Six Reasons Small Businesses Need WordPress

by francine Hardaway on June 17, 2010


I have been thinking quite a bit about WordPress lately, because I’m preparing a speech about “The Business of WordPress” to give at a conference by the same name in Atlanta next week. And in looking through my own blog and the AZEC10 site, I have come to a number of somewhat startling conclusions. These are, I warn you, not original. But every week I watch the people in my West Mesa CDC incubator discover WordPress and learn to use it, and it is very empowering for a one-person business as well as for the New York Times.

1)Wordpress can do anything you need it to do, and for a small business, that’s a gift usually reserved for expensive sites. On the conference site, I have it both connected to an Eventbrite back end, and with a registration widget installed right on the landing page. Because this is registration and not e-commerce, I don’t use WordPress’s own e-commerce plug-in (which is built in to the 3.0 release that is coming any day now launched today) because I was already using Eventbrite and I need the email marketing functionality.

2)Plug-ins for WordPress are the business-to-business version of apps for the iPhone. This realization I owe to Mike Schinkel, one of the conference organizers. On my own Stealthmode blog, I have twenty active plug-ins. What do they all do? Well, they enable podcasts, send my posts to Twitter, allow people to register and comment using Facebook and Disqus, and share with Wibiya.. They give me Google Analytics and “pull quotes” for my journalistic forays. And more.
These plug-ins make WordPress ideal for any business.

3)WordPress is easier to use than you think. Now that exists, you can pay $14.95 a month and get a WordPress theme and hosting, and a setup, and automatic upgrades of those plugins you will be adding (I guarantee it) all in one package. And if you are already at GoDaddy, well they install WordPress, too.

4)Wordpress was founded by an idealist, Matt Mullenweg, a kid who believed it belongs to the community. It was started as an open source project, and although scores of people are building businesses around it, the WordPress code cannot be “sold” to AOL, or to Google, or to anyone for that matter. Thus, a self-hosted WordPress blog is the closest thing you can have to control over your own content.

5)Wordpress has critical mass. This is important for its survival and continual updates. When something becomes a dominant platform, there are drawbacks and pluses. I’m not sure I know anything else as dominant that is also open source (tell me if I am wrong here, because I’m on shaking ground).

6)Wordpress no longer looks like a blog. For small businesses who wouldn’t know a blog from a bag of potato chips, WordPress is a website, otherwise known as a content management system. It gives them control. Period.

And if you want to see my presentation, I will put it on Slideshare right after I give it. And I don’t really speak from Powerpoints anyway:-)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris June 17, 2010 at 10:38 am

Great article Francine. I was won over by WordPress about 2 years ago and now recommend it for the majority of my clients. I have been designing websites for almost 10 years and the ability to provide my clients with a tool that can have an impact on their bottom line without having to incur the high expense and lengthy time of developing custom modules (calendar, registrations, forums, galleries and seo) has been a real paradigm shift. Gone are the days of brochureware sites and simple storefronts. WordPress enables a business to have a site that works for them instead of the other way around.

I think its also very important to point out that WordPress is SEO friendly right out of the box and many of the themes developed for WordPress are programmed to be W3C compliant, allowing a site to be easily viewable on every browser and mobile device.

Hopefully you get a chance to dig in with WordPress 3.0 which was just released today! Justin Parks put together a nice article highlighting a lot of the new features;

Good luck on your presentation!

Hattie June 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm

A non-techie, I started out with Type Pad and am staying with it for “historical” reasons. But I see that now Word Press is just as easy to use. Even novices can put togeter a basic site, and more skilled users can do just about anything with it.

hardaway June 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

You can move your blog to WP automatically with a simple tool. No pressure:-)

Francine Hardaway, Ph D

Princediscourse June 18, 2010 at 2:39 pm

The only other open source project with the kind of traction WordPress has is Firefox, and for much the same reason – plugins.

hardaway June 18, 2010 at 2:49 pm

That's right. Extensions and plugins are the “apps” of the browser and WP

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