As a small business owner and a Web site marketer, I'm always trying to find ways to get things done without having to hire someone to do it for me. I'm also very impatient, and I like instant results. Sometimes this causes conflict, so whenever I can complete a task myself, everyone stays happy.
If you're at all like me, you might want to consider a Web site that will give you control over your content without the need to pay a designer to change a price, update a special, or swap some words around.
Clients who want to manage their own content are becoming more common as the Internet becomes less of a mystery. Every day, users gain knowledge – but many small business owners don’t have the time to devote to learning code and Web development applications. Building a Web site can be less of a mystery with a user-friendly software that allows the site owner to edit his or her own content.
Easy Web-Based Interface
I use WordPress and am amazed every day at what a little time, a little research, and a bit of patience can produce. WordPress is blogging software that can also be used as a way to build a Web site that anyone can edit. I know there are other blogging platforms out there that will do this, but my expertise lies in making WordPress work for my clients and myself.
WordPress contains a Web-based interface that makes it unnecessary to buy expensive software to make edits to your Web site. WordPress is open-source software, meaning it's free. The best part of using WordPress is the support and resource base out there making it easy for Web design novices to learn more and find help with building a WordPress blog.
Building or maintaining your Web site or blog requires only an Internet connection – and that's it! Even if you have a professional do the initial design work, you – the business owner – can add pages, edit pages, or change photos – your choices are limitless. Pages on your conventional site can be set up as WordPress pages, or you can design your whole Web site with WordPress.
Blog and Web Site Examples
WordPress can be as complex as you need it to be or as simple as you want it to be. Getting started with a complete site build will probably take the expertise of a professional. If you do hire a designer, make sure the scope of work includes the features that will allow you to directly edit certain sections or pages of the site – or all of them – depending upon your comfort level.
Because WordPress is widely used, there are numerous resources out there for novices to learn more and find help with building a WordPress blog. Visit this site for an example of a Web site built entirely on the WordPress platform. For another example, Ogunquit, Maine, uses a blog to manage its area attraction reviews, events, and other guest-friendly information.
Setting Up Your Blog Site
Setting up your own blog Web site is pretty simple if you have some basic Internet knowledge of FTP uploading and aren’t afraid to search for information. Basic blog-building is not that hard – but building features into WordPress that are non-standard is where you might need the help of a professional. Or, if you want something simple, a blog can be the easy way to gain a voice on the Internet where you may not have had one before.
Marketing your blog can be accomplished just as you would a conventional Web site. With the blogging software, comes the ability to "ping" the search engines to show them you have added new content. This invites the search engines back to see what you have to say – theoretically increasing the crawl rate. Continue to add good, relevant, useful content, and you should be ranking in no time for basic low-competition keywords. Competitive terms take more effort.
Features and Upgrades
Adding features and upgrades to your software is quite simple; it takes a small amount of FTP knowledge and a little time. Talented programmers from all over the globe have built plug-ins for WordPress. The plug-ins enhance the platform by allowing you to easily add features to your blog without special expertise. Plug-ins for polls, calendars, tagging, "send to a friend," and "print this," are popular additions to many WordPress blogs. Optimizing your pages and posts with unique page titles, meta tags, and page names is easy and manageable using plug-ins, as well.
Video sharing and photo sharing are easy with a blog. Some plug-ins allow you to put a photo feed from Flickr on your Web site. You even have the ability to embed a wide variety of videos from YouTube or IFilm, right into a post – giving your Web site a multimedia look at a fraction of the cost.
Don’t be deterred; I taught myself WordPress, and I have little to no technical design background. I didn’t even know how to FTP when I started, and now I feel confident doing a wide variety of Web site maintenance tasks. If you're looking to design a WordPress blog for your own use, please read "Using WordPress to Manage Your Web Site Content, Part 2" for some handy tips for setting up your blog Web site for success.
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