For those who haven’t been paying attention, the role of websites has changed over the years. While there are still websites that exist merely to provide quick overviews, contact information and maybe an “About Us” piece, anyone involved in business or marketing knows that a company’s website can, and should, be so much more.
And we’re not just talking about looks, although we recognize the value of beautifully designed sites with harmonic color schemes, images that pop and to-die-for graphics, but all that is meaningless if no one is there to see it. Simply, without great, dynamic, continually updated content, a website is but a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear.
You’ve heard that “content is king” and if you’ve wondered why, take a look at the top-ranked websites on any search engine. They are there because of content. And the content needed to get those spots has to be relevant, well-written, SEO-optimized and fresh, with fresh being key.
Most search engine users don’t get past the top three to four choices when they’re on a quest, so making sure you’re up there can mean everything to your business. And since everyone knows that, competition is fierce and all players bring their “A” game. Constantly. New content is churned out daily in hopes of pleasing the search engine “gods,” getting prospects to take note and knocking someone else out of a prime spot.
We’ve been at this battle for over ten years and have learned that, hands down, WordPress is the best, easiest and quickest way to create, implement and share great content. Since its launch as a blogging system in 2003, it’s grown into the premier CMS platform in the world and hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down.
We use WordPress, ultimately, because it helps us keep our client’s websites in fighting shape for the SEO arena. And that would almost be enough. But lucky for us, and our clients, there are lots of great things about word press and we’re going to tell you about them here.
Strength in Numbers: The WordPress Advantage
Because WordPress has made itself so user-friendly, intuitive and adaptable, it’s earned a huge customer base, especially among developers worldwide. This is interesting not only because it indicates the excellence of WordPress as a tool, but also because these same developers are the doers, innovators and communicators who have given WordPress an edge the others don’t have: a booming community.
And not just a community that gives tutorials or troubleshooting advice (which they do), but a community that develops all those wonderful WordPress plug-ins, stays vigilant against the threat of malware, devises ways to combat malware and basically lends its formidable brain power to the cause of making WordPress better.
Based on its own merits, we already know WordPress is here to stay, but the fact that it has a phenomenal community of pros behind it ensures that it will remain secure, reliable, progressive and cost-effective.
For the Naysayers
It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while we’ll run across a client who’s had a bad experience with WordPress. In 100% of those cases, the client hadn’t used WordPress themselves, but hired a self-professed WordPress “expert” to do work that ended up being substandard or, worse, a security risk.
We love WordPress for its ease-of-use, but so do amateurs, and some of them become overconfident (or dishonest) enough to label themselves professionals. While WordPress is a comparatively simple tool, a skilled and experienced hand is still required for optimum results, especially when your website needs to be competitive and SEO optimized.
We’ve also been told that WordPress can be a hassle to update, with downloadable zip files containing several file “packages” that need to be uploaded to the FTP (file transfer protocol) and then removed from the FTP after the zip file’s been decompressed, etc. That may have been true years ago, but updating today is a simple affair involving one click and . . . that’s it.
The only other complaint we hear, with diminishing frequency, is that WordPress doesn’t offer enough visual control which, as with the updating misconception, is like saying that cell phones are too big and clunky – it’s coming from folks who haven’t used this technology in a while.
Indisputably Awesome Endorsements
One way of knowing something is good is when you see it used by someone with enough money to afford anything they want. WordPress is currently being used by:
- The Wall Street Journal
- General Motors
- The Rolling Stones
- Mercedes Benz
- Coca Cola
And the list goes on . . .
Bear in mind that any and all of these entities have the budget to afford more high-end CMS platforms that are specifically designed for developers and offer more bells and whistles for those who like to take the time to code their own projects and produce something more intricate or elaborate.
Yet they choose to work with agencies who use WordPress. Why? Because the movers and shakers have been in on the “content is king” non-secret for a long time and prefer to have their marketing agency’s time and effort spent on creating and disseminating killer content, not coding.
And even with the obvious benefit of superior content management capabilities, they still aren’t missing out on aesthetic appeal, since WordPress’ ever-growing and evolving set of tools and plug-ins allows agencies like us to create incredibly sophisticated, eye-catching effects.
We Use It For YOU
As a marketing agency, Solutions 8 has always embraced a collaborative spirit, evinced by our use of a “living plan,” which allows us to involve clients in every step of their campaign (if they wish). Similarly, WordPress allows us to involve clients in their own content-management process, if they so desire.
Some clients like to create their own blog posts, make changes to the content we’ve created or be able to manipulate certain aspects of their site. On most platforms, the inherent danger here would be the possibility of the client inadvertently compromising the overall site design and making changes that wouldn’t be easily reversible.
