The WordPress content management system powers more than 60 million websites in 2015 – that’s nearly a quarter of the internet. More WordPress sites go live every second – you can even see it happening before your eyes in this cool infographic.
We are part of the army of web designers who are been won over by WordPress’ charms – 90% of the websites in our portfolio are built on WordPress and even website redesign work often involves replacing an older WordPress site with a new and improved one.
Do you know why WordPress websites are taking over the web?
It’s flexible and future proof
WordPress websites are suitable for business ranging from budget-less start-ups (you can design your own site for free on wordpress.com or for very low cost on wordpress.org) to major corporations and news sites such as The New Yorker and Variety.
Because you can add almost any functionality to a WordPress site with plugins, it’s possible to create a website that suits practically any type of business – including online shops.
WordPress Developers all over the world have created thousands of pre-designed themes so the design of your website can be easy to visualised from the start. But if you want something uniquely ‘you’, your WordPress site can also be coded from scratch.
You can change the look of your site in the future, simply by changing the theme. This is a fantastic asset for growing businesses – many of whom require a complete website redesign every 3 years because what they do has evolved. With a WordPress Site, your website can grow with your business.
There’s a sense of community
There is a massive community of WordPress designers and users around the world, and helpful advice is just a forum post away. With so many other business owners having a WordPress site, there is plenty of advice and information out there.
If you are building your own WordPress site, advice, tutorials and training is available in real life and online from sites such as Lynda.com, WPBeginner and Tuts+, as well as local special interest groups on forums like Meetup.com.
WordPress websites are easy to amend and update
The WordPress content management system (CMS) makes these websites some of the easiest to update. Many liken the technical proficiency needed for updating WordPress via its CMS to creating a document in Microsoft Word. Its ease of use has many advantages:
- You won’t be slugged with a design fee every time you want to make a small update to your site.
- It’s a lot easier to add new content including new pages or posts (blog articles) to encourage visitors to return frequently and give Google new content to index.
- You can cross promote between your website and social media platforms, ensuring your marketing is much more effectively integrated.
If you have a team working on your WordPress site, it’s possible to set up multiple plug-ins and permission levels. For example, you can allow your marketing coordinator or virtual assistance to create new blog posts, but have the ability to approve them prior to publication.
WordPress is SEO Friendly
Google hearts WordPress sites (if you make the most of all their SEO features that is). There are a few reasons for this:
- There some excellent plugins such as Yoast SEO available, that make it very easy to get your on-page SEO right. Every page, post, image or video you put into WordPress can have its own meta tag keywords, description, title, and be optimised for specific keywords, increasing their search-ability.
- Because WordPress websites are so easy to update, there is frequently new content for Google to index, which is important for page rank.
- The code behind most WordPress sites is very clean (although there are exceptions to this with some themes). This makes it easy for search engines to read and index the content of a website.
You don’t need any special software
WordPress is browser-based which means you can access and update your website from any Internet connected computer or device. In the old days, you might have installed a software like Adobe Dreamweaver to build or amend your website. With WordPress, you don’t need anything except a suitable device and an internet connection, as it’s a self-contained system.
You own and control your website
With some proprietary website platforms, such as Weebly or Wix, if you stop using their service you lose your website. WordPress, like Joomla and Drupal, is open source system (this means that it isn’t owned by any one person and everyone can access and contribute to it). Provided you ensure you have all the hosting and login details, you can transport your self-hosted website between hosts and have it worked on by different designers as you need.
However – don’t make these mistakes
Every platform has its pros and cons, and WordPress is no exception. While it is deservedly popular for business websites, there are a few traps for young players to look out for.
Setting and Forgetting
WordPress is frequently updated to stay compatible with different browsers and mobile devices and to ward off malware and virus attacks. But if you are using multiple plugins in your site, not all developers stay on the ball with adapting them for each update and they can break. So don’t just launch your website and forget about it. At the very least, you should be checking, updating and backing up your site regularly – if you neglect your website it won’t keep working at its optimum level.
Sound tedious? If your WordPress site is being professionally designed, check if your designer offers a maintenance package to take care of this for you (we do) or look into some of the third party WordPress maintenance companies.
Expecting you can get the same result as a professional Web Designer
It is quite possible for a business owner with a decent amount of technical competency to use a pre-designed WordPress theme to good effect. Professional themes average around $40 to $60, and are a great way to get a polished look without a lot of design skills. However, if you want to amend the theme in any way, get help from someone who knows what they are doing.
Professional web designers experienced in WordPress will usually have at least a basic understanding of scripting languages such as PHP, HTML and CSS so they can change things without making your website fall apart. Even ‘shortcodes’ and page builders, which have been created to make it easier for non-designers to amend WordPress websites, are tricky for novice users.
You’ll also need (or be able to access) a decent level of graphic design skills to give your website that polished professional look and ensure your images are optimised. Just having someone with a ‘design eye’ oversee the total look of your website and make sure it is in keeping with your brand, can make an enormous difference.
Thinking all themes and plugins are created equal
Yes – it’s awesome that there are soooo many pre-designed themes and plugins that do practically everything to choose from. No, they are not all as good as each other. When using a pre-designed theme, some options that come with lots of bells and whistles can slow down the speed at which you website loads. Load speed is one of the key factors in usability as well as page ranking. The code in the back end of themes can also clash with the plugins you wish to use.
Some free plugins are also very vulnerable to spam or malware or have a malicious use deliberately built into them. Ratings are a good indication, but if in doubt seek professional advice.
The final Word(Press)
WordPress isn’t the only content management system out there, and design professionals often have other favourites. However, it is probably the content management system that has the most appeal to users, because of its usability and sleekness of design.
With WordPress use growing each year and more functionality being developed by thousands of plugin developers, it is only set to be more powerful. If content or inbound marketing are part of your marketing mix, having a WordPress websites will help you easily create website content that attracts your ideal customers.
Why yes, we DO do WordPress Websites!
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For businesses that rely on communicating ideas to the highest standard, I highly recommend Hook and Loop.