Website Woes? WordPress Can be the Answer for Small Business Owners

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When it comes to websites, small business owners it’s common for small business owners to belong to one of three camps:

  • You’ve got a small business website – maybe even paid a huge chunk of change to have it designed – but now you don’t have a clue, or are struggling with making any changes to or updating content and/or images.
  • You don’t have a small business website, but you do have an online presence. For instance, you post to Facebook and Twitter hoping that will “make up” for not having a website.
  • You don’t have your own small business website either due to the fact that you think you can’t afford one or don’t consider yourself “tech savvy” enough to maintain a site.

You’ve Got a Website – But Can’t Use It
Small business owners who’ve made the effort and spent resources putting a website together often find themselves with nothing more than an “online brochure.” Not that there’s no value to having such a thing. Being able to include your web address on your business card, include it in print advertising, along with any other promotional materials is a good thing. Customers usually make buying decisions in stages – and when they’re in the “research” stage being able to find comprehensive online information about your business means they are one step closer to making a decision to buy from you.

However, your small business website should be working harder for you. You probably know (or will now) that when people are searching on Google that one of the ways Google ranks (chooses) the results is according to which websites add “fresh” content on a consistent basis – for instance via a business blog. If you don’t know how, or the process is too time consuming or confusing, you’re much less likely to have prospects find your small business when they perform a Google search.

You “Almost” Have a Website
Many small business owners know they need to have an online presence, but don’t have a small business website due to what they think will be prohibitive cost or thinking they don’t have the expertise. On the other hand, they know not being online is a big mistake.

So, in lieu of getting a website up for their small business, they create a Facebook page and Twitter account. Maybe they set up a page on LinkedIn as well. Many also get their businesses placed on platforms such as Angie’s List and/or use other online classified platforms such as Craigslist. These tactics are indeed “better than nothing” and, as a matter-of-fact, can be excellent tactics to include in your small business marketing plan even if you DO have a small business website. But, without a small business website in your marketing mix, prospects researching their purchase don’t have anywhere to go to get more information. Additionally, you aren’t going to show up or will have such a low Google ranking that prospects performing an online search will have a really difficult time finding you (or not find you at all.)

You Think Maintaining a Website is Out of Your League
Many small business owners shy away from putting a website up because they have the mistaken notion that you’ve got to be some sort of technological expert to do so. Instead, they put all their efforts into other, usually more local, tactics to try and attract customers such as an ad in the local paper. Some may even think they “don’t need” a website as their business serves a distinct, small, localized area.

The problem with this is that they’re wrong. First, you don’t need to be a tech genius
to maintain – even create a website from the ground up. Second, statistics support that it is safe to say that almost every prospective customer goes online at some point during the specific stages of making their buying decision.

If you happen to belong to any of these three groups when it comes to your small business website, you might want to consider using WordPress – even if you already have an existing website.

wordpress phoneWhy WordPress?
Wordpress is often the answer for small business owners who fit into anyone of the three groups we’ve been talking about. It is often said that the “simplest solution” is usually the best, and WordPress provides simple solutions to the challenges faced by small business owners looking to build out websites that attract prospects.

The simplest way to demonstrate why you may want to consider WordPress for your small business, here’s a breakdown of some of the benefits the platform has to offer:

1. First and foremost, WordPress is EASY. If you can open Microsoft Word or send an email you can figure out how to use WordPress. There’s no need to have a command of anything that even remotely resembles “programming.”

2. Because WordPress is easy, this means you can maintain the site, edit, and make changes yourself. Remember, Google tends to favor websites with “fresh content.” Being able to add that content yourself regularly and often can make a big difference.

3. WordPress has some “built in” Search Engine Optimization tools. For instance, you can use the “H1” font for titles and/or sections on web pages and blog posts. Why is that good? Google is more likely to pick up the keywords in your H1 titles.

4. WordPress has a zillion (OK let’s just say tons) of ready to use themes – most of them at no cost and many of these no cost themes can also be easily “customized.”

5. WordPress has many easy to use “plug ins.” For instance, there is a plug in that allows people to sign up to receive your blog posts which helps you build a list of potential customers or clients. There are plug ins for people to share links to your website and/or blog on social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter.) These plug ins are extremely easy to “install” by simply dragging and dropping.

Certainly reading an article that’s telling you WordPress is easy and can be of benefit to your small business is helpful. However, the best way to find out how easy it can be is simply to go to wordpress.com and simply start the process. Most people are amazed at how fast they are able to ramp up. On top of that, there are literally thousands of people on the WordPress forum who know what they’re doing and are really generous when it comes to answering “newbie” questions.

One last note: This post isn’t about “selling” WordPress – there’s no money exchanging hands. As a matter-of-fact, there are certainly other platforms available (at no and low cost) online you may want to investigate. However, WordPress does have valid benefits that many small business owners can easily (and quickly) leverage to create a professional online image and presence.

Last modified: March 2, 2013
Annie Kile


This story is part of our Small Business Corner, a peek into the life and trials of small business owners.

Category: Insider's perspective, marketing, MPR Authored, Small Business, Small Business Corner, small business owners, tips

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