WordPress is a powerful platform with more than 75 million websites, many very large and sites you may visit often. You usually have no idea it is a WordPress site, as have evolved well past the old “blog” format. However, a WordPress site isn’t for every business.
Before you can compare your options for a business online presence, you need to do some self-analysis to see where you believe you’ll get most of your business and how valuable you believe a website will be to your bottom line.
How valuable will a website be for your business?
Of course, if you sell products that you can ship, just think Amazon to know what value to place on the online web store. If you can sell exclusively online, then you avoid the expense of a brick and mortar business, passing more to your bottom line.
If you are a freelancer or consultant, your website is probably more of an online brochure. This is of significant value though, as anyone you seek to work for will probably lower their opinion of your services if they can’t do some research on the Web, and that begins with your website touting your expertise with examples and testimonials.
Finally, there are few businesses these days that will not benefit from a website, even if it’s simply a billboard or outline of your products or services. People use the Internet for research, and they’ll want to see what is out there about you and your business. How valuable your website will be for your business should dictate how much time, effort and perhaps money you put into it.
How much of your own time and effort do you want to commit to the site?
It’s not all about money as if you’re willing to spend a lot, you can just have a custom site designed for you. A turnkey site can be quite expensive, but if you know it will help your business and you have no desire to be involved in creating or maintaining it, then just buy one.
If you want more control, want to change or add to your site when you want, and you have the time and desire, then WordPress can be an awesome decision. If you can write a little and avoid spelling and grammar errors, you can create your own content. Or, you can buy pre-written content or hire freelancers to create custom content.
The advantage of using WordPress is that you have complete control of your content, changing or adding to it at will, and even changing the design and look of the whole site with just a click to apply a new theme. Thousands of third-party developers create plugins that add power to the software, and for almost any requirement, “there’s a plugin for that.”
What’s the cost of a WordPress site?
Disregarding buying content or special programming that you rarely or never need, WordPress software is free. Many small business owners and individuals are tempted to use WordPress.com for their site hosting, as then the hosting is free as well. The problem is that you’re severely limited in theme selection, plugin availability, and other neat features you can incorporate into your site. You can get them with the free hosting, but you have to pay, and it isn’t necessary.
You can self-host your site on any of a number of excellent web hosting services, such as Bluehost and Hostgator. A very basic hosting presence can be as inexpensive as around $8/month and provide more space and power than you need. By self-hosting, you can select from thousands of free or one-time purchase themes to get the look and design you want. You can get free and purchased plugins for more power and specialty functions you want.
There are even themes designed with certain businesses in mind, such as themes for consultants, writers, photographers and various online product type stores. There are plugins for online sales, order taking, credit card processing, and downloadable products.
To wrap it all up, you can do just about anything you want with a WordPress site, host it very inexpensively, and have total control and fast editing or new content publishing. All you have to do is to commit to making it happen. There is no other option with as much control and as many options open to you as a self-hosted business site on WordPress.