Is WordPress Right For You? We Think It Is and Here’s Why
Before you start chasing the dream of creating the perfect website, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself. Why do you need a website? What is the purpose of your website? What software are you going to use to build your website?
Let’s start with the easy question. Why do you need a website? Brick and mortar businesses, another way to describe a business that exists in the real world as opposed to one that is 100% online based, deal directly with customers in the real world. For example, Best Buy is a brick and mortar business, because even though they have a website and you can place online orders with them, they have actual store locations where customers can go to browse, shop and buy. Amazon, even though it’s one of the biggest retailers in the known world, is an online business. While it’s true that Amazon has warehouses and office buildings, the only way people can browse, shop and buy stuff from Amazon is to go online and to their website. Your local plumber is also a brick and mortar business, not because you’d go to their location to do business with them, but because you call them with your problem and they come out to fix it. The interaction with them is offline, and they rarely do anything completely online with any customer.
So, let’s get back to the question at hand. Why do you need a website? In the offline world, at a minimum, any business needs a business card. This is something a business can give to their current and potential customers that give them information on how to contact the business. A business card is the minimum piece of marketing material that any offline business needs to move forward. A website is, at its most basic, an online business card. If you are planning to create an online business, you need a website. There is no way around this. People will eventually ask you, “Where can I find you on the internet?” and you need to be able to tell them what they need to type into their browser to be able to find you online. You need to give them your www.hereismybusinessonline.com or something like that.
What is the purpose of your website? Now we know why you need a website, but what are we going to do with this website? Your website will be the hub of your business, a place where people can come and learn more about you. They will also be able to get in touch with you by coming to your website and either filling out a form you have provided on your website or at least by finding your email address on your website so they can send you an email. If you are selling stuff online, any kind of stuff, digital goods or physical goods, you may set up part of your website as a store where people can come and browse your store, select items, add them to a cart, pay for them, and have them delivered either online for digital goods or shipped to their house or business for physical goods. These are just a few of the things you can do with your website once you have it set up and running.
What software are you going to use to build your website? There are so many options when it comes to how you can build your website. From writing all the HTML code by hand for each and every page on your website to using a WYSIWYG editor, what you see is what you get, to visually create your website to using an online site builder provided by your web host, you have many options to choose from when creating your website. However, these all have the downside of being either too complicated to learn quickly or not being able to be scaled efficiently when your website grows in the future and requires more functionality.
Enter WordPress. Initially created in 2003, WordPress was one of the first blogging platforms made available for everyone. The early versions of WordPress were specifically designed for blogging where people could make journal entries or posts, and these posts would be shown on the website in reverse chronological order, with the most recent at the top of the front page of the website. It was an excellent solution for people who wanted to create journal sites, or blogs, where they could pick a topic and then create content on a regular basis that they could share with their followers. The ability to create pages in WordPress allowed people to then create just single landing pages that they could send traffic to for a specific topic or for a specific purpose, for example, a sales page. WordPress was simple, easy to use and effective.
But then, people wanted to start using WordPress for more than just blogs and simple landing pages. The market required more, and it got what it wanted. Developers started developing additional code, or plugins, that allowed someone to install extra functionality into the website just by installing the plugin. People also wanted to make their WordPress sites look unique and not like everyone else’s site, so developers started creating unique skins, or themes, that allowed someone to change the look and feel of the website just by installing a theme. All these additions were easy to install and provided more and more flexibility and functionality.
Over time, WordPress sites stepped out of the shadows of being just blogs and started to become full-blown websites all made possible by the modularity of plugins and themes that could be easily installed to any WordPress site. This evolution has helped WordPress become the software used on over 25% of all the websites in the world. It’s amazing how one platform has gathered so much market share in such a short time. But driven by its three main benefits, simplicity, flexibility, and scalability, WordPress has easily become the best choice for anyone starting out building their first website.