing you to create new pages, new sections, even new sites and subsites within your installation. Managed properly, your installation will last you forever, and that’s why we say ‘a WordPress website is for life’

2. It’s good quality software

Just because it’s free doesn’t means it lacks in the quality department. It’s just as good, if not better, than many costly content management systems out there.
WordPress is constantly maintained by an avid team. The evolution process is such that it is a managed process that allows the wider community to suggest improvements, and even contribute, making WordPress a truly user-driven piece of software.
Each release goes through testing not only by the development team, but theme authors and plugin authors and even the people that use it on a day-to-day basis, can get involved in testing the beta releases. As soon as a version goes to launch, the team gets to work on the next version. (Actually, they have a week off first!)

3. WordPress is portable

WordPress is portable
WordPress is portable. Image credit: Gigi/Flickr (cc)

It’s sad but true that some small businesses have had to pay more than once for a website because they’ve either been locked out of their own site when a designer has ‘disappeared’ or they’ve built it using techniques that have gone out with the digital ark.
WordPress offers portability on two levels. Firstly, it allows the DIYer to go as far as they can and hold their hands up and say ‘I can’t do this, let’s go and find an expert’. Lots of business owners try ‘self-build’ to save costs, but few are able to build truly successful sites without some professional help.
If a business owner decides to learn how to code their own site, it will almost certainly require a rebuild when they seek that help. Developers don’t like working with someone else’s code.
If they use one of the many free drag and drop website builders out there, it’s the same story. No designer wants to build on a system they wouldn’t have used themselves. WordPress is used by end-users and pros alike, and because it is a content editor, not a code editor, the core remains untouched and the incoming developer knows he/she won’t be opening a can of worms.
Secondly, not every relationship lasts forever, and where a site has been built by a professional developer or designer on WordPress, it is easily transported, content and all, to another host or another designer or developer. WordPress makes this portability easy, because of its hook, plugin and theme infrastructure. Plugins and themes can be swapped out without disruption. Hooks can be used to save editing the core software, and WordPress becomes just a rig to hold it all together, ready for the next person to do their magic.

4. It’s open source

There are lots of free online website builders out there, some are ‘freemium’ models, where you get a free version to start and pay for added features. Others are free because they are tied to something else, like a hosting contract or mandatory advertising. Some are just free because they are very limited in features and flexibility.
WordPress is free because it is developed under the open source model, by a group of volunteers. Using the hooks, plugins and themes mentioned before, means it is completely customisable using easy-to-get, and mostly free, downloads.
But there are also some very good paid-for themes, plugins and modifications that take WordPress to another level. The principle that WordPress is free does however cause some confusion.
When developers use WordPress as their core CMS (content management system), it doesn’t mean that they’re cutting corners. They’re not using it because it saves them money. They’re using because it’s a portable, flexible and a robust platform. Yes it saves money too, but that saving is passed on to the client.

5. It makes you more productive

Productive cat
Eight out of ten cats who used WordPress have more naps in the sun. Image credit: Nina Linnarsson/Flickr (cc)

In a recent survey, WordPress users were asked what they liked most about the product, and the words ‘easy’ and ‘ease-of-use’ floated quickly the top of the pile.
Unless you’ve had a fair bit of experience with another CMS, WordPress does make content management incredibly simple. I’ve seen it for myself. Watching clients go from not updating their site, to adding new content regularly, because it’s suddenly ‘easier’, is a hearty vote for WordPress as a business CMS.
Having the ability to include a whole range of plugins for social media, email marketing, content editing, search engine optimisation takes much of the fear out of website ownership.
So that sums up why your business should be using WordPress. It’s a no-risk, future-proof content management system, that’s actually easy to use, and good for your business.
So what are you waiting for?
Canary Dwarf hosts a monthly WordPress meetup in Moray as part of WP Scotland and offer a range of support and training service for businesses.