This was the heading of an article in techcrunch this week, (read more) being a popular daily news site for those geeks and marketers that monitor technology and the net. 15 million sounds important to someone, but what does it mean?
Well, they’re talking about WordPress, being the free blogging platform. It runs the www.wordpress.com service that allows anyone to build their own blog under the WordPress subdomain. I have several family event sites running on this.
WordPress is the leader in blogs. Even Microsoft dropped their own proprietary ‘spaces’ blogging platform last year and is migrating its millions of users to this free, more stable, open source, php-based WordPress platform. Ironic.
However what the 15 million article talks of is the number of scripts downloaded by web developers and designers off the www.wordpress.org site. (There’s 25 million sites now running WordPress, surpassing Joomla and all others). Web developers can use the same robust platform to build their own and client business blogs and primary websites on their own domains.
What’s driving this WordPress growth?
A lot of this explosion in interest and downloads is the big enhancements that came with version 3 the middle of last year and 3.1 in February. A major upgrade to their robust 10-year old blogging platform. It turned WordPress from a popular blogging platform, into a serious website CMS contender, even rivalling the likes of highly respectable, long-established open source CMS options like Joomla, Drupal and others.
I used to build sites on these platforms, but now seldom do. I can build better sites, in under half the time using WordPress. And time is money. My Joomla sites that once would have cost the client up to $5,000 can now be built for around $1,500 which means there’s usually money left over to actualy help the client market the website, both online and offline. And the on-site SEO side is ten times easier to do in WordPress than the same chore in Joomla, Drupal or Dotnetnuke. And the sales bonus is quicker build time and reduced costs make it viable for me to provide extended payments to clients over 3-6 months. Yet another incentive to get them started, and instill the fact this is a long term business development project.
Yes, WordPress lacks in some areas, but the lower costs, ease of setup, enhancement options and user friendliness more than overcomes its shortcomings for most small business websites. And $1,500 is a nicer, more manageable, lower risk investment for most small business owners to build their online presence than $3-5k. Ample upgrade options too. Even a slick small business shopping cart, classifieds or community tools can be added for around $600 more.
What does this mean for web designers and small business?
If you want to save time and costs, the trick is to start with a professional design ‘theme’ like those from (in order) Studiopress or Woothemes or Storefronthemes or Rocketheme. However some need their own unique ‘look’ and branding. For around $500-750 it’s possible for us to build your own ‘theme’ from Photoshop or html layouts, ready for content to be added.
A WordPress-based site ensures more features. Certainly more than any static ‘brochure’ website. No ‘cost per page’ fees since any new page or article can be added in minutes.
Better integration too with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The worlds best mobile compatibility just by adding a $50 plugin – Critical, since more people are visiting websites using their mobile device these days. With this, WordPress automatically ensures the one site renders quickly and beautifully on mobile. (It may also eliminate the need to develop a costly ‘Mobile App’ for iPhone).
And, WordPress sites are easier to update. Not just the backend scripts, but also all content using a PC, Mac or mobile phone, just like Facebook users can do. Fresh content is what brings Google and traffic. Less effort on ‘looking nice’ which has been the web design focus the last ten years. This is what is broken with the current offerings in our web design industry. Business owners are basing their web expenditure upon the pure design and how it looks, which has little to do with sales or traffic volumes to the site.
Google LOVES WordPress
The real jewel in the crown of WordPress over all other platforms and technologies is its SEO benefits. A well optimised WordPress site will get more traffic. Typically 30-50% more than others according to studies. It’s a mix of superior architecture, SEO coding and also the fact that people are more willing to update content regularly. It ’gets found’ in Google. Matt Cutts of Google has said this more than once. Forward-thinking website developers worldwide are dropping their existing website offerings and migrating themselves and their clients onto the WordPress platform – Hence the explosion in downloads.
Most websites today have very low traffic and almost invisible in a Google search. With WordPress, you’ve an immediate kick-start on the competition. There’s still lots of tricks to traffic, but WordPress just makes it that much easier for web developers to do a good SEO job.
Sadly, WordPress or even SEO technques are seldom mentioned in local web design schools. Many still rely upon selling static brochure websites and the use of meta keywords in the site header to be listing in Google. These strategies are ten years out of date, often doing more harm than good!
SEO Web Development Specialists
So, that’s my role in life. Helping web designers build websites that get found, using WordPress as the foundation. We can do this without conflict since we’re a pure web developer and SEO (search marketing) geek. I couldn’t ‘design’ anything if I tried – Which is why we like to partner with designers at Studiopress, Woo and local web designers who want to upgrade their offerings. We help those with the design skills to assemble slick, content-managed websites that get found in Google…
To learn more on these powerful, cost-effective services email: zn.oc.gnitekramlatigidnull@nivek