What do Spotify, The New York Times, and the White House all have in common? No, not that, (to whatever you were thinking, lol🤨!). All of their websites were built on the WordPress platform.
And with good reason. WordPress is the oldest of the website platforms and has the most robust functionality. This makes it a top choice for huge companies that need a LOT of power and a lot of customization. Choosing WordPress for business isn’t a miss at ALL! But is WordPress ideal for SMALL, service-based companies? Short answer…maybe.
In this post, we’re gonna dive into the nitty-gritty details of building a website on the WordPress platform, the pros, and cons, and my OWN personal experience with building WordPress websites for business owners.
Let’s get into it!
WordPress for Business: The Corporate (Or-Ex Corporate) Entrepreneur’s Go To
I’m about to share a little secret with you. Okay, don’t lean in too close, it’s honestly not THAT juicy, lol! But around 70% of my branding & website clients are ex-corporate workers. Meaning they’re now a coach or service provider in their own small business, but they had a long (and quite successful) career in a corporate setting, first. Many of them THRIVED in the corporate environment and did so for several years. What led them out of that environment was more often than not, the usual suspects:
- They wanted more flexibility in their days
- Their side-hustle took off unexpectedly
- They wanted more time to be with their kids and family
- Or they just decided one day, I’m betting all the chips on ME, lol!
Whatever led them into full-time entrepreneurship, I am always grateful that it did.
I serve some REALLY cool women, ya’ll.
But anyway, one thing we’ve had to work on, in every situation of a client coming from corporate, is adjusting their lens away from corporate preferences.
What I mean by adjusting their lens away from corporate preferences, is helping them to see that what worked for corporate and what was the standard tool for the corporate world, isn’t a requirement “out here”. And the first turn of the dial towards this adjustment is always their website. Because it’s ALWAYS on the WordPress platform. Why? Because WordPress is the platform preference for the majority of the corporate world.
Why WordPress Works Well For Corporate Is Usually Why It Won’t Work Well For Your Small Business
I don’t want to jump ahead of myself here. But I’ll say this briefly, and we’ll move on, deal?
WordPress is EXTREMELY powerful and wonderfully robust.
It’s been around for 15 years and has paved the way for a lot of the platforms I’ll cover soon to even be around! I don’t hate WordPress at all! In fact, I only built on WordPress for the first official year of my studio business.
This beast of a platform is not my first recommendation for small business owners.
The power and features often overwhelmed my clients. Yet by the time they make it to me for a rebrand, I have to pry their cold, numb, hands away from the platform that corporate had taught them to love. Even though they KNOW full well they couldn’t maintain it AND didn’t have a REAL use for its powerful features.
This is just something I wanted to throw out there, while it was on my mind.
So that you can know, yes, WordPress IS awesome.
But if you come from a corporate background, it’s 100% okay (and normal) to leave it for a platform that you can maintain with ease.
Well, since I’m already out there…let’s jump into some official pros and cons of the WordPress platform for small business owners, yes? Yes! Let’s do it!
WordPress: The Pros & Cons
WordPress is an absolutely wonderful platform if you have a need for its power and features! But like any platform, it has its pros and cons. I want to share with you the ones I’ve experienced using the platform for my own websites in the past and building on the platform for my clients.
Pros of WordPress for Business:
1. Open source
WordPress is an open-source platform, this means it’s free to start and you can set it up however you want. Here’s a quote from WPBeginner, a free WordPress blog that helps users get started, “Open source software comes with the freedom for you to use, modify, build upon, and redistribute the software in any way you like without paying any fees. However, there might be costs involved in other areas.”
2. SEO is fantastic
WordPress is known for its incredible SEO or search engine optimization.
Without good SEO, your website can’t get found or discovered by Google. When Google can discover and index your website, it will make the site more visible for people who are searching for what your website tells it it’s about. The SEO keywords are essentially what tells Google what your website is about, who you are, etc.
3. User-friendly CMS (Content Management System)
Because WordPress’ origin was blogging, it manages content extremely well. ‘Content’ is your web pages, photos, blog posts, etc. Anything you put on your website is your ‘content.’ WordPress manages content exceptionally well, with a sleek dashboard, consistent editor, and themes you can purchase to edit your design.
4. WordPress is very powerful
If you can’t tell by now, this is one powerful platform! That’s probably its biggest flex. It can handle the needs of big corporations like The New York Times’ website, with ease.
Cons of WordPress for Business:
Because WordPress is so robust, the platform has been said to be ‘intimidating’ to all of my previous clients who used it. And I totally understand why. Because of their intimidation, they never updated it! Like, ever. This is a huge ‘no no’.
The WordPress platform is made up of several smaller parts working together, called plugins. These plugins need updating OFTEN. As often as their developer updates them, in fact. Think, your smartphone app, and how often they need updating. Same concept. If you are a super busy solopreneur, wearing all the hats in your business, having time to maintain a WordPress website will not be ideal.
