Your small business is up and running and conventional wisdom says that you have to have an online presence if you want to be successful. But where do you start? Do you pay someone to develop a turnkey website for you? That can be expensive! If you decide to do it yourself, there are many things to take into consideration. Who will be your hosting provider? How will you handle web design? How will you manage the content on your website? And the list goes on. In this article, we will consider web design and how it can be accomplished on a shoestring budget.
Most small business owners do not have the knowledge or skill to develop a website using the basics such as HTML, XHTML, and CSS. However, that does not need to be a deterrent to developing an online presence. There are several avenues to accomplish this goal such as site builders that are available on the web such as wix.com. Most hosting providers also offer a site builder application. These sites do offer several attractive templates. However, they also have restrictions that make it both difficult and undesirable for many small businesses to utilize as their web presence. An alternative is to use WordPress as the platform for a small business website.
Many hosting providers have the feature of installing WordPress directly from the cPanel management tool. This is vital because of both its convenience and its efficiency. Today’s version of WordPress installs flawlessly. When WordPress upgrades their application, a user’s website will be updated automatically.
Installing WordPress is just the beginning. From there, the user must decide what theme to use for the site. The basic themes that come with WordPress are designed for use in a blog environment. After all, WordPress is known as a blog site. However, WordPress also has the flexibility to be used very effectively as a small business site utilizing third-party themes.
The WordPress platform offers a variety of features that are both easy to use and gives the small business operator a more sophisticated website design. One particular feature is the use of widgets to populate sidebars with various applications. Some of the more popular applications include a calendar, appointment request form, email opt-in form, text editor, slideshow, social media connections, videos, as well as several others.
Another aspect of the WordPress platform is the use of plug-ins. Plug-ins can provide additional functionality for a website. The standard install of WordPress comes with some basic plug-ins. However, third-party plug-ins provide even a greater degree of functionality. Some of the more popular third-party plug-ins include Contact Form 7, Rich Reviews, TablePress, and Really Simple CAPTCHA. Contact Form 7 gives the user the ability to create contact forms with greater flexibility than the standard WordPress contact form. Multiple contact forms can be created giving the user the ability to use different contact forms for various aspects of the site. Rich Reviews is an application where visitors to the website can offer comments to review content or products available on the site. TablePress is a means of incorporating tables into the pages of the site. If the user wants to verify that the person completing a contact form is an actual human being, the Really Simple CAPTCHA is an excellent addition. For an example of these features.
WordPress is a versatile and flexible website platform that is easy to use and an excellent way for the beginner to get his or her feet wet in website development. What we have covered in this article merely scratches the surface of what is available using the WordPress platform. If you are a small business operator looking to develop your first online presence, WordPress deserves your consideration.