The Word on the Street about WordPress
According to the digital marketing think tank Smart Insights, just under half the world’s population – 3.196 billion people – are now using social media. With numbers like these, and all of the advantages the medium offers, it’s no wonder small business owners everywhere are asking, “If I use social media, do I need a website?”
While social media may seem to be a magic bullet for all your marketing and branding needs, experts set the record straight on why websites must remain the keystone of your business’ online presence. And, in particular, why a website developed in WordPress reigns supreme.
On the heels of Facebook’s arrival in 2004, businesses began harnessing social media’s marketing potential. It granted companies of every size unprecedented access to their customers and opened a dialogue between the two.
Even in its infancy, the medium tore down walls that once separated big corporations from offering its customers a personalized shopping experience. For small business it gave unprecedented reach, connecting owners directly with their target audience. Even more, because it’s free, small businesses could finally compete with the big dogs’ marketing budgets and capture much-needed market share.
Now, nearly twenty years later, Facebook has matured introducing features such as analytics, geofencing, and retargeting to weaponize content. Brand identity can now be reaffirmed with even more platforms like Instagram, for example, to show the lifestyle that goes along with products being hyped.
This is all good news, but is it good enough?
Websites: Credibility, Control, Value
According to a recent article in the Bulldog Reporter, one of the web’s leading sources for PR and marketing communications news, research shows that while consumers use social platforms as their primary source for information, only 55 percent trust the content they find there. Instead, consumers deem company owned and operated websites and apps to be trustworthy, credible, accurate and up-to-date.
While there are countless reasons to make your website the main hub and final destination for all of your online marketing activities, here are Sasquatch’s top three:
- Credibility. It cannot be overstated that 75% of online users judge a company’s credibility based on its website’s design. With that said, people are likely to engage with a company they can trust, and your site is the launching pad towards building a solid relationship.
- Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. Remember Myspace? How about Tumblr? When it comes to social media the next big thing can quickly become yesterday’s news. Even social media giant Facebook claims that people in 2018 spent 50 million fewer hours on the site than they did the year before. When a relationship is established and maintained on a social media platform only, the relationship may be connected to the brand, but it is owned by the platform. Building websites gives you 100% ownership and control over everything from design, and content, to hosting.
- Return on Investment (ROI). Free tools such as WordPress.com mean you or your design firm can create a high-end website that won’t break the budget. A search engine optimized (SEO) website puts your business in front of thousands of potential consumers for less. It can help you reach a wider target audience for promoting your services or products. That coupled with content on the site influences buying decisions across all industries.
WordPress: The World’s Most Popular Site Builder
WordPress has been used to create nearly one-third of the world’s websites. This ranges from personal blogs to highly matrixed sites for commercial titans including Sony, Time Inc., the New York Post, and NBC.
While it is one of several site builders and content management systems (CMS) used today, WordPress is the most popular, touted by experts as the gold standard. Chief among the reasons why is it allows you edit and change your website’s appearance without using code. In addition, the web masters at Sasquatch, offer their favorite reasons for using WordPress:
SEO Rank. With everyone vying for first position in organic searches, Google reports WordPress has 99% SEO friendly rating. First, its well-designed structure allows search engines to easily crawl it. It loads quickly, follows coding and UX best practices, effortlessly optimizes images, and includes tools to integrate social media and generate sitemaps. And if that weren’t enough, its large supply of SEO plugins helps site owners create pages and content that rank even higher.
Mobile Responsiveness. According to a 2019 smartphone study conducted by Statista, there are currently 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide. So, websites looking good any device (aka mobile responsiveness) is a big deal. It is also a factor in Google rankings. The good news is WordPress offers a variety of responsive theme designs, or users can make a static site responsive with plugins and modifications to theme files.
Intuitive Admin Features. Even without any technical expertise or knowledge, a WordPress site can be installed and live in a matter of minutes. Simply secure a domain name and a web hosting account. WordPress can be installed free through your WordPress hosting provider or uploaded directly from WordPress.org. Having a third-party create the site for you but want to do updates yourself? It’s never been easier with WordPress’ intuitive and easy-to-manage Admin dashboard. It has all the features needed to customize any pages and create posts right away.
Born to Blog. Remember reading a few paragraphs back that WordPress is a content management system (with emphasis on the word “content”)? When first launched, in 2003, its sole purpose was for its creators to use it as a platform for writing blogs of their own. Because of this, one could say that it essentially has a blogging function built in.
Even though we are continually told video is king, blogging still has a very important role. For one, it is a direct connection with your customers.
When doing business online, on the phone, or in person, customers always have questions and want to learn more on a variety of topics. It’s like your second-grade teacher said, “There are no dumb questions.” And, “If you have a question, there are probably ten more people who have the same question; they just didn’t speak up.” These questions and topics can be turned into blogs using your company and the people in it as subject matter experts (SME).
A subject-matter expert is a person who has a certain level of expertise in a particular area. Then, they can explain the technical or semi-technical information in a way that someone who has no background in it can easily understand. These types of blogs let your followers know that you are current with the latest trends, news, and innovations in your field.
Once the blog goes live you can use it to extend some goodwill to your own list of contacts by sending the link out in a mass email blast campaign. You can also tease excerpts on your social media channels with a link for users to click if they want to read more.
Finally, blogs are another way to improve your SEO ranking. The more you blog, the more content search engines have to crawl and index. By boosting your ranking your site becomes an information resource to an even broader audience.
Grows with Your Business. Many WordPress users want more specialized functions related to their business’ specific needs. The plugin directory offers a variety of plugins—small pieces of code designed to perform specific tasks—that allow users to add features such as shopping carts, galleries, contact forms, and more to any compatible WordPress site. Plugins can be activated, deactivated and uninstalled based on changing needs.
While social media is indisputably a powerful marketing tool. However, nothing takes the place of a professionally designed and branded website to establish credibility. WordPress is the best platform for creating your image, managing content you have 100% control and ownership of, and scaling features quickly to meet the needs of your growing business.