On Episode 29 of The Edge of Innovation, we’re talking about the advantage of WordPress and CMS for business websites. What is a CMS? If you are looking to build a website, WordPress is a CMS that is used by 30% of the internet, and is easy to manage. SaviorLabs can get you set up and running with a world-class website using WordPress.
Jacob: Welcome to The Edge of Innovation, hacking the future of business. My name is Jacob. I’m here with Paul, and we’re talking about WordPress for business websites. Is there advantages? What are the advantages of having WordPress for your business website? So, Paul, just to kind of get things going, is WordPress right for everybody?
Paul: It is absolutely the only thing that a human, to be a complete human being… It is the missing little bit.
Jacob: It is what fills the vacuum of your website heart.
Paul: No. I’d say complete heart.
Paul: Yeah. Really, it’s complete. So… Well, you know, it depends. WordPress, first of all, it depends on what your, what your goals are, and what you want to do with that. And, you know, if you’re a company like Samsung, that may or may not be the answer. I don’t, I don’t know, you know. I mean, actually there are some very long companies using WordPress. But, you know, is it, just a brochure? Or is it actually going to have all their financial data in it? It’s going to have applications in it. And so there’s a lot of questions there. But I don’t want to make this about necessarily a technical discussion. It’s more of a business discussion. You know, so you, we want to help you make an informed choice, and help you to get a handle on what those choices might be.
And so let’s give you a little bit of a layout of what’s going on in the world. There’s this thing called the CMS, or content management system. It allows you to manage content. What is a website do? It presents content to people. It’s organized by menus and areas on a page and stuff like that. So the content management system helps you do that.
In the old days, you might get a, like you’d open up a Word document, and you’d type in something, and you would bold it and maybe type in another paragraph and put underlines under certain words and all that. You would do that, and you would actually code the html. Okay? And you might, if you’ve been around a while and had a business for a while, you might have some recollection of that. You might have actually done it.
What a content meeting system does is helps you very easily make menus without having to deal with any of the HTML. You can get there if you want to, but you don’t have to deal with any of that code. And so it does a lot of heavy-lifting for you and makes it easy.
Now, there are lots of CMSs out there. The, the three major ones are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Now if you look at the amount of websites out there, 27% of them, approximately, are running WordPress. That’s an amazing statistic. That’s—
Jacob: What’s the next runner up on that?
Paul: The next one is Joomla at about 3%. So it’s 10-fold, a magnitude.
Jacob: Wow. So that the second competitor is way below WordPress.
Paul: And then, when you go down to the next one, 2.2% with Drupal, and there’s some other ones, but they’re noise level. So why does 30% of the web, of the internet, run WordPress? Well, because it’s pretty good, you know. It’s darn good. So it’s more so for me when, you know, talking with people the recommending things, it’s like, well why wouldn’t I recommend WordPress. And there are some reasons technically that we can get into that you might not want to do that. And, uh, you know, if it’s a really big site, the tools built into WordPress aren’t as good as some of the other tools for managing thousands of articles and things like that.
So I think it’s reasonable for most business owners of most sizes to say, “Yeah. I’m going to run a WordPress site.” And then it becomes what do I do that? What do I do with that? And how do I get there? And, there’s a lot happening, in, in sort of the WordPress world. They are innovating constantly. They’re coming out with new versions and things change, and you want to basically try. You can, if you go out and search for what they call plugins, which add functionality or themes, which is basically the look and feel of the site — color, fonts, things like that. Those are… You can download a theme. And, you know, most themes are built by small mom-and-pop individual developers that go out and build the theme, and they’re interested in it today, and they go out and build it. And a bunch of people buy it and use it and maybe even customize it. But they may lose interest. And so now you’re two years down the road, and that theme is no longer supported.
So you need to be careful with vendors that you’re going to use and plugin vendors that you’re going to use to see that they have ongoing support. And, you know, I strongly recommend not just buying the theme and it’s support, but planning to buy the support as it goes on. Because they need a value. They need, uh, money coming in to keep them interested in supporting the theme.
Jacob: Yeah. That’s why I… Actually, maybe three or four years ago at this point, I bought a lifetime subscription to Elegant Themes.
Paul: Right. Now that was a good bet because Elegant Themes is an ongoing concern. The problem is is that, you know, you had some special knowledge that Elegant Themes was a good one. You could have bought one from one of the other ones that have gone out of business. So there is that risk.
Jacob: There is a risk, but I… It was, to me, looking at them, for the very reasons you’re talking about, they’re going to… It’s a calculated risk, but they have a sufficient enough heft as a company that I could tell, they’re at least going to be around for five to ten years, and so that would have negated the expense of a lifetime subscription back then.
Paul: And so, you know, when, when acquiring these themes, you want to look at what the technology is behind them. So, you know, if you went out and bought an HTML theme, that’s probably not good. You want to buy an HTML5 theme. Well, what’s difference between HTML4 and 5? One, you know. Well, I mean, it’s like okay. Well, no. There’s a lot of difference. And, uh, you know, that’s where, you know, you need to talk with people that are experts in this or at least have some expertise in it to help you choose that. And then also make sure that your theme supports mobile, you know.
