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Why WordPress is one of the best open-source CMS

WordPress was originally known and widely used for its free blogging system.  Now it is growing recognition for its free PHP CMS. Wordpress features include widgets, switchable themes, clean permalink structure, and can assign nested categories to articles allowing the client to show the same information on two pages while only edited in one article.  The user can also create a number of websites using only one installation of WordPress.

Best Things about Wordpress

The user community is the true strength of the Wordpress platform with millions of websites built on it. With that community comes a great amount of flexibility when looking to push the limits of what you want to do with the platform. It is very easy to find an answer to sometimes the most complex questions.

When it comes to design, Wordpress offers a ton of options -- you can either pick one of thousands of pre-made themes or design and customize your own.

New Features in Wordpress 3.0

  • An easier, customizable header image
  • Easier drag and drop navigation menu management including drop down menus
  • Design individual author templates
Six Revisions has listed a few more features in there WordPress 3.0 blog.

Wordpress Flaws

  • Wordpress is singular, not modular.You can have many templates, but a template applies to a single page. There is a giant content box where you can switch between WYSIWYG and HTML modes, but other then an Except box or a few custom fields, you don't have the ability to provide a user 5-6 different text area boxes they can add content to. (Note: Expression Engine allows for this but their template system is more challenging.) Wordpress makes it very easy to drop a new theme in and activate it.
  • A lot of people think that WordPress is free...  There are options that everyone wants to have on their own website, such as no advertisements, custom CSS, private users and additional storage space.  These options within Wordpress.com (hosted version) are NOT free. They are not very expensive -- each feature is sold for an annual fee. However, with Wordpress.org (self-hosted), you can do whatever you like without additional costs and customize all files as much as desired, completely free beyond your hosting vendors costs or extras.
  • Wordpress may be a security concern for some companies. One security issue within Wordpress was the ability to easily to hack into anyone's WordPress database because of the default username, "admin", that was given automatically to any WordPress account.  With WordPress 3.0, they have eliminated this security leak by having the user create a new username and then delete the "admin" username. 

    In addition, running open source of any kind could be a security risk for those who have a large amount of sensitive information online or prone to attack. For those - I suggest a hosted solution where source code is not available to the general public.

Is Wordpress right for you and your business?

To keep Wordpress simple, most of the complex functionality has been outsourced to third party developers/solutions - this may not be an option for larger companies looking for a complete solution or willing to deal with multiple vendors and integration limitations. 

Wordpress is great for most small and medium sized businesses who need a simple yet flexible CMS. Larger companies who have advanced needs will not find Wordpress to be sufficient enough without heavy modification. If you are specifically looking for complex user permissions and content access restrictions then you will run into limits without additional development or third party support.

Some sample sites that use WordPress

Summary

Wordpress is meant more as a blog engine, but can still be powerful as a CMS tool. It has come quite a way from its start as a pure blogging platform and can now handle content as effectively (and in some ways, better) than traditional CMS's.

Wordpress' flexibility appeals to the more advanced users while the interface is simple enough for the standard content contributor. Most who leave do so out of necessity - requiring a more advanced platform.

How to blog for your business

A journal? No. Corporate blogging is different. In a nutshell, the purpose of corporate blogging is to:
  1. Build your industry authority/expertise.
  2. Increase search engine ranking through recent, relevant and consistent content.
You have all this knowledge in your field, right? A blog offers a casual home to post some of this information in bits and pieces. Customers want to know more, they like to see your personality, and blog offers a place for this type of information. Users read and search for answers online in today's market -- this is where you should sell yourself and your business know-how.

In turn, Google likes recent and relevant content. The more you write and post, the more likely you are to appear in the search engine results. Over time, as you build content, you should see results.

Of course, there are tricks to the trade to make your posts most optimized for SEO or to build your audience. A few are listed below:
  1. Your blog post title is extremely important. This is what lures the visitor into the full post details. 
    • The title appears in more places than you might realize too (e.g. search engine ranking results, RSS feeds, social media threads, links).
    • With a business blog, you want to spend a some time and thought to craft your headlines so that they grab the attention of your audience and also attract search engine traffic you need to see results.
  2. Use lists, sub titles, easy to read content, and get to the point.
  3. Use photos and graphics to keep the interest level high. Diagrams are great for explaining things too.
  4. Incorporate links into your post that open in a new window to help link building and lead to related or expanded content.
  5. Your blog template should be strategically designed to have navigation links back to your site, your contact information, and a call to action. 
  6. End your post saying who you are and way of contact via link, phone or email.
More tips for new bloggers can be regularly found on this blogging blog.

One pitfall of corporate blogging that a lot of businesses get stuck on is creating the content. It is a regular commitment that someone on your team must spend time on or hire writers to help develop the needed content.
For example, if your industry is business furniture, write about new furniture pieces, why you like XYZ chair, or show off a newly designed client space. It should be easy and casual. Talk about relationships with your clients, your business philosophy, business challenges, why you are different or special in your industry -- the list goes on and on. Write about everyday things that happen in your business.

Good luck with your business blogging.

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