WordPress for your Custom Website Platform – Part 1: WordPress CMS
By: Alex Fernandez
Last week, our Interactive Website Developer, Matt Mernin, discussed the benefits of developing a custom website, rather than using a website template. Some of the benefits Matt discussed included custom design, user navigation, web standards and tailoring the website to the business’ marketing goals.
Over the next few weeks, I will share with you my favorite website platform for personal and small to medium sized business websites. WordPress allows you to have a completely custom website, just as Matt described, using a flexible, stable, tried and true platform that nearly anyone can operate.
This week (Part 1) discusses the Benefits of the WordPress Content Management System. Next week, I will go into Part 2: Search Engine Visibility Benefits, followed by Part 3: Differences Between WordPress Themes and Website Templates.
Benefits of the WordPress Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS is defined as an online application that allows you to manage, edit and publish content on a website. All websites for businesses should have some sort of CMS, as they allow for employees or business owners to update website content without the constant need of professional assistance.
- Easy to Operate – While WordPress can do pretty much anything you want it to do, it is surprisingly simple to update and maintain your website. There is really no need for experience with HTML or any programming language when updating your site content. For the most part, everything is point and click, and one can learn to manage a WordPress website in little time. The beauty is: advanced features are available, but not needed; so if you ARE web savvy, you still have the ability to geek out to your satisfaction.
- Cost-Effective – Rather than building a completely custom CMS, which would take much time for planning and development, WordPress is an effective CMS solution — and installs in 5 minutes! Unless you are a very large company planning to build a very large website, a WordPress CMS is a great solution. Also, many companies we work with tend to want something simple and stable, so their employees can be trained to access and update certain areas of the website. While, at times, there is still a need to have a professional website developer make updates, 80-90% of them can be made by a computer-literate employee with minimal training.
- Robust and Flexible – If you haven’t considered WordPress as a CMS, you would likely be surprised at just how much it can handle. Everything is 100% customizable with a skilled development team. Like many website platforms, WordPress is cloud-based. This means the site can be managed from anywhere, by unlimited users, and on a variety of devices. There is no need for HTML programming or FTP software for basic updates. The website can grow as your business grows, with easy-to-add pages, blog entries, plug-ins, widgets and the list goes on. With a basic understanding of how your WordPress Theme functions, it is easy to expand the website when needed.
- Plug-ins and Widgets Galore – The primary benefit of WordPress is that it is the most ubiquitous website platform out there. If you can think of a function you would like your website to perform, it probably already exists and can be downloaded and installed for free (or cheap). These are generally referred to as “add-ons” and each one can save hours of development time, essentially saving you money. One of the most common uses for plug-ins and widgets is Social Media Integration. This could include adding social connectivity to your website sidebar, adding social sharing options to your website content, feeding social networking updates into pages of your site, the list goes on. If you’re already allocating time for a social media effort, why not leverage your website traffic to generate awareness?
The benefits of WordPress as a CMS alone makes it a viable option for most companies. However, in this author’s opinion, the real magic to WordPress is revealed next week, in Part 2! Don’t forget to check back, or add us to your RSS reader.
If you’re considering a custom website for personal use or for a small to medium sized business – shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 239.221.2858. We’re open to answering any questions you may have, as well as discussing how some of these ideas might apply to your website.