Your business website is arguably your most vital resource. It is your 24/7 digital shop window and will be the first interaction that the majority of potential customers will have with your business. So if it doesn't look the part, loads sluggishly or, most importantly, lack a mobile version then you will be letting custom slip through your fingers.
You can market your business as effectively as you like but if the website customers land on doesn't cut it then you are just throwing away good money after bad. So what is the solution?
Say hello to WordPress. WordPress is the wildly popular content management system that powers over a quarter of the whole web including some of the world's biggest names like the New York Times, Forbes, People Magazine and National Geographic. So if it works for them it can work for you right? Here's why:
1. It's flexible
Whether you a dog grooming parlour, coffee shop, boutique fashion house or a high-flying legal firm the WordPress content management system (CMS) has the flexibility to give your business exactly what it needs. The possibilities really are just limited by the imagination of the business with bespoke looks, function and style to match what you want from your company all achievable.
2. Great blogging platform
Every modern business needs a blog because it's the easiest way to communicate the latest company news and product offering to your customer base, so it makes sense to have it in the same place that customers can buy products and contact you. Up to now platforms like Blogger and Tumblr have been popular choices for small business but now it's time to bring it in-house.
A WordPress-based site allows you to have a dedicated page for your blog which will give voice to your business and also be a source of regular new content for your website - something that Google loves when it comes to SEO. Plus all of the social shares that you receive across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc all lead right back to your website bringing potential customers with them.
3. WordPress is open source
What 'open source' means is that those that use it are able to contribute to its development, generally by the creation of plugins that perform specific tasks and also the development of best practices. But why does this benefit you if you are hiring a web developer to build your website?
Simply put you benefit from the constant improvement. So many people use WordPress now that it is constantly evolving thanks to the influx of new ideas from users so your website will be built on a platform that is continually getting better and you don't have to pay a penny!
4. WordPress is constantly updating itself for safety and maintenance
Some CMS systems leave the business of updates in your hands - if you don't check then you don't get the benefit of the latest version. Not so with WordPress. It updates instantly to keep your site safe, up to date and inline with the latest best practices around security. In short, it's as safe as houses.
5. WordPress is SEO friendly
We all want our websites to show up effectively in the search results and WordPress can be a powerful tool in helping make it happen. Its default framework and site architecture is easy for Google bots to crawl meaning that they like it, to the point that company CEO Matt Cutts publicly endorsed it, and as we know when it comes to search, Google is king.
6. It's a language that all developers understand
In their search for the perfect website a lot of small business owners hire web developers who create complicated websites that may look the part on the outside but that no one other than them can manage. A bit like buying your dream car and finding that only the dealer can actually get it to run.
WordPress is such a big part of the modern web landscape that all developers have at least some experience of it and can turn their hands to coding and building for it. This means that you can run your website day-to-day, adding blogs and new products, but each time a problem comes up or you decide the time is right for a makeover you won't be short of people who can help.
7. It's a platform that you can rely on
Having been around for 10 years plus now, WordPress has been continually worked on to remove the kinks and bugs that have been known to plague other content management systems. It's not absolutely problem-free (what in the world is?) but it's about as close as you will find anywhere.
8. WordPress is mobile friendly
By now you are sure to have heard the stat that mobile web-browsing now outstrips desktop and laptop by a tidy margin and this change in user habit has had an effect on the online landscape. These days Google actively bars websites from its mobile search results if it isn't mobile friendly. If that's you then that's more than half of your potential traffic gone at a stroke.
Happily if you base your website on WordPress you have all of the tools you need to succeed on all devices because WordPress doesn't just work on mobile, it thrives. Your website still needs be well designed but done properly WordPress can provide an excellent user experience on any device and an easy to use site brings in sales and leads.
9. Ideal e-commerce platform
These days the amount of items bought over the internet is staggering and is only heading in one direction, creating in its wake a marketplace that businesses big and small understandably want to exploit. WordPress is your ideal platform as it integrates beautifully with some of the world's most popular, and elegant, e-commerce solutions like Woo Commerce and Magento to give your products real wow factor.
What's more the core of these e-commerce solutions are free but can also be heavily customised to meet specific needs. Are you a wine club that only wants to sell in cases of six? Or a company that sends out monthly snack boxes on a subscription basis? No problem.
10. It's a powerful marketing ally
Want to get your products out to as many people as possible and measure the behaviours of your customer base? WordPress is your platform. With WordPress you can get your whole product range on Google Shopping and bring customers looking for exactly what you sell, direct to you.
You can also connect your site to an email platform like MailChimp and measure the behaviour of the customers that visit your site from their inbox including things like which products they buy and the last time they purchased from you. This allows you to tailor campaigns targeting those who say haven't bought from you in 3 months offering them a discount to bring them back. Or reward those loyal customers who buy from you regularly. All using data from WordPress. Powerful no?
Time to make the most of it!