Love at First Site: WordPress and Small Business
WordPress has been around for more than 15 years. It’s the market-leading online publishing software that enables you to create self-controlled, fully functional websites on your own turf.
With almost a third of the Internet running on WordPress, it’s no wonder that so many small business owners fell in love with it. In many cases, it was love at first site!
True Love vs Dating
These business owners were lucky! Others went the hard way: letting what looked like ‘easy-to-use’ entry-level services catch their eye, only to realize down the road how limiting they were.
They had to abandon site to start afresh with WordPress. Having experienced those less reliable tools, their love for WordPress grew even stronger.
It’s not just a fleeting love affair, either. WordPress offers practical benefits for small business owners and many other types of users. You will still notice these benefits once the honeymoon is over and day-to-day business takes center stage. WordPress stands the test of time!
Read on to fall in love with WordPress (or refresh your current love affair) as we take you through the main benefits. You might also discover that you are merely dating, and could be doing so much more…
Guarantees Independence from Gatekeepers and Third Parties
Some small business owners decide to go the seemingly easy route and use Facebook for their online presence. Then they often wake up one day to realize that their data is locked. Others notice that their design does not work anymore because Facebook has changed theirs.
Sometimes it’s even worse—Facebook is infamous for:
In one of the most bizarre examples of its gatekeeping practice, Facebook censored quotes from the declaration of independence as “hate speech”.
For all these reasons and many more, it’s better to be your own boss when it comes to online content and design. Facebook is convenient as long as it works but when it stops you have a real problem.
Some people go the second best route by using so-called website builders. Such tools allow you to drag and drop your website but in exchange, they keep your content.
It’s either hard or downright impossible to move your assets from such a service. Even if you manage to you have just a dump of data you can’t simply upload elsewhere.
Last but not least there are many obscure, complex and proprietary content management systems that require a steep learning curve and in many cases regular payments so that your site stays up.
Sure, WordPress needs hosting too and you won’t know it all from day one either but it’s easier to use than other systems, you are independent of gatekeepers like Facebook or Google and you can export and import your content how often you want. Any hosting provider can be used to upload it again and to recreate your site in the exact same way it looked originally.
The WordPress and small business relationship is based on independence from day one. Even though you love each other and trust the other you can go solo any day without feeling trapped.
Full Control and Ownership of Content and Other Assets
It’s not just that you can move your site any day and any place you choose. You also control your content completely. You own it, you have full access to it and you can even change the:
Even as a developer, you will rarely need to touch the actual source code but some people actually like doing it simply because they can! Some website builders allow limited access to your website source, but Facebook does not—just as other social media sites display your content inside their own design, but only let you customize a bit at best.
No matter how comfortable you are with WordPress there is a level of complexity that fits any type of user, beginner, intermediate or advanced.
When you fall in love you sometimes let go of trying to control things but down the road you realize that trusting your partner with everything can backfire.
This is also true when you consider the pitfalls of online publishing on third party sites. They own your code and content so once your love affair ends you may lose everything.
Works for Portfolio Sites, Online Stores or Local Business
Back in the day, WordPress started as a tool for bloggers to write diary-like (latest entry on top) weblogs that later became known as blogs. Later WordPress also embraced business and with it most if not all other website types including:
- Online stores
- Simple “business card” static sites.
It doesn’t matter what type of site you fancy. You can most likely make it with WordPress. Only super-complex corporate sites and extremely secure government sites may require other tools. And you would have to adapt your installation to those specific requirements. The large majority of websites can be set up with WordPress out of the box.
Of course, you can tweak, improve and optimize your WordPress site to the max. It allows you to obsess about website speed, Google visitors or users with special needs.
No matter what kind of business you run, you can do it with WordPress. You could be a barber, lawyer or photographer, or an organization with dozens of employees who all need some level of access to your site. For everyone from startups to established success stories, the appropriate designs and tools are available. By now WordPress is probably the most versatile online publishing tool out there. You simply have to fall in love with it!
Makes Content Creation Simple for Starters with Gutenberg Editor
The new WordPress editor called Gutenberg allows beginners to create very enriched content with all kinds of media in it by just clicking an icon or two. You can embed video, audio (think music) or updates from other sites with ease.
You can format text and visual content with no additional effort. At the same time, you can add custom content formatting and use those formats over and over without hassle.
A growing number of predefined blocks by other users offers another level of tools that simplify the publishing process along with themes and plugins. Why reinvent the wheel each time when others have created the exact type of formatting you need?
Offers Free Advanced Features with Plugins
One of the most-loved aspects of WordPress is the plugin library. You can be sure that any advanced feature you can think of somebody else already has already thought of before you and even put that idea into code. Such plugins are often highly customizable so that you can use advanced features in a way that fits your site and business.
