One question/issue I continue to hear from non-profits and small businesses is this: I need a Web site (or update/revamp my existing Web site), but can’t afford one.
In the era of democratized and open source tools, creating a Web site is more affordable than ever. Many non-profits and small businesses are stuck in thinking a Web site still costs upwards of 25K. That’s simply not true anymore. Not for non-profits and small businesses.
Today’s tools make it possible to create a Web site for far less–but one that will project an extremely professional image and brand for your organization.
How is this possible?
Simple: Just use a blog platform (namely, but not limited to, WordPress).
Today’s non-profit or small business Web site should run closer to $5,000-10,000–not $25,000.
The ingredients you need are also pretty simple. Number one, you need someone to steer the ship. A project manager/marketer/PR. This person understands your strategic goals and what you want to accomplish online–and they know how to use online tools to make that happen. Number two, you’ll need a designer. Someone who can bring your brand to life on the new site. And lastly, you’ll need a developer. And, WordPress developers are everywhere these days. But, be careful in the selection process–much like any niche or discipline, they’re definitely not all the same.
But wait, why would I use a platform like WordPress when I can use a more traditional Web platform? Let’s look at the advantages WordPress holds for non-profits and small businesses:
The tool and software itself, not the full development. But still, that’s a huge advantage. Sure, you might pay for a theme and the help to set it up. But the software is free. Period.
It’s an easy-to-use CMS tool
As CMS tools go, WordPress is pretty darn simple. That’s big for small businesses and non-profits that have limited resources and time. And, they usually don’t have a dedicated “Webmaster” so whatever CMS tool you use, it has to be easy. With WordPress, entering content (text, photos, video) is a snap. It requires minimal training, really.
Google likes blogs
Remember, Google loves blogs. So, build your site on a blog platform (and update it regularly with compelling content), and Google’s more likely find it and place it high for your key search terms. I’m not an SEO expert by any means, but I do know by using some simple plug-ins like the All-In-One SEO Pack you can increase your Google odds substantially (I’ve seen the results personally with this blog).
WordPress software is continually being updated–and all you need to do to update is simply click a button (the 3.2.1 update was recently released to the public). Yep, it’s that easy. Updates frequently include security fixes and patches. This point shouldn’t be undersold–again, especially for companies with smaller PR/marketing teams, which don’t have a ton of time to spend on their site.
Easy customization via plug-ins and widgets
With a more traditional Web site, most customization requires technical know-how (read: coding expertise). With WordPress, customization is a bit easier with access to a plethora of plug-ins and widgets.
Help is just a click away
There’s a huge amount of help that’s just a few clicks away. WordPress user groups are everywhere. Here in the Twin Cities, we have a vibrant WordPress User Group–it’s an invaluable resource for reaching the best and brightest minds using the tool (and did I mention the advice and chatter is posted for virtually anyone to see?). You can also find a host of other resources through a simple Google search.
What others reasons can you think of for small businesses or non-profits to use WordPress as a tool to build their Web site?