Why WordPress for Small Business & Non-Profits?

When I recommend WordPress to clients, here’s the typical reaction I get: “But I want a web site . . . with a homepage.”

Because WordPress was originally developed as blogging software, lots of people still think it’s only used by the likes of The Turkish Stud. (Remember him? “I kiss you!”) But WordPress has grown up, big time. In fact hardly anyone is using it purely for blogging.

Matt Mullenweg and Sara Rosso made this case quite powerfully at WordCamp SF 2011, an annual gathering of the WordPress faithful. In Matt’s stunningly beautiful keynote, he shared this:

  • 14.7% of the entire Internet uses WordPress
  • 22% of new domains are running WordPress
  • 92% of WordPress installations are using the software to manage websites

Want some examples? Check out Cure International, The British Prime Minister’s Office (10 Downing Street), Lollapalloza, Mozilla Labs, Irrational Games, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Ride Oregon. All were highlighted at WordCamp SF 2011.

What’s driven the growth of WordPress? Well, it’s all the same things that make it an ideal tool for small businesses, non-profits, solopreneurs and start-ups.

WordPress is easy to use

You don’t need to know your HTML from Hotmail to add or edit content on a WordPress site. Want to create a blog post? Bam! Easy. Want to add an upcoming event to your sidebar? Bam! Easy. Want to reword a paragraph on the homepage? Bam! Easy.

If you can use Microsoft Word, you can use WordPress.

WordPress is cost-effective

The WordPress software itself is free. Customizing it with your own look or adding functionality doesn’t have to be expensive either.

With loads of free and donation supported plugins that do everything from adding a Twitter feed to optimizing the speed of your site, the time to develop a snazzy, snappy website can be surprisingly fast. When it comes to hiring developers, time is money.

If you are launching a start-up, you can keep costs really low by using a free theme or buying an off-the-shelf premium theme and holding off on getting a custom design until you have the cash flow.

One of my non-profit start-up clients did just this. They installed a “free” theme, uploaded one of their own photos for the banner and this site served them well enough for a year.

Heaps of help out there

WordPress is open-source which means that it is developed by a community of contributers rather than a profit-driven company. There’s a great precedent for this approach–think Wikipedia.

I can tell you from lots of personal experience that these are helpful, generous folk. Round the world, the community gathers at local WordCamps and WordPress Meetups. These are volunteer run events that are all about helping people who use WordPress to help each other. The WordPress online forums are packed with shiny, happy people who are quick to respond to pleas for help from fellow users.

WordPress grows with you

Your first website won’t be your last. WordPress is portable. More than 20,000 people make a living with WordPress. When you are ready to revamp your site, not only will you have lots of developers to choose from, but they won’t have to start from scratch.

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