For most businesses nowadays, making the decision to invest in a company website is going to be a no brainer. It’s something that both B2B and B2C customers will expect and if done well can play a key role in the marketing mix.
While in the past being able to build and managea website would have been confined to developers and those in the know about complex coding, Content Management Systems (CMS) have thrown the doors wide open. These platforms have been designed so that individuals with little or no knowledge of programming can now create a website from scratch. And many of the platforms are free to download and use.
From individuals running personal blogs, to global enterprises with high volumes of traffic, the popularity of CMS continues to grow. WordPress, Drupal and Joomla! are among the best known – and their popularity is huge! WordPress alone has been quoted as powering one in every 6 websites on the Internet, nearly 60 million in all, with 100,000 more popping up each day.
So a CMS ticks a lot of boxes, but with so many different options to choose from, how do you know what is going to be the best choice for your company?
Making an informed decision, what to think about:
- What will you need your website to be able to do – i.e. what key functions and features will it need to have, also think how many pages it may grow to
- Think where your company is headed and what it will need in the future, not just what it needs today
- Look at and compare the features that different systems can provide
- Read up on the pros and cons of different systems
- How secure do you need your site to be – what would it mean to your business if you were hacked and your website was defaced or even brought down completely
- Check how much you will be able to customise your site – what can you do in-house, what may need expert support
- What level of specialist IT support will you need to budget for overall
- What is the cost of the system going to be
A closer look at WordPress
WordPress is one of the most popular CMS available and is used by organisations and individuals across the globe, including many household names and big hitters, such as Sony Music, Marks & Spencer, Fortune, Reuters and ebay. It is thought that WordPress now powers around 19% of the web, hitting over 46m downloads.
So what’s its secret – why are so many people a fan?
WordPress is an ‘Open Source project’, which means there are hundreds of people all over the world working on it. This also means it is free to use for anything from a personal site to a Fortune 500 web site.
Content is king
It’s easy to use. Another reason for its popularity is that making content updates is quick and easy to do, no matter what level of knowledge someone may have about websites. And it isn’t just restricted to the written word, this includes video, photos and graphics too.
Audiences feed off content, they want to find, read and share it. This means breaking news can spread across the globe in an instant, so having the ability to update website blogs and news pages in a flash is very appealing. A reaction, comment or statement can be drafted and shared in seconds, as the action unfolds.
It works well with social channels. As the number of social media users grows and grows, and with social channels increasingly forming a core part of marketing strategies, the ability for a website to be fully and easily integrated with such channels is an important consideration.
Scalability in action
High traffic sites use it and like it. The fact that giant, traffic heavy organisation such as CNN, CBS New York and Harvard Business all use WordPress without a hitch is testament to its scalability, says the founder of VistaMediaInc. If it wasn’t suitable then they’d quickly know about it.
But not everyone is a fan….
However, not everyone agrees and it may not always be a good choice depending on what you need your website for. One common concern raised about WordPress is its security vulnerabilities. Unlike a standalone, custom website, if a hacker can find a vulnerability in one system then it is likely that it will exist on many of the others, so it can be automatically exploited, according to Webbedfeet.
Helga Moreno echoes this concern and also adds that there are lots of features that can also cause issues, such as automatic updates, or which may puzzle those who are new to web building. This includes needing to configure the site to improve its optimisation. She also points out that there is no direct support available if you hit problems, except through the community.
So – is a CMS like WordPress the right choice for your company?
It really just comes down to the scope of the website you need – i.e. what you’re going to need it to do, and so the features it needs to have (both in what visitors will see and use, and what’s there behind the scenes). There will be a big difference here depending on whether it’s a personal brand, a full blown e-commerce site, or something in between.
As a company you’ll want to ensure your investment is protected by making sure the site is fully optimised and created in such a way that is will maximise potential impact and your returns. The good news is, if your team knows what they are doing and fully understands the intricacies of getting the most out of WordPress, or whichever platform you choose, then there’ll be no stopping you.
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