What is this WordPress thing I keep hearing about?

If you have recently gone to a website designer to get a new website or a website makeover, you probably came across the term: WordPress. Maybe you were too embarrassed to ask what it is, so we have written this article to hopefully answer all of your questions!

Quite simply, WordPress is software used to run both business and personal websites. The WordPress software platform allows a business to have simple website pages like a home page, an about page, and a services page, as well as more complicated pages like a contact page with an online form, a photo gallery page, events page, or even a shop page.

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) that allows non-technical users to make changes to existing pages by logging into a secure area. WordPress pages are built so that if you know how to use Microsoft Word or an email editor, you can log in and make changes to your web pages without needing any additional training or web programming experience.

The ease of usability and the flexibility of WordPress makes it the perfect tool for business owners who want more control over their website.

Why should I use WordPress to run my business website?

Remember the very first version of your website? Back in the early to mid 2000’s, if you wanted to make a simple change to one of your web pages, you had to contact your webmaster, explain to them what the change was, and then wait up to a week or more to see the change live on your website.

Those days should be long behind you! The WordPress technology is easy-to-use page editing software, where you can log in (from anywhere with Internet access) and make your changes to any web page and publish it live to the world in minutes.

If that is not reason enough for you to switch and make sure your next website makeover is built using WordPress, here are 9 more reasons:

  1. The WordPress software is free (Open Source) to use – no monthly or annual licensing or ‘software renting’ costs!
  2. WordPress is easy to extend and can grow as your business grows – you can start with a basic business website, then add-on blogging capabilities, ecommerce / online shopping carts, membership and business directories, classified ads, galleries, event management, social media, question and answer functionality, advanced forms, and so so much more!
  3. WordPress is built to be search engine friendly – it comes with the tools to give any search engine optimization expert the ability to optimize further
  4. WordPress is ever-evolving – since it’s inception in 2003, WordPress has gone from being a basic blogging platform to a business website powerhouse tool that continues to innovate!
  5. WordPress is multi-user – you and your team can each have a log in to your WordPress website, each with different levels of roles/capabilities, so you can ensure changes are done right away and that important content is not affected.
  6. WordPress is extremely customizable – you can make your WordPress website look and feel just about any way you can dream up. The architecture of the platform allows it to be personalized and branded to your organization’s needs.
  7. WordPress page editing is easy to use – given the page editor is generally a big box with font styling tools, making changes to existing web pages are a cinch.
  8. WordPress sites can be made to be mobile friendly – as well as being able to be branded to your business, a WordPress website can be built to look good both on a laptop or desktop computer as well as a mobile device. No longer do you need to have two separate websites – with a responsive WordPress design, the same page can respond to whatever screen size it is being looked at with.
  9. WordPress prevents lock in – since it is an open source, popular platform, you will always be able to find human resources to manage your WordPress website should you need to. Also, there are thousands of hosting companies that can run your WordPress website on their servers – you never need to be locked in to one hosting vendor or service provider again!

How do I get started with using WordPress?

First of all, if you are a business, you want to make sure you are self-hosting WordPress and not using WordPress.com (which is the free hosted version). When you download and install your own version of WordPress you have access to all of the extensions and customizations we talk about in this article and much more.

Once you have the basic version of WordPress installed on your hosting provider here are some of the steps you or your website design company are going to take to get your website up and running:

  • Create a design or download a theme (a theme is an already designed look and feel) to skin the basic WordPress software.
  • Create your main website pages (Home, About, Services, Contact).
  • Install the Blogging section of the software to your website.
  • Install various plugins to extend the base software with more functionality needed to run your online business.
  • Add text content, images, and video to each of the web pages.
  • Add links, downloadable PDFs, and email sign ups to various pages.
  • Test to ensure buttons, links, and contact forms all work and are sending visitors to the right information.

What if you could update your website in minutes by yourself?

Think about your website as it stands right now – do you have to make a phone call or send an email every time you want to make a small change to your website? Does it sometimes take a couple days or maybe you even have to follow up with your webmaster or designer a couple times?

Depending on the SLA (Service Level Agreement) you have with your current web designer or webmaster, it could take up to a week or even longer to see changes completed. Your SLA will have defined the turnaround time that the company you are working with has offered you, and likely, it won’t be within 24 hours.

WordPress can eliminate this type of headache for you and your business. As long as you can log in, you can make any change you like and see it live within minutes, even if you only have a very basic knowledge of websites and web programming.

What if you had a system that grows with your business?

Another perk of using WordPress is that you can start out with your basic 5 page website for as long as you like, and then as your business grows, you can expand your site to become anything you need it to be: an online store, photo gallery, event calendar, etc.

Let’s use a not-for-profit business as an example, like a community league, who may not have a huge budget. You can easily start out with a basic website with a home page, about page, and contact page, and then as needed, grow and extend the WordPress website to have a discussion forum, be able to process payment for memberships, or have a photo gallery of past events!

Even though you may not be able to build or edit every aspect of your website yourself, you can find resources locally here in Edmonton or you can hire people to help you maintain your WordPress website from around the world. Being able to find ample resources is another key reason to use the WordPress platform for your online business. A good example of a WordPress maintenance service is WP Curve, a 24/7 WordPress support business that is accessible to virtually anyone globally for a monthly fee.

What is WordPress Summary:

I hope you have a much better understanding about what WordPress is, why you should use it in your business, and what it can do for your website. Here are a few key points to leave this article with:

  • WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS), which allows you to make updates without having to go through a programmer or webmaster.
  • WordPress is software to run your professional business website and business blog.
  • WordPress is extensible – with plugins being published every day to extend it’s capabilities.
  • WordPress runs more than 70 million websites around the world.
  • Many popular websites like The New Yorker, BBC America, TechCrunch, BestBuy and The Official Star Wars blog all run on the WordPress platform.
  • With WordPress you can have all of the tools you need to run a successful business online.

Sources:
entrepreneur.com/article/241535
wpbeginner.com/why-you-should-use-wordpress/
managewp.com/14-surprising-statistics-about-wordpress-usage
wpbeginner.com/showcase/40-most-notable-big-name-brands-that-are-using-wordpress/

Have any questions about using WordPress for your business website? We are happy to answer them – contact us here

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