One of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a small business owner is about your website. Regardless of your business, one thing is certain – you need a website. It’s the digital face of your small business and your customers expect you to have one. Let’s discuss the 5 reasons why WordPress is ideal for your small business.
WHY WORDPRESS IS IDEAL FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
What do you need your website to do? Will it be informational, as in letting customers know about your business, your hours, location, etc.? Or transactional in that you need to show your inventory and sell products? Do your customers need to book appointments or view your portfolio?
Any type of website you could possibly need for your small business can be handled on WordPress.
WordPress is the ideal CMS for your small business website. After all, WordPress “powers 43% of all websites.” Yes, all as in ALL websites on the whole of the Internet. And there’s good reason for that.
WORDPRESS.COM IS FREE (BUT AT A COST)
But which WordPress? There’s a dot-com and a dot-org. We’re here to talk about dot-org and why it’s the most fabulous option. WordPress has a great detailed write-up about the differences between their dot-com, dot-org, and dot-com business plans.
But let’s do a quick breakdown of their various plans with a focus on those things that a small business owner should consider:
So, as you can see, the free WordPress.com option is pretty limiting and the other plans, while offering more features, can still be restrictive.
But a business owner could need the ability to upload videos (for instance, a real estate agent), may need larger storage (the aforementioned real estate site), and all businesses need to be concerned about their SEO.
Now, the dot-com platform does “handle all of the updates, backups, and security for its users,” which is fantastic.
But you, the small business owner, still have to:
- find the right domain
- pick an appropriate theme from the 100+ choices
- customize as appropriate for your small business
- ensuring the colors, fonts, layout, plugins, etc. are suitable for your business
- and then revise as needed
- updating hours, specials, discounts, events, and any other changing element
The majority of small business owners work 50-60 hours a week. Besides the day-to-day of running the business, there’s the financials, marketing, customer service, and about ten other hats every small business owner wears.
So, yes, WordPress.com is wonderful but it’s not necessary a plug-and-play option. There are still choices to be made and work to be done. For the average small business owner whose time is already at a premium, this extra work can easily add hours to your workweek.
What do you want to spend your precious time doing?
WHY WORDPRESS.ORG IS THE WAY TO GO
We love the dot-org option because of its options. While, yes, the same types of options (themes, plugins, typography, various design elements, ecommerce, built-in marketing tools, and a community of support) exist on both platforms, the dot-org has choices aplenty.
The level of variety available via the dot-org route is miles above the dot-com track. And this can be a real boon to your business because your site will look truly unique and can be fine-tuned to the personality of your business.
Your unique website will impress upon your customers not just the specifics about your business but will also allow them to know your business, to know you, and, most importantly, to connect with you. And, as we talked about before, making that connection with your customers instills trust and loyalty.
Now that we’ve outlined the differences, let’s dive into the 5 reasons why WordPress is ideal for your small business.
#1 OPTIONS ON TOP OF OPTIONS
Now when it comes to WordPress.org, the choices are almost limitless. The fact that so many options are available on WordPress.org is a major reason to choose it for your small business website.
Remember that WordPress “powers 43% of all websites.”
And choice is a major factor because we all want to be unique, to stand out but also, and especially as a small business owner, we want to make connections. To do that, we need to give our customers what they expect but to do so in unexpected ways.
Your website is the place where this can happen. Your customers need to find your website, easily find the information they’re looking for, and know that you are going to solve their problem. But your website should do more than that, of course.
Your website needs to shine amongst your competitors – to be distinctive. And you accomplish that when you have options.
So, what are some of these options on WordPress.org?
There are over 9,000 themes and if that perfect theme doesn’t exist, custom designs or modifications are possible.
Plugins galore – almost 60,000 plugins! For your small business needs – from accounting to contact forms to testimonials to creating & emailing newsletters and beyond. If you can imagine a need, there’s likely a plugin out there for you.
Making money! WordPress.org also gives users the ability to monetize in a myriad of ways that just are not available on WordPress.com. From affiliate links to membership sites to showing ads on your site with a program like Google AdSense, the dot-org route has several ways to make some extra dough.
SEO selections abound. One of the major overall benefits of WordPress.org is control – you have total control over nearly every aspect of your site whereas the dot-com options are limited. This rings true with your SEO options on WordPress.org. You can also use Google Analytics to learn more about what’s working on your site and what isn’t, such as content or where your site traffic is coming from.
And near-limitless choices can be overwhelming, of course, but when it comes to your business, you want the avenue that fits best.
Reasons 2 and 3 of the 5 reasons why WordPress is ideal for your small business has to do with the face of your site and the functionality and customization of your small business website. Let’s get into themes (the face of your site) and plugins (functionality and customization) – these two arenas are really where WordPress.org shines. It’s how your small business website looks and functions.
#2 TEEMING WITH THEMES
As mentioned before, with dot-org you have access to over 9,000 themes with the option to modify as well as to upload custom designs. Yes, that is a big number and yes, that kind of choice can be overwhelming.
But, never fear, because there’s also a handy-dandy search feature so you narrow it by, for example, your industry. Take a look at what pops up for “real estate:”
From 9,000+ to 77, which is a much less daunting number to tackle.
