Why WordPress? I could go on for hours about why I love WordPress, but I promise I won’t. In short, it’s extremely versatile, search engine friendly, and easy for you to maintain. WordPress is regularly updated to keep up with changing technology.
Above is the short blurb from my FAQ. I’ve been asked by friends and clients to elaborate, so here is the long version.
Back in the late 90s, I learned to hand code websites with html, and later css. I’ve also taken courses in Actionscript… remember Flash websites? Actionscript is the backbone to those. For fellow web geeks, remember Macromedia Director? I spent 3 months creating an awesome multimedia project using it. My point is I’ve tried it a lot of different website development tools and methods. I was so proud when I hand-coded my first website for my business. It was a painful process and I refused to use a WYSWYG editor (such as Dreamweaver), instead doing it in a text only editor for the cleanest code.
A year later, around 2009, I discovered WordPress. I have never created another site with any other platform since. Does this mean there are no options? Sure there are but every time I investigate one of those options (Squarespace, ShowIt, etc), I always find reasons pretty quickly why I prefer WordPress.
Before I continue, I should clarify that I am talking about self-hosted WordPress downloaded through your web host or www.wordpress.org. WordPress.com offers some great free hosted website options but it is a different beast, and not one I’d recommend for a small business. You can view a comparison chart between the two here.
Top reasons I recommend self-hosted WordPress
1. The content is yours.
I always think about my exit strategy before I commit to a software of any type. I’ve tried money management software, studio management programs such as ShootQ, and online backup programs. What I want to know before I make a financial and time investment is if one day I want to do this a different way, how do I get my data / content? You’d be amazed at how difficult this can be.
Think about a template website for example (bludomain, Into the Darkroom, Photoshelter, etc). You upload all your content, setup a design, write pages of information. What happens when technology changes or the website doesn’t fit your business needs any longer? You will find yourself having to copy and paste your text out, and start over with many aspects.
If you create a self-hosted wordpress website, you can easily migrate your website to a completely new look, change web hosts, and retrieve your photos / information. The content is yours, is customizable, and is easily retained.
2. Wordpress is incredible for SEO.
Taking a phrase from a yoga teacher whose class I’ve been attending a lot lately, “it’s another opportunity”. She is talking about seeing it as a chance to experience and transcend deeper in a difficult pose, but I’ve been using this outlook in life lately. Wordpress and SEO are the same thing. Each page, each image and each blog post are another opportunity for getting found by the search engines.
You can optimize one page for a different target than another. If you are a wedding photographer, each blog post can grab the attention of the brides considering getting married at a particular venue. Each page you write is an opportunity to grab the attention of your viewers / customers.
It’s also fluid and ever changing. You are constantly adding images (with alt tags!), creating new content and keeping your website updated. It’s easy and quick for you to add this content as the small business owner instead of requiring someone else to do it.
3. Wordpress is always getting better.
There are groups of WordPress geeks out there, even far geekier than I am about it! They are constantly developing the core code and improving it, keeping up with technology. Yet these changes can be updated seamlessly in the background without affecting how your website looks. You get to stay current on the technology, without you changing a thing.
Plugins are also constantly updated, with more plugins becoming available every day, offering more unique ways to improve your website. Wordpress’s Jetpack plugin alone has become so incredibly powerful in the last years that it can do a lot of what is needed itself. (Plugins are used to add features to your website. The neat thing is that they stay even when you change your theme, so you can keep something like your gallery setup while changing the look of your website.)
4. Wordpress is easy to maintain.
My clients want to run their businesses and not their websites. Wordpress gives them an easy way to do this. Yes, it does require eyes on it now and then, to make sure the backend is getting updated, and security is working. These tasks are easy enough to learn though once they are setup and can be done by most people with basic computer skills (web surfing, writing Word documents, etc). It’s also simple to update a page within, if your pricing changes or you want to add a new photo to your gallery. All my clients receive written instructions and a Q&A session detailing all this.
(I do realize some clients just don’t have the time or choose to delegate tasks, and for that reason starting in 2016 I will be offering maintenance services exclusively for my design clients.)
5. Wordpress is not just a blog.
Many people think of WordPress as a blog, but it is truly a content management system today. Some of my clients choose not to even have a blog within their WordPress website. Wordpress is extremely versatile, looking and performing how your business needs it to, to bring in the most customers and revenue.
I could probably still go on, but we’ll leave it at this list of 5 reasons for now. If you have questions, or would like to discuss a project, always feel free to send me a note.