Why use WordPress for my business website?
What is WordPress?
WordPress is one of many content management systems (CMS) that are available across the internet. A CMS generally allows website owners and developers to easily update and change the content, design and functionality, often without knowing any code. WordPress is by far the most popular and widely used of all the CMS platforms, powering almost 16,000,000 websites!
Originally built to be a blogging tool, it has substantially grown in both functionality and popularity over the years thanks to its huge community of developers and users. Created by the team at Automattic, WordPress is an Open Source project, meaning that the core code is distributed freely and developers – both the hobbyist and professional – all across the world can get involved and extend the basic functionality by creating what are known as plugins and change the design with themes. Should these be created for public distribution, they can then either be submitted to the WordPress repository for approval and distribution through WordPress itself or for premium and/or complex plugins and themes they can be sold from the developer’s own websites or through a marketplace such as Themeforest. Currently there are 40,911 plugins available in the WordPress repository alone! This means when you need to solve an issue or add some functionality, the chances are that someone else has had the same problem and has already created a solution that you can use.
How much is it?
WordPress itself is completely free, as are a multitude of themes and plugins that can be downloaded directly from the WordPress repository within the dashboard of your installation, although often you may find you need to pay in order to unlock extra functionality. This can range from a couple of dollars up to hundreds for some top end plugins. It is always best to do some research and double check that the plugin or theme will do exactly what you want before you commit money to them as you may spend a few hours trying to learn how to configure and use it just to find out it doesn’t do what you need or that you need to pay for an add-on that you weren’t expecting.
Other than that you will need a domain name and a hosting package. A .co.uk domain is around £5.99 for 2 years. Web hosting can range from as little as a £1.99 a month for the cheapest shared hosting all the way up to hundreds if not thousands for dedicated servers, it all depends on exactly what you need. With web hosting, you generally get what you pay for.
Is it safe and secure?
This is a perfectly >understandable concern. With WordPress being open source and all these third party plugins available, security should be the number one priority.
Firstly, the WordPress core files are maintained and updated regularly. With such a large developer community, any possible security issues are usually identified quickly and then resolved as quickly as possible. Important information is communicated via the WordPress dashboard and any updates are highlighted at the top of the page in your admin bar. By default, every site has automatic updates enabled for important security updates, minor core releases and translation files.
Where it comes to plugins, it is usually best to stick with those that are released through the WordPress repository and which are regularly maintained and updated to work with the latest releases of WordPress. This way you can be comfortable that they have passed the stringent requirements to get into the repository and also have active developers that are keeping up with the latest security issues. It is also worth checking out their support section to see how quickly they respond to user issues and questions. All this information can be found on the individual plugin page on WordPress.org.
There are also plugins (both free and paid for) that you can install that will reinforce the overall security of your website. At Respondit Web Design, we like Wordfence. The free version alone has loads of great features.
Why is this good for my business?
Well, with a small amount of training or even just by testing out the features, using WordPress makes it relatively straightforward to add and make changes to your website’s content down the line so you don’t always need to call upon your web developer to do it. WordPress is super flexible. For example, if you decide that you want to add in some extra functionality such as taking on-line bookings or adding an event calendar, these thing can usually be added in with minimal fuss. If you want to change the background colour or font colour or change an image, these things can all be done very quickly.
Google loves fresh content, so we highly recommend that you regularly add to or update the content on your site where possible. Utilising the blogging capabilities of WordPress, just like the one you are reading now, is an excellent way to continually add new content to your site.
This brings us onto Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Great SEO is absolutely integral to getting your website ranking highly on the search engines. Out of the box, WordPress is pretty good for SEO, however, once you add on a plugin such as Yoast SEO it becomes an absolute powerhouse. Giving you complete control over your Meta Tags, clear visualisation of your keyword density and a traffic light system showing the current level of SEO optimisation for every page plus generating XML Sitemaps that are automatically sent to Google and Bing which you also have complete control over. It’s an absolute no brainer to install on your website.
Ultimately, this means that over time, more and more potential customers will be able to find your website through organic searches, leading them onto quality content which is relevant to their needs at the time. Add on a social media sharing feature and you have the potential for your audience size to increase exponentially.
Quite simply, more people on your website equals more exposure for your business which in turn will lead to more sales, leads and enquiries.