To understand what the benefits are of using WordPress to power a business website, we will answer the following questions!
- What is WordPress?
- Who should use WordPress?
- What can WordPress help your Business do?
- Why choose WordPress?
- How much does a WordPress Website Cost?
- How do I become a WordPress Website Owner?
What is WordPress?
WordPress is website software that is considered a content management system (CMS). It helps users without specific technical knowledge in HTML and CSS to create, manage, and modify content on a website. The content management system is the infrastructure of the website providing a backend so users can focus on creating and organizing pages, posts, and media that will be displayed on the frontend.
WordPress includes a plugin architecture for expanding the functionality of the software, and a theme and template system which allows for specifically designed layouts and styling.
The WordPress software itself is open-source and free. It was launched in 2003 and has become by far the most popular CMS in the world. As of 2022 WordPress is used by 43% of the top 10 million websites.
Who should use WordPress?
Any business looking to have an online presence should consider using WordPress.
Whether you are (or anywhere in between):
- A solo entrepreneur that needs an informational website with a few pages.
- A larger business with many employees that wants a website with hundreds of pages and enhanced functionality like an online store.
WordPress has you covered since it can suit the needs of both small and large businesses in most situations. This is thanks in part to thousands of plugins available that can extend the functionality of the software.
There are some cases where WordPress shouldn’t be a businesses first choice for a website solution. This usually happens on larger ecommerce projects or projects that require a unique feature set. In these cases a completely custom solution is most likely warranted. These types of projects have huge budgets that can be in the range of anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What can WordPress help your Business do?
A content management system like WordPress can streamline the efforts of your business when it comes to publishing information online.
Market Your Business
Being a content management system, WordPress is all about making it easy to organize and manage your content so it can be viewed online. With the right marketing strategies in place you can lead a visitor down a sales funnel which has a good chance of converting into a sale. A lot of businesses find that their website becomes their best sales person.
Sell Products and Services
With WordPress and some plugins to extend functionality your website can become a full fledge ecommerce store. You can add and organize products, manage inventory, set shipping rates, specify tax rules, and even offer discount coupons. You can also integrate with 3rd party payment processors to accept bank and credit cards, track orders and manage returns.
It is easy for regular users with limited technical background to log into a WordPress website and publish content like news articles and blog posts. These informational content pieces allows you to keep your visitors updated on the latest happenings with your business, products, and services. If done regularly it allows you to become an authority for your business industry which can then lead to more traffic to your website and even more potential sales.
This published content can also work in tandem with your social media accounts.
From time to time your website will have to be updated with any changes that has happen in your business. This can be as small as changing the text in the website footer for the business hours you are open to as large as adding one or more pages for a new service or product line being offered. With the way a WordPress website works and the way the project is designed, these changes can be done in most cases relatively quickly. Simple text edits can be done in the backend of the site by modifying the pages in an editor. Larger changes, if expected and planned before hand by an experienced developer, can take less time if part of the process is automated by using the right plugins for the job or if possible by the use of custom post types and reusable templates.
With the use of drag and drop page builders, modern themes that support visual template and page editing, and global style settings it makes it much easier to make small layout and style changes. Before these type of tools existed, developers required direct access to website files to manually change code. Now days if the right tools are used these changes can be done visually in the backend requiring much less time.
The backend of the website (the Administration section) has the ability to limit access to different parts of the website. This can be done at a group level or by individual user. This means your website will be protected from unintended consequences that could possibly break the website and prevent, for example, users who are only suppose to write articles from entering areas they have no knowledge in like managing software updates or editing templates.
Why choose WordPress?
There are many reasons businesses choose WordPress. They include:
As mention above, WordPress powers 43% of the top 10 million websites. This means almost every digital agency and freelancer has experience with the software. Therefore you are not beholden to one designer or developer if things go sidewise during or after a project. While moving a project will take time for another agency to familiarize themselves with (especially if complex plugins are involved), it will certainly require less time and investment than a website that uses a less popular CMS or custom solution.
