So you want to build a website! GoDaddy, Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly…you have probably heard of all of these site builders, and maybe your head is spinning from all the options. You’ve probably also heard of WordPress, but you may believe that it’s hard to learn or not user-friendly. Luckily, this isn’t the case. Despite the rumored difficulties, there are several reasons that I recommend WordPress to my clients over all other CMS platforms. So, why should you use WordPress?
WordPress is opensource software.
This means that anyone can create plugins, and it’s an open market. With sites like Shopify or Squarespace, you are limited to using only the features and functions that they decide to offer. Take Shopify, a popular e-commerce platform, as an example. They may offer different advanced features at an upcharge, such as the ability to sell a subscription to online classes. This costs money and is the only option if you need that functionality. Shopify recently cut ties with the popular email marketing platform MailChimp, forcing users to use their own email integration system at whatever price they decide to charge. Using WordPress, you have a choice of several different plugins that will get the job done, and you can pick the best one based on the price and your unique needs. To take it a step further, if you want your website to do something for which Shopify / Wix / Weebly etc doesn’t have a plugin, you’re out of luck. This might not seem like a concern if your business is just starting out, however if your long term goal is to grow your business and potentially offer more than just brick-and-mortar sales, this is definitely something to keep in mind. Opensource software gives the creator total control over their site, and you won’t be hindered by another site’s stricter library of features.
“There’s a plugin for that”
Plugins are pieces of free or paid software that can be used to achieve specific functions. There are plugins out there for anything you can think of. You can create subscription lists, members-only areas, or sell access to videos or documents. You can create a map with pins for all of your different brick-and mortar locations. You can integrate email marketing, customer relationship management software, create a directory… you get the idea. Using WordPress, you’ll find that there’s a plugin for almost any function you could ever need. Many clients have come to me because they have outgrown their Shopify / Squarespace / Weebly sites and need a rebuild. Starting with WordPress from the beginning eliminates the additional cost of starting over, and your website can grow with your business.
WordPress is free!
Yes, you read that correctly! WordPress software site is free to download and use. This will save you a lot of money over time compared to other CMS systems that charge subscription fees. While most business owners opt for a monthly hosting and maintenance plan that takes care of all of the updates and security checks, if you’re comfortable doing it all yourself then all you will need to pay for is hosting and your yearly domain fee. This is typically a fraction of the cost you would pay if using one of the other popular options.
WordPress is built for SEO
Using Search Engine Optimization plugins, your website can be set up to be both user- and Google-friendly. These plugins guide you through the process of including keywords, alt text, and blog posts that are set up to rank as high as possible in searches. You won’t need to buy ads to get your information to your intended audience. There are also plugins that compress image sizes and keep the site load speed as fast as possible, which is another important piece of SEO strategy. There is a lot of research out there that shows that faster load speeds lead to increased conversions, and Google also uses this information to determine your website’s ranking. If you want your website to show up in searches, building it in WordPress is the best idea.
It’s surprisingly easy to use
If you want to update and maintain your site yourself, there is a slight learning curve when using the backend of WordPress. But it’s not as intimidating as it may seem. And, because WordPress is the most commonly used website building platform in the world, there are endless free resources to turn to when you need help. There are blogs, videos, and even entire businesses dedicated to supporting WordPress users at every stage of their journey.
I’ve worked with many other paid CMS platforms in the past, and WordPress is truly the gold standard of web design. The sky is the limit when it comes to features and functions, and the price is right, so don’t be intimidated!
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