When building a website on WordPress, I often rely on said plugins to make the website function in the ways my little artsy-fartsy brain conceptualized. However, I soon noticed the weight of these plugins and the speed of my clients’ website loading suffered.
If you think speed isn’t a big deal when it comes to websites, think again! According to Loadstorm, a cloud testing technology, 1 in 4 people will abandon a website if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load; 74% of users will abandon after waiting 5 seconds for a mobile web page to load.
3. There’s a learning curve
I’m not gonna lie to you, there IS a learning curve when it comes to maintaining a website built on WordPress.
Once I handed over a fully designed and developed website to my clients on the platform, I knew there was a 50% chance that it would be the last time it ever received an update. As a project neared closing, I’d go over how to maintain the website on the backend. Literal equations formed over the top of my clients’ heads.
There are several blogs like WPBeginner, but WordPress doesn’t have an actual phone number or email address to contact for customer support. This means you have to spend precious time learning the platform yourself or have a designer on retainer/standby to assist you at all times.
4. WordPress for business = extreme power
See #4 in the pros section of this to be reminded of said power, lol. But we know, with great power comes great responsibility! This power is LOVED by giants like Spotify but may prove to be overwhelming for the nutrition coach who just wants a function and well-designed website she can be proud of.
5. Security is 100% up to you
I don’t want to paint the picture that a website built on WordPress isn’t one that’s secure. However, I do want you to know that its security is 100% up to you, unlike other website platforms that monitor security “in-house”. Remember, WordPress is an open-source platform, hence the reason I sometimes refer to it as, ‘the Wild Wild West,’ of the internet, lol!
You basically have to always ensure that you’re running the latest version of WordPress and install security plugins like Updraft, to keep your website safe. But if you’re anything like my clients who used the platform, you’re likely too busy or too intimated to keep things up to date! This leaves your website open for possible attacks, easily.
According to Kinsta, 74% of the vulnerabilities they logged in a survey on security, were related to the core WordPress software. And they also found that only 62% of WordPress sites are running the latest version, which is why many sites are still unnecessarily vulnerable to attack.
How to Create An Impressive WordPress Website Like a Professional
I realize that I haven’t mentioned this yet! But I’m going to be reviewing all 4 of the top website platforms used right now by small businesses. These platforms are WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and ShowIt. I’ve built websites for clients on ALL 4 of them, so my reviews will be genuine and, hopefully, really helpful for you! Especially if you’re trying to decide on which one to invest in. So, as they say, ‘watch this space,’ or you can always sign up for the Tuesday Drip!
This is my community of email friends. It’s kinda the coolest email you’ll probably get on a Tuesday morning, just saying. Anyway, if you sign up, you’ll get a short reminder about my blog posts every week.
Sign up here, so you don’t miss the series!
Okay, on with the steps.
This is everything you need to know to set up WordPress for business.
1. Purchase a domain.
Your domain is your “dotcom”, in other words, it’s your address on the web!
I’ve been getting domains from them for the last 3 years and they do not disappoint! Their rates on domains are awesome and I cannot recommend them enough. Use my affiliate link here and check them out!
2. Invest in a hosting provider.
After you purchase your domain, the next step is to purchase hosting. I like to refer to hosting as your ‘rent’ to have a website up and running and the Internet. The hosting provider is the landlord and you pay them monthly or annually to house your website, aka, your online ‘home.’ Make sense?
So since WordPress is an open-source platform, you have to literally put all these pieces of the website puzzle together.
The first is the domain, the second, the hosting.
Just like with the domains, there are several options for hosting platforms. I have used several of them, including Bluehost, InMotion, and Siteground. Although it’s the cheapest option to get started, I do NOT recommend Bluehost. I used them for my own first website and for several clients, and there were just too many stipulations around their policies that weren’t to my liking!
Nonetheless, when I built on WordPress I absolutely LOVED Siteground! Their technology is fast, reliable, and their customer service is A-1. I spent many a day on the phone with them for HOURS working through glitches, site crashes due to plugins, and overall educational tips on how to have a better website. If I ever build on WordPress again, it’s not even a question on whether or not I’ll have my clients use them!
3. Install WordPress.
Third, you need to install the WordPress software. Installing the software connects your domain to your new website. Now, this step is completely dependent on the domain provider you’ve chosen to go with. As each company has its own way of doing this within their interface. And to spare you the techy bits of how this is done, I’m going to refer you to these 3 amazing resources that tell you exactly how to do it!
Resource #1–WPBeginner walks you through it in this blog post and even tells you how to do it for specific domain providers!
After you download WordPress and connect your download to your domain, you have to go into your hosting provider and add a record (a small code). This allows your hosting provider to pick up your new website and begin hosting you!
