07 Apr The Pros and Cons of a Small Business Using WordPress
Although I would recommend WordPress for creating a small business website, WordPress isn’t right for everyone. This post outlines what every small business should consider when deciding whether to build their website in WordPress.
1. WordPress is perfect for a small business wanting to get their name out there with little maintenance
If the objective of your business is to make people aware that the business has a presence on the internet, WordPress is the CMS you should use. It is easy to get your WordPress website up and running. By installing a plugin such as Yoast and configuring page titles and meta descriptions on each page, you’ll be ranking for your own brand name in no time.
2. There are free plugins and themes
There are plenty of low maintenance WordPress plugins and themes available to make your website stand out.
When searching for a free theme on the WordPress theme directory, you should check for when it was released, when it was last updated, and if the theme developer provides support. Although WordPress has its own forum for theme developers, many tend to have a forum on their own website, so if you see the WordPress forum for a theme looking deserted, you should check whether the developer is offering support elsewhere. If the developer has stopped giving support, you shouldn’t use their theme as if you run into any problems the developer won’t be there to help you.
When looking for a plugin, you should check the rating of the plugin and how many people have downloaded it, along with when it was last updated. You should avoid plugins that have been abandoned as they may have security issues due to being outdated. Also, many plugins offer premium versions which may add extra functionality, but more often than not the free version will do what you need.
3. WordPress is constantly updated
By having a bespoke website built, there is a chance that the older it gets, the more chance there is of it being hacked. With WordPress, there are regular updates to stop any new vulnerabilities getting exploited. Also, if you have installed plugins and themes for reputable developers, they will also push out security updates as well.
However, I always recommend doing a backup of your website before updating anything, as there is a small chance an update could cause something to malfunction.
4. WordPress has a massive user base
If you are having issues with your website, there are plenty of people on the WordPress forums willing to help you out. Often, the issue you are experiencing may have happened to someone else previously, so an answer to your issue may already be available without you having to ask people for help.
Not only that, there are blogs online dedicated to WordPress news where you can keep up with the latest developments, my personal favourite is http://wptavern.com/ for its regular blog posts and large range of subjects.
5. For people with a bit more money to spend, there are premium themes to make your a website really stand out
Although the free themes will do the job just fine, you might find yourself unsatisfied by what else it can offer. Premium themes offer a lot more than free themes, and may even come with plugins integrated so you can add more to your website.
For example, a free theme may make your website look nice, but it may not offer a slider, or the one it does offer is very limited. With some premium themes, they will come with bundled premium plugins e.g. the popular X theme comes with Layer Slider, a premium slider plugin that would usually cost a lot on its own.
I would highly recommend you buy your premium theme from a reputable seller, such as ThemeForest.
1. WordPress cannot do absolutely everything
Although WordPress is very customisable, if you’re planning features that are very specific, you may be better off with going for a bespoke website. For example, if you wanted a website with a lot of interconnected features, WordPress may struggle to present a viable solution.
Although it may be possible to create a WordPress website with many interconnected features, it may make the backend of your website look extremely cluttered and if you have to update a plugin or a theme it could cause the website to break.
2. There are a lot of disreputable theme sellers
A lot of the best themes from reputable sellers aren’t cheap, so you may be tempted to buy a cheap theme. The main problem with cheap themes is that they could just be that the developer has reskinned a popular theme and sold it as their own and they may stop giving support after you have bought it.
Also, websites that sell cheap themes may not have a vetting system, so someone could sell a theme on their website but it may be riddled with viruses. I have even seen a seller attempting to offer a premium theme that would usually cost around $70 as a free download. I checked in the comments left by buyers and someone had found out that viruses were bundled with the theme as well.
So if you’re going to get a free theme, get it from the official WordPress directory and if you’re going to buy a premium theme, ensure that you’re buying from a reputable seller.
3. WordPress isn’t the best option for eCommerce
Even though there are plugins available for eCommerce on WordPress, I recommend using an actual CMS designed for selling products and services, such as Shopify or Magento.
Although a WordPress plugin may sell your products for you, you may be quite limited if you wanted to add anything else. Like WordPress, many eCommerce content management systems (CMS) offer add-ons as well, and these add-ons may give you the customisation you need.
If you’re planning on making a complicated eCommerce website, I recommend using Magento due to the large range of features the extensions offered can add, but if you’re planning on just selling products with not much else in terms of functionality, I recommend using Shopify.
4. It can be tricky for people with no previous experience
Although it’s very easy to get your WordPress website up and running, it may be hard for beginners to add additional features or customise their website. For people who wish to make edits to their theme, they will often need to have an understanding of HTML and CSS.
A lot of themes offer options to change elements such as colours, but to have full customisation, experience with coding is often needed. Free themes tend to not be very customisable without knowledge of CSS, but premium themes often let the user configure more elements. Some themes are also designed for CSS alterations and provide their own custom CSS section.
Many small businesses do end up succeeding with WordPress, but planning should be done beforehand to see whether WordPress would be the best solution for meeting the business’s objectives. Hopefully, this blog post clears up the confusion a small business may experience when starting their own website.
If you have any more questions about whether WordPress is the best option for you, including choosing and buying a theme or coding and customisation, or any other queries regarding websites for your business, get in touch and we will be more than happy to help you out.