Guest contributer, John Bennison, Principal at Bennison Associates and former VP of Product Development at Skywire Software (now Oracle) has quickly become one of New Tricks’ BFF. John has contributed his extraordinary small business coaching and technical skills to the New Tricks growing world empire. See the end of the post for John’s bio.
- Are you a freelance photographer during the day but make the cutest little doggie purses at night? You need a single website that lets people find both of you – without displaying symptoms of a multiple personality disorder.
- How about a small business owner who paid gobs of money for a website that’s been promising ‘Under Construction – Coming Soon’ since Y2K? You need a website you can define and maintain – without hiring a cadre of coders, or becoming one yourself.
- Or, maybe your boutique bakery already has a website but needs a way to let your customers know that you’ve just taken the most sinful chocolate cake out of the oven and they’d better hurry over to your shop before it’s gone. Good news, like good food, is best served fresh.
- Perhaps you are job hunting? You need a website that shows off your bad self and your good work — to showcase your authority in your field. Every project you do is a potential promotion if you post it on your site.
Small businesses adapt or die. Change is the one constant. Your website should set the pace, not lag behind. A website stakes your claim. It helps you build and furnish your business’ place in space (Cyberspace, that is.) Getting your site onto the web is the modern equivalent of getting your product onto the shelves. It’s not an optional part of the plan.
Whoever you are, chances are if that if you’re ready to blow some Benjamins, you’ll want to blow away the completion as well.
The answer my friend, is blowing in ….. well, WordPress
Websites that adapt and evolve – hosting dynamic content and plugging into social networks – weren’t easy with first generation website development tools. But there’s been a quiet revolution in the Blogosphere and blogging tools have crossed over into mainstream websites -it changes everything. More and more businesses are using WordPress for their web-sites. WordPress isn’t just blogging software any longer. NO it has grown from a blog for letting others know about your fishing trip to Alaska, sharing recipes or ranting about politics anymore. Many companies, including the US Government, are using blog engines to drive all types of websites these days. And for small businesses there are huge benefits.
Why use WordPress to power your second generation web site?
WordPress sites started out as blog sites. The word Blog came from the combination of web and log. Now WordPress has evolved to provide an easy and versatile framework on which to publish all kinds of content. Non-coders can easily do lots of cool things with a WordPress site like embed video or audio or photo galleries in your posts and incorporate a blog as a base for a podcast, add widgets and nifty plugins or interactive tools. And the open-source WordPress has grown to offer much more than basic blogging, such as content management websites, multi- user sites, mailing lists, discussion groups, newsletter services and shopping carts.
Sites built on a WordPress platform can be furnished with static pages so that they are indistinguishable from a traditional website. But they can also show off all the latest capabilities of a burgeoning technology. Best of all, you maintain control – you can set the tone and tune it to match your style, your business, and your priorities. Nobody even has to know it’s a blog on the inside.
WordPress sites are Budget Friendly
WordPress software is Open Source. That’s techie speak for cheap and easy. WordPress, is actually free. There’s very little set-up cost for you to get up and running. Just a domain name (great, if you already have one), webhosting (think of it as the office space for your website) and a theme which can be customized and should be customized to reflect your unique brand.
Since WordPress is open source it also has a thriving community of developers constantly improving the software and creating plugins to expand the functionality. It’s sort of like having your own world wide web of developers all working for you – for free.
Building your website on an open source WordPress engine gives you a huge and growing set of built-in features and capabilities, with no licensing cost.
No coding required
The bane of first generation websites was that they required a technologist between you and your site. You either had to hire one, or become one. And if you kept your site half-way current, that meant an ongoing relationship with the bits, bytes, and bolts. WordPress does for website design what iPods did to music collecting: get the technology out of the way. The new tools let you run your site like you run your business. You can delegate to your staff, outsource projects, or roll up your sleeves and do it yourself.
Social Networking is about creating conversations with your customers. “Word of mouth advertising” becomes whispering into the ear of the Internet. Social Networking harnesses the energy of your customers, and feeds it back into your site – keeping the content on your website fresh and updated. People will want to come back to check out what’s new. And they’ll help you define, refine, and promote your image – for free!
Structured change, and living history
Websites built with WordPress allow you to have time-driven content and make it easy to manage that content – storing posted items with categories, tags and dates. Customers can subscribe to your site, so they can be updated every time you cyber-speak to them. Sites with inherent blog capabilities are also easily integrated with other Social Networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and RSS Feeds.
Talk may be cheap but it is certainly effective.
Search Engines Love Websites built on database engines
Because it is built on a database, each item on a blog-enabled websites can have an individual “permalink” which is it own unique web address. This allows the web content to be accessed by a search engines, even years later. This means whenever someone Googles ‘cute dog purses’ your site is more likely to appear at the top of the list.
Database platform websites like WordPress also allow for comments and user participation, which is becoming the standard for how individuals get involved in the companies they do business with.
Fired up, ready to go? Give New Tricks a call. We’ll show you ‘It’s Never Too Late!’ to learn new tricks.
About our guest Blogger:
John Bennison, is a Principal at Bennison Associates, an Atlanta-based Entrepreneurial Software Development company. John co-founded Micro Dynamics Limited, a document imaging and content management solution which was flipped up the corporate later (taking John along as VP of Corporate Development) until being acquired by Skywire Software (now Oracle).
Prior to founding Micro Dynamics, John mastered the art of mentoring and listening as Assistant Director of Computer Operations, User Services, and administration of the academic Computer Center of Brown University. John holds a BA in Math from Amherst College.