It’s not just big brands who love WordPress. Small and medium sized businesses love WordPress too. If you are trying to carve out your niche on the internet there are many different platforms to build on; from drag and drop website builders to simple static sites and a whole plethora of different CMS systems. There is certainly plenty of choice, which is always good. But which platform is best for a small business?
I was inspired to write this after looking at Sara Rosso’s presentation which she gave at WordCamp Europe 2013: Why Big Brands Love WordPress. She explained why big brands, enterprises & companies love this popular open-source CMS.
Why small brands love WordPress
I know for a fact that it is not just the big guys that love WordPress. According to the latest figures WordPress now powers over 20% of the world’s top ten million websites. Which is a mind-blowing amount. In other words, one fifth of websites run on WordPress. Smaller businesses, individuals, charities and budding entrepreneurs love WordPress too. But why is that?
Sara Rosso shares the following bullet points as to exactly why big brands choose WordPress:
- It’s easy to use.
- It’s beautiful.
- It Scales.
- You own your data.
- You can launch quickly.
- It integrates & plays well with other services.
- It goes mobile and Responsive.
- You can iterate quickly with a small development team.
- It can humanize data.
- It’s a dynamic platform.
- The WordPress Community.
What makes WordPress loved by small brands?
By and large, smaller companies love WordPress for the same reasons as the heavyweights. Let’s examine each point from the above and apply them to the smaller business:
It’s easy to use
WordPress makes it easy for anyone to produce content. If you can write an email or compose a Word document you can create content in WordPress. I think this will always be the number 1 priority for any website owner, and especially so for the smaller business. They can’t afford to spend time learning how to change content. WordPress doesn’t need an instruction manual. Once you are shown the basics, intuition and common sense will lead the way. And of course if you get stuck, it is more than likely that someone else has had the same issue. I think this is the number one reason why WordPress is so popular.
The smaller business does not expect to win awards for their dazzling web design. Most are happy to present a smart, professional image to their clients or stakeholders. Their website needs to be easy to use and present their information clearly and simply. I think most small businesses would trade beauty for good search engine results. However with WordPress and a smart modern theme like Genesis, they can have the best of both worlds. Smart in appearance and also very search engine friendly. With built in support for schema.org mark-up their websites can out perform even the heavyweight publishers. I don’t think there has been any better time to be a guerrilla marketeer. Even small budgets can punch above their weight. WordPress is a knock out at all weights.
Many smaller companies are trying to grow. So it is important that they choose the right web publishing platform. One they can grow into and one with potential to expand. WordPress can do this. Sara’s presentation shows how large corporations are happy with it’s scaleability. I know from first hand experience how WordPress can scale. I know how it can also scale the organisation who uses it too. I have helped create businesses that have grown to multi-million pound annual turnovers. WordPress has flexed and accommodated these too and actually driven the growth in the first place.
You own your data
You could argue that all a smaller business needs is a Facebook page or a Twitter account. But I disagree. Who knows what these social networks will do in the future? Will you lose all your content? Do you still own the copyright for all your posts or comments? I personally would not build any sort of business based on a proprietary social network. By publishing with WordPress you own your content. Sure, use Jetpack for WordPress to Publicise your content and share it with Google+ and the others. But at the end of the day. If you want to move from WordPress you can do. It is very easy to export your content. You can then repurpose it how ever you see fit. It is important to retain your content after all the hard effort you have gone to create it. With WordPress this is a no-brainer. Job done.
You can launch quickly
Smaller businesses can not normally afford a lengthy development cycle. To start with you could even pick a suitable theme and host your business on WordPress.com. Many people do. As your business grows you might be in the fortunate position to move to their VIP products. Or you could easily find a local WordPress developer who should be able to create a bespoke site for your business in several days or weeks as opposed to months or years.
It integrates & plays well with other services
If you want to add other services to your website, WordPress is always a good place to start. Be it eCommerce or hooking up to the social networks WordPress has got your back. Because of the large user base, chances are someone has developed something along the lines of your proposed integration. If not, it should prove relatively easy to find a developer to build it in for you.
It goes mobile and Responsive
If your website doesn’t play nicely with smaller screened devices, you are heading for trouble. For many people, and this number is growing at a rate far in excess of the growth of the PC for example. Their smart phone is their only computer. Even if they do have a PC or Tablet as well. Chances are they will want to be able to view your content on their smart phone or other mobile device. If you are on WordPress you can easily find a plugin to create a mobile friendly site. However I would strongly advise finding a responsive theme or modifying your existing one to be responsive. It is important that whatever device someone chooses to use, they shouldn’t be treated as a second class citizen. By having a flexible site and with the right content to suit your visitors can enjoy and use your website on their fridge or even on their watch.
You can iterate quickly with a small development team
A good WordPress developer can quickly produce a website for a smaller business. This is very important. Smaller brands generally have matching budgets. They sometimes will need to move fast to reflect their growth. They can’t afford months of development with an agency. They need results fast. It also means that if you did fall out with your developer or she retired you could easily find someone to help update your WordPress site.
It can humanise data
Maybe not the first thing that the local chip shop owner might want from her new website. But it possibly could be. The fact that her customers could see how big the queue was or how many pieces of haddock were left could help her customers pick the best time to visit. It would most certainly give her chippie a unique selling point and help with publicity! The fact that WordPress could be used to humanise your data shows the potential that is just waiting to be explored by not only behemoth organisations like NASA but also by some enterprising start up entrepreneurs. The future is bright with WordPress.
It’s a dynamic platform
No matter what the small business does. Be it selling antiques, art or cleaning products or services. WordPress can handle it. If your business model changes, WordPress can be used to reflect these changes. This incredible flexibility means that you need never move to another platform.
The WordPress Community
Last but definitely not least it is the open source nature of WordPress which is its greatest strength. The community is always pushing forward. Refining and enhancing as well as bringing in new features with every iteration. It is a remarkable thing. Again the small business owner could do it all. With the help of some friends and some searching they needn’t even bother hiring a WordPress developer. If they prefer to hire a professional they know it wouldn’t be rocket science to find a new one if they chose or were forced too. The WordPress eco-system has never been stronger. And as more smaller businesses turn to this remarkable CMS and blogging platform, the community will grow accordingly.
The greatest strength of WordPress is it’s adaptability and flexibility. This is fuelled by a community of developers and users whom are ready to share and help keep WordPress iterating and evolving. So the small business owner and multi-national corporation can both take their web development where they want it to go. Both sharing the benefits of fast development and comparatively low costs. The thing is the larger organisations could afford to explore hosting their sites or applications on cutting edge hosting or any platform they like. I find this interesting. I also know that because WordPress is so well supported by budget web hosts they can always start off very economically. With WordPress.com they wouldn’t even need a developer. This is the power of WordPress. It is not limited by budget or resources. The big girls and the little boys can all run the same ‘pro’ version. The only limit being their imagination and creativity.