From it’s humble beginnings as a blogging platform, WordPress has evolved into one of the most flexible and popular systems for building a professional website. So why do so many small businesses choose to build their website using WordPress? Well, once you manage to conquer the initial installation and configuration, there are a host of great features that can help your small business website stand out from the crowd.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the main pros and cons of WordPress so you can make a balanced decision about whether WordPress is the best platform for your small business website.
The Basics of WordPress
WordPress itself is a script build in the open-source programming language PHP and uses a MySQL database for it’s functionality. Don’t worry too much if these terms sounds unfamiliar; once your site is set-up, you don’t need to have any technical knowledge to manage it.
The core elements of WordPress are as follows:
Themes are the ‘skin’ of the website and manage the way your website looks. You can install new themes from your admin section to completely change the look of your website in just few clicks. Themes control the layout, images, colours and fonts used in your website.
Plug-ins are the ‘functions’ of your website and again, can be installed from the admin section in a few clicks. With plug-ins, you can quickly add new functions to your website to enhance the visitor experience. An example of a few popular features you can add to your website with plug-ins include maps, forms, social sharing buttons and anti-spam controls.
Widgets are essentially blocks that you can drag-and-drop from your admin section to create functions and layout changes to your website pages. For example, if you wanted a search box on your page, you simply drag-and-drop the search box widget into the relevant section of your admin section and it will then appear on your site page.
The Pros of using WordPress
Overall, there are far more pros using WordPress for a small business website than a standard website built in HTML and CSS by a Website Designer. Here are the primary reasons we believe WordPress is a great choice:
- WordPress is free – No proprietary software to buy so you don’t have any initial or ongoing website costs other than your hosting.
- No technical knowledge required – Once your website is up and running, you can manage it yourself and add new features, pages and other content without using a Website Developer.
- Loads of support – Because the are so many WordPress websites in existence, the Internet is awash with loads of free support and training so even if you do encounter a problem, the answer is a quick search away.
- Powerful & flexible – Many people still assume that WordPress is a simply blogging platform. The reality is that WordPress can be used to build a whole host of different websites from directories to online shops and social networks to classified advert websites.
- Future-proof – WordPress is open-source, this means that it was built and is continually improved by a team of enthusiasts who are continually developing the platform to make it as safe, powerful and flexible as it can be.
- Independence – Once you have your site looking and working as you want it, you can dispense with the services of a Web Developer as you’ll be able to manage the website yourself. This is particularly relevant to anyone who has had a static website built in the past by a ‘hobbyist’ Website Designer, only to find they disappear six-months later when you need to make changes to the website.
The Cons of using WordPress
Whilst all of the above sounds great, WordPress does have a few issues that you need to be aware of before you decide it’s the right platform for your website:
- Set-up – Installing, setting-up and configuring a new WordPress website can be tricky for those who have never dealt with hosting, domain names or a WordPress install before. In fact, it’s the major reason why so many people give-up with WordPress because they fall at the first hurdle through sheer frustration.
- Learning Curve – Like any software, to get the best out of it you need to take the time to fully understand how it works. As intuitive as WordPress is, there is a learning curve involved in making it do what you want it to do so don’t expect to have a professional looking website up-and-running in an hour.
- Maintenance – Because both WordPress and many plug-ins are updated frequently, you will need to monitor the admin section and install any updates as required. This is a simple thing to do and only takes a few clicks but unlike a static website, you will need log-in and check the admin section at least once a week to ensure that your installation keeps running smoothly.
Overall, we can’t recommend WordPress enough and 80% of the websites we now build for our Clients are on WordPress. The Internet is a competitive place and we believe that more time and resources should be spent on promoting your business rather than the complexities of hand-coding a website. This also means that typically, a WordPress-based website is much cheaper to set-up than a bespoke website. However, we offer a WordPress theme customisation service so you can still get your website to look exactly how you want it to.
We hope you’ve found this article useful and if you have any questions or would like a quote for us to install and set-up a WordPress website, please feel free to get in touch.