There are a lot of ways to build websites, and over my last 15 years as a web designer, I have seen some things get a bit harder and a few things get a lot easier.
First, about the easier part: These days it’s much easier to update the content of your website yourself. Before WordPress this was an expensive feature to have. While there are many “content management systems” (CMSs) that allow you to update your site text, they are not all created equal. WordPress is open-source — which means anyone can develop plug-ins that work with the WordPress platform. And it means that the software is free of any fees or charges. More importantly, it is currently (2014) used in more than 22% of the top 10 million websites. The WordPress fan base is growing, which means that the technology will be supported long into the future. There are so many web developers who know and love WordPress. And there is nothing worse than choosing a technology that stops being supported. I did this in 2009 (I chose Silver Stripe instead of WordPress). I couldn’t find developers who worked in Silver Stripe, and in the end, I had to spend a lot of time moving my website to WordPress. And even though WordPress is known as a blogging platform, it’s really so much more. It can be used to create entire websites, and can be configured into any layout/design.
My clients love WordPress because of it’s adaptability (there are thousands of plug-ins that extend its functionality) and because of its simplicity (the WordPress dashboard is beautiful). Website content can easily shared to social media channels, and it’s easy to start conversations (with your customers and community) on any post you publish. I’m in awe of Automaticc, the company that continues to improve WordPress, and the huge number of supporters. I’ve been to several “WordCamps” and the expertise and sharing is unprecedented.
Now for the harder parts: Competition online has gotten more fierce. Brochure websites that only tell a prospect about you and provide contact information don’t cut it any longer. These days, if you aren’t proving your expertise in blog posts, white papers, reports or videos, then you are at a serious disadvantage. While having great visual branding and the latest design trend is fun, effective marketing requires more (and I’ve seen plenty of design trends come and go over the last decade). The new, single-page website won’t stand up against your competitors who are sharing deep expertise regularly online and have content-rich sites. If you don’t prove your expertise online, then you will have to prove it another ways (by submitting long, arduous proposals, for instance). As you know, your prospects need to know, like and trust you; especially the trust part. Think about this: wouldn’t it be great if your website fully credentialed you? WordPress makes this easy, because it started as a blogging platform. A few “pillar” articles and regular blog postings — sharing your expertise — serves to make your site Google-friendly while reassuring your prospects that you are the right consultant. And this isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. Any professional service provider has great content to share. For instance, just answer the questions your prospects always ask in your blog posts. Unlike HTML pages, blog posts in WordPress are published using a technology called RSS: and Google loves RSS, so Google will pick up your content pretty quickly and rank it favorably.
For my customers, small businesses that sell professional services, WordPress is a great fit. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, well-supported (so it’s a good investment), and a terrific platform on which to base a marketing campaign. If you have questions about how WordPress can meet your marketing goals, just send an email.