Open Source Software
WordPress is distributed under a open source license called the GNU General Public License. This is a very popular license and allows you to freely modify and redistribute the source code (under certain conditions).
Hundreds of people freely give their time to design, develop, and test each new release of WordPress. This software is constantly evolving and getting better with every new version.
Many 3rd party plugins and themes for WordPress are also open sourced use the same license.
Custom Post Types
When version 3.0 of WordPress was released in 2010 an evolutionary new feature was introduced called custom post types. This is where WordPress moved from being just a blogging platform with only posts and pages to allowing other types of content to be displayed (without needing to use a 3rd party plugin). Developers could now easily define any type of content they wanted, from portfolio items to products.
The data for custom post types uses the same framework as posts and pages. This means in the backend the same interface is used for creating, updating, and deleting the content for any post type.
Likewise custom taxonomies was also soon introduced which allowed for organizing post types using more than just the default WordPress tags and categories.
Finally the addition of custom fields for post types, taxonomies and users made WordPress so much more powerful thanks to the ability of being able to query and display these fields almost any way required.
Plugins can extend the functionality of WordPress in almost an infinite number of ways. Features like ecommerce, donations, event management, and memberships can be added to WordPress with very minimal development cost. Plugins are either open-sourced and free to be used by the community or require a license fee. For fee based plugins, the cost of development is spread over the userbase which means is is much cheaper than paying a developer to code something similar just for your website.
With WordPress’s rise in popularity there are now over 10,000 plugins available for the platform.
A WordPress theme is a group of files (graphics, style sheets, and code) that dictates the overall appearance of a website. Themes control not only the overall layout of your site and individual post types (where menus, blocks, content, etc. appears), but also the style (typography, colours, spacing, etc.).
Just like plugins there are thousands of different themes available on WordPress for free or for a fee.
Since 2015 theme development have become much more complex. Some themes now include features which allow website owners to customize the layouts and styles of the theme itself visually. For those that use custom post types, new layouts can even be created. Similarly visual page builder plugins with drag and drop interfaces allow for custom layouts and styles on any page independent of the theme being used.
WordPress itself as of version 5.9 which was released early in 2022 now has full site editing built in thanks to the Gutenberg Editor, blocks, templates, and the new block-based themes. This has been a multi year venture for WordPress and is just the first stage so things are still a little simplified. In future version of WordPress big improvements are expected which will most likely eventually make block-based themes the new default standard.
Search Engine Optimized
A website is of no use if it cannot attract traffic. While content is the main driver for this, WordPress gives websites a head start in ranking well in search results, especially if you add a plugin that specializes in SEO like SEO Press or Rank Math.
How much does a WordPress Website Cost?
The cost of building a WordPress website depends on many factors including:
- How customized does the website need to be?
- The types of content and the organization of the content?
- The number of pages needed?
- The number of templates needed to display the content?
Since we are using an open-source content management system like WordPress, we are already saving money upfront as the platform and framework of the website is already built. Additional money can be saved by using plugins for custom features and advanced themes to reduce design and development time.
Just like a house or car, a website has the initial cost for building it along with recurring costs to maintain it. For a website, maintenance costs include hosting and managing the software and content. Websites can also have marketing costs associated with them to help bring in traffic to the website.
To find out more, including a range of prices, check out our Learning Academy where you can read further about these types of website costs.
Our Website Buyers Guide is another good resource and goes in-depth on the cost of a website along with many other topics that help you understand what is involved with building and owning a website. This guide is intended to make you an informed buyer and help you with your expectations.
How do I become a WordPress Website Owner?
We recommend taking a look at our Getting Started Guide. Here we offer steps business owners can take to learn more about what is involved in getting a website built (like reading our Website Buyers Guide) and the different services we offer. We also have summarized our Web Design & Build Process so clients have a better idea of what to expect in all phases of their website project.