When WordPress was first developed by Matt Mullenweg in 2003 is was just a simple blogging tool. The WordPress CMS was designed to provide people to run a “blog” on their website. People used to install WordPress as a sub-directory on their site, usually simply called ‘blog’. However, today all that has changed. WordPress is now a serious web content management system which is used by many businesses.
I have been using WordPress for just 3 years now, however during this time I have witnessed many advancements in the software. Most notable is the WordPress is now no longer a blog but a full on website management system that can be used bu any business which focuses on content. WordPress is not great at eCommerce, yet, but covers most other areas.
So, what is so good about WordPress? Firstly, it is possibly the most user-friendly CMS to use, which means it is perfect for web designers who have been commissioned to build a “web 2.0” site for a client. Web designers need only concern themselves with the actually design and layout of the website and the site architecture. The software is provided free of charge. As WordPress is open source a web designer can build any number of sites for clients without having to pay for multiple licences.
But why is WordPress good for businesses? In short, it is good for businesses because it is so easy to update. With WordPress installed a complete computer novice can be trained within an hour on how to post new articles, edit content and even add new adverts or offers to the sidebars. WordPress allows businesses to engage with their clients through the comments and now some plugins can provide a link between a Facebook or Twitter page and WordPress which means that business owners can manage their clients through one interface.
Some businesses use WordPress comments just for testimonials and customer feedback. Others use the mailing features of some plugins to keep in contact and manage their customer mailing lists.
Great Business Features in WordPress
WordPress has several secure contact forms with provide a safe way for clients to contact the business via email. Spam has been a major problem for businesses for many years now, but plugins such as the Fast Secure Contact Form and the Dagon Design Form Mailer eradicate all automated spam.
There are several Google Analytics plugins for WordPress which means that a business owner can now keep an eye on the health of their website from within the WordPress admin panel. This provides businesses with close to real-time information on how the new clients are finding them online. An increase in specific search keywords could indicate growing demand for a service which a business does not currently specialise in. Having this data at hand can help a business to develop new services and source new products to keep one step ahead of the competition.
WordPress also makes SEO easy for a business. Once WordPress is set up properly a business manager does not need to employ an SEO professional to carry out any further on-site SEO tasks. Instead the emphasis is on promoting the business. Plugins such as Google XML Sitemaps and the various SEO Plugins (such as All In One SEO and Platinum SEO) ensure that the latest Google guidelines and features can be adhered to. For example, when Google started promoting the use of the canonical tag to reduce content duplication problems, the SEO plugins installed this in the next updates. Businesses running WordPress were again one step ahead of their competitors who relied on web designers to update their sites.
The WordPress community also builds many excellent plugins to enhance websites in a variety of ways, from photo albums and video plugins to advertising management and event organisation.
Social media is becoming a more important way to not only engage with clients but also to drive new business. WordPress handles this very well with a wide range of social sharing buttons and plugins, from simple options such as the WP Facebook Like and ShareThis, to more advanced options such as Social Toolbars and Sliders.
One of the most important features of WordPress for larger businesses is the various user levels that are available by default. WordPress user levels include Admin (who can do everything), Editor (can edit every article and comment), Author (writes, edits and publishes their own content), Contributor (writes content but cannot publish or edit). This means that the webmaster or PR Manager can keep tight control of content on even very busy websites. WordPress is also a perfect platform for collaborative writing and guest blogging as businesses can hire a freelance writer to submit a weekly article to their site and either have it published by their writer or edited prior to publication.
WordPress has come a long way in the last 8 years and there is still a lot of room for further development. Really there is no reason for a business today to still be using a static HTML website.
Jon Wade is a WordPress fan. He is also a pro blogger who writes for a veriety of digital media publications, covering local business news, stock market alerts and fitness and health news. He is also passionate about home made burgers.