If you plan on running a successful business, large or small, a website will be an integral part. In fact, the success of your business might be dictated largely by the quality of your website. If you are a small startup with a small budget, the process of building and launching a website might seem daunting. Even if you were an already established business, this process could also cause head-ache.
There are many choices out there… this is partly what makes it a tough venture. There are many free site builders out there that might seem tempting, like SquareSpace, WIX, and Shopify. There are even more choices for CMS platforms, like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.
We believe that WordPress is here to stay and offers many advantages to the small and medium size businesses.
This point is interesting. I just mentioned the free website builders, so I’ll start by advising you that they may not be the best idea for a serious business.
If you use a free website builder, sure you still own copyrights to your images and text, but you never really have control over your files. You can’t really ever backup your site safely onto a thumb drive. You can’t migrate to a different hosting provider. Also, imagine that all of a sudden this ‘Free’ service starts rolling out a pay structure that you either have to join or be shut down. It is also possible that these services are not going to be around for the long haul. If the service calls it quits, then all the work you put into the site might be lost.
WordPress is king when it comes to these three words.
I don’t even know where to start with this topic! There are thousands of free and paid themes and plugins to jump-start your site. Upon that there are innumerable support forums all over the web, for and by WordPress developers that exists solely to help you!
Beginner developers and Master developers all love working with WordPress. The community is huge!
So if you needed some crazy functionality that you think might only exist in an enterprise level package, think again. I’ve been able to accomplish some amazing things using only free plugins. For example, we built a full shared space data base driven by members, where they can post available workspace with so much detail.
Here is another scenario: Lets say you have a WordPress website that has been up for years and you now realize that your business needs to move towards offering products via ecommerce. No Problem! There are several ecommerce plugins out there that are free (with very slick paid features). We love WooCommerce. Within an hour you could have a product that is ready to be purchased on your existing website.
Two key takeaways from this point would be that with WordPress you can hit the ground running with killer features, and the website can literally grow with you as your business grows.
Yes, I know, easy is relative term, especially in the the world of web development.
Many hosting companies today offer 1-click installs for WordPress because it is so popular. Once WordPress is setup, then you can dive in and start browsing plugins, themes and clicking on all the fun features. When I describe how easy WordPress is to use to start manipulating content, as a comparison, I usually refer to things like Ebay, CraigsList, and Facebook. If you can find your way around services like that, then you should be able to pickup WordPress and excel from there.
WordPress is only getting better and easier to use. There are lots of plugins that will extend the way you develop your page content in WordPress. One of my absolute favorite plugins to do this is called the Visual Composer. It is amazingly easy to use and can produce stellar results. It is a drag and drop, visual page builder. So instead of having simple layouts on your site, you can craft multi0column layouts with smart responsive mechanisms built in.
Another key here to remember is that the community is so large, that if you get stuck, you can just Google your way out of trouble.
First of all, the software is open source, and free. Well that’s cool!
There are no monthly fees or software costs for the most part, unless you want to spring for uber fancy plugins or themes. It is scalable, as mentioned before, the amount of money you invest into the software is entirely variable.
You don’t need a developer, unless you are doing something completely custom. Most of the free themes and plugins are super adequate for getting up a really nice business website that looks professional.
In the end, the only base cost would be your hosting fees. Remember don’t skimp on hosting. If it sounds cheap, then it probably is. You might expect to pay $5-$20 per month on hosting.
WordPress might not be the be the best solution for every situation. But in my experience in developing for the web for over 10 years, it has a very strong place for individuals, small and medium size business, and the occasional large corporate business. We here at Boomerang Marketing work a lot with nonprofit organizations and find that WordPress is usually a no-brainer for platform choice.
Daniel is the lead developer at Boomerang Marketing. Daniel is our guru when it comes to WordPress and website development.Daniel’s formal education includes a BFA from The Savannah College of Art and Design. He chose to pursue a career in web development and has worked in the industry for over 10 years.