So how do you use the theme so that you can arrange items in it so that when it’s rendered on mobile, they come out in the right order and the right shape.
And those are, those are critical things. And then, as we move on to plugins, plugins can be both, hugely beneficial but can also be a security risk, especially as they become aged. Because, uh, you know, most of security risks are not discovered when somebody releases a new program or a new plugin or something. They’re discovered that, “Oh, over here in this product, unrelated to your product or your plugin, we’ve found that in a library that’s been out there for three years… That’s been out there for three years, this library’s been out there for three years, somebody discovers a bug in it. Now I can exploit that library. And now I can exploit all of the things that are based on that library. So all of the plugins that use that.
And then I can go and do a probing test on the websites and find out that hey, you’re using that plugin. And now I can do that. Now if that vendor is not in business anymore, or if that’s not being maintained,we’re going to have a problem. What do you do?
So now you, you, let’s say you had a, uh, a form that you…a form package that you had, and you had it in there, and it was worked, working. Well, first of all, you’re not a geek necessarily. You might be, but most business people aren’t. You might not even know that there’s an exploit to that. And since that form package is no longer being maintained, you’re not going to get a notice from them that it has to be upgraded.
So you need to be very careful with what you choose to use. You know, it’s sort of like using retread tires. You know, if you know they’re retread, okay, I can…I’m willing to carry an extra spare and things like that. But if you didn’t know it was retread, you’d have no reason to say, “You know, I’m going to drive crazy,” and the tire is going to blow out and I get injured.
So it’s a lot of, a lot of that. You know, some of the areas, WordPress has the difficult job of, because they’re used so much so many places, that they can’t change themselves too much. You know, it’d be like saying, “Okay, I’m going to take and change the standard for the inch.” I can’t do that, because everybody knows what an inch is, and I’ve got all these rulers out there.
Well, WordPress has some issues that they’re doing a very good job managing, and nothing that should be an issue, but they can’t radically depart and change it. So everything in the future will be based on this WordPress and, you know, and it will be interesting to see how they, how they move into the future further.
Jacob: So, my understanding is that WordPress is, great for most instances of a small website. It begins to break down in usefulness when you get into gigantic websites. Is that accurate? Or what are the instances where not using WordPress is helpful?
Paul: Well, so for example, we have a client who is an entrepreneur professor and, MIT professor, and he has on his website, hundreds and hundreds of articles. So if you’re familiar with WordPress and you go to the, let me see, the pages or the posts, it is just a long continuous list. I cannot filter that by a category. So I can’t say, “Okay. Give me all of the, uh, business links, business articles.” There’s just no way to do that. I can, I can search. But it’s going to search on the title.
Jacob: Yeah. Or you can tag them.
Paul: You can tag them, but it’s awkward, you know. There’s just that tool isn’t built in. It’s not as easy, whereas in some of the other ones, I can go in and filter that list by attributes of that. And the reason it’s not there is because most people don’t have that problem. And so very much so, they deal with what the majority of people have issues with.
Jacob: So then what are the instances where using, not using WordPress is going to be better for a company?
Paul: Well, one of the things is everybody knows it, so there’s a lot of support out there for it. You know, should you have a web developer, it’s, it’s easy for somebody to come in and augment that web developer and help that. That speaks also to documentation, you know. You’ve got to make sure that you’re web developer gives you sort of a run book for how to run your website — what components are used, where they came from why they’re being used, what they do and what modifications have been made, that that sort of Rosetta Stone is critical.
So WordPress, you know, you have the, the, the advantage of it being sort of “standard.” And you can leverage that, and you can also look at other example websites, see how they’re doing these, and then follow them. So there’s, there’s a huge advantage there.
Jacob: Yea, so if somebody, for whatever reason, is not on WordPress, how would you recommend getting them there?
Paul: Well, okay. That’s a great question. I’d want to know what you’re on now. And you might be on Wix or you might be on, uh, a website builder from GoDaddy or something like that. And really, what it is is you’ve got to migrate your content. You’ve got to copy that content out, put it into WordPress pages or posts, and it’s a manual task, and take that opportunity to rethink your content. So you might have some stuff you think is really good. One of the critical things there is have somebody else review it because, you’re too close to it, more than likely.
Jacob: Yeah. And one of the things that there’s several, sort of, plugins that we use that are kind of, they’re available, but we just kind of standard practice put them on all of our websites, that help improve…that work with WordPress to help improve search engine optimization. So SEO on websites. Make sure the images are compressed correctly, that it’s going to be, uh, attuned for the website to run as fast and efficiently and attractively as possible, that I think aren’t necessarily completely unique to WordPress, but just work really well with WordPress.
Paul: Yeah. They integrate very well. They’re not cumbersome. They just work.
Jacob: Yeah. Yeah. Excellent. Well, this is great. This is, I think, in many ways, this is a bit of like Why WordPress 101. I think we’ll revisit this someday down the road. But thanks for listening to The Edge of Innovation, hacking the future of business. And we will talk to you next week.