If you’ve been researching website design for your business, you’ve run into popular website builders such as Squarespace and Wix. They market heavily to one-person businesses and hobbyist e-commerce shops, so their ads are everywhere you look.
When you need a website design solution fast, it’s tempting to pay close attention to these offers. All website builders have slick websites of their own, which they claim to have made on their own software. Some have a limited “free” version or a free trial.
They’re counting on two things:
- You’ll be content with a “do it yourself” approach
- You’ll learn their system and not want to start over
Yes, there are some cases where all your needs will be met through the average website builder. If you are just looking for a way to extend a sales process from eBay, Etsy, or a similar platform so you can offer a more branded experience, the right website builder can accommodate you. Mostly.
But what if your offerings are a little bit more complex?
If what you do and how you do it will require a little more explanation, don’t use a website builder.
In particular, service-based businesses need real, professional website design in order to compete.
It’s a whole different world out there for them than it is for an independent e-commerce seller.
Let’s delve deeper into why that is – and what you should do instead.
Website Builders Are Intended For “Side Hustles,” Not Service-Based Businesses
Look closely at the slick marketing of any website builder and you’ll notice that the main selling points are how fast and easy it is. Convenience matters, but when a software tool revolves around it, you can bet there’s a trade-off. In this case, the trade-off is versatility.
Service-based businesses like real estate agents, therapists, coaches, career services, and others need to be visible online to meet new clients. But the process doesn’t end with having a website – in fact, that’s only the beginning. The website also needs to have the right features to appeal to your audience.
For example, you need to make it easy to schedule an appointment or consultation.
When you use a website builder, you are limited to whatever features it was originally designed with. It is impossible to add features outside of what the software engineers behind the application thought of. And, let’s face it – some computer programmers you’ve never met don’t understand your business.
But there’s another, more insidious reason why website builders are bad for service-based companies.
To get steady traffic to your website – traffic that represents real people who are actually interested in what you have to offer – it needs to have the right technology and techniques behind it. Collectively, this is known as search engine optimization or SEO.
Websites don’t end up at the top of the search engine listings on Google by luck or chance. Nor does the Big G personally seek out the best websites and promote them to the top, as many people think. No, the journey to the higher tier of search ranks is an intentional and ongoing one.
It only happens if you make it your goal and put forward consistent effort in the right ways.
Unfortunately, website builders simply aren’t designed with this in mind. They don’t give you the control you need to use today’s best practices in website design or promotion. They also tend to have serious performance issues, slow down, and even downtime because so many small businesses try them.
And what happens when you decide a website builder isn’t for you or you want to scale up?
Nine times out of ten, you have to start over from scratch. That’s because the website builder software is completely proprietary. The website design you developed won’t transport to any other kind of system. And the company has no incentive to help you take what you created somewhere else.
It’s a built-in punishment for companies who decide that a website builder on rails isn’t for them.
So, what’s the alternative?
We know, you probably aren’t fascinated by all the ins and outs of website design. If you were, you’d be doing that, not running the business you have today. So, you need a solution that’s convenient, yet still has the power and flexibility that a modern enterprise depends on.
And it has to be something that will work for you even if you double or triple in size.
Luckily, there is such a solution, and you’ve probably already heard of it, too.
If you decide to use a reputable digital marketing agency, you’ll be hearing about it a lot more.
That solution is called WordPress, and it fits the requirements of service-based businesses like a glove.
The Explosion In WordPress Website Growth Has Been Driven By Service-Based Businesses
As of today, WordPress has a market share of about 40% of all websites.
It dwarfs Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, and (thankfully for us all) Joomla.
Compared to Wix and Squarespace, WordPress websites that are live today are also much more likely to be high-traffic websites. In part, that’s a reflection of the significant improvements in speed, security, and user-friendly website design that come packaged into the WordPress experience by default.
When we say 40%, we’re talking big numbers – about 455 million websites.
And hobbyist bloggers aren’t the ones propelling the bulk of that growth. Yes, hobbyists use WordPress, but this isn’t 1990. More than 62% of the top 100 fastest-growing websites based in the United States, including those in the Inc. 5000, use WordPress. Businesses like yours are doing so, too.
But, wait just a minute – what is WordPress?
WordPress is not a website builder, but it is used to design, publish, update, and maintain your website. It’s what we call a content management system. This means that, out of the box, it’s intended to help you create, style, and promote your website without any of the limitations of a website builder.
When you’re looking at it for the first time, one of the biggest differences you’re sure to notice is that there’s no click-and-build, drag-and-drop interface made up of predefined blocks. At first, it might seem intimidating. But creating a new page is as easy as writing it and clicking “Publish.”
And when you have pages that need heavy designing – say, a sales page for your top service offering – WordPress offers you free, optional add-ons that enable you to create whatever you want. No matter what page element or website feature you can think of, WordPress probably has it.
It doesn’t come packed up in a pre-defined bundle you can’t get out of.
It’s completely customizable to the needs of your service-based business.
And digital marketing agencies worth their salt use it to propel their clients to lasting success.
WordPress Delivers The Customized, Integrated, Search Optimized Website You Need
If you haven’t heard about WordPress just yet, the most intriguing thing about it might be the price tag: It’s 100% free. That’s because WordPress is open-source software that has been maintained since 2003 by a global team of volunteers who collaborate and vet each other’s work.
