WordPress is the most popular website and blogging platform in the world, responsible for the smooth operation of more than 65 million websites. While the platform offers tremendous ease of use and complex customization for users of all experience levels, it is also robust enough that major brands like CNN, Microsoft, and Facebook rely on it to power their websites.
If you are wondering how to get your new company’s website up and running as quickly and easily as possible with minimal investment, here’s why WordPress is the ideal choice.
WordPress Has a Strong Following and Stronger Reputation
Nearly 30% of all websites use WordPress (1). One of the major reasons for the stellar reputation of WordPress is its ease of use. WordPress is a beginner’s dream when it comes to intuitive customization options, allowing unprecedented control over the look and feel of any website built on the WordPress platform.
It also functions as a digital publishing platform, acting as one of the most robust content management systems (CMS) on the web.
While many new business owners look for ways to set themselves apart from the crowd, following the majority can be the best option in some cases. Developing a new website is one of those cases; WordPress is popular because it is free, incredibly versatile, and reliable.
WordPress Is Built for Search Engines
Your customers expect to be able to find you online, and WordPress makes it easy to manage your search engine optimization (SEO) goals and consistently rank highly in relevant searches. The main reason for this is that search engines like Google evaluate websites’ construction when awarding them search engine rankings. WordPress’s simple yet effective base construction makes it easy for search engines to analyze, inherently boosting the effectiveness of the SEO practices of any site built on WordPress.
Easy Content Management Systems Built With WordPress
Content is one of the most significant driving forces behind online businesses today. With the sheer amount of choices available for virtually any purchase online, consumers expect to see valuable, relevant content from an online business. Content takes many forms, but the ultimate goal is to attract new customers and retain existing ones by providing timely and valuable content geared toward their needs and interests.
WordPress makes content publishing simple for any website. Using the provided tools is intuitive and effective, and WordPress offers plenty of opportunity for even further customization. Although users can drag and drop different elements of their website, WordPress is an open source content management system that allows for unique code alterations.
If you are building on Wordpres.com doing so does require approval from the WordPress team, countless site developers have created truly unique websites with minimal alteration to the existing WordPress code.
We recommend using a self-hosted version of WordPress by downloading the most recent version from https://wordpress.org/download/ and hosting your website on one of the many awesome WordPress hosting solutions out there.
To take it a step further (shameless plug coming) get your WordPress website managed with hosting, security, backup, unlimited support, etc.
Why WordPress Is Ideal for a New Small Business
A new business owner generally wears many hats during the initial phases of getting a new company up and running, managing everything from payroll and budgeting to sales and marketing. Developing a website is essentially a requirement for doing business in the modern world; if your customers cannot find you online, you may as well not exist.
WordPress offers new business owners an easy and functional way to publish content and start an online presence with little to no financial investment and incredible speed. WordPress allows easy customization that a new business owner can use to create the framework of the company website.
Even a fresh website with minimal content is better than nothing in the early days of a new business, so working on the WordPress platform offers a quick and effective solution for getting a new website up and running. Adding to it and refining it later are simple with the WordPress toolkit.
- Gatsby post on headless CMS: https://www.gatsbyjs.org/docs/headless-cms/
Potential Limitations of WordPress (also known as Why does WordPress suck so bad???)
WordPress is pretty awesome on its face. You can easily create different types of content, publish quickly and easily, and use plugins to easily add extra functionality like connecting to third-party systems like MailChimp and others. BUT what happens when you update a plugin and three other’s break. What happens when you update a theme and lose customizations you worked hard on? What happens when every time you log into your website you see notifications for plugin and core updates?
WordPress offers countless themes and pre-made templates that users may alter and customize as they see fit. No one wants a cookie-cutter website, and WordPress offers an astounding degree of customization with minimal investment. However, as previously mentioned, one potential snag of developing your own unique website is that any code alterations you may need to make must receive approval from the WordPress team.
Another potential area of concern is website security. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world and consequently, it is also the most attacked CMS platform in the world (4). It is essential for any business owner to thoroughly investigate and stay up to date with the latest security patches and plugins to minimize the risk of cyber attacks.
To improve the load times of WordPress we suggest:
- keeping your design simple and focused on mobile. Animations and other effects seem cool and make your site look fancy but in reality, NO ONE CARES. People want their information fast. Load some nice images (compressed of course) and text. Get the people what they want.
- minify and combine as many CSS and JS resources as possible. Use plugins like Autoptimize to get this done
- work with a CSS developer to standardize your styles so you are not using built-in WYSIWYG functions to style text. Avoid inline styling where possible
- prefetch resources like Twitter connections, Google Analytics, and other commonly used 3rd party resources to not interrupt your page loading
Tips for Starting With WordPress
A new business owner can start using WordPress today and have a functional website up and running in a few hours. However, before starting on the WordPress platform it is essential to know what you expect from your site and how to make it happen. There is a dizzying array of customization available on the WordPress platform. Once you determine the goal of your website you can start customizing it to realize that goal, whether you plan on using your site purely for content publishing purposes, as a content hub for your social media following, or eCommerce.
There are countless guides and beginner tutorials for getting started, but working with an experienced WordPress developer can make the site launch phase painless for any new business owner.
Tools we recommend:
- Elementor page builder: this is a great new page builder that is gaining a ton of popularity. It’s remarkably easy to build any type of modern webpage quickly and edit the content “in real time”, meaning you don’t have to edit on the backend and then Preview every few minutes. We highly recommend Elementor as a WordPress page builder because we always recommend building light, fast, mobile-friendly pages and Elementor allows you to do this easily.
- Astra starter theme, or Beans if you are more technically inclined: both of these themes give you a great foundation especially to use Elementor page builder with. If you want to quickly build a fast, mobile-friendly website that is easy to edit pretty much out of the box you can’t do better. Plus, both of these foundation themes are SEO optimized meaning there is a lot of Schema built-in (https://schema.org/) and assets are optimized and loaded correctly.
- Short Pixel: this image optimization platform helps ensure the images on your web pages load quickly and do not drag down the page render times. Short Pixel has a WordPress plugin that allows you to upload your media directly to your WordPress Media library as you normally would and ShortPixel optimizes it in the background via their API. Images are compressed, you can turn PNGs into JPEGs, you can automatically turn <img> tags into <figure> tags in order to use webP versions of image files.
- SEO Press: using this plugin you can set up your website for search engine success. Add meta information, social media open graph tags, you can decide which post types to “index” like Pages and Posts, and what sections of the website to not index like Tags, Categories, or Archives. There are a lot of settings for this plugin and we will do a future guide just for this. You could also use Yoast SEO but we believe SEO Press is faster and adds less bloat overall to your WordPress install.
- Good hosting: utilizing good hosting allows your website to perform as well as it possibly can. Database queries, PHP code execution, HTML page serving, are all faster using a better server. When using a shared hosting environment vs a privately managed server you don’t have access to the full resources of the server, and you cannot tweak the settings and software on that server to suit your business specifically. We highly recommend using a managed website service that offers a private server for your business, or if you are technically inclined you can easily set up your own server using cloud providers like Amazon or Digital Ocean.
Using those three tools for free you can easily build a beautiful, fast, mobile-friendly WordPress website that is also very WordPress friendly. Is it the only way? No. Is it the best way to build a website? No. Is it a very professional way to quickly build your website, improve your search positioning and grow your business presence online? Yes!!