The use of globalized technology is has changed the way we behave. Especially when it comes to shopping or searching for services online. More and more people are going online first before buying anything. As a small business owner, having a website is a necessary part of doing business in today’s world.
There are many business owners who wonder whether they need a website or not. For most industries it’s not even a question of whether you need an online presence, but how to manage it.
Ten years ago this definitely was not the case. But as the number of people who use the web approaches half of the world’s population – having your own website is standard. Even if you are already on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any other online social communities, having your own little piece of online real estate is a valuable asset.
How can having a website help?
If you couldn’t think of enough good reasons to put up a website for your small business, don’t worry. We’ve got a list of benefits to be had from owning your own site. There are some obvious reasons and ones that may not be so apparent. If done right, running a website should be an investment that pays for itself as well as a simple way help your business succeed.
Accessibility is important. A website gives customers a 24 hour a day access to you in some capacity. This is a good marketing tool and a fast, easy way to let people know what your business is about. Even a simple eCard site will be enough to make an impact on business.
Having a website will give your business credibility. People can get the impression you are not capable or professional when they find out you don’t have a website. Unless you do have one and it looks like this. l If you are local business and a competitor has a site you may lose business to them. The scenario could play out as illustrated below.
Print isn’t dead, but it’s not as powerful as digital media for marketing. For some niche businesses, print is a good way to promote their business, especially if you own a print shop. But this is a rare thing nowadays. Besides, having a website can be part of a long term marketing strategy. There are lots of inexpensive ways to market online. It’s a practical investment for any business.
Increase your reach. A website can be accessed from anywhere with a web connection. This opens up opportunities in other places. If you ship goods you have the option to ship internationally and accept payments from a number of currencies. This is a great way to globalize your business and get connections in other countries.
It is necessary to have a website nowadays. People expect it.Like it or not, you need one. Having a website lets people know that they are dealing with a legitimate business.
If you actually have something truly unique and/or useful to promote you will be handsomely rewarded. You will be in the minority for sure, but if you have something people want, you will generate a buzz. Media outlets will most likely approach you and give you lip service for free. Online karma is a real thing and for better or worse, it can have a big impact on a person’s business.
Powering Your Website With WordPress
The more I learn about WordPress the more I am impressed. Obviously this blog is about WordPress so I am naturally going to pitch it as the CMS to go with when it comes to building a website. I am obviously a fan of WordPress, but what I am attracted to most about WordPress is the possibilities.
From managing multisite networks to creating apps for iOS, there are tons of things you can do with it. Another thing I like is that it is opensource. I’ve always admired the opensource community because it drives development. It’s very nice to have a CMS that is based on a democratic ethos. The WordPress community has shown how this model can satisfy a real need. To give developers, designers and other users a way to do their jobs better. This leads me to believe there is bright future for WordPress as a CMS.
It’s not for everybody, but it is one of the most popular platforms around. From all the recent metrics I’ve seen thrown around let’s say that ballpark – around 25% of websites on the internet are powered by WordPress. With over 3 billion people searching online every day, that means there are hundreds of millions of people using WordPress websites and web apps at any given moment.
The World of WordPress
There is no such thing as a perfect platform. If you look at the attributes of CMS or hosting platform, you will find problems. There are plenty of times you wouldn’t need to use WordPress. But here we have a quick overview of the past and why you would want a WordPress self-hosted installation rather than another solution.
Originally WordPress was built for blogging. Today it has remained true to it’s humble beginnings as a blogging platform. A WordPress website installation provide everything a blogger needs – a clean blogging platform with an easy way to manage content. It’s SEO friendly and offers comments, link management and the ability to organize things by category.
WordPress has always been an open source product. As I mentioned earlier there are some benefits to this as far as development. The tribe, in this case WordPress developers from all over the world, are the ones who can shape the product. As open source software, WordPress is free and a diverse group of developers can help it evolve and change.
The WordPress community seems to be an infinite well of talent, ideas and solutions. Contributors have added functionality to WordPress for almost anything imaginable. Plugins and Themes an handle everything from eCommerce to multi-site networks for major corporations like Walt Disney.
Why use WordPress instead of Wix or Squarespace?
This question comes up often when people ask me about building websites. I love WordPress and building with it is easy whether you are tweaking a theme or creating a custom one. Yet, with Wix or Squarespace there is a short learning curve.
Perhaps you are dealing with a client who wants something that has an easy to use interface and they are not tech savvy. It’s a cheap solution and offers a quick turnaround. If the website doesn’t need to be anything special WordPress may not be the best option. For me there are too many reasons why you shouldn’t use website builders.
Let’s try an analogy, even if I am guilty of oversimplification. Why buy your child a bicycle with training wheels when you could just get her a tricycle? In this analogy WordPress is the bicycle with training wheels and Wix or Squarespace is like the tricycle.
The tricycle is going to get the job done but there is less room to grow. WordPress is like a bicycle that has the capacity for you to add a more features to it…like a basket, headlight, a motor or a jet pack. From beginners to advanced developers, there are benefits to be had by choosing WordPress.
The web is akin to a living organism. It’s constantly in a state of flux. Getting good search results requires unique, updated content. WordPress started as a blogging platform, but you can use it however you’d like. It’s optimized to publish and edit content with ease.
WordPress is a system that provides endless flexibility and it’s not especially hard to use. If anyone wants a website to add content to, especially if the business owner wants to do it, WordPress is the way to go.
Some HTML/CSS knowledge is required, but you won’t need to know how to code to design and customize a website. That’s the beauty of using plugins and themes. It makes the process of creating and editing a website fun and easy.
Why is WordPress a Good Choice?
Just in case you couldn’t find any good reasons to use WordPress, we have come up some for you. If you’ve already thought of these at least now they are all here in one place for you to view. Check them out.
- SEO – WordPress is great for creating SEO friendly websites. Out of the box your site is responsive, and there are only a few things to do to make your search engine rankings soar. Many of the SEO advantages you receive are free.
- Extensions – There are lots of talented (and less talented) developers creating themes and plugins. There are plenty of free plugins and themes that can handle anything. If you need something done, there is a plugin for it. Get plugins to handle all sorts of things like collecting payments, building email lists, creating contact forms, analyzing your site, placing ads etc.
- Support – It’s impossible to NOT find support for WordPress. If you have any problems, want to add features or need help there are lots of people who are ready to help. Call upon the thousands of devlopers or enthusiast on the WordPress forums or sites like stackoverflow.com.
The world has changed and it is still changing. In order to adapt, it’s important to embrace the tools of today and transition away from bygone ways of doing things. When it comes to business, building a website is parting of surviving and thriving. Creating a WordPress website is one of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to creating an online presence.
You also get a powerful set of tools to take your business wherever you want to take it. The flexibility and room to grow are enough to make it a worthy investment for any small business. If you have any reasons why you like WordPress for small business websites, or why you don’t like it – let us know in the comments section.