Is it a Small-Business Solution?

Many smallBusiness owners will argue that “I’m overworked as it is.  I can’t be expected to become a design professional or a tecchie.  I just wanna run my business.  I want a website, but …

I don’t disagree that “Website design is not your core business” – but just about every successful business (of any size) has a substantial interactive – and integrated – online presence.

Let’s take a look at some of the dynamics facing a smallBusiness:

As a platform

Let’s face it: A professional job requires a certain level of … professionalism. And many small business owners are willing to pay for that up front. But not necessarily on an everyday basis.

  • One big challenge is ongoing maintenance and updates: Keeping your presence “live” and vital. FaceBook is cool … up to a point. It’s easy, but it’s also limited in terms of what it offers.
  • Another big challenge is off-loading my business process to the Web. As soon as you try to do that, you’ve got those pesky security problems.
  • And then there’s customizing the site to my business needs. Finding ‘appropriately-targeted tools’ out-of-the-box can be tough. Implementing them … even more so.

imo: WordPress does a pretty decent job of allowing relative novices to maintain & update a site that’s been crafted by a knowledgeable professional.

The personal connection

If you believe that WordPress – or any other OOB (out-of-the-box) tool – can be the customer self-service front end for your particular business, well – good luck with that. There’s lots of noise these days about Artificial Intelligence + ChatBots as a solution for “pseudo-personalized” interaction with your customers.  Note: The Big Boys pay Big Bucks for such custom work.

On a brighter note: The interWeb is remarkably responsive and vibrant. Your custom solution may be just around the corner. Stay tuned.

‘Hidden Gold”

WordPress is not just an easy way to build a website using templates and pre-formatted styles.  It is actually a Content Management System in disguise, with simple-but-powerful  built-in semantics, tagging, categorization and categorization tools.

 

Solutions

Over the years I’ve crafted a few sites for smaller local operations which don’t have a lot of resources. In ‘the bad old days’ when everything had to be hand-crafted, technical expertise was quite a barrier to entry.

What’s not to like?

  • Relatively easy to use (Novice level)
  • Under the Hood : “Dirt-under-the-fingernails” access to presentation code
  • Out of the Box : Usable templates, tools, and range of features (basic tools)
  • Vital Crowdsourcing of Tools : New stuff, good stuff (range of 3rd party add-ons)
  • Accessibility : It’s a de facto standard (You’re not alone)
  • “the price is right”

 

Is it ‘professional grade’?

WordPress handles a lot of the generic best practices, components, and tools in a templated format which allows for some SEO, tagging, and Information Architecture – and it’s free. imo Pretty decent for blogging/repository/shallow billboard usage.

As for ‘professional’ … That’s in the eye of the beholder (i.e. your expectations). But you should get pretty decent performance for your investment by piggybacking on a management platform like WordPress (I’m sure that competitive platforms are also in-the-same-ballpark).

Case in Point:

I recently started porting over some of my bloggy stuff from my old hand-tooled HTML/CSS ‘resume website’ to my ‘ideas blog’ on WordPress, migrated my professional articles to my ‘UX Craft library‘ on WordPress  and am now even branching out to a ‘collateral archive’ of my old stuff from the Era of Early Interactive (the ‘80’s) to WordPress, as well.

The hood’s still open and it’s all a work-in-progress … You use the tools you got.

Is it the easiest tool for creating a website?

That depends … What do you want your website to DO?

WordPress is convenient for me these days.

Backstory:

  • I did ‘interaction design” starting in the early 80’s (“before we called it the web”).
  • Transitioned to html & css in the mid-90’s.
  • Created my own hand-tooled web-based site starting in the early/mid 2000’s.

There were not a lot of options at that time other than DIY. Fortunately, I had some of the dirt-under-the-fingernails skills with which to do it. But it was a lot of effort – and there were few out-of-the-box ‘information architecture’ tools available. My biggest challenge was to implement taxonomies and content management efficiently.

Now we now have a lot of point’n’click templates & widgets available, pre-packaged in publishing platforms like WordPress.

The pre-formatted page templates and menuing tools are constrained, but servicable
The built-in CMS (content management) tools are also somewhat limited, but a whole lot better than hand-tooling

“A nice coat of paint” surface decoration is undeniably an important aspect of design, but functionality, usability, utility and marketing alignment are the real satisfiers for most small businesses.

 

 

© The Communication Studio LLC

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