Why use WordPress?

I have posted before about the decision to design around the WordPress interface, but I thought I would elaborate a little and explain the business case for using it as a back-end.

I started out in web design the same way a lot of designers, using Dreamweaver. I then progressed to hand coding and producing standards compliant sites that I could be proud of. The problem is, customers fall into two categories:

  1. Those who are happy with their site to sit there, day in day out, looking the same and with the same content.
  2. Those who want a dynamic site, they want to nurture it and want to update it.

The problem is both these types of customer have their own similarities and differences.

Allow me to explain…

If you ask both types of customer what they want from their site, out of the top 5 in their list I would imagine 9 times out of 10 you will find “Highly ranked on Google”.

In the old days you could get away with a nicely designed site and still get ranked well on Google, but in recent years this is just not possible. In order to get right up there you need dynamic content, updates etc. This immediately rules out the first type of customer. I am not saying these types of customer should not be allowed, just that they should be re-educated. Type 1 needs to become type 2.

  1. Those who are happy with their site to sit there, day in day out, looking the same and with the same content.
  2. Those who want a dynamic site, they want to nurture it and want to update it.

Now if we take a look at the second type of customer, who wants to be involved, wants to be dynamic and wants to nurture their site to success we have the problem of how they go about it.

In the early days they used to email me changes, often these were small and either I would have to take a little time to do it for free or charge them for the change. If I did the latter it used to disuade them from making changes, if I did the former then I would spend a lot of time doing lots of small changes. Not ideal.

WordPress is a great way to give control back to the customer. It allows them to update the site whenever they like without involving you. It also avoids the cost of making changes, from both your point of view and theirs. This can only be a good thing.

In my experience, once people get used to adding content using the WordPress back end they often end up getting really “into it” and the site goes from strength to strength. By keeping the content fresh and updating often the site is already half-way to being highly ranked. Of course there is plenty more to do, but fresh content is half the battle.

Once you learn to use WordPress to design a non-blog site it really comes into it’s own, but I’ll leave that for another day.

6 replies
  1. Lyndi
    Lyndi says:

    The nice thing about WordPress is that one can also combine the static and dynamic pages. As you mentioned, if you use WP is used for a non-blog site it really comes into it’s own. I am eagerly awaiting your post on this some day.

  2. Jim
    Jim says:

    Hi Lyndi,

    You’re right, it does work really well. The advantage I find over “hardcore” CMS systems is the interface is friendly and easy to use. I have used Joomla too, and while it’s not to bad to design for, the interface can scare the user a little. I will post the full article in a few days. Thanks for the comment!


  3. Piggynap
    Piggynap says:

    Great post, I totally agree that WordPress is a fantastic way to run your site’s content. I’ve found it especially useful for clients whose site doesn’t already contain a news section or comprehensive CMS – you can install it quickly and cheaply and it’s very easy for the client to use. It’s also fantastic for people like me who don’t have a technical background because I can basically build a whole website with it and integrate it with my own server no problem 🙂

    Having said all that, you can give someone a blog but they still won’t update it – then they’ll complain about their rankings or ask why you haven’t been updating it (for free!). I sometimes think we should offer a full content-writing service so it can be budgeted in properly – but that’s probably a comment for another post!

  4. Jim
    Jim says:

    I know exactly what you mean, it’s so difficult convincing people of how Google works. I have had a few conversations that lasted half an hour or so, I think they are getting the message, then they say “I will be number one on Google though, right?”.

    You may have something on the content writing idea, although in my experience clients often want to have their cake and eat it, remaining in complete control of the copy but expecting us to magic them up the rankings at the same time. If you can solve that puzzle I’m sure you’ll become very rich from it!

  5. The Floating frog
    The Floating frog says:

    WordPress has proved to be awesome for us. It took a while to convince my business partner to use wordpress for the blog software as he is totally against third party products and wanted to develop our own. I’m glad to say I’ve converted him fully to WordPress and made him eat his words 🙂

  6. Jim
    Jim says:

    I know what you mean, “been there, done that” in terms of developing a custom content management system. I found that the benefits you gain from having full control you lose in other areas. The question is often asked “what happens if you disappear or I want to host elsewhere?”. With WordPress everything is standard, and while we hope people would not wish to host elsewhere, they could if they wanted to. Not to mention the stress of making sure every potential security vulnerability is accounted for.

    From what I hear WordPress 2.7 has a few interesting features, so we have that to look forward to.

    Thanks for the comment!


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