If you’re in the process of starting a business website or looking to revamp and give your current brand a facelift, you may find yourself in a pickle with all the choices out there. Software choices don’t have to be overwhelming if you know what you need and are looking for (if you don’t know what you need or what you’re looking for, call us. We have opinions).
Not that we’re biased or anything but, WordPress has a ton to offer and you’ve likely done some research on it if you’ve ended up here. We’re going to count on you having a touch of information around WordPress and throw out the disclaimer that everything explained below is following the personalized installation method of WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. If you are unsure what that means, check out WP Beginner’s post on it here
What is WordPress?
Not to get too technical, but WordPress is open-source software that has taken over the website design and development scene. Open source means that developers from all over the world have free access to download WordPress, help develop new features, create new themes and improve the free software’s security, functionality, and scalability. All of which user’s like yourself gain access to through the free themes and free plugins in the WordPress shops. This is only part of the reason WordPress is now running 35% of the web. To put that into perspective the runner up, Joomla is sourcing 3% of websites.
Not even close buddy… Not. Even. Close.
Having the Popular Vote is just the beginning… We’re about to dive into the good stuff.
This is a topic that we run into with nearly every client we chat with, especially the ones in tech. “Is WordPress secure?”, “Will hackers find or attack my site?”, and “If I have a store, will WordPress keep my data safe?” are questions we hear regularly. You have every right to worry about these things, but don’t you worry your pretty little business owner head. There are some pretty awesome WordPress hosts out there like WPEngine and Pressable that add additional security that is WordPress specific and in place to prevent attacks. On top of that, both offer free SSL keys. SSL Keys give that little lock next to your URL to show users that you have your site secured and encrypted to protect them. It looks like this:
Now that you’ve seen the lock, you will never be able to unsee it. We challenge you to to your favorite sites and make sure they have HTTPS with the lock next to it. You’d be surprised how many don’t.
WordPress Site Themes
WordPress has this pretty cool concept when it comes to their themes. Because the software is open-sourced, users get to put out free themes in the WP shop. However, if you are building a website for your business, we recommend going with a paid theme. You can find thousands upon thousands at places like Themeforest, and Envato. There are a lot of themes to pick from with website builders in theme, paid plugins for added function and even custom coding tools in them for non-developers. A great theme can be an enabler and magic carpet ride into a whole new world, but a bad theme can have you feeling locked down and shut out of the ideas and layouts you have in mind.
Choose wisely, friend. Make sure to preview the demos, check the support section to see if the theme is still supported and if the developers are responding to questions, and read the reviews. You should make sure to view 15 or more themes before making a choice. Once you have a few in mind, check out the builder that they are using. Look at those reviews as support coverages as well. What a quick tutorial video on the providers’ site or search YouTube. The great thing about WordPress is that so many people are using the software and the themes. You can find out SO much from a quick google search of the theme name or builder name.
WordPress Site Plugins
As if you haven’t had enough thrown at you… Let’s go over plugins.
You should have a quick list on hand of all the things you want your WordPress site to be able to do. Do you want to take in forms? Great, here’s Gravity Forms. Do you want to have a calendar on the site? Awesome, here’s Events Calendar. Honestly, you should take a peek at our list of Plugins every website should have. It’s a great source for working on your Search Engine Optimization right out the gates. We’re not messing around when we stand by the community around WordPress that makes these plugins. There’s literally a plugin out there for nearly every function you could need, and it’s likely free.
Ecommerce through WooCommerce
So you wanna build a store. Create a unique check out experience AND keep your brand intact? Check out WooCommerce. You can do some pretty insane stuff with Woo. They have an array of other plugins, but their shop functionality is a level above the rest. Don’t freak out when you read this, but it’s also… Free. Some of the add-ons are paid but the basic shop setup and checkout are free. Make sure the theme you pick is WooCommerce ready and bam… You can have a store up and running in a few hours (assuming your merchant services are already in place…).
And look, I know what you’re thinking:
But getting started is that simple and most of it is free. WordPress Sites are secure, come with a ton of options and have so many affordable functions out there to make your site stand out. Keep in mind, it’s a lot of time and effort though. If you’re looking for help or need a fairly custom WordPress site for your business’ online journey, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact page. We won’t bite, we’ll just throw a lot of tech knowledge and educated opinions at you. Promise.