I wrote this article a while ago. It is my website story. I find that I am still retelling it weekly.
As a business coach and consultant I need to provide a lot of content on my site so that I can use my site as a marketing tool to express my expertise. In studying similar successful sites I notice that they are using many tools. These tools give prospects and clients a reason to come back to the website. Those websites are no longer a brochure. (Read and discard) Those tools include but are not limited to: blogs, audio, video, podcasts, calendars, polls, sign ups, webcasts, stores, ticket sales, integration with social media, 1000 widgets, etc. The result of this is a lot of interaction with clients and prospects on their sites that keep people coming back to get more information.
Problem: Developers tell me that this will cost tens of thousands of dollars. They tell me how difficult it will be to integrate my needs and how long it will take.
The result: I keep my site the way it is and pay for little enhancements as I think of them.
I have a website created by a designer / web developer that is written in code on a windows platform and populated with HTML. As someone who is not a techie, and even though I have some editing tools, I find it difficult to make even the slightest changes to my site. Additionally, when I do make changes, I mess it all up. And in both situations it requires that I hire a “webmaster” to do these changes for me.
Problem: Hourly cost of Webmaster
The result: Infrequent updating to my site.
Google hates me. SEO seems like an art only the most studied professionals can understand. I am told repeatedly that if I only come up with the right keywords and place them correctly in my meta data I can conquer the art of Google. But upon careful study I find out what Google is looking for:
1) Pages that change, are updated and show a newness that proves someone is home.
2) Linking and commenting coming into the pages showing that others are interested.
In fact the more stuff changes and the more interest in that material the higher the organic search.
Problem: My site sinks like a lead weight.
Result: No one can find me.
What I can’t figure out is why do kids sit in their bedrooms creating empires with their blogs and Youtube accounts but I have all the problems listed above and it will cost me thousands of dollars to fix? What do they know that I don’t?
They know about Open Source, Database driven websites with dynamic pages and dashboards. They know about CSS, PHP and MySQL. (And they know that I don’t need to know about CSS, PHP and MySQL to make it work.) They know that you should avoid “static” HTML built pages like the plague. They know that the code… is already written and I don’t have to pay someone to rewrite it. And they know that it is free.
For more in depth info go to Killersites.com http://www.killersites.com/articles/articles_databaseDrivenSites.htm
And now… so do I.
I have entered the world of WordPress. I possess all the tools listed above. I am number one in my Google rankings. I interact with my network. I have a catalog of articles and expertise. I publish a lot of video. People engage with me. And anytime I want a new feature I can find it and plug it in.
There are competitors to WordPress. I don’t mean to disparage them. However, like sticking to MySpace when it is clear that everyone is on Facebook, WordPress is winning. More code is freely being written… as I write this… for WordPress than any other platform. Why would you use something else?
In a nutshell, WordPress started as open source (meaning free of cost and free in spirit) blogging software. Eight years later and many updates later, there are thousands of developers working on additions called plug ins and designs called themes of every variety. If you can think of a feature you want, there is a plug in, theme or widget for WordPress available. In fact, there are so many that the skill is sifting through the volume to find the best, most supported of items available. And then you just upload it.
The most important item you get with WordPress is a dynamic dashboard. I can use a visual editor to create your own pages, posts and metadata in minutes You can easily integrate with social media automatically. And here is the kicker, I can do it. If I can do it. ANYONE can do it. Why would you do anything else?