Is WordPress good for small businesses? 9 reasons why it is
As the internet steps into more and more areas of our life, it’s inevitable for businesses to look for opportunities to expand their reach into the digital world. In this context, WordPress, the most popular CMS in the world, emerges as one of the first options for building your business website.
But does WordPress’ overwhelming popularity mean it’s the right choice for your business? Let’s explore why small business owners should consider WordPress as the platform to build their websites.
Should small businesses use WordPress?
Having a website is an essential part of modern businesses, as they provide the following:
- An online presence that acts as a welcome mat and an introduction to what you do.
- Increased credibility. Professional-looking websites seem credible and trustworthy to visitors and potential customers.
- A platform for customer engagement.
- Access to additional markets by expanding the reach of your physical locations.
- A cost-effective method for online marketing.
- A domain name that appears on official emails, lending your business further credibility.
As mentioned above, WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS), a platform designed to simplify the website building, managing, and scaling processes, making it more accessible to people with no or low technical skills. WordPress powers over 40% of all known websites, many of which belong to small businesses.
While by no means the only CMS you can use to build your small business website, you’ll find significant benefits if you choose WordPress, whether you develop your website yourself or hire a developer.
9 reasons WordPress is good for small businesses
The WordPress software is free, self-hosted, and open source. You can easily download it from the WordPress.org site. However, to use it, you must first pay for a domain name for your site and a hosting plan (hence “self-hosted”). Theoretically, you don’t need to pay for anything other than maintenance costs for these two services.
However, businesses may incur additional expenses depending on their needs. Here’s a breakdown of the most common costs associated with developing and managing a WordPress website:
- Hosting. As cheap as $1/month using shared hosting for personal use (up to about $20). It can ascend to $10, $20, or several hundred a year for more advanced business services.
- Domain name maintenance. Many hosting services offer it for free during the first year. After that, between $1/year and $20/year.
- Development costs. Depending on the complexity of the website, a professional developer or development team can build a website in anywhere from a few days to a few months. The rate for WordPress development is generally between $40 and $80 per hour.
- Premium themes. From a few dollars to over $100. In our experience, they tend to cost around $60 for a permanent license.
- Premium plugins. From a few dozen dollars to several hundred a year. It will depend on how many and your plan on each. For businesses, premium security plugins may be necessary, especially if they need to store customer data.
- SSL certificates. SSL certificates ensure secure online communications. Prices for SSL certificates vary from $5-$10/year to several hundred per year. Your web host may also provide free SSL certificates.
The more complex the website is, the more WordPress costs to maintain. However, remember that small businesses don’t need massive, complex websites, so maintenance costs will likely be on the lower end of the spectrum for them.
It has ecommerce capabilities
WordPress was originally designed as a blogging platform but has evolved to become the most popular CMS. It is flexible enough to build any website, including small online stores.
There are dozens of ecommerce plugins, so consider the following criteria when deciding on one for your website:
- Support for your preferred payment options by default or with an extension.
- Various templates and customization options to give your online store a unique design.
- Integration with third-party services like CRM, Google Analytics, accounting, and taxes software that help you manage your business more efficiently from a single hub.
- Easy integration with WordPress themes. That said, you should still use themes optimized for ecommerce.
- Robust inventory management.
- Shipping options (if you have to ship products).
- Affiliate management.
- Customer support for online shop owners.
Development costs are relatively low for small businesses
Hiring WordPress developers or agencies costs anywhere from $20 to $100 per hour, with the most likely range being $40 to $80. Small business websites that aren’t very complex can be finished relatively quickly for relatively lower rates since the skills necessary to build a basic website are not prohibitive in terms of cost.
However, if you need to build an online store, costs may be higher since developers need to be proficient in WooCommerce or another ecommerce plugin. This requires specialized skills that command more pay.
It’s very SEO-friendly
Search engine optimization is a series of techniques and settings used to make a website rank higher on search engines like Google, increasing organic website traffic. WordPress is built with SEO in mind, enjoying benefits like:
- Customizable permalinks.
- Fast loading speeds.
- Responsive design to make your website look great on all devices.
- Google Analytics integration.