As a result, the core WordPress software develops much more quickly than website builder alternatives. Far from being a liability, its open-source nature is one of its greatest assets. WordPress has consistently found and resolved security vulnerabilities fast, often far ahead of the internet at large.
That protects your investments, your reputation, and your customers’ sensitive data.
But the advantages don’t end there. You don’t have to worry about headaches from emerging issues like CCPA and GDPR. As the regulatory landscape changes, WordPress changes with it, often allowing you to drive your compliance strategy with just a few clicks. The WordPress back-end takes care of the rest.
Let’s introduce WordPress by seeing the three areas where it soars for service-based businesses:
1. WordPress Means Customization
When you pick a website builder, it means you’re sacrificing customization for convenience. But what if you could have both – and enact your vision for your website design in just a few clicks, without having to worry about learning the ins and outs of complicated software?
Gone are the days when only the chosen few could design a website. But there’s a comfortable middle ground between chiseling HTML code into stone tablets or choosing the “least bad” option from a small handful of presets. WordPress represents that middle ground – in fact, WordPress invented it.
With WordPress, virtually any feature you can imagine has already been designed, tested, optimized, and proven by one of the most productive and diligent development communities in the world. Just name it and you can activate the right WordPress plug-in for you in a matter of seconds.
WordPress means you can have exactly the website you want without the headaches. You can enjoy everything from your favorite website builder – even a similar drag-and-drop interface – plus the exact features that are most valuable and compelling to your audience.
The community has developed millions of optional plug-ins and the vast majority of them are free.
Contact and lead capture forms, analytics, chat, security tools, social media, and video sharing, and even livestock tickers are only a sample of the widgets you can install on your WordPress website. And if you need a change, you can deactivate them just as quickly.
On top of that, the community has fashioned a full spectrum of beautiful layouts you can customize for the branded visual identity you want. Gone are the days when you could identify a WordPress website at a glance. And WordPress offers a terrific user experience for your mobile visitors.
That helps you meet Google’s mobile-friendly guidelines and win more traffic.
2. WordPress Means Search Engine Optimization
If your website isn’t visible in search, it effectively doesn’t exist. Yes, you can use online advertising to get eyes on your website fast, but if it isn’t calibrated to turn first-time visitors into eventual customers, it’s money out the door. And the moment you stop paying, you lose that traffic for good.
The most cost-effective approach – the one all the most successful service-based businesses today are using – is search engine optimization. It’s a combination of methods to make your website more user-friendly and attract attention from search engines so you’ll appear prominently in relevant searches.
In other words, people see you at the exact moment they’re interested in what you have to offer.
But search engine optimization isn’t magic, it’s science. It thrives on the data your website collects as people find your website, read your content, and pursue their own goals. With WordPress, collecting that data is a snap – but, and here’s the most important thing, so is acting on it.
WordPress offers a robust suite of plug-ins for every aspect of search engine optimization. It’s one of the best website platforms when you want to know precisely how people get to your website, what they do once they arrive there, and how you can keep them coming back.
Done right, WordPress will make your website faster, more secure, and easier to use than it has ever been. All of these elements come together to influence where your website appears in search results.
3. WordPress Means Integration
No matter what type of business you lead, WordPress will integrate seamlessly with your systems.
Got an office and need clients to schedule their appointments in just a few clicks, all without tying up your administrative staff? WordPress can do that. Have an information product like a video series and want visitors to be able to buy? WordPress can do that.
With thousands of software integrations and more coming along every month – again, most of them for free – WordPress will interact with any technology you use and give your website audience exactly the capabilities you need them to have.
And however you use it, you won’t have to reconfigure your existing software or processes. WordPress never makes you re-engineer what you’re doing around it; it adapts to meet your needs. In that way, it’s the exact opposite of a website builder. And when you see the difference, you won’t want to go back.
A WordPress-Driven Digital Marketing Agency Brings More Customers To Your Website
WordPress is amazing, but you still want to stay focused on what you do best.
So, what can you do?
The answer is simple: Call your friendly Central Florida marketing agency.
While there are dozens of Florida marketing agencies to choose from, you can start assembling your shortlist by asking a single question: “Do you build with WordPress?”
If the answer is no, you’re likely dealing with one of two types:
- Connoisseurs whose artisanal approach to coding everything by hand will cost $1,000 an hour
- Hobbyists who want to make a little extra money on the side by re-selling you Wix all over again
You don’t have to choose New York Ave as your digital marketing agency, but please don’t be anyone’s “side hustle.” The choice to use WordPress reflects a commitment to professionalism along with the skills to deliver real results and an awareness of today’s biggest digital marketing trends.
From there, you just have to choose the best WordPress marketing agency in Florida.
Sounds easy, right?
How to choose a digital marketer is outside the scope of this post, but we’ll tell you how we strive to make it easier. We design websites the modern way, but start our relationships the old-fashioned way: With a face-to-face meeting over coffee where you can see the people who’ll be helping you.
(And the friendly office dog who’ll be helping us.)
Hey, we know there are plenty of tough decisions to make about your company’s digital future. The right software architecture, marketing partner, and more… it can really make your head swim. But you don’t have to go it alone. We’re here to answer your questions and help you make an informed decision.
And that’s true even if you choose to work with someone else.
Contact New York Ave to find out more or get started. We’re here when you need us.