Focus: Is WordPress right for your small business website?

Summary TLDR;

  • WordPress support: WordPress .org is free to download so there is no formal support. There are support forums but if you want to pick up a phone to talk to someone you need to pay for WordPress support or maintenance from a business like ours.
  • What's the goal for your website? Once you know the goal for your website then you'll know what features you need. WordPress is very flexible due to plugins (small programs to extend its functions). For example for an online shop, one of the most popular plugins is Woocommerce. The basic Woocommerce is free and again there is no support other than forums or businesses like ours.
  • What is your budget for your investment? Although WordPress itself is free you'll need to pay for hosting. Free services tend to have limitations and possibly adverts. Cheap hosting will not serve your business.

There are heaps of website software to choose from such as WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, etc. and there are a lot of posts in Facebook groups from businesswomen asking what is the correct website software for them. They post asking what would suit their business without thinking about their business, their skill set, and what they want their business website to do for them. This article helps you consider whether WordPress is right for your business website.

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No one website software is right for everyone. I say this as someone who only created WordPress websites for over 10 years in my previous business.

Yes, a website can work for your business no matter what software it's created with, that's true. However, some websites are better suited to some businesses than others.

I'll say again, no one website software is right for everyone.

When you're trying to create a website for your own business or even re-design one you're trying to get it right from the start.

What you can end up doing is spending heaps of time investigating the best website platform for you by asking in Facebook groups, watching Youtube videos on website creation, etc. when you could be doing revenue-generating activities, activities that bring money into your business. We rarely think of the opportunity cost - that is we rarely put a cost on the time we spend investigating something. If we did would we spend so much time doing it? Well, possibly but only if it's something we're interested in. When it comes to websites some businesswomen want to get results and don't need to do the investigation themselves.

It only matters what software your website is on if you intend to manage it yourself or within your team.

Here are the main 3 things to consider when deciding a platform for your website.

1 ) Who is going to look after the website? By look after I mean add content to it and technically update it. If it's you or a member of your team, you've got to make sure that training is available. Are they going to need phone/email support? If so, this needs to be something that you need to prioritize. For some platforms, especially the free ones there are only online forums for free, otherwise, you have to find a business like us to help you with WordPress support. Yes, there are YouTube videos (what did we do before it!) but they aren't always up to date or do exactly what you're after. There are training programs but again they aren't all created equal. You need to know what you need to be trained in before you can find a training program for it.

2 ) What is the goal of your website? What will your website be doing for your business? Most platforms can do most things but some are better than others since it's their specialty. If you're running an e-commerce shop you may want to investigate Shopify, Ecwid, or WordPress. For Shopify and Ecwid there is a monthly (or annual) fee whether you sell anything or not. For WordPress, there is no annual fee for the service but you would need website hosting and WordPress would need to have a plugin (additional small program) such as Woocommerce to create the online shop. If it's an informational service website WordPress was originally built to be a blogging platform so it's very good for service businesses. It links to most other services that you may need and there many, many plugins, so you can interact with other services such as newsletter, social media, etc.

Once you know what you're website goals are then you have a better idea of what features your website platform needs to have.

3) What's your budget for the investment in your website? That's not a play on words by saying investment rather than cost. Your website should give you a return in some form and that's also part of the goals of your website. The return may be sales, leads, building your credibility. Your website should be giving you a return in some way that you can measure. . can be very low cost however it still needs hosting. The cheapest hosting is not always the best hosting since you still need a hosting service that is secure and gives you a fast-loading website. Other services can be completely free but you have to have their logo on your website or adverts. If you want your business to be seen as a professional business then it's good to be seen as such and so remove someone else's branding. Free services also tend to have limitations so that you don't receive all the functionality or you have to pay for additional functions.

You can change from one platform to another any time you like. Yes, there will be a cost either in time and/or money and it's easier to do it before you have too much information on there simply because it's easier to move.

If you know what you want from your website then you can measure its effectiveness. When you realise it's not working for you then that's the time to move. Don't wait for 8 years with loads of information on your website and then be surprised that it will cost you to move to a different website platform.

Why is WordPress so popular when I've said it may not be the best for you?

According to W3 Techs statistics WordPress is the platform of choice for over 41% of the top 10 million websites on the internet. When looking at CMS (Content Management Systems - systems where it's easy to change the content without having to know how to code websites) WordPress has around 64% of the market share, with the next in line being Shopify at 5.4% which is a huge difference. Of course, popularity does not mean it's the best one for you and your business.

Other things about WordPress to consider- it has a huge community that supports each other. The WordPress directory has over 50,000 plugins which means that you are in control of your website and can add functionality when you want to add it. There are plugins available outside of the directory too which add to that number.

There are over 8,000 themes in the WordPress directory and more available outside the directory. Themes change the look and feel of your website from where the content is placed, the colours that are used, the fonts, etc. Some people say you shouldn't use themes since your website will look like any other website but I don't agree with that. Layouts of themes can be changed easily and as long as you're not using stock imaged that come with the theme then your website will still look different from other websites.

There are forums that will help you learn WordPress, help you when things go wrong, and help you to maintain your website, as well as YouTube videos, online courses, etc.

We have moved clients from Wix, WordPress .com, and Concrete5 to WordPress when the business owners realised that their current website platforms were not growing their businesses.

If you already have a website and you're wondering about moving to WordPress and you'd like to chat to someone about it please book a complimentary chocolate and a chat call (one per client). We'll ask you about your current website, what you're not happy about with it and whether we think WordPress could help your business. The answer may not be yes.

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