There are plugins for search engine optimization so that Google searchers find what they need on your site. Yoast SEO is the most popular one with many millions of users.
Woocommerce is a feature-rich online store built on top of WordPress. You can literally plug it in to create a sophisticated ecommerce business.
For local business owners—that is brick and mortar stores, artisans and services—there are specific tools making your sites findable and usable by people from your neighborhood or local area.
WP Beginner has a very useful list of WordPress plugins for small business owners in case you need a good starting point!
Has a Huge Community for Free or Affordable Support Available
Some static websites are written in code only the original web developer really understands. Some content management tools are so complicated that only experts who have worked with them for years how to change something.
WordPress has highly standardized code that anybody can read and understand. You can choose from tens of thousands of developers once you need some customization or additional features. Yet in most cases you won’t even need them.
WordPress plugins and themes render most additional coding work redundant. Just very specific types of designs or features need to be coded at all.
Due to the large pool of potential coders and designers who can help you, there is a lot of competition and thus costs are reasonable. For minor issues, there are numerous forums and communities on WordPress.org and elsewhere with lots of people who help you for free.
In general, there are plenty of ways to find help with WordPress for free or free reasonable prices. Just ask for it or simply read up questions and answers by other people facing similar issues.
Allows Different Types of Content Can Get Published + Managed
On social media sites, you are often limited to one or two main content types. On Instagram, you have to post images or videos. The accompanying text is merely a glorified caption. On YouTube, it’s all about videos and you only see a line or two of the text description.
WordPress can be used for all types of content, including text, images, and video, put directly on your site or by embedding third-party services. YouTube videos are the best example.
Many sites even prohibit to use your content from other services, You won’t be able to post Facebook video on YouTube, for example.
You have to upload and share the same content twice. On WordPress, there are no such issues. Any content on third-party sites can be shown on WordPress as well.
Supports Short Updates or News Work as Well as Large Tutorials
On Twitter, only short updates work (i.e. tweets). On WhatsApp, Snapchat or any other instant messenger service, you can’t be wordy either.
On WordPress, you can do whatever you want. Short updates with just a sentence, image or link are just as welcome as large essays, tutorials or short stories.
On Facebook, it’s about text, images, and videos. But only short informal updates really work. You can’t post an essay on Facebook.
WordPress is about the open Web. You can take your data, download it and move from one place to another. Nobody stops you from using your own data elsewhere. You can use your content in many places at once and even automate the process.
It’s also up to you what kind or size of content you actually publish. The length of content can vary from tiny updates—a sentence with a link or image is enough—to large essays or tutorials.
It depends on the niche, topic and the audience which content type or size makes sense for you. People do not read essays on cats but rather vie cute cat pics. When it comes to philosophy it’s the other way around. Just find out what’s best for you and your visitors, not the business model of the website that publishes your content.
Shows Static Homepage or Latest Posts on Top or Both
Most small businesses do not need to show their latest updates on top of their homepage. Indeed, that will most probably backfire. You may look up small business pages on Facebook just to see half a dozen of random updates on top that do not even offer a clue on what that business does!
Many blogs have a similar problem: the latest blog posts are probably written for specific audiences and do not really match the interests of first-time visitors. Modern WordPress site, therefore, only show a static homepage with a proper value proposition and call to action.
The actual content with deeper insights for specific audiences is shown elsewhere. For example in your blog or FAQs.
While in the past WordPress themes were designed as a blog by default, these days most of the theme designers assume that you are a person wanting to set up a standard (business) website with the option to add a blog.
You can still have a diary or newspaper like “latest news first” design, but in most cases you get a regular home page with static elements. Static in this case means not necessarily changing with each new piece of content you publish.
Optimized for Google from the Start
Google users probably won’t find you on Facebook. Most of the social networking site’s content is unavailable to the search engine. WordPress is ‘search engine’ and ‘search user’ friendly by default. Leading SEO experts agree on this:
We don’t need to cover this in depth here, as there are many posts dealing with WordPress SEO and how you can optimize your website even further. But needless to say, your own content on your own website performs best within search engines in the long run.
While third-party sites may have a higher authority—and will make your content appear at the top of search results—they always lead to other people’s sites and not to yours. Never forget that!
Thriving from the Start
No matter what kind of site you build for your small business, WordPress can help you thrive from day one.
Why settle for the workaround and rent space on somebody’s else site when you can own your online presence and have professional tools from the start?
Don’t make yourself believe that a proper website will be too hard, expensive, or labor-intensive for you. The more you invest in your site the more likely your business will succeed—show more love, get more love.