I recently decided to keep my business website on the WordPress platform for a number of very sound reasons and against the advice of some people. I found that the WordPress platform offers a tremendous number of benefits for small business websites and those starting out with their own online businesses like …
Ease of use: it’s tremendously easy to get it up and running. It’s also very easy to do basic administration for the blog without knowing much or anything about the underlying programming language.
Support: there is a huge user base out there to create themes, plugins, and whatnot. You can find answers to most questions quickly, and someone somewhere is working on a solution if one isn’t available. Also development speed is fast. We’ve moved from 2.0.7 to 2.2.0 in the space of a few months.
Web 2.0: there are quite a few ways to take advantage of the interconnectedness of the web 2.0 that static HTML sites and old style websites just lack – automatic feed creation, trackbacks, commenting, multiple authors, etc.
International: the multi-language support of the blog software makes it easy to post in several languages, including my target language: traditional Chinese.
But challenges remain, most of them not to do with the software. The biggest challenge is getting content for the website. I’ve asked a colleague to write up an irregular column for us, but that’s an expensive solution. My own facility with the written language is poor at this time, and I’ve made no progress yet, really, except to make my Chinese speaking colleagues cringe at my poor writing. I’m looking to source language learning articles from Chinese speakers written in traditional characters, but it’s hard going. I don’t know where to advertise for that.
The second problem is that the blog is published on the Internet, but our market is very much a local market area, so it’s sometimes difficult to reach out to the local population. Many of the target market are in fact older people, but who seem to have less interest in the online media than their kids and younger people in general. So, I’ve put our website address everywhere, but I suspect few people look it up. I’m thinking that people with Internet enabled mobile phones might be more likely to check it out!
So I have had to combine new media with old: I created a newsletter that is available in printed form, and online in several forms (including a PDF). Almost all of the content is created for the website or the newsletter. However it is created, it is used to get maximum effect. I’ve also added a few newsletter stations around the area where the newsletter can be picked up for free. Additional flyers, banners, posters and so on, all have their online equivalents.
It’s quite surprising but I think the offline marketing has been much more successful than the online media. But online allows us to do so much more, including video, montages, photographs, contacts, newsletters, mailing lists, etc. that I can’t ignore it. Despite that, we have never received a single query from our online website. So we really need to refine our marketing outreach! Back to our keyboards!