There is nothing more frustrating for a marketing department than a website that doesn’t allow them the flexibility they need to do their job.
93 Digital specialises in WordPress design and in the last year, we’ve received many web design RFPs from big businesses. Their marketing departments are gradually wrangling back control of their websites from internal IT stakeholders, only to realise the website is close to unusable. It takes six hours of a web developer's time to add a new landing page and every time the team tries to publish a new blog post, the CMS crashes. Typically these websites aren’t pretty (we all know what happens when you leave design decisions in the hands of developers) and it’s fair to say they are rarely built with any focus on marketing results. It’s a story that we hear all too frequently.
But why? Because IT departments usually build websites to just display information or carry out a function. On the other hand, marketing departments build websites that seek to meet the needs of their buyer personas, using data and creativity to craft user experiences and map out buyer journeys in way that will help to meet wider business objectives. The two are extremely different processes, with exceedingly different end results.
So where does WordPress fit in, and why is it becoming an ever more popular choice for the modern marketer?
Originally a blogging platform born back in 2003, WordPress has evolved into the most popular CMS in the world. As of September 2016, WordPress powers a staggering 26.6% of the entire internet. That equates to a 59.2% share of the CMS market - next you will find Joomla on 6.2% and Drupal with 4.9%. Sony Music, Microsoft, Nikon, Blackberry, Bacardi and Coca-Cola are just a few of the household names who use the open source CMS in different parts of their business, and whilst researching this piece I even found a recent article by NASA explaining the benefits of WordPress.
The core reason we find so many marketers moving over to WordPress is how easy it is to shape to suit the needs of a business or organisation. Whether it’s the ability to easily carry out search engine optimisation, simply publish a blog post, design and landing pages or run full campaigns that draw everything together - marketers need to be able to move from initial hypothesis or campaign idea to deployment faster than ever. With a well developed site, WordPress can make this painless.
Ease of Use
The initial surge in the popularity of WordPress was largely down to how easy it is to use. The user interface and ability to customise the Dashboard to specific user roles or access levels make WordPress intuitive for all members of a marketing team, from marketing intern to marketing director.
It’s fair to say WordPress has come along way since its 2003 birth. From simple blogging tool, to CMS, to almost an application framework in itself, WordPress sits behind content hubs, publications, forums and even entire social networks now. WordPress can be shaped into a powerful tool to meet a wide range of marketing goals.
There was a point in time where WordPress wasn’t suited to large numbers of users, but with the right knowledge and an investment in suitable architecture, WordPress now powers some extremely high traffic sites
Enterprise businesses looking to go global can take WordPress with them. The ability to manage multiple languages on a WordPress site all through one Dashboard means that marketers don’t need to worry about managing lots of different websites for their different markets or offices.
WordPress is open source, meaning all the code that powers it is reviewed for issues by a large community of developers.
There is no reason why with the right skills and infrastructure WordPress cannot be delivered into the enterprise securely and at scale. Generally security issues arise from poorly built or maintained third party plugins, or most often because of basic security failures that could be as simple as openly sharing passwords with colleagues.
The fact WordPress is so popular has led to a huge developer community, with a near endless list of options for extending functionality, building custom plugins and integrating with marketing automation systems and CRMs. We have helped marketers integrate WordPress with tools like Hubspot, Pardot and Salesforce.
WordPress is considered the most search engine friendly content management system, and that’s just straight out of the box thanks to its structure, sitemaps and RSS feeds. With innovative development practices and some additional tweaking to implement further SEO analysis and tools, WordPress can be a powerful SEO asset in an inbound marketing strategy.
As the power of WordPress as a marketing tool continues to evolve and its use amongst the marketing world rises, we are sure to see ever more WordPress websites sitting at the heart of marketing strategies in the enterprise business community.
Alex Price is managing director and founder of 93 Digital.