I think we can all agree that without doubt, every business needs a website.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a million dollar consulting agency or a local business.
A website can take your startup from 100 customers to 500 customers. Hell, it can be the difference between barely scraping by and opening up a new office.
Now for a moment just forget about the type of business you run and think about this question.
Where do you even begin?
There’s more routes to take than ever before, after all it’s 2017. And that’s okay. But let’s break them down.
Do you learn how to code and build your own website?
You could. Thousands of people are self-taught developers. But the problem with building your own website is that it’s extremely time consuming and it may not even achieve its fundamental goals.
Ok, well what about hiring your own developer?
Yeah, that’s a great option. Except if you’re a brand new startup, then you may not be funded. And you know just as well as the rest of us that you don’t have the kind of time to be searching for a developer that’s going to want a $100/hr wage.
Let’s be realistic.
Learning how to code is going to take you way too much time and hiring an experienced developer at $100/hr is just way too expensive for a non-funded startup.
So what should you do?
9 out of 10 times, WordPress will be your best option.
Why? you ask. Well, let me explain!
Okay, maybe not literally. But unlike other software solutions, WordPress works straight of out of the box!
There’s no coding involved. There’s no designing either.
All you have to do is purchase a web hosting plan and use their 1-click WordPress Install button (the majority of web hosts offer this) and then log into your website at www.whatever-your-domain-is.com/wp-admin and finally install a new theme!
That’s only 3 easy steps! Plus, there’s tons of free themes on the market.
But before we go any further let’s address the elephant in the room.
What’s a web host?
Well, in layman terms, you can think of a web host as a gateway to having your website published on the internet. It’s just a special computer with special software that allows your website to be exposed via domain address.
But how do you actually get your WordPress site on the internet?
Well you know you need a web host.
The only problem is, which one do you choose when there’s hundreds of options out there?
Feel free to do your own research but here’s a few options that I personally have experience with..
(none of these links are affiliates links!)
DreamHost is definitely a great option for any new business or startup. The interface is beautiful, organized, and easy to use.
On top of that, it supports 1-click WordPress installs (as most web hosts do), geared with multiple layers of server-side caching, runs on Nginx, and you get 24/7 support.
Fun fact, my very first website was hosted on DreamHost!
Built on custom configured servers, optimized caching, security enhancements, and something that most other web hosts don’t have…
A staging environment.
This is simply just adevelopmentversionof your production website. You would use a staging environment to test all your site/plugin configurations.
3. Media Temple
Media Temple offers more than just shared and managed hosting.
They also offer VPS hosting and AWS cloud hosting (both of which are a bit too advance for the average joe).
A great solution for new business owners on a budget. DO offers a small package at $5 per month but you’re only billed per hourup toyour monthly cap.
They also have a WPready droplet.
To put things simply, you have the reins. There’s no need to contact your web developer, your designer, or your nephew you taught himself HTML.
Using WordPress for your startup puts you in the command center. You have 100% control over your website, which makes it such a smart choice.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to code or how to design.
You’re given a plethora of free plugins and themes. Of course, you’d have to install them yourself but that’s as simple as clicking 2 buttons.
Well, there’s more to it.
You get access to an entire backend! That means you’ll have the capability of adding blog posts, pages, contact forms, users, and you can moderate comments.
With all that functionality, managing a multi-user website becomes a piece of cake. Each user can have their own login, their own restrictions, and they can manage their own media assets.
But don’t get me wrong. WordPress is so much more than that.
If you wanted or needed it to be an ecommerce website then you can set it up to be just that.
There’s definitely a few solutions for ecommerce on WordPress but the most popular one is WooCommerce.
Selling your startup’s product is as simple as installing the plugin, following a guided installation process and publishing new products to your website.
Even if you’re thinking about selling thousands of products, WordPress x WooCommerce can handle it.
And if you want a blog with that and a side of 15 pages, consider it done.
The flexibility and scalability of using WordPress for your startup is a no-brainer. Which is exactly why big business like Best Buy and TechCrunch are built on it.
And to put things into perspective, a recent startup called Moment Lens has their website built on WordPress.
But what exactly does it mean for a website to be flexible and scalable?
One of the greatest reasons why using WordPress for your startup is a great choice is because of its versatility.
It’a equipped to handle almost everything.
But what exactly?
For starters, let’s say you’ve been using MailChimp and have a list of 500 emails.
You could easily integrate that exact list with your website by installing the MailChimp for WordPress plugin.
It provides an extremely easy to use interface that allows you to select the exact email list you want to use, and enables you to create a subscribe form anywhere on your website.
You can even customize the error/success messages, enable double opt-in and so much more!
That’s not even a quarter of what you can do though.
Feel like implementing exit popups, slide-ins, and popovers?
You can install the MailMunch plugin which is 100% free!
It integrates with tons of major email marketing services like Aweber, GetResponse and MailChimp. You can then enable specific pages or posts to have any type of popup you wish.
The major downside to the free version however, is the fact that you can only choose from 2 popup design templates. However, that’s to be expected with anything free.
Fortunately, you aren’t limited to just marketing software. You can expand your WordPress site to fit your exact needs.
Whether you run an online store, blog or news site, you’re covered!
A lot of people, assume that WordPress is some crazy confusing blogging platform that takes months to learn.
First off, we wouldn’t condone the use of software that has a steep learning curve and two, it’s built for teams.
WordPress was initially a blogging platform but since it’s open source software, over the years amazingly bright and intelligent software developers have created extremely useful plugins for us to use. Such as the ones I have already mentioned.