Let’s say you don’t want to narrow by industry but instead know that you want certain features like a grid layout or three columns. Perhaps your brand has a specific shade of blue so you need a specific hexadecimal code.
Not a problem at all. You can narrow all of that and more with filters. Take a look:
Now let’s say you found the almost-perfect theme out of this batch but things are a bit off and don’t seem to be quite the right fit. Never fear, nearly anything in a theme can be altered.
What can you customize in a WordPress theme?
- Layouts (theme-dependent)
- Custom Fields
- Navigation Menus
- Header Style
And so much more. So, even if you find the almost-perfect theme, you can make it perfect by tweaking nearly every element.
#3 PLETHORA OF PLUGINS
Themes are the looks; plugins are the personality.
So, what is a plugin? Plugins allow you “to extend and add to the functionality that already exists in WordPress.” Simply put, they are code or software that allows you to zhuzh up your small business website in a myriad of ways.
Going back to our real estate example, take a look at what’s offered there:
As you can see, there are plugins that will allow you to essentially manage any and all aspect of your real estate business.
But you can winnow your plugin search down even further. From newsletters to ecommerce to booking appointments and so much more, there is literally a plugin for every need or desire for your small business website.
And if there isn’t? Yup, you guessed it – you can write your own.
But, for the small business owner, WordPress.org will undoubtedly already have the existing plugin of your dreams.
Now the last two of the 5 reasons why WordPress is ideal for your small business have to do with making money and getting organic traffic to your website.
#4 MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY…
Money! Apologies if The O’Jays song is now stuck in your head. But the point stands – you are in business to make money, plain and simple.
One great way to make some dough, outside of your main business, is to monetize your site. What does that mean exactly?
It simply means making money from the traffic that comes to your website. This can be done through ads, affiliate links, subscriptions, plugins, digital downloads, and so on.
Now, WordPress.com does offer their own advertising program, WordAds, but there are parameters and limitations:
- Only available on the Premium, Business, and eCommerce plans (reminder: yearly costs range from $96-$540)
- PayPal is the only way to receive payment, which is paid monthly, if $100+ is earned. If less than a hundred bucks/month, the earnings are rolled over to the next month.
- com chooses the ads for you
WordPress.org is the place where monetization really shines.
If there’s a way to make additional money from your website, WordPress.org is going to give you that freedom. We’ll get into each of these money-making ways in future posts but here’s some of the ways you can monetize your small business website on WordPress.org
- Display ads from any ad network and you can control the types of ads as well as their size and placement
- Have a great product or service you want to recommend to your customers? Check to see if they offer an affiliate program.
- Or perhaps you want to get into detail about why you love that product or service so much. Write a sponsored post.
- Making sales on WordPress.org is a breeze with e-commerce solutions.
- Have exclusive services to offer? WordPress.org allows you to create membership websites.
- You’ve created printables, ebooks, video or audio files, workbooks, music – basically any digital download you can think of can be sold on WordPress.org
- And, finally, our old friend, the plugin – there are pages and pages of plugin options for monetization, ecommerce, AdSense management, affiliate marketing, and more.
If there’s money to be made from the traffic coming to your small business website then WordPress.org has a way to do it.
#5 SEO – Search Engine Optimization
When it comes to SEO and WordPress.org, they say it best:
“WordPress, straight out of the box, comes ready to embrace search engines. Its features and functions guide a search engine through the posts, pages, and categories to help the search engine crawl your site and gather the information it needs to include your site within its database.”
But beyond the crawlability of WordPress.org sites is the fact that you, the site owner, have total control over your website. And total control over your website means total control over SEO implementation and management. This is vital to the health of your website, in terms of SEO.
Optimizing the various on-page SEO elements is key to ensuring your site shows up in organic search results:
- Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Internal & External Links
The most popular WordPress SEO tool you’ll hear about is Yoast. For WordPress.com, this plugin is only available on the Business and eCommerce plans ($300-$540/year). Of course, on your self-hosted WordPress.org website, you can install either the Free or Premium version of Yoast.
There are just a ton of features available on the Yoast SEO Free plan and for most small business websites, this plugin will suffice. If managing a number of sites or if you know you’ll want access to 24/7 support, then the Yoast SEO Premium plan may be the way to go.
Besides the ever-popular Yoast, there are a number of SEO plugins available.
Time is at a premium for the small business owner and, in fact, could be considered to be your “most important business resource.”
There are any number of website builders out there with WordPress being the most popular. And, yes, you can build a gorgeous website on WordPress.com.
However, if you want your small business website to stand out from the herd then WordPress.org is the way to go. It is truly the most customizable option available.
We discussed the 5 reasons why WordPress is ideal for your small business:
- Options: You want ‘em, WordPress has got ‘em – plenty of ways to customize your small business website
- Themes: 9,000+ WordPress themes means you’ll find the exact right look for your website
- Plugins: Any small business need you may have for your website can be addressed by the almost 60,000 plugins available
- Monetization: WordPress has so many ways for you to make money from site traffic
- SEO: For your business website, WordPress and SEO work together in harmony
Ready to talk about what WordPress can do for your small business website? Contact us and we’d love to show you.