I read comments recently to the effect that WordPress isn’t a good platform for business websites.
I couldn’t disagree more. After all, I use WP for my business websites. I know many businesses use WordPress with great success.
I’m not saying that WordPress is the best solution for every business, especially businesses with specialized website needs such as a custom cataloguing or complex directory capabilities. I probably wouldn’t use WordPress for a large e-commerce store either.
However, if you’re a small business service provider such as a
auto-body repair shop,
bed and breakfast,
… and the list goes on (certainly not an exhaustive list), then WordPress is an ideal website solution for you.
If you’re going to use WordPress for your business website, be prepared to spend some time (about a day or two) learning it. You can be up and running within a day. You’ll need hosting and then you simply install WordPress.
Once you have a hosting service, it’s time to find a theme. Fortunately there are thousands of themes to choose from. Take a look around this site for some ideas.
If you don’t find a theme that’s perfect for you, look into some WordPress theme builders such as Builder, Thesis, and Headway. The sky is the limit with designing a WordPress website with all three of these WordPress theme builders. If you go the route of a WordPress theme builder, it’ll take a little longer to get your site up because you’ll be making some design decisions.
Once you get your business website up, you’ll want to add some functionality to it with plugins. Every business has different needs. But some key plugins I use are as follows:
Google XML Site for creating a sitemap of your website.
WordPress.com stats for tracking your traffic (you can also use Google Analytics).
I also like to use TinyMCE Advanced for providing a more robust visual editor where you write your content.
Of course you’ll need a contact form. You can use any number of contact plugins, or check out Wufoo or Gravity Forms.
If your theme doesn’t have built-in SEO options, use All In One SEO plugin.
The Real Advantage to WordPress is You’re In Control
I can’t tell you how liberating it is as a small business owner to be able to build my own websites. More importantly I can add content whenever I wish to as well as make changes whenever necessary. I’m not dependent on a webmaster which turns into a waiting game and additional expense.
At the end of the day, if after spending a few bucks on a theme and hosting you don’t like WordPress, the bad news is you’ve wasted time and a few bucks. The good news is you only wasted a little time and not too many bucks.
Once you learn how to build your own website, you’ll probably get interested in SEO and conversion (as I have). You’ll be in a position to start doing some or all of the legwork to drive targeted traffic to your website and start getting business.
I learned the hard way that hiring a web designer doesn’t mean you’ll get traffic. Simply launching a site doesn’t attract traffic. Content and search engine optimization work drives traffic. The cost for great SEO is high. If you’re a small business, chances are you can’t afford a great SEO service. So, why not learn it yourself. You don’t need to do much to get decent results.
WordPress being a content management software platform makes it easy to add content to your site (Joomla is also easy, but I find WordPress easier to use).
Even if WordPress isn’t for you, I can’t recommend building your own business website more. You may need to hire a graphic designer for some graphics and a logo. The key is learning how to build your Web presence for your business – when you’re in control, you’ll be amazed at how much business you can get from the Internet.