One of the most time consuming process in the startup scene is actually training new employees how to learn unfamiliar tools.
But since WordPress is so widely used–about 30% of the world’s internet is built on WordPress–the chances of a new employee already knowing how to use it is very high.
Here’s a little secret that most founders haven’t been filled in on.
Using WordPress for your startup is a great way to maximize efficiency among developers and marketers. It literally acts as the epicenter of any marketing effort and streamlines the process of future updates and additions.
Rosen explains exactly how startups aren’t able to effectively and efficiently deploy new updates to their sites in the article, The Most Common Marketing Mistake Startups Make. He stated,
A good marketer obsesses over messaging, writing, branding, SEO, SEM, analytics, etc. Some of them can code, some of them are analytics engineers but they are not software engineers (they are marketers!). Requiring marketers to learn how to submit a GitHub Pull Request and go through your engineering approval pipeline to do their job is taking dogfooding a few steps too far. You are now needlessly bottlenecking their work and making it needlessly challenging for them to do their jobs.
This hits the nail right on its head.
There’s no sense in having to wait around for a simple update to be made, or forcing a team member to learn something that they shouldn’t have to.
So if you’re using WordPress for your startup, developers are able to make updates to core code, while the marketers are able to focus on their efforts.
That’s how it should be. Maximum efficiency, guys and gals!
The answer is, absolutely!
Using WordPress for your startup is also a great way to build an MVP (minimum viable product).
Chris Lema, a major WordPress consultant who has helped out companies such as WooThemes, WP 101, and SideKick completely advocates using WordPress as an MVP for your startup.
In fact, 2 years ago, Chris wrote an article titled, Creating a Minimum Viable Product using WordPress.
He described exactly how WordPress can actually act as your MVP and how you can get rockin’ and rollin’.
Now, it’s no walk in the park to create a proper MVP that gathers valuable data but Chris established 4 simple rules to help you out. He said,
To create an MVP using WordPress, I find you have to do four things really well.
1. You have to be clear on what youre actually trying to test.
This means that if youre testing, as in this case, whether someone will purchase a membership to create a featured profile, then you test that. You dont test amazing theme designs.
A lot of people get caught testing forty things at once. Not all things are equal when it comes to validating a business model.
2. You have to limit how much energy you spend on your test.
This means that you dont want to spend a long time on the MPV. I normally try to keep it under 10 hours. Keeping it under 5 hours is preferable (mostly because I can do it over a weekend in the afternoons when people are napping).
3. You need to validate whether the plugins you think will work, will actually work.
Its one thing to have an idea that a plugin (or set of plugins) will work together. Its another notion completely to test them and know that they work together.
Again, the whole point is mitigating risk. So testing the components of a solution together is a key way to mitigate some of that risk.
4. You need to validate whether the user experience is simple enough to make the MVP useful.
Its no good if you create an MVP that no one can use. If youre creating a solution that has 12 steps to it, simply because youre trying to patch too many plugins together, you need to take a step back.
To make things clear, those 4 simple rules combined are the epitome of an MVP.
They’re all about saving time and money, and as Chris mentioned, you need to limit how much energy you spend on your testing. The whole purpose of it is to launch a test to see if your idea works, gather the data and then make revisions if it doesn’t work. That’s validation, folks!
What’s even better is that you don’t need to know how to code! There’s plenty of free themes that have custom landing pages.
But if you really wanted to, you can even take it a step further and design your own landing page using a visual page builder. Our all time favorite is Elementor. Wondering why?
It’s awesome and 100% free!
It’s a huge time saver, and it comes with predesigned pages that you can pick from and modify.
I know, I know.
Designing your own landing page can be intimidating. But it’s imperative that you get it done.
Reason #1 is that they’re the sole center of lead generation for any marketing campaign.
To be more specific, here’s a few things you can do to take full advantage of your landing page:
With all that combined, you’re ready to launch any campaign and gather crucial data about your audience.
From there, you can make adjustments to your landing page design, copy, or other marketing efforts.
Then once you’ve implemented a simple feedback loop, you could validate your startup’s product in no time and move on!
Nobody likes to invest their time in software that has crummy support.
And nobody likes sending support tickets, or calling tech support either.
Just thinking about tech support grinds my gears.
Luckily, the WordPress community is HUGE.
You could run into any set of complications and run a simple Google search and find 5+ articles on how to fix your issues.
Plus, most premium themes have their own support forums that discuss hundreds of topics specific to that theme.
Over the past decade, WordPress has seen so many updates, major and minor, that new ideas on how to improve themes, functionality and design are always being introduced.
Without a doubt, there’s no shortage of help, advice, or inspiration.
For thousands of startups and small businesses like yours, WordPress has proven to be the clear winner in scalability, functionality, and flexibility.
Massive publications like TechCrunch, The New Yorker, and even Time.com all trust the power of WordPress.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s other great solutions out there too but what makes WordPress the #1, is the fact that you decide what you want it to be.
You aren’t limited to just a blog or a ecommerce shop.
The truth is–and it sounds like such a cliche–you’re only limited by your capability and imagination.
There’s amazing plugins that you can use, we’ve only discussed a fraction of a fraction of what’s actually available to you, and there’s tons of external software solutions that you can integrate with your site.
If there’s one thing that I want you to take away from this article, it’s the fact that whenever your business grows, so can your WordPress website.
And for those of you who are curious to know a little bit more about WordPress statics, here’s an amazing resource for 2017!