WordPress is now the worldâ€™s most widely used content management system (CMS), and is installed on 22% of all new websites. Â We now recommend WordPress to all of our small business customers for a wide variety of reasons. The main benefit is that you can create a professional and reliable small business website for free with WordPress, and even someone with no web design experience will be able to manage it.
There is an online-only version of WordPress, which is great for quick and easy blogging if that is all you want to do. However, if you want to create a professional website or blog, the huge benefits come with the software version which is freely available from WordPress.org. Most web hosting companies now offer a very simple 1-click installation of WordPress, you can usually find this in the â€˜applicationsâ€™ section of your hosting account. In this post we look into the main reasons that WordPress is the best CMS for small business websites.
WordPress is Free
As an open source platform you can use WordPress entirely for free, which is obviously a great asset for small businesses. You can buy extras like premium themes and plugins (we will explain these later), but if you are on a very tight budget and are prepared to put in the work, you can create a website for no more than the cost of the hosting and domain name.
It Looks Great
WordPress is based on template designs, which means that you donâ€™t need any web design or development experience to make your site look great. There is a huge choice of free â€˜themesâ€™ which provide the basic design layout for your website. These themes have been designed by professionals and you can add your own images, logo, and text, and customise the design to suit your business needs. Premium themes are also very popular, and can be purchased for an affordable price from one of the many providers online. These designs are generally more modern and intricate than the free themes, and will make your site look more expensive and professional.
Powerful and Scalable Functionality
One of the best things about using WordPress is the way in which you can use freely available â€˜pluginsâ€™ to add functionality to your site. For example, you may want to add a survey form or some social media sharing buttons to your site, and you can do this by searching the plugin library and installing them for free. This feature is what makes WordPress so powerful for small businesses. Someone creates a plugin once, and then millions of people can use that application for free, instead of each person paying a developer to create it for them. You can use as many as you need to achieve the functionality that you want on your site.
Easy to Manage
Most people who have employed a web designer to build a custom site for them will understand the frustration that can be caused by the ongoing management of the website after it has gone live. If you have no experience of HTML coding or databases (etc) you can find that you constantly need to pay the original designer to make changes for you. In this sense you are â€˜locked inâ€™ to relying on (and paying) someone else to update and manage your site for you.
However, the basic management of a WordPress site is very user-friendly, intuitive and easy to learn. You will quickly grasp how to add images and posts, manage comments and use plugins. You can even quickly teach yourself how to make basic design changes like removing sections of a page, or tweaking colours or sizes of text. Obviously, as it is an open source software, there is no telephone support. However, there is a comprehensive forum, which features the solution to almost any conceivable problem and the opportunity to post your question, which will be answered by other users.
Great for SEO
The WordPress software is constantly reviewed and updated by expert developers, and one of the aspects always under review is its relationship with the search engine algorithms. The good news is that WordPress is designed around a â€˜permalinkâ€™ structure, which means the URLs donâ€™t change, and this is great for consistency with the search engines. There are also numerous free plugins specifically designed to help your site comply with best SEO practices, to ensure that you are featuring in the search results as much as possible. Once again this means you are not tied in to trusting a web developer to do this for you, as this is often one of the easiest â€˜unseenâ€™ elements for them to cut corners on whilst creating a website.
Help is Available
If all of this sounds great, and you like the idea of managing your own website and not being tied in to web designers and developers, then WordPress is definitely a great option for you. Whilst in the long term we recommend keeping the management of a small business website in-house, if you donâ€™t have much design experience or time to learn, you may benefit from some initial help with the set-up of your WordPress site.
An effective website design is not just about the images, fonts and colours that you choose. These are important aspects, but other elements such as the correct positioning of content, the way in which you make users navigate the site, the way your brand is conveyed, and your marketing concepts will have a huge effect on how successful your website is at turning visitors into customers.