Using WordPress for Inbound Marketing
There are two things that WordPress and Inbound Marketing have in common. They’re both white-hot for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and they can both make it easier to drive traffic to your website. I’m going to tell you a few reasons you should consider WordPress as an SMB looking to take the next step with Inbound Marketing. Before I do that, here’s why you should listen. We have a perspective from both sides of the CMS world, open source and proprietary. While our mother company, Hannon Hill, develops a proprietary web content management system called Cascade Server, we use WordPress for Spectate.com. So with that said, you’re not getting a biased perspective from us. Here we go:
1. Blogging. The top reason to use WordPress CMS for Inbound Marketing is due to WordPress’ reputation as a blogging engine. Your Inbound Marketing efforts will fail without fresh content, and the best way for businesses to create fresh, quality content tailored for their target audience is through a blog. WordPress has been a blogging engine since 2003, and it’s currently far and away the best blogging engine in the world. The fact that many organizations (including us) that use other CMS systems very commonly use WordPress for their blog speaks volumes about its strength as a blogging engine.
2. Open Source. No, I’m not saying that because open source is free. In reality, open source isn’t really free. It can take a bit of time and possibly a developer or two to help, depending on the complexity of the project at hand. The reason that being open source is an advantage for WordPress is because of the developer network behind the system. We’re talking thousands upon thousands of developers that help build this system on a daily basis. Adding new features, improving flexibility, creating new plugins, all designed with the end goal of driving more traffic and keeping visitors on your site longer (inbound marketing). Additionally, the open source factor allows for more flexibility (see bullet 4 below). Some of the top proprietary web content management systems on the market have decided to leverage WordPress by building features that improve the ability to use their system alongside WordPress. If you can’t beat them, join them!
3. Cost. As mentioned above, unless you’re Burt Reynolds or something, WordPress isn’t going to be free when it’s all said and done. But, you will get your bang for the buck. Just do a quick search, and you’ll find tons of really professional templates to choose from all over the web. Spectate.com currently uses a template from Woo Themes that we paid under $100 for, and people ask us who designed our website all the time. If you’re thinking, “oh these guys are cheap,” ask yourself this: Is there a benefit in telling your colleagues, peers, boss, investors, or purse string holders that you paid several grand for a website design when you could’ve saved time and money on a template that looks just as good? If you haven’t noticed, a big reason for Inbound Marketing’s rise is the low cost per lead. An inexpensive WP theme will contribute to this end. And, if you decide you’d like to shell out a few more bucks for a completely customized template/theme, so be it. That’s just another thing that WordPress can accommodate with it’s huge developer network.
4. Plug-ins. You want to ensure you’re inline with SEO best practices? You want to easily build Call-To-Action buttons? You want to allow website and blog visitors to easily share your content to social media? Similar to how Apple can say “there’s an App for that”, WordPress can very commonly say “there’s a plug-in for that”. The WordPress developer community caters to Inbound Marketing in many ways, and for those marketing tools, analytics, and measurement pieces that WordPress doesn’t cover, there are plenty of systems out there (Spectate being just one of many) that have direct integration to WordPress.
5. Flexibility. This might be the top reason that open source CMS systems are so popular. Proprietary CMS systems can provide you with out-of-the-box functionality that doesn’t require a developer, or if it does require a developer, it can require less work for that developer. This can be a strength but can also be a weakness. The more out-of-the-box you get, the less customizable things become. When building your website, you want it to look exactly the way that you want or the way that you think will maximize your conversions. You don’t want to be overly limited, and sometimes that’s what can happen when features are provided out-of-the-box.
6. Simplicity. You’re right, WordPress isn’t THAT simple. But if you’re looking for something simpler than WordPress, don’t get expect to get all of the above in return. In our experience, WordPress is the simplest open source CMS out there, and if you’re serious about Inbound Marketing, I’d suggest giving it a hard look.