About four years ago, needing to redo my own website, I put out an RFP and received proposals from a lot of designers. I eventually settled upon the one guy whom I liked best and he recommended that we build the site using an underlying architecture, the Content Management System (CMS), with something called Drupal.
I learned at that point that there are no shortages of CMS systems available, all of which are designed to, essentially, allow you to easily update your website. For reasons too complicated to get into here, it turns out I hired the wrong guy, wasted a lot of money and time, and had to start over from scratch.
At that point, my assistant and content manager extraordinaire, Vivian, kept telling me that the obvious answer was to use something called WordPress. At the time, WordPress was gaining a reputation as an easy and powerful blogging platform which was, increasingly, being used to build websites too.
Long story short – we built it with WordPress and I couldn’t be happier. It was indeed simple and inexpensive
It’s no wonder then that WordPress has become a very popular choice for websites large and small. I knew that WordPress had reached the tipping point when not one, but two, of the major sites I write for (national and well-known sites and brands), redid their sites with WordPress.
So if you need to redo your site or, shame on you, create a site, then let me suggest that you follow the lead of the big boys (and small boys too) and consider using WordPress. Here are six reasons why:
1. Themes: Creating a website with WordPress is surprisingly easy. There are literally hundreds of themes to choose from and most are free. These themes can be used as is, or they can be customized. You can see some of the best themes here.
2. Web 2.0 Out of the Box: Far too many small business websites are boring cookie-cutter sites that look like they were built circa 2002 or so. In fact, many were. But, we are now living in the Web 2.0 era where people expect to see not only cool designs, but some site interactivity.
That is what you will get with a good WordPress theme: It will look and feel very current with slideshows, flash movies, blogs, video, comment options, advertising spots – the whole shebang.
You no longer need to be stuck with a drab site.
3. Great CMS: As indicated, CMS is the Content Management System. This is the backend tool that allows you to easily, in real time, add an article, blog, or video to your site without having to know code or hire a webmaster. Its WYSIWYG tool (pronounced ‘wissywig’ for What You See Is What You Get) is very reminiscent of any document creation software, like Microsoft Word. As such, the WordPress CMS is simple and intuitive and designed to make adding or changing content to a site a breeze.
4. Cost: Most WordPress themes are free, and those that are not cost less than $100, generally. Customizing your theme, if desired, is relatively easy.
5. Support: WordPress is open source software, meaning there is an army of developers who write code and improve it. As such, getting help is easy because so many people work with and know the program.
6. SEO: Maybe the best part of WordPress (although they are all best parts really) is that it makes Search Engine Optimization a snap. Built into the WordPress dashboard are SEO tools you can use to make sure your site shows up in your target audience’s search results. Your pages will be indexed correctly, your content will be chock-full of keywords and your site will be friendly to search engine spiders. How effortless is that?
About Steve Strauss
Steve Strauss is one of the world’s leading small business experts. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. Steve is also the author of the Small Business Bible and his latest book is Get Your Business Funded: Creative Methods for Getting the Money You Need. A popular media guest, Steve is a regular contributor to ABC News Now and frequently appears on television and radio. His business, The Strauss Group, creates unique, actionable, entertaining, and informative multi-media small business content.