4. Choose a theme or a template with a drag and drop builder.
Next, you’ll choose either a theme or template from your choice of web developers or online shops. Or you can choose to use one of WordPress’ in-house themes and build with a visual editor, like Elementor. I loved Elementor when building on WordPress. You get to skip all the code and design with a little more flexibility.
Check out Themeforest, Divi Themes, and Creative Market for great WordPress themes/templates. Use my Creative Market affiliate code here. It’s where I get a TON of design resources for my clients, I love them!
5. Customize the theme and web pages to fit your brand.
Finally, the fun part! After doing all these steps you get to dive in and play around with the design, editing the templates however you like. This is the most fun part if you have the time and bandwidth (I know it’s limited as an entrepreneur–which is why I’m still in business, lol!).
6. Optimize the website for speed.
Lastly, you want to make sure your website is optimized for speed and search engine optimization. You do this by choosing a keyword you want to rank for in Google searches and making sure that word is used a hefty amount of times on its relevant web page.
For example, let’s say I’m a marriage counselor, living in Sedona, Arizona. I decide I want to rank for the term ‘Sedona marriage counselor’ so that when people go to type this in Google, I’m more likely to show up within the first few pages. Well, then I need to go in and make sure that this term is embedded into the copy on all the pages I mention this, like my home page and services page. I also will embed it within the pages’ header area for code.
When it comes to speed, WordPress has awesome plugins like WP Rocket, WP Super Cache, and WP-Optimize. These plugins scour your web pages and determine how they can make them faster, safer, and more optimized overall. I’ve personally used WP Rocket and enjoyed it a lot!
Major Things to Consider Upfront Before Building A Website on WordPress
Whew. Okay, you’re still here?
My friend, you’re actually probably my people, and we should have coffee on Tuesdays, if we’re not already, lol.
More on that here, check it out after you finish this, lol!
But seriously, you made it!
This is the ultimate guide for getting started on the WordPress platform and my own little review, as well.
I’m going to quickly continue with my numbering from the steps above because I think the following info is very much a part of the things you need to know if you decide to build a website on WordPress.
Here are 3 things you need to consider when thinking about using WordPress for business:
7. Plugins crash.
Just be prepared for this, off the top. Plugins crash, just like apps on your smartphone crash. And when they do, sometimes they knock everything else out of alignment and your website might randomly look like this one day:
You’ll have to go through each plugin one by one and deactivate them seeing which one “done it.” Or book some time with a web developer and let them handle it!
8. No official customer service support.
I’m sorry that this is probably like my 57th time mentioning that WordPress is an open-source platform, but, WordPress is an open-source platform, lol. 58th, smh! This also means, there is no 1-800 number you can call to get help, no technical support ticket you can create, and no email address to talk to a customer service representative.
Again, it’s the “Wild Wild West,” baby, lol!
9. Your realistic needs for a website.
I always ask my ex-corporate clients what they REALLY want from their website. What are their real needs and expectations?
Since almost 100% of them offer services, they often say things like:
- I want an online home for people to learn more about who I am and what my services are
- I just want a great-looking website that’s fast and helps people book me fast!
- My website needs to house my content and show people how to get in touch with me
Goals this simple often don’t require a robust website platform. Take some time to really think about what you need.
10. When considering WordPress for business: Consider Your time for maintenance.
Lastly, I want you to think about how much time you have as a small business owner. If you have a team, an assistant, or can afford a designer to stand by on retainer, and truly need the power that WordPress provides, go for it!
But for the average coach, service provider, or online business owner, I know for a fact that their time is QUITE limited! WordPress requires time to now just learn how to do everything, but also time to update the plugins and keep the site safe from attackers.
My Experience with WordPress for Business As a Website Designer
I always like to share my own experiences when empowering people with a load of facts.
I find this just helps round things out a bit, know what I mean?
In my experience of both having a couple of websites of my own on the WordPress platform and building dozens of them for clients, I can share the following:
- WordPress is wonderful for corporate companies and businesses needing high-level customizations
- The average service provider doesn’t need the robust capabilities of WordPress and is often intimidated by the platform–resulting in them rarely keeping it up to date
- Solopreneurs and booked out service providers don’t have time to learn about WordPress nor the time to check on the plugins and keep things moving smoothly
If your main goals for a website are for people to get to know you and book your services, I say this.
Skip out on the powerful beast that is WordPress and go for a platform with less punch, but one that won’t miss the mark.
I hope this was helpful and if you made it all the way down here, we seriously should have coffee on Tuesdays, lol!
Tell me in the comments below do you have a website on WordPress?
How has your experience been?
Or have you been considering building a website on WordPress and found this post helpful in making a decision?
I wanna know!
Let’s chat below 🤗.
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