Why would you want to convert your website to run on a popular blogging platform?
WordPress, one of the most successful open-source blogging platforms, has become a powerful tool for integrating Web 2.0 features on your website. Besides an excellent Content Management System (CMS), WordPress offers thousands of free plugins (created by a community of developers) that can add a variety of features and functionality to a website.
Even if you’re not ready to host a blog on your website, your website’s theme can be converted to WordPress to maintain your current look-and-feel while adding useful features such as social media integration and search engine optimization (SEO), which could otherwise be expensive to implement.
Whether adding a page to your website or adding a new blog post, WordPress offers an easy to use editor: capable of adding images, audio, video, and other media to your content without the need to understand code. For web-savvy editors, there is a HTML tab which allows access to the underlying code if advanced editing is desired. Why pay a web programmer to frequently add or update content on your website? Over the years, a Content Management System is worth the investment.
Customizable Free Themes
As mentioned, WordPress is an open-source platform with many developers contributing free themes (themes control the visual look-and-feel of the website). Many elegant free themes exist, with options for customizing the website’s appearance. Some developers charge for more advanced themes with varying prices (depending on the developer), however many of the thousands of free themes are aesthetically appealing.
Situated Research helps clients customize their theme: either by modifying an existing theme (starting with a theme and modifying some of the underlying code and graphics) or by creating a custom theme. If clients choose to keep their existing website layout / look-and-feel, Situated Research can import the existing website as a new WordPress theme, thereby maintaining current branding with added WordPress functionality (content management, plugins, etc.).
A basic website, designed by Situated Research, was later moved into WordPress to take advantage of its additional features and functionality (approximately a year after the website was launched). To view this website, visit www.helensharrittinteriors.com. The website now has a a content management system, hosts a blog, has improved SEO (search engine optimization) and integrates social media functionality. These changes have resulted in increased website traffic and a more powerful marketing presence.
The Power of Plugins
As mentioned, free plugins for WordPress can add powerful functionality to your website, including some of the following:
- Social Media Integration: many WordPress plugins promote social media by helping spread your website’s information to followers and friends on social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Website visitors can ‘Like’ your page and share it with their friends. Other plugins can automatically distribute new content on social networks, which builds inbound links to your website.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): many features are built into WordPress to improve search engine rankings for your website. Many plugins can improve SEO as well by helping to generate metadata (keywords, page description, page title, etc.) based upon your content. By raising your rank in major search engines (Google, Bing, etc.), your website will draw visitors: providing a boost to marketing efforts and helping your business grow.
- Advanced Features: thousands of free WordPress plugins can provide a multitude of features for a website. For example, users can install in a single click customizable contact forms, site maps, feed generators, bookmarking tools, comment spam filters, website caching tools or social media publication tools. Rather than independently developing specialized tools for your website (typically expensive), free plugins can provide custom solutions instantaneously.
WordPress plugins are excellent tools for pulling and pushing content across web platforms: whether pulling a stream of photos from a Flickr page, or pushing your new website content for distribution on social networks during a marketing campaign.
WordPress is an open-source platform that has rapidly become a web standard for easy-to-use, high-quality content management and Web 2.0 functionality. While blogging is not required to use WordPress, it should be considered as part of a good marketing strategy to build website traffic with fresh content, encouraging visitors to frequent your website. If you are thinking about a website redesign or update, you may request Situated Research’s free usability report to grade your website in 20 categories of usability to see how effectively your website is marketing itself to customers.
WordPress redesigns: Contact us for more information.