Nevertheless, WordPress (WP for short) really does rock because it works!
Here's why I love WordPress for business use:
- WordPress is free
- WP is modular
- WP allows the end user to create his or her own content
- WP is easily setup and configured
As I tell my clients, if you can type, you can use WordPress. It's really an elegant and thoughtfully-designed website platform. Gone are the days when WP was pejoratively called a “blog.”
Of course, it can still be used as a blog. Or as a standalone website. Or a combination of both. One of the many things I like about WP is its flexibility.
Plus, the Search Engines love it, which makes your onpage SEO efforts a lot less painful than they used to be.
Here are the main pieces of a WP website:
- Core files
Most webhosts have a cPanel which has a WordPress installer, usually Fantastico or Simple Scripts. These installers make installing WP an extremely simple and quick task. Essentially, you click a button, tell the installer script your URL, and follow the prompts. Automatically, your core files are installed on your host's webserver, your database is created, a default theme is put in place, and you're ready to configure WP by logging in.
After WP has been installed, your installer script will email you your login credentials and URL. Log in (don't forget to change your password!) and do your initial configuration. Change your theme if you want.
Customize your WP installation with plugins that add functionality to your site.
Here's a link to a video where I show you how quickly I can set up a WP website, starting from purchasing a domain all the way to logging in and configuration.
(Note that there is no audio, by design)
And yes, I did use a software tool to automate the configuration. But even without it, anybody can set up a WP website in way less than a day.
I could never say that about static websites I built back in the early days (late '90s and early 2000s).
There are many hundreds–if not thousands–of free themes available for WP and there are probably just as many “premium” themes for it. You can easily change the Look & Feel (L&F) of any WP site simply by changing your theme.
I will say that premium themes are generally better than free themes, but–like anything else–your mileage may vary. Some paid-for themes I have used successfully are:
They are set up from the beginning with onpage search engine optimization already pre-configured. Plus, they have flexible skins (you can change the L&F even more with skins that overlay right on top of a theme).
Finally, after configuring your WP installation and setting the theme you want, you add plugins to give your website more functionality. Here's a list of plugins I recommend:
Once you've done this last step, you're all set to write content. Remember, Google, Bing, and Yahoo all love fresh, new content. You are the best person to write content for your website–not some “webmaster” who really is master of nothing (except maybe HTML and other code that simply is not necessary to know any more).
We are talking about real websites that work for real businesses. Not fancy websites that make webhosts and web designers proud of their work.
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. WordPress and other “blog platforms” simplify professional website setups that deliver quick, tangible results. For most businesses, that means increased foot traffic and more phone calls.
Finally, they're a little dated (they show WP version 2.9; the current version is 3.0), but here is series of how-to videos about WordPress.