Wither WordPress

wordpressMore than once I’ve had customers come to me asking for a website and telling me that they want a WordPress site. The first question I always ask is “Why WordPress?” And without exception, none of them ever can really explain why.

WordPress is largely misunderstood. It originally started as a blogging platform (in fact, it is what is driving this blog!) which metamorphosed into a website design platform. But it still has all of the back end of the content management system which most websites simply do not need. For most simple business websites, it’s inappropriate. It’s rather like wanting to buy an oven to make cookies for your kids and then investing in a huge industrial sized restaurant oven with all of the bells and whistles with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time. It may be nice, but it’s way more than what you need.

And in some situations it may be dangerous. There are millions of sites created with WordPress on the net. But since they all use the same technology, if hackers find a way to exploit one, they have a way to exploit millions, yours included. Once again, for simple websites it’s more than you need and the back door that hackers might use to infect your site may well be in all of that extra weight that you’re probably don’t even use.

Portability is another factor. If I want to move one of my clients websites to a new server, all I have to do is take the copies I have on file and re-upload them. With WordPress it’s different. You have to move the database, you have to reinstall WordPress (and make sure you have the right version – I’ve had transfers fail because we transferred a database but used a newer version of WordPress and it all fell apart.) And that doesn’t even include all of the plug-ins that you might have added. They will all have to be reinstalled and reconfigured as well!

I have heard that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is much easier using WordPress as well. But the SEO work that WordPress does is pretty much standard practice for web designers anyway. It just doesn’t add anything that is not “best practices” among most web design firms as it is.

Since you have this huge backend, WordPress can also be very resource intensive. Which means that your website is going to load slower. And it’s probably loading things that your website doesn’t even use.

So, you have a website that is resource intensive, slower loading, needs tons more space than you probably really need and in which hackers regularly look for security flaws to exploit. And which may turn into a nightmare if you decide to switch servers.

This is not to say that WordPress is a bad system. I use it myself. But it needs to be used when it is appropriate. For most sites, it is not and may even make your site more vulnerable as a result.

Three SEO Tricks You Can Do Yourself (in the Privacy of Your Own Home!)

1287369_60933722Many people consider SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to be an arcane science full of esoteric knowledge and tricks. And many SEO managers want to present it that way. They have their jobs to protect, after all, and if people knew how easy it can sometimes be, they’d be out of a paycheck. But, it’s not that hard, really. Let’s look at the top three things you can do to generate traffic to your site.

1: Promote, promote, promote.

For the most part, people aren’t going to know you have a website unless you tell them so. Do you have a billboard out on the highway? Make sure your URL is on it. Use a letterhead? (Yes, some people do still use snail mail.) Make sure your URL is there along with your contact information. And do the same with any emails you send out. Make sure it’s on your business card. Everywhere you give someone your name and address should also give them the URL of your website. Your billboards and business cards are only the introduction to your business. Your website will give them the whole story.

2: Content, content, content.

I can’t keep pounding this into my customers heads enough. Google loves content. The more content you have on your site, the more it can index and the greater your chances of being found. Don’t put too much on one page, though. Internet users tend to scan rather than read, so make it brief and to the point and spread it out through the site.

Not only does Google love content, but it loves new content. Keep your content fresh, add new pages, change things around a bit every now and then. Maybe you’ve gotten customers to visit your site once. Now you want to give them a reason to come back to your site. So, give them something new to look at or read every now and then.

3: Link, link, link

Once you’ve put something new on your site, tell people about it! Why wait for people to happen upon it by chance? Use an email service like Constant Contact to get the word out. Put links on your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages. (Remember, however, not to use Facebook as your website. Use Facebook to drive visitors to your website.) Don’t be afraid to go out and tell people that you have exciting new content and they should really go look at it.

After all, it’s how I got you to come to my website, isn’t it?