By now, if you haven’t heard of WordPress, you must have been on a deserted island for the past couple years. As of this writing, WordPress powers more than 24% of all websites on the internet! You may be asking yourself “Why is WordPress so successful?”. WordPress’ success lies in how it enables its user to grow and scale their websites, which in turn their businesses, quickly. In this article, I’m going to cover why both small businesses and large enterprise corporations are turning to WordPress and how these reasons can help grow your business.
WordPress is open-source. This means that WordPress’ original source code is made freely available and is redistributed and modified. That sounds great and all but how does this help you? With open source projects, their greatest strength is how large the community is that modifies and improves the software. WordPress has a very, and I mean VERY, large community of developer, designers, and businesses working in a technical ecosystem to constantly improve the software.
What this means is you essentially have some of the smartest people on the face of the Earth contributing to WordPress and making it better. Is there a new technology released? Someone will integrate it with WordPress. Is there a new design trend? Someone will design it for WordPress. All you need to do then is simply install a plugin or theme and your site will automatically start benefiting from that person’s work.
To give you an example of how large the community is, currently you can find 49,407 free plugins to install on WordPress. No need to hire and wait for a developer to do the work for you.
Allows for Rapid Experimentation
Due to the community behind WordPress, this enables you to rapidly experiment with your website and global message. What do I mean by rapid experimentation? Rapid experimentation allows you to rapidly test new ideas and get real user feedback with minimal cost to you. Let me give you an example if I’m a typical business owner with little technical background and I’m not using WordPress:
I want to setup a newsletter on my site to allow visitors the option to provide their email to me and in return, I’ll email them once a week about something interesting. This can help me grow my customer base and create loyal fans! So I go looking for a provider that can do this and I stumble upon MailChimp (which by the way is a fantastic service!). I like Mailchimp and decide to try them out and sign up for an account. I don’t know PHP, HTML, CSS, or what an API is so I go ahead and contact a developer to integrate MailChimp into my site. I pay the developer $500 and they provide me my MailChimp integrated powerhouse website 2 weeks later. It’s a thing of beauty. I test it out and everything works perfectly and I anxiously sit and wait for my customers to give me their emails….and I keep waiting….and waiting until 2 weeks go by and to my disappointment, only 1 person signed up. Now I’m $500 poorer and 4 weeks older (don’t forget the time it took to develop) with nothing to show for it. Now I have to go find my developer again and frustratedly ask for changes to see if my new newsletter idea will work…which will cost me more time and more money to get this working…if it ever does.
Scary situation! I can see why people are afraid to invest in their own businesses! Let’s take that same scenario, but now my site is developed in WordPress:
I want to setup a newsletter on my site to allow visitors the option to provide their email to me and in return, I’ll email them once a week about something interesting. This can help me grow my customer base and create loyal fans! So I go looking for a provider that can do this and I stumble upon MailChimp . I like Mailchimp and decide to try them out and sign up for an account. I don’t know PHP, HTML, CSS, or what an API but I do know how to install a plugin on my site! So I search for MailChimp plugins for WordPress and wow, I found 10. I install the plugin, provide an API key that MailChimp gives me and I’m set! I test it out and everything is working perfectly and now I sit and wait for my customers to give me their emails….and I keep waiting….and waiting until 2 weeks go by and only 1 person signed up. That’s a bummer but it’s okay because this is a plugin and I can go and make changes myself to see if my new newsletter idea will work! I hope it does!
Rapid experimentation allows you to decide earlier in the decision making process whether to abandon, pivot, or persevere with an idea. This can save you time, money, and your sanity!
WordPress core software is free. You can find many plugins and themes for WordPress for free. Free is cost effective!If you can’t find one that is free, you will most likely find a reasonably priced one. WordPress developers are EVERYWHERE so it’s easy to find an affordable developer that can create something custom if needed.
But even if you find a plugin or theme that isn’t free, they are normally reasonably priced and is still cheaper than hire a developer or doing it yourself. Most of the time, plugins and themes can give you your desired outcome and if not, they get you close enough to start getting real world user data (remember rapid experimentation?).
I recommend using free plugins on non-mission critical parts of your site. For the other pieces, like newsletters and commerce, invest the $20-$100 to get a fully supported plugin. I also recommend buying a theme because of the extra customization features that come along with it. A good theme can range from $20-$100. Again, this is WAY cheaper than doing it yourself or hiring a developer/designer.
In conclusion, WordPress is a great tool to get your business off the ground and on the internet. I hope you found this read interesting and if you decide you rather have someone else design/develop your site, hit me up on my contact page and I would love to hear about your business.