There is nothing quite as thrilling as starting a new business. You’ve had the idea rolling around in your head for a long time and you’ve finally decided to pull the trigger. You come up with a plan, think of a name, file your papers, and get really excited when you see your business’s name printed on paper. The next indulgent step? A website.
But where do you begin? Business owners are faced with a myriad of options when it comes to building a website. From monthly subscription, do-it-yourself options like Square Space, Weebly, and Wix (to name a few); to the chunky, outdated website builders bundled with hosts; to hiring an agency, freelancer, friend of a friend, or brother-in-law to do it for you. As you begin your research, it’s quite easy to fall further and further down a strange, complex rabbit hole.
Crucially, you want to make sure the technology will be around 3, 5, or even 10 years from now; changing platforms can be expensive, and boxing yourself into a technology that isn’t widely supported can become a real headache.
But before getting caught up in the latest crazes and trends, it helps to take a step back and look at it from your savvy business owner’s perspective, especially considering your website will be a cornerstone of your business’s identity. Making a list of needs and wants before choosing a platform for your business can really help narrow in on what would work best for you. And in the world of technology, there are a few unique points that should be considered before making your investment. Cost is certainly a factor, and you also want something that looks great and portrays you and your work in a professional way. Crucially, you want to make sure the technology will be around 3, 5, or even 10 years from now; changing platforms can be expensive, and boxing yourself into a technology that isn’t widely supported can become a real headache. What about updating the content of the website, or specific functionality you need? Being able to use your website yourself not only saves time and money but can really empower you and your team to get the most out of it.
Taking all of these things into consideration alongside the growing number of options available, we work exclusively with WordPress because it’s the best option available for our clients. Here’s why…
— Konstantin Obenland (@obenland) August 19, 2015
This point can’t be stressed enough because it has a tremendous effect on every other aspect of the technology. The bottom line is, the more stakeholders there are using the technology, the more steam it has behind it. This means the platform will get better with time, instead of becoming outdated. It also means that finding support for your website will be easier and cheaper. There are too many stories about websites built using proprietary software where the client is locked into working with a small team of developers. And if the company goes under, it’s everyone for themselves.
It’s estimated that WordPress powers some 24% or more of websites on the internet. That’s a big number, and a lot of stakeholders to make sure WordPress is around for the long haul, and it’s going to keep getting better.
A byproduct of a large adoption base is versatility. Because so many people use WordPress for different purposes, there are a lot of different options and plugins available for it. In fact, there is an enormous community of developers that work with WordPress to create practically anything, from e-commerce to online booking, to full-fledged social media networks. In fact, WordPress has even been used for complex web apps. And if you can’t find a theme or plugin that does what you need, finding a developer to create it for you is easy and economical.
Naturally, the cost is a very important factor, especially for a new business that is just getting started. One of the main reasons that we choose to use WordPress for all of our projects is the value it provides to clients. Customizing the WordPress framework, themes, and plugins for our clients is much cheaper, easier, and faster than coding a website from scratch. And because WordPress is so popular, developers can be found at reasonable rates. Our value proposition to clients is that we leverage the community behind WordPress to find and customize solutions that are already built, saving time, money, and headache.
Ease of Use
There are a lot of moving parts to a website, and few platforms handle them as well as WordPress does. Logging in to make updates to a page, add photos, and make small customizations is intuitive, clean, and comfortable. In fact, its ease-of-use is one of the main reasons WordPress is so popular with business websites.
Documentation and Support
Another byproduct of the popularity of WordPress is the tremendous amount of documentation and support available online. If you run into problems, simply google your issue with the word ‘WordPress’ and millions of tutorials, forum discussions, and documentation will surface in less than a second. That sort of independence when it comes to using your website is what being self-employed is all about.
Of course, there is a flip side to every coin and there are some aspects of WordPress that could be improved. Fortunately, improving them is pretty simple. I’ll address some common misconceptions about WordPress for business websites in a later post.
A website for a business is an important decision and a sizable investment, and taking a step back to really think about the big picture is necessary to ensure it’s a successful endeavor. Looking at it from a business owner’s perspective allows us to justify using WordPress for every project that we work on. We choose WordPress for business websites because it is widely adopted, versatile, and cost-effective. And we love working with it. It’s a win-win.
If you still have questions about using WordPress for your business website, post them in the comments or shoot me an email, and I’ll do my best to answer them.