More and more, I’m seeing small business websites using WordPress as a CMS. Even churches and community service organizations are using WordPress as a CMS and designing their websites using this free open source software. Is that a good idea?
In a word, there is nothing wrong with using WordPress as a CMS. In fact, that’s what it is.
However, WordPress started out as a blogging platform and branched out from there. The reasons WordPress is such a good tool for building blogs and websites is because it is flexible, easy to use, and has natural built-in search engine optimization benefits. But it helps to know a little bit about web design before you use it.
There are a number of ways you can go with WordPress.
- Many businesses use the default theme, which is limited in its functionality and creative uses.
- A step up would be to find a free off-the-shelf theme that you can use, and perhaps customize.
- Another step up is to purchase a theme from one of the many WordPress theme websites online. You can often find a good theme that is used less than the free themes so it is a semi-original look. But you still need to make sure your theme has SEO benefits. Many don’t.
- Finally, you can go all out and spend money on one of the premium WordPress themes on the market. There are a number of these so shop around.
Each of the above options has its benefits and pitfalls. Some WordPress themes claim that easy design work is possible, but it helps to understand how HTML, CSS, and PHP work together, and if you can program in those languages then you can often build a much better looking and more functional website.
WordPress does make designing a website easier, but there is no substitute for experience. You can often find a WordPress web designer who can design your website for you, then teach you how to upload your own content.