A WordPress Primer for Small Business

What is WordPress and should my small business use it?

What is WordPress? WordPress started as a blogging platform, but what many small businesses don’t realize is that WordPress is a powerful and versatile Content Management System that can be used to build and manage not just a blog, but an entire website.

What makes WordPress so attractive to small business is the fact that it is very easy to use and is extremely flexible in what it can accomplish. The other reason why I recommend WordPress over so many of the “build it in 3 clicks” types of sites it that WordPress is open source and isn’t proprietary. That means if you don’t like the service of the web host you’re using, you can easily switch to another one. Many of the specialty website builders available today are proprietary and don’t allow you to move your website off their private system. If you want to move, you’re building your entire website over again.

WordPress is used by 23.3% of all websites online, according to a recent survey by W3 Techs. Because of how robust WordPress is, it is used by many top brands as their website of choice, including Vogue, the New York Post, Fortune, Beyonce, Time, Google Ventures, TechCrunch, and Izod.

One of the most important reasons to use WordPress is the fact that it’s free. It’s free to download at WordPress.org and any company or individual can use it. WordPress is also available from some web hosts as a one click installation, where you don’t even need to download it. WordPress is open source, which means you can modify it any way that you choose. This openness has created a huge WordPress community of companies and people that exist to support businesses with WordPress websites.

But if you choose to design your own website, there are many tutorials and resources available to help you through the process.

What makes WordPress so ideal for small business is the huge catalog of free and low cost themes and plugins that are available to use, to customize your WordPress website.

A WordPress theme is a collection of files that work together to display your website in a particular manner. Themes provide the page layouts, color schemes, and fonts that make your website look unique to your company. WordPress themes are designed to make it easy for you to change the colors, upload your images and your logo, add your content, and choose what elements appear in different positions on your pages. There are over 2,000 free themes available in the official WordPress Theme Directory, and even more available for less than $75 from commercial sites like Theme Forest, StudioPress, and WooThemes.

A WordPress plugin is a bit of software code that can be uploaded to your website and allows you to expand the functionality, easily and quickly. There are virtually an endless array of additional functions and features you can add to your website through plugins. Plugins can be installed in virtually seconds, by anyone. This gives any business owner or employee the ability to add features to their website without knowing any code or be a programmer. Think of plugins as the website building tools in your online toolbox. There are over 33,000 plugins that are listed in the official WordPress plugin directory. Many are available for free and some are available at a flat fee or at a subscription price.

Watch the entire How to Use WordPress for Beginners Course in the Small Business Academy.

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