One of the things I love about WordPress is that it allows small businesses the ability to control their own web content. More often than not I come across small business owners who know that their website needs content updated and a fresher look. There is one thing that keeps the majority from making the changes.
What stops them? Money.
Most small business owners can’t or won’t afford what their current web designer will charge them to make the updates. The irony is that if they do invest in the updated content and fresher look they will see a return on their investment.
Website Content Update Ripoff
I recently saw one potential client’s web designers quote for basically deleting and adding products. 1 page with maybe 20 products on it. Probably 3 or 4 deletions, and 3 or 4 additions. The product listing was very basic, maybe 2 sentences. The job honestly was not more than an hours worth of work. The quote was for just over $300. Not a lot of money if the business is really going gangbusters.
In today’s marketplace many small businesses just don’t have the extra money to spend. Every dollar counts towards staying open or closing. Especially if the business is not doing so well. This was a case of “Do or Die” -> the web designer knew it and took advantage to get the last dollars of a dying client.
This is the same company that charged this business over $1,000 for a 5 page ugly website in 2007 that looked like it was built circa 1995. The site was a free template, I know this because it said so in the source code. It also said to add the description and keywords, which was never done. To add insult to injury the webmaster was charging this business way too much for reseller hosting. I wasn’t toooo overly shocked to see how disillusioned with websites this business owner had become. To this client $300 was too much for zero results.
This is one of the reason’s I wish there was some formal organization to report bad web designers and SEO marketers to. The bad ones are really bad and give us all a bad name. Kinda like mechanics who are rip offs. I know nothing about cars and am completely at their mercy, just like a non-technical client is…….. Ok! I could go on for hours, but I won’t!
WordPress -vs- Regular HTML Editor
The lack of funds by small businesses is the primary reason why I do recommend using WordPress to run their web site. They can get a fresh, optimized website that they can have complete control over for a relatively low cost. They could get a regular HTML based web site, but they would then have to purchase a separate HTML editor. An alternative is the free HTML editor Kompozer that is fairly user friendly. The business owner would then need to learn how to make the changes in the HTML editing program they choose to use.
Teaching On a Learning Curve is Not Fun
I don’t know about you, and maybe it is just me. But… how many business owners after wearing every hat they have to wear on a daily basis has the time, energy or inclination to learn new software? I don’t know too many myself. WordPress has a low learning curve and is very DIY (Do It Yourself) friendly. Both the post and page editors feature an online email editing like interface making it easy for a non-technical person to make changes. All the small business owner has to do is make their change and click “publish”. Simple. If the user wants to get fancier with HTML the can, but they don’t have to.
Some might argue with me saying that most HTML editors have the same interface as Microsoft Office Word. Yes they do. But the user has to learn what all the functions are, where they are, etc. I tend to learn new technologies easily and it takes me awhile to learn a new editing program. For the non-technical… this can be a daunting if not impossible task. I would also say to those who would argue to try the following test: Take the least technical person you know (often called the MOM Test) and try to teach them how to make a simple content change in your favorite HTML editor. Ready to scream yet??? Now try the same thing in WordPress.
If the person can format an email or Word document they can edit content.
WordPress Templates – Paid -vs- Free
WordPress is primarily a blogging tool but it can be used to run an entire website. Now for a small client I normally will recommend they go with a template. This is because a site from scratch can run into the thousands of dollars. A small business does not generally have the budget for such a custom job. Now if you want a custom website by ELC -> by all means! Give us a shout and we will make it happen.
Still interested in a budget site? There are a few free WordPress templates out there that I recommend, but for the most part I prefer to steer small business owners on a tight budget towards a low cost paid template. This is because most of the paid template providers keep their code clean, are quick to fix bugs and provide updates to work with the latest version of WordPress.
Anyone who has seen their site fall apart after a WordPress or plugin update is more than happy pay the minimal price for peace of mind. This does not take away the need for frequent backups!
Always backup before any update!
Most paid WordPress template creators have templates that include regular web pages that can be used along with or without the blog. This makes a more cost effective solution for the client. I don’t have to recreate the look of the blog in order to blend with the website pages. And they get a website they can edit content on without learning software or HTML or other programming code.
It is generally very easy to modify a WordPress Template to a client’s needs. I have several default things I always do in order to make sure the website is the best it can be.
- Example of Modifying a WordPress Template:
- Optimize the code
- Compress code
- Secure WordPress code
- Add old website content (if any)
- Add new content
- Add WordPress plugins
This is not a list of everything I would do to modify a template.
I’m not going to tell you all my secrets. There’s a reason why the websites I work on out perform others!
Can Your HTML Editor Do This?
The best thing about WordPress is the ease of changing the look of your website. If your website is a blog, changing is as simple as picking a new template and selecting it in your WordPress dashboard. If it is a website look template I would recommend that the DIY non-technical individual choose a new template from the previous template maker.
Now I’m totally shooting myself in the foot here because ELC does website makeovers along with optimizing website content. I have found that clients respect and reward honesty with recommendations to their circle of connections so I’m not too worried. ;) I’d rather be honest with all your options rather than have you find out after the fact and resent my dishonesty (as I’m sure my potential client in the example above surely did after our conversation about his current website and what his web designer did and did not do).
Most reputable WordPress template creators offer backwards compatible templates. They want you to purchase a fresh look from them. And they want it to be so easy you do it again and again. To make it even easier, they offer to transfer your existing website to their templates and upgrade for various fee’s. Now they won’t do all the little tweaks and optimizing tricks, all they care about is that your website is up and running. The general website designer won’t tell you this. After all, they want to charge you for the upgrade. And then charge you again for tweaks and optimizing tricks (if they even know all the latest).
Personally, I’d love to have either myself or one of ELC’s associates setup a WordPress or traditional HTML website for you. I’d also love to have you contact us for all your upgrades. But, I’d rather be honest about your options and sleep better at night. You can always reward my honesty with a glowing recommendation to business associate, friend, family member or random person on the street.
Photo by renatotarga via Flickr