WordPress is easy for clients to learn and gives them freedom to make changes and post content without having to go through us (unless they want to), but also has safeguards in place to prevent them from doing any costly damage or ruining something that took months to decide upon and develop.
Plug-Ins = Streamlined Social Media + Clear Metrics
If our clients don’t know the significance of social media before they partner with us, they certainly know soon after. Today’s marketing is as much about a powerful social media presence as it is a great website. At Solutions 8, we’re geniuses (proven, not self-proclaimed) when it comes to social media content and management, but even so, some clients still like to post, tweet and pin along with us; and we think they should be able to.
It’s a good thing there are so many excellent plug-ins that enable clients to easily post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. right from their WordPress interface. After we’ve carefully vetted and chosen the “best fit” plug-ins from the “Plug-In Directory,” we help clients develop the proficiency they need to work with them comfortably.
Of course, as an agency, we benefit much more from WordPress’ incredible selection of plug-ins than our clients, and the ones we use to track metrics are among our favorites. Having the ability to perform real-time KPI (key performance indicator) tracking and analytics throughout the course of a marketing campaign is key.
KPIs are based upon goals that have been set within a particular marketing campaign, such as clicks per page, number of shared/liked social media posts, scroll rates, contact form submissions, etc. Knowing this data helps us run highly successful campaigns by helping us understand what we’re doing right, what needs fixing and what needs discarding.
Another way plug-ins free us up is by allowing us to run Google ads or to channel in ads that Google wants to run on clients’ sites without having to leave WordPress, which means we can better use that time creating compelling ads and other exceptional content.
When the Extraordinary Resides in the Familiar
As we mentioned before, there are fancier, higher-ticket CMA options out there, which may make companies with larger budgets wonder why, if they want a truly one-of-a-kind website, they would opt for an agency that relies on something as “common” as WordPress.
We challenge any of those companies to browse the list of big-name organizations previously mentioned, check out their websites and point out anything that looks common. The fact is, WordPress is packed with so many amazing content management options that can be blended together in so many different combinations, that the possibilities really are endless (especially with upgrades, new features and plug-ins).
And when it comes time to freshen up or add features to clients’ sites, WordPress makes it a snap to transfer existing content into new designs or to incorporate elements like stores, shopping carts, questionnaires, etc., that will automatically take on the characteristics and appearance of the rest of the site.
The beautiful part of being able to tap into so much sophistication on a simple, easy-to-use interface is that we don’t have to waste our precious time coding. Seriously, we would much rather spend our time strategizing winning marketing campaigns, building dynamic living plans and coming up with mind-blowing content; which is just what we do and why our clients love us.
The Skinny on Real Risks and Limitations
There is a downside to being well-known and fabulous. For famous people, it’s stalkers and paparazzi. For technological internet phenoms, it’s hackers and malware. We mentioned earlier that WordPress has an unprecedented developer community whose concern it is to detect cyber threats and develop safeguards, but WordPress itself is extremely proactive, with its own round-the-clock, high-alert security team who are exceptionally skilled at averting attacks (sometimes with the help of the online community).
But the most crucial line of defense lies with the individual user and, since nothing online is 100% invulnerable, there are measures we take, as an agency, to ensure that our clients’ vital information is never shared, corrupted or destroyed. Not only do we install all appropriate security provisions and make sure our files aren’t writable, but we automatically back up all our work so that there’s always an emergency plan in place.
WordPress has been aware of the importance of delivering mobile functionality for a long time, which is why it automatically detects screens with less than 800 pixels and reconfigures the display accordingly and intelligibly. And since nearly 60% of all searches are now done from mobile devices, they’re only going to keep getting better at it.
Naturally, they didn’t forget about their users when it comes to mobile responsiveness. Clients that want to make site changes, post to social media, upload photos, etc. can do so from a WordPress mobile app or log in to their account from their device, making it a breeze to manage content on the go.
The Final Word
We’ve given you many valid reasons to believe that WordPress is what we think it is: a superior, one-of-a-kind CMS platform that combines complexity of choice with simplicity of use so that we can deliver unsurpassed content, form and functionality to our clients; every time.
From its aforementioned humble beginnings as a blog site in 2003 to its current position as a global CMS leader, WordPress has proven its mettle. It’s been around long enough to have learned from any mistakes, yet it was born into enough technological tumult to keep it young indefinitely, since it will always instinctively know that it has to keep evolving and changing to survive.
And, thanks in part to its community, it will; in the form of plug-ins, peerless security systems, upgraded features, increased capabilities, fans like us, etc. It’s not only a great product, but an inspiration. To summarize: we like WordPress because it’s good for you, good for us and is here for the long haul.
If you have questions about Solutions 8, WordPress or anything else, please feel free contact us any time.