7 Reasons You Should Redesign Your Small Business Website in WordPress

However, when it comes to designing and developing a website, most of those same small business owners think they can’t have all the bells and whistles that larger businesses have. But that’s not true. Why? Meet WordPress.

WordPress is a free platform that powers the back end of your website. It’s commonly referred to as a “content management system” because of its ability to let you easily create and organize all of the pages and media you upload to your site.

Interested in learning why it’s the best option for your small business’ website? Keep reading . . .

1. You’ll be able to start using your website as a blog.

If you’re using a separate website to host your blog or, worse, have no blog at all (at least yet), switching your site over to WordPress will quickly solve that problem. Not only is the software incredibly easy to operate (adding new pages/posts literally takes seconds), but it’s the perfect platform for blogging about your small business.

Simply set up a page on your site dedicated to your blog (just call it “blog” or some catchy name that plays off your brand). Then you can start adding posts to that page. A blog is your easiest and most effective way to continuously add new content to your site and keep customers up-to-date with your business.

 2. WordPress constantly updates itself for safety and security.

Instant updates mean you can be confident your website’s security is always up to date and aligned with the best, most current policies. While some other content management systems might require you to manually check for updates or may be slack on performing maintenance, WordPress does the work for you.

You can sleep soundly knowing that your site will automatically update, and knowing, too, that WordPress will keep working to better its system and make things more secure for users and visitors.

3. WordPress is open source.

“Open source” simply means that developers are able to contribute to WordPress’ software in the form of plugins, themes and updates. How does that benefit you? The system is constantly improving and getting better, and a new addition doesn’t cost you a cent. You can reap all the benefits of these improvements without paying for them.

Related: With Open-Source Software, You Don’t Have to Start From Scratch

4. WordPress is SEO friendly.

SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the idea of making your website more searchable by engines like Google and Yahoo. While mastering SEO can take some investment of time WordPress offers ways for business owners to optimize their site in the easiest ways possible. Check out the free Yoast SEO plugin, which shows you step-by-step how your content ranks and where there’s room to improve.

5. WordPress is no newbie.

This CMS is swimming in familiar water. It’s been around for more than ten years so it’s safe to say it’s a sure thing. While WordPress (like any CMS) isn’t perfect, it’s pretty much problem-free. Over the years, its engineers have had time to work out those little kinks and improve, aging the system into a timeless CMS that all levels of web developers have come to love.

6. Coding for WordPress is standard for any web developer.

A lot of small business owners hire a web developer who then builds a complicated website that no one else can manage. That’s all well and good if you never need to change your website again — but that’s rare.

One of the reasons WordPress is so great is that it’s become such a popular choice any web developer knows how to code for it. Whenever a problem pops up that you can’t fix, or you decide to redesign your website’s look, any developer will be able to get the job done.

7. Having a WordPress website puts you in good company.

Yes, WordPress is “every guy’s CMS.” That being said, its capabilities extend far beyond the basic ones; and some of the biggest companies in the world use WordPress to power their sites. How big is “big”? The New York Times, MashableTechCrunch, and Inc. (to name a few).

WordPress is great for small businesses because it has everything you need to create a visually pleasing, fully functional, scalable website, and it also offers endless possibilities if your business or budget grows down the road.

The Value of Content Before Website Design

I’m a strong believer in preparing website content before initiating graphic design and this applies to both websites and blogs. Some will argue with me, but I’ll fight this battle and dig in because I know content before website design is the right approach.

I believe:

Strong website design extends past colors, fonts, and layout boxes.
Strong design focuses on the user.

Website design should be crafted around the user, their needs, and the desired outcome of a website visit. It should be focused on the user’s challenges and the website’s ability to solve these issues.

It should not be focused on coding trends and prepackaged templates.

Design Trends Come and Go, But a Focus on the User Should Not

I’ll receive emails from people discussing their website design requirements and many times these lists will be focusing on specific project criteria like infinite scroll, hamburger menus, hero images, video backgrounds, and motion.

Rarely do people approach a design firm and present data based on their visitors, the user’s needs, and the ultimate goals of a website visit.

Website owners get caught up in design trends, their competitors’ websites, and what they believe is modern and current design elements. In doing so, they lose track of the actual website visitor.

All too often people select a website template or blog theme and get caught up in the graphical presentation or bells and whistles it offers. It’s an emotional buy that supersedes the desire to help the actual website visitors.

Once they buy the stock theme, they force their content to fit within the template’s available content blocks. Or worse yet, they force a custom design to adhere to the same style and presentation of a top competitor’s website.

In most cases this leads to disappointment and buyer’s remorse.

The reason this occurs is this process follows the path of purchase, design, development, and finally content. That path is in the wrong order. The process is going backwards and it leads to frustration.

Content First Leads to Educated Design Decisions

Documenting your desired user flow, visitor paths, and call to actions is something that is typically done after the graphic design is completed. Unfortunately that’s the wrong approach because it forces you into matching content to the website theme or design. It should be just the opposite.

Before you find yourself falling in love with a competitor website, coveting a stock WordPress template, or reaching out to a graphic designer, you need think through the goals and objectives of your website or blog.

You need to document your user personas, their individual challenges, your solution offering, and the paths you’d like these visitors to take within the website.

While graphic design in very important, it must take place at the right time within the project to truly allow you to showcases the website, content, and offering in the best light possible.

One of my favorite quotes on this subject is:

“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” – Jeffrey Zeldman

Messaging and content are the building blocks and foundation of the website. This means they should be carefully thought through and documented well before any colors, fonts, and layouts are considered.

The design elements should complement, highlight, and showcase the key messaging and most important content.

Focus on the Right Content

While I am saying you should have content written before beginning design, I’m not saying that you have to have all your content written. That would be a difficult task to accomplish for most website owners and businesses.

I encourage clients to focus on core website sections and pages. During the sales process I usually go through their website and look for areas I think would benefit from custom design templates. These will vary based on the client, industry, and target demographic.

Here are some common areas that can benefit most from a content first strategy:

  • Home
  • Main about or company page
  • Main services page and individual service pages
  • Main storefront and individual product pages
  • Resource section, categories, and/or resource items
  • Personas
  • Landing page templates
  • Main blog page and individual blog posts
  • Contact page

Sometimes I’ll suggest just a few custom design templates and other times I’ll suggest fifteen to twenty. It really depends on the complexity of the content and the variations in the content flow and call to actions.

As we progress into a project with a client, we like to have as much information as possible on core elements and how these might be altered based on different areas of the website.

Content elements that matter in a content before website design approach:

  • Headlines and subheaders
  • Core messaging
  • Paragraph text
  • User personas and visitor paths
  • Call to actions
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Navigation
  • Social media accounts
  • Search engine optimization

The more your graphic designer knows and has available, the more unique and targeted your design will become.

Finding Balance

Not all situations will allow a content before website design approach. You have to find balance and you have to pick and chose your battles.