- Image optimization.
- Quick and easy metadata management.
- Many SEO-focused plugins like Yoast SEO.
Of course, it’s up to developers to express this SEO-friendliness, but they have all the necessary tools to make it happen.
You own your website
If you build your website on WordPress, you own it regardless of whether you developed it yourself or hired a developer. This gives you a significant degree of freedom for the content you can post on it.
In stark contrast, certain CMSs that act as managed hosting services (instead of requiring owners to host their sites on third-party servers) have much stricter rules for the content you can post and effectively control your website’s fate.
That said, hosting companies can still decide to stop hosting your site if they determine you’re using it to spread spam or run scams. But if you use your business website legitimately, you have nothing to worry about.
It’s user-friendly and easy to set up
WordPress is beginner and user-friendly, more so than other powerful and flexible CMSs like Drupal and Joomla. Creating a basic business website with the drag-and-drop graphical interfaces provided by plugins such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi, and others is perfectly possible.
These plugins are known as “site builders,” allowing users to build sites without editing a single line of code. This removes a significant barrier to entry and makes WordPress an accessible CMS. In addition to these plugins, WordPress is easy to install (all it takes is one click on some web hosts) and has a clear and easy-to-navigate interface that helps beginners acclimate to the screens and settings.
Ultimately, remember that you can’t get the most out of WordPress unless you code. While you can create websites without code, you’re more likely to be restricted by the templates provided by the page builder you use. Additionally, you don’t own your website’s source code and can’t control all aspects, leading to potential security and performance issues.
Thousands of plugins and themes
The WordPress library has tens of thousands of premium and free themes and plugins. Themes provide the structure for the website’s layout. On the other hand, plugins extend the capabilities and functionalities of the WordPress software, giving web developers tools to create sites and functions that would be more complex otherwise.
It has a large developer community
WordPress has probably the largest CMS-specific developer community in the world, resulting in a wealth of learning resources and developers to hire for your project.
Additionally, many organizations regularly monitor the cybersecurity landscape, reporting on vulnerable plugins, themes, and WordPress core files. With their help, you can stay up to date on which software components are safe and which you should avoid to protect your website from bad actors.
Which other content management systems do small businesses use?
Given their limited scale, small businesses have many options for website-building platforms. Other than WordPress, some of the most popular CMSs used for small businesses include the following:
- Shopify. Shopify is a CMS designed specifically as a user-friendly platform for ecommerce businesses, making it a good choice for small online stores. It’s currently the most popular platform of its kind, powering over 6 million businesses worldwide.
- Wix. Wix is a no-code website builder used to develop websites without technical knowledge. Anyone with basic computer skills can use its beginner-friendly drag-and-drop interface to create their small business website.
- Squarespace. Squarespace is another no-code, drag-and-drop website builder designed to be user and beginner-friendly.
- Webflow. Webflow is another no-code CMS focused on building responsive websites without programming knowledge through a visual interface.
- Joomla. Joomla is more like WordPress than Shopify, Wix, and other low or no-code alternatives. It’s an open-source platform that allows users to create web applications, much like WordPress, but with a fraction of the CMS market share.
- Drupal. Drupal is similar to WordPress and Joomla, requiring more technical knowledge than drag-and-drop page builders like Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, etc. It’s generally considered less user-friendly than WordPress and preferred for large complex websites. While it’s certainly possible to build a small business website with Drupal, it’s probably overkill, and you’ll have a harder time finding Drupal developers for the job.
WordPress can benefit small businesses
WordPress provides a mature, robust, flexible, and scalable platform for small businesses needing an online presence.
Does that immediately mean you should choose WordPress for your business? That depends on your needs, resources, and preferences. If you have no programming experience, you can use site builders like Elementor. Still, the result may not be as responsive and high-performing as it would be if you hired a developer to code your site from scratch.
There are also alternatives to WordPress you may want to consider, especially if you need a specific type of site for which there are specialized CMSs. Deciding whether WordPress is suitable for your site requires careful consideration of the pros and cons of your alternatives.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand the scale of what WordPress can do for small businesses and informed your decisions moving forward. Good luck!