WordPress and Your Small Business
First, just a little history of WordPress. WordPress was originally built for blogging but since then has become one of the best and most popular Content Management Systems on the web, in fact as of today’s date more than 26% off ALL WEBSITES in the World are built on top of WordPress and that is a lot of websites. WordPress is extremely versatile and can be used by for any purpose, from blogging all the way to being utilized by Fortune 500 Companies such as Microsoft, Sony and UPS to name a few.
In the year 2001 Michael Valdrighi launched a publishing program by the name of ‘b2 cafelog’ and it officially became WordPress as we know it in the year 2003 with the help of Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. In 2004 plugins were introduced and in 2005 the theme system and static pages were added to the core as well as a update to the user system, at this point WordPress was well on its way to becoming a great CMS. In 2010 version 3.0 was released and I believe it was version that really pushed it over the top to become one of the most versatile web tools that exist today with the introduction of Custom Post Types. Custom Post Types gives WordPress the ability to customly add any kind of content that a site might need, such as sliders, staff directories, e-commerce products, testimonials, portfolio items, etc.. There is really almost nothing that cannot be built with Custom Post Types.
Fast-forward to 2016 and the latest version of WordPress has just added an awesome responsive viewer in the administration section that will allow you to view how your site will look on mobile devices. There is no wonder why WordPress has become such a popular platform since its inception, and it really doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Wordpress is ‘Open Source’, which means that there are literally millions of people using and contributing to the platform making it better with every version. It also mean that WordPress CMS is free to use with no restrictions and can be changed, update and manipulated to suit any of your needs.
Types of WordPress Installations:
Wordpress as a solution is available as 2 different options and both have ups and downs. Lets take a look at some of the aspects of Hosted and Non-hosted WordPress sites and see which one might be right for your needs.
First of all we have the Hosted version at WordPress.com:
Not all the options on here are free but these can all be beneficial because for one, all of the technical aspects of the site maintenance are taken care of by wordpress.com and all you have to do is focus on keeping up with your content. It can also be a fast solution if you need to get a company website up and running in lighting speed. Like I mentioned WordPress.com has a few options available, the first being totally free but does not have any of the real niceties that you would hope to have for your business, plus it is subject to advertisements that are not in your control. The next option available is the premium version. The cost is roughly $100 per year and is still subject to having ads on your site as well as not having google analytics available. The next option is the Business package which is roughly $300 per year and that does come with google analytics and is ad free. On all 3 options you can only use the themes and plugins that are specifically available to you on WordPress.com and you cannot use any 3rd party additions since you won’t have access to the site code. Some businesses use this and it fits their needs perfectly and on the other hand some people believe that these constraints are too confining for their business and so look to the next available WordPress package, the self-hosted version.
Second we have the self-hosted version of WordPress:
This option can give your business a lot of room to breath as well as the option to expand and modify your site as your business changes and grows. It is an extremely flexible solution to have at your fingertips. Although there is a little more that you will need to know and be involved in during the life of your site, it is still minimal compared to other Content Management Systems that exist such as Joomla, Drupal or Magento and most hosting companies today make this even easier and safer by offering instant WordPress installs, database backups and some security options that can give you piece of mind. The self-hosted version literally gives you access to hundreds of thousands of Free and Premium Themes and Plugins that can all be used to enhance and extend your site right from the administration screen. If that isn’t what you are looking for then you can always search out some of the very talented WordPress Developers or Web agencies in the community and you can have a custom WordPress site built around your specific needs. You can have a custom bespoke WordPress site built to your particular specifications that works exactly the way you need it to, although there will be costs associate with this option as with all the others.
Wordpress is extremely easy to work with and the administration area of the site is very user friendly. Its direct competition Joomla or Drupal come with a very steep learning curve and require careful study to utilize the content management area of the site.
There is a huge WordPress community available for a small business to utilize in case you are in need a designer, developer or just have a simple question that you need answered.
There are many reason why I recommend WordPress to all small business’s, but some of the best reasons are:
• You have always wanted a website but really don’t want to learn how to code.
• You want to keep your site content updated and don’t want to have to keep someone on staff or wait weeks for your web guy to get back in touch with you to make the changes.
• you have tried your hand at website building and it just didn’t go that well.
In the end WordPress is a Content Management System which means that it gives you the ability to control your content whenever and whenever you want and with the help of the right theme, plugins or WordPress developers you can basically create and control any part of your website on your own.