409 million people can’t be wrong
That’s how many people currently use WordPress. As the most popular open source Content Management System (CMS), WordPress has steadily increased its fan base year on year since its inception in 2003.
But why? What does WordPress have that other CRMs don’t? Well, for a start it’s free to install. That’s a big plus for many people but especially shoestring entrepreneurs and sole traders who are just getting their business of the ground. It also offers thousands of plugins and templates combined with a simple interface so users who are not tech-savvy can easily get to grips with it.
Over a quarter of the world’s websites are hosted by WordPress and when you consider that, it becomes pretty obvious that there’s more than one aspect of WordPress that works particularly well for its users.
Let’s look at some of those reasons and if you’re currently deciding between WordPress and other CRMs, you might feel as though you’re better placed to make your decision by the end of this article.
Free and easy?
Yes, WordPress is free – it makes no difference if you’re staring a commercial website or a blog that’s just for fun, it doesn’t cost anything. Even if your website takes off and gets a lot of traffic, it’s still free.
Not only that but WordPress is “open source” which means that you’re able to make alterations or improvements to its source code so that your website looks just the way you want it to and works in the best way possible for your visitors.
That doesn’t mean that you’re able to start a website on WordPress with no associated costs though. You’ll still need server space to host your site so you will need to pay for hosting. There are also some costs associated with WordPress plugins, lots are free but some need to be paid for. That being said, it’s perfectly possible to create a website for very little layout if you’re on a tight budget.
Once you’ve installed WordPress then you can get going immediately. There’s little configuration needed once you’ve customized your site and chosen a theme and plug-ins.
WordPress is really an ‘instant package’ with social media and comments sections plus a blog all ready to go. There are a tonne of how-to videos available and WordPress offers almost all of the information you’ll need to get set up quickly.
Of course there are lots of additional extras which you can add as you build your site but starting is very easy and there are plenty of official WordPress video tutorials designed to make the process as simple as possible.
For SEO you can’t beat WordPress
You really can’t. Google ranks sites which use WordPress higher than others. WordPress is built in a way that makes it far easier for the search engine spiders to crawl the site and fish out the information they need to rank a website.
Here’s some more information from Moz about spiders and how search engines work – plus there’s a lovely spidery graphic to enjoy!
Furthermore, WordPress makes it super-simple to get started with content creation. There’s a drag and drop editor and an easy-to-use multimedia library so even newcomers can find their way around.
There are built-in SEO features to help in the creation of truly SEO content. It literally tells you if what you’ve written isn’t cutting the SEO mustard.
WordPress looks great and it’s easy to create a site that loads fast
Speed is critical if you want to ensure your visitors don’t get frustrated with slow-to-load pages and hit the back button.
With many themes to choose from, it’s also easy to create a website that looks slick and which will appeal to your target market. You can browse through the available themes and see live demonstrations of what your site could look like.
It’s pretty on-trend to have image-heavy websites at the moment – visual appeal is a huge part of eCommerce but also an important aspect of other forms of digital marketing. Nobody wants to scroll through pages and pages of type without a few pretty pictures.
Because WordPress’s editor makes it super-easy to resize images, users can ensure their site isn’t slowed down by too many big photographs or illustrations; your beautiful site with stunning imagery could cause a slow-to-load website unless you ensure your images are the right size.
Another plus is the fact that the editor also allows users to add alt tags and descriptions to images which are another SEO power tool.
If you’re wondering what an alt tag is, here’s a quick breakdown.
An alt tag is part of what helps people who are visually impaired to understand more about what’s on a screen. It’s a basic description of an image so users who are implementing a screen reader can quickly learn what’s on the page.
Alt tags have the added benefit of helping your SEO too because those spiders that we mentioned earlier might be sophisticated, but they can’t see what’s in an image to work out the relevance of a site’s content; they can however, understand a clear description.
How mobile friendly is your website?
It’s easy to keep on top of this vital aspect with WordPress. Google doesn’t like sites which aren’t mobile friendly and will automatically rank them lower than those which are.
It doesn’t matter how good your content is, if your site doesn’t translate well on a mobile device then that’s how it is.
If you create your WordPress site with mobile users at the forefront of your decisions, then it’s easier to manage in general. Responsiveness is important, so select a responsive theme to maximize your mobile users’ experience.
Here are a few examples of the most popular and powerful responsive WordPress themes. There are many more to choose from.
