In British vernacular, many of us clean our home with a ‘hoover’. Technically we’re actually using a vacuum cleaner, that may or may not be made by the Hoover brand. Similarly, if you’re going to search for something online, a common term is to ‘Google it’ even if you’re using Bing, Quora or DuckDuckGo. To ‘Google it’ has become such a common phrase, to ‘Google’ has become accepted as verb. Don’t believe me? Try this.
From our experience as an agency, many small business owners want to handle their own website and online presence. What you would use to do so is a ‘content management system’, but because of it’s ever-growing popularity, we’re often posed the question ‘can my website use WordPress?’. It’s no surprise that WordPress has become synonymous with content management – it claims to power 27% of all websites on the internet – but what is WordPress, and why should you use it for your website?
For a start, using WordPress as the management system for your website is free. The framework is regularly updated and never costs a penny. For small business staff and owners, website management is just one task amongst your many others. It’s crucial that you can manage your website quickly and easily. It’s the usability of WordPress that makes it so popular.
With a huge repository of free and paid-for themes and plugins, all of which are customisable, your website can be built on a popular framework such as WordPress yet from a customer’s perspective look completely unique. With well known plugins such as WooCommerce (also free!), you can use WordPress as the foundations for your online store – referred to as eCommerce.
With such a plethora of themes and extensions to install, you can expand your WordPress website to include more features. If there’s not already a plugin available that does what you’re looking for, many web development agencies – Tad Web Solutions included – are able to create new and bespoke features within WordPress that meet your requirements.
WordPress plugins such as Yoast SEO, Smush, WordFence and WP-Optimize make it easy to manage your website as it grows with your business.
- Yoast is a relatively user-friendly plugin for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Using this plugin, you can test your website page’s quality for certain keywords and ensure that the information search engines like Google and Bing show as a description for your website are correct.
- Smush is an image compression plugin. In basic terms, any images you upload to your website are ‘smushed’ or compressed. The purpose of this is to make sure the file sizes for the images on your website are as small as possible, without sacrificing image quality. Small file sizes equates to a faster website loading time.
- WordFence is a security plugin for your WordPress website. WordFence keeps track of who accesses your website and blocks anyone who tries to do anything malicious, i.e. hacking.
- WordPress is powered via a database that you’ll setup with your hosting company. Every time you edit a page, upload an image or create a new post, a ‘revision’ is added to your database. WP-Optimize works to delete any unnecessary revisions and minimise the amount of information in your database. With less data, WordPress can find the information it needs faster and serve your content to your website visitors quicker.
Did I mention all of the plugins mentioned above can be downloaded and installed for free?
Added Benefits of using WordPress
Many web hosting companies also offer separate hosting packages, which claim to be ‘tailored’ for WordPress or content management hosting, occasionally at a lower cost than average. Whilst I’m skeptical of tailoring website hosting for WordPress, it does mean that should your website ever have a hosting issue, the person you speak to at your hosting provider will, or should, at least know the fundamentals of WordPress and be able to help you.
Because of the popularity of WordPress and its Open Source nature, if you’re not happy with your web management team or your hosting provider, you can transfer your website and domain name to another company. This isn’t always possible, or as easy, with some agencies or with bespoke websites because of Intellectual Property.
What are the alternatives?
WordPress might be the most popular content management system, but it is not the only one. There’s a range of content management systems available that also offer expandable themes and plugins (sometimes called hooks, blocks or modules) and some are even developed purely for building online stores. You may also be interested in:
- Shopify – comes with an on-going cost.
- LemonStand – comes with an on-going cost.
For the time being, and for the last five years, we’ve chosen WordPress as our preferred content management system. We recommend it to clients and use it ourselves – including this website! If you’d like to work with us on building a responsive WordPress website for your business then why not get in touch.