Ten years ago two guys released a free, open source blogging tool and content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. They called it WordPress. Today, according to Alexa, nearly 15% of the top 1 million sites on the planet are WordPress and the platform powers over 60 million sites overall. The massive popularity that WordPress for small business has experienced in the past 10 years can be attributed a few key features.
What Makes WordPress So Popular?
WordPress is easy to use, inexpensive, and it works. In short it takes the mystery out of building a website. WordPress “webmasters” have complete control over their site and even the most technically challenged can effectively maintain and operate the system.
WordPress made professional websites available to the general public rather than just those who could afford $10,000 to have one built by professional developers/designers. It started the internet marketing revolution and it opened the incredible marketing resource of “search” to the small business community.
WordPress: The Best Website Platform For Small Business
- Ease of use. This is perhaps the biggest draw that attracts new users. WordPress is a template and 95% of its design functions are point and click. No need for knowledge of HTML or any coding really. There are an overwhelming (and that can be a problem) number of widgets and plugins that add functionality simply by pointing and clicking. Adding content is a snap. If you know how to use MS Word then you know how to add content to WordPress. It has automated all of the “design and development” functions leaving the user free to concentrate on what's important…content.
- Cost. The basic platform and many of the plugins are free. That's an attractive price to small business owners who simply could not afford a custom website. While the basic platform is open source, most businesses will invest in a “theme” from a web development firm to give their site a more professional look. Themes can include design features that are not available in the free version.
- Favorable search engine treatment. Thanks to the “permalinks” used in WordPress search bots have an easy time crawling pages. Fresh content is indexed quickly. Google and other search engines have an endless appetite for new content and no platform makes adding to your site easier than WordPress.
- Control. Your website is the “hub” of your online marketing strategy. This is where the leads and conversions happen. Having a self-hosted WordPress site means you own that particular piece of digital real estate. You decide what can be posted and when. In contrast, you are an invitee on all the rest of your digital footprint. When you have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, directories, Yelp and Google+ you are at the mercy of those platform owners as to what can and cannot be published. If there is a change in Facebook TOS there is little you can do about it. But if you have built a loyal following on your WordPress website you won't be nearly as adversely impacted as a business that relied only on social media sites.
WordPress really is a no brainer solution for most small business applications. Having a WordPress site for your small business does not mean you won't be engaging the services of professionals, you'll need professional graphics and images, but it does mean that a small business can compete with a giant on a much more level playing field.