There is a plethora of Content Management Systems (CMS) out there to choose from when deciding to create a blog or a website; WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. There are also a large number of free blogging services like Blogger, TypePad, etc, but using these sites is not recommended because you typically don’t own the domain name. It will be something like mygreatblog.blogspot.com. This creates a couple of problems. One, if you want to move to your own domain in the future, you’ll likely lose many of your readers. Two, it’s a hassle because you have to copy and paste all the content you had built up over time into the new site. I highly recommend creating a self-hosted website, using a host like Bluehost.com for example, and installing a CMS. My number 1 recommended CMS for most small businesses is WordPress. “Why WordPress?”, you may ask. Here are 5 reasons:
Note: Just remember that WordPress also offers free hosting on WordPress.com, so don’t get the two confused when setting up your new site.
1. WordPress is free and easy. First of all, WordPress is open source, which means it is free. Installing WordPress is simple and takes about 5 minutes. Using WordPress is easy, no tutorials are generally needed (but there are thousands out there if you want one), and you can pretty much figure out how to use it by yourself even if you’re a newbie. The backend of WordPress is extremely user-friendly, and customization is a piece of cake.
2. WordPress allows for complete customization. WordPress opens up all of its code for customization. This means that even if WordPress doesn’t have a particular feature you need, it can be added either through the many plug-ins available or through custom programming. And whether you have a company like NDIC design a custom, unique theme or you install an off-the-shelf theme, you can go into the backend and customize the HTML. There are thousands of themes out there to choose from for your site, in the WordPress theme directory as well as all over the web, both free and premium. Most offer full access to the code so it can be tweaked as much or as little as you like. Most plug-ins also offer customization on the code level.
3. The plug-in directory is the App Store for WordPress. WordPress has thousands and thousands of plugins that are available for installation on your website, for just about any functionality you could want. Most of them are free. Think App Store for WordPress. Installation is one-click, and customizing plug-ins is fast and easy. This adds tremendous value to WordPress, enabling you to add free or inexpensive plug-ins for a fraction of what it would cost to develop those features from scratch.
4. WordPress is SEO-friendly. Matt Cutts from Google even says that Google loves WordPress sites. WordPress provides many built-in SEO benefits and options for free and there are tons of SEO plug-ins out there for further SEO customization. Social media integration is also quick and easy, allowing for easy user sharing.
5. WordPress has the best support around. Since WordPress is the most popular CMS out there, it has a strong following of users and there are support forums of WordPress users talking about pretty much any question or problem you may have. Don’t see your concern? Post your own question and get responses from other WordPress users. Or hire a company like NDIC to troubleshoot or customize your WordPress installation.
There are many more reasons than five why WordPress is the most popular platform – the list goes on – of all the benefits and factors that make WordPress a great CMS and blogging service for small businesses. So whether you are creating a new site or thinking of moving to a different CMS, WordPress is almost always my first recommendation, and I say that with years of personal experience.