The Small Business WordPress GuideMonika Jansen
Have you heard people mentioning WordPress every once in a while – but you have no idea what they’re talking about? Here is a WordPress guide that will teach you everything you need to know about WordPress basics.
What is WordPress anyway?
WordPress is an open source platform that is commonly used to build websites and blogs. Because it’s open source – which means anyone can use, change, add to, and improve upon the code – it provides a lot of flexibility around design and functionality for a low cost.
Think of WordPress like architectural plans for a home. The basic structure is already there. Your architect, or in our case your web developer, will add custom features that perfectly fit your needs.
Why choose it over a DIY platform?
Do-it-yourself, or DIY, platforms use proprietary software code, which immediately limits their flexibility. Plus, as your company grows, you’ll quickly outgrow its functionality and find yourself building a new website. Again.
However, DIY platforms are awesome if you have the time to put one together and are working with a very limited budget. It’ll definitely last you for a few months. Once you have the budget in place, you can upgrade.
Who do I hire to put together a WordPress-based website?
I recommend hiring a web design and development company, agency, or team that specializes in WordPress sites. They understand the nuances of what works and what doesn’t, and they’ll be able to offer you great suggestions for themes (the structure and basic design) that best fit your brand.
What is the difference between paid and free themes?
Ooh, you’re really digging deep into the questions! Love it. Free themes are very limited in structure, design, and functionality, which means you’re looking at the same limitations that come with a DIY platform.
Paid themes, like those on ThemeForest, don’t have those limitations. They provide room for a lot of customization, so I always recommend clients go with paid. And by the way, most paid themes are around $50-70. We’re not talking big bucks here.
What on earth are plug-ins?
Plug-ins are add-ons to your website. Remember how I said above that your site will come with basic functionality? Plug-ins give it the functionality and customization you want. They range from ecommerce to analytics to search engine optimization. There are tons out there; your developer will recommend the ones that best fit your needs.
Anything else I need to know?
I am so glad you asked, because yes, there is one VERY big thing you need to be aware of: Maintenance. Your website is not a one-and-done. It needs to be maintained in two basic ways:
1 – Content
Every month, go through your website to check that all of your content is still up-to-date – services descriptions, product lists, prices, team members and bios, etc.
2 – Theme and plug-ins
Your WordPress theme and plug-ins are updated fairly regularly. If they are not updated on your website, your website will eventually be outdated and break (and this can happen quickly – within a few months).
Ask the company, agency, or team you worked with if they offer site maintenance – and sign up immediately. If they don’t, ask for recommendations. But do not let this slide, or you could one day find that your website is, indeed, broken.