By now, almost everyone who wants or has a web site has heard about WordPress. Originally a blogging platform, it has evolved into one of the most popular content management systems (CMS). It is relatively easy to install, easy to update, easy to modify via plugins, and has a large user community for support. There are thousands of custom themes available to get you started with a good-looking web site.
However, WordPress, like any other CMS is just a tool. Granted it is a very good tool, however, if you are looking for an effective web site it is only as good as the craftsman using it. Here are some thoughts about what you need if you are personally going to use WordPress to manage your business web site.
Out-of-the box, WordPress is basically a blogging platform, and the default admin tools that are focused on blogging. Blogging platforms are typically designed for a single individual who will post blog articles. You will need add functionality that supports content management. Specific plugins will depend on what your site needs are. If you don’t know which plugins are needed, then that is a sign that you should hire a site administrator who has experience with CMS.
Since WordPress is a popular CMS, it is a target for hackers. You will need to protect your installation of WordPress from some common weaknesses in security with additional plugins and by disabling some standard features.
A business web site is much more complicated than a simple blog. The overall organization of the content of a web site is more important than on a blog. If you don’t have training in content structure and flow, hire a good web site design firm to start off with a well-designed information architecture.
Understand that writing content for the web is different that writing for print. Your content needs to fulfill your site visitors’ needs. Also keep in mind that you need to write for search engines—they are very important if you want people to discover your site. Use a writer who has experience writing for the Web—it’s different than writing brochures and other printed materials.
Once you have your information architecture laid out and have drafted your content, it’s time to start looking for a theme for the design of your site. If you are not a graphic designer, you should hire a designer to help you, if you haven’t already. When looking at themes, consider whether the theme supports your company branding and color palette, whether it works with the company logo, and whether you have a need for your site to work on mobile devices such as phones and tablets.
There are also technical considerations involved in choosing a theme, including whether a theme is customizable (and whether you can do the customization, which can take a substantial amount of time), whether there is customer support available, which web browsers the theme has already been tested in, and whether the theme has been tested on mobile devices.
WordPress is a great content management system. It is easy to use and is highly flexible. But it is only as good as the people setting it up. If you are a business that wants to use WordPress as a content management system, then you should have in-house expertise and/or work with agencies to create the best web site possible. HB Design has content developers, designers, and programmers who are experts at using WordPress. Look through our site for examples and call us to help with your WordPress site!