- Twenty Seventeen This is a very popular theme and with good reason. It’s responsive and “features multiple sections on the front page as well as widgets, navigation and social menus, a logo, and more. Personalize its asymmetrical grid with a custom color scheme and showcase your multimedia content with post formats.”
- Hestia Another popular theme that has a great contemporary feel and which works well for creative businesses.
- Envo Storefront Great for eCommerce this is another responsive theme which looks clean and simple as well as being renowned for it’s speed.
Social media is a big part of engagement and it’s engagement that keeps traffic coming to your website. You need your businesses social media profiles to gel perfectly with your website and help drive that traffic.
There are ways to integrate social media with your WordPress site which means that your web content can be quickly shared across other platforms. Someone sees a service or product on your website and wants to let their friends know about it – the right integration can ensure this is easily doable with just a single click.
Plugins like Social Media Share Buttons & Social Share Icons make it simple to add the social media channels you’re part of to your website. There are 16 different designs and you can even animate the buttons if you want to.
Ensuring your WordPress site is more shareable will –
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Enable your users to engage on more channels
- Make social sharing easier
There are lots of advanced methods of linking your social media to your WordPress site. You can connect WordPress with Instagram so that your Instagram content can be automatically shared on your website – this saves a lot of time!
WordPress is super-flexible
You’re able to change the appearance of your site as often as you choose – while this isn’t necessarily something you should do regularly as returning visitors will become confused, but an occasional refresher isn’t a negative thing.
You can sell memberships on your WordPress site
For bloggers this is a great tool; it also works well for other businesses selling intangible products or services. There are plugins specifically to enable users to easily charge members a regular fee and then in return, they receive exclusive content.
You can farm out the running of your website to your team as appropriate. You’re able to assign various roles easily and offer different levels of access to the website for your team. So if you want someone else to write your blog, then that’s simple to arrange. They don’t need to have access to the rest of the website. The different roles offered might look like this.
Each level of user is able to access different website features.
Testimonials are a vital part of ensuring your business looks attractive to new customers. Think about Amazon – a huge portion of their platform is given over to testimonials. There’s more than one good reason for that.
A lot of people don’t realize how tricky it is to grab a first-time buyer first time on a website they’re not familiar with.
Testimonials can help you with this because they’re an instant boost of confidence for the buyer. They can read real opinions and feel comfortable in buying themselves.
WordPress makes it simple to add testimonials via plugins such as Strong Testimonials which is offered in a free or premium version.
The premium version allows you to
- Import existing reviews from Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, Zomato and WooCommerce
- Automate importing and managing testimonials
- Host multiple testimonial collection forms
- Create new forms for different types of products or services on your website
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. With reviews playing such a huge part in any successful business today, a good testimonial plugin is vital.
Let me count the ways…
WordPress isn’t just for a traditional website that advertises services. You can use it for that of course but you can also use it to simply host a blog or sell an online course. You can host a store too or build a membership website. Here are a few other ideas:
- An online community or forum
- A coupon website
- An auction website
- Podcast website
A quick note on podcasts; many podcasters are using WordPress as their go-to site to support their podcast. It’s necessary to have a website to support your podcast if you really want to extend your reach.
Google will take your listeners automatically to iTunes if they search your show’s name. If your website is the first point of contact, you’ve got more control over your branding and you can hook more people via your social media that way too.
So, we’re sure you all get it now; WordPress is great, it’s usable, affordable and slick. There are a few cons to be aware of, just so you’re prepared.
- You’re responsible for your own security unless you use a managed specialist company to do it for you.
- A little coding knowledge is good if you’ve got it – if you haven’t it pays to learn.
- Updates need to be regular so you remain as responsive as possible.
- Some of the most powerful plugins are not free
The cons aren’t really cons in the traditional sense but are simply things to consider as you plan. They’re certainly not enough to put millions of happy users off are they?
The best advice for anyone who is new to WordPress is to browse the WordPress Blog and also join in on some of the many support forums you can find online. Ask questions, check out other people’s sites and learn more about the areas you’re uncertain of. Take note of websites which look good, what theme are they using? If you find a theme you especially like the look of, visit lots of sites using that theme and you’ll see just how flexible WordPress really is.
Need some help?
Our Design and Development team can assist with custom WordPress design, strategizing, maintenance and more. Speedlancer is a one-of-a-kind concept which is designed to make the process of hiring freelancers easier.