Is your website platform hurting your business?

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The case for WordPress: a tale of two websites.

Search engine ranking

If ever there was a case study for the power of WordPress, this is it.

I firmly believe there is a solid case for taking any static html website and deploying it into a content management system, such as WordPress. Functionality is practically unlimited, the user interface on the back end is very easy for non-technical clients to use without being intimidated and blogging is naturally built-in.

However, far beyond the bells and whistles, there’s a far more important reason to make the switch: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

WordPress websites are very Search Engine friendly right out of the box. They are easily crawled and indexed by Search Engines. New content is picked up within hours of being added. It’s a very easy matter to add keywords and tags to pages and posts. When you upload images, you have the opportunity to rename the photo, add titles and alt tags in a few seconds as part of the process. With a few plugins (added functionality scripts that you can incorporate into a website), you can easily change page titles so that you have something ‘menu-friendly,’ but still have a page title that works well to enhance optimization. You can add xml site maps, which aren’t seen by human website visitors, but greatly aid Search Engines crawling a site.

How much better can a WordPress website perform and affect your website traffic?

Take the case of two contractors I’ve developed websites for. Both contractors do the same kind of work. Both had static html websites. Both depend on “organic SEO,”which basically means that neither uses any pay-per-click campaigns or banner advertising on other sites to drive traffic; just good, old-fashioned keywords, meta tags, page titles, alt tags, properly named photos and page descriptions. Neither site (no matter now much I encourage it) actively update their websites; they’re both busy with their work.

Both websites were optimized fairly equally (though I do not and did not copy the SEO from one site to the other). Both sites were pretty much dead even for website traffic. Some days one would be ahead, some days the other, but they averaged about the same number of page loads over a week or a month’s time.

Until one of the contractors asked me to re-design and deploy his website in WordPress.

The math of WordPress adds up to more website traffic.

Within a month of his website being deployed in WordPress, his traffic was consistently averaging more page loads than the static html website of his competitor. Within a couple months, the amount of traffic went from double the page loads to triple. Nine months later, his WordPress site, optimized fairly equally, is experiencing 4-5 times the amount of page loads of his competitor’s website.

Search Engine positioning is a science that I won’t claim to be an expert at, but I do know this: a website that gets more page loads will rank higher in Search Engine Positioning over time. You see, Search Engines want to return the best results for users. There are a host of complicated algorithms they use to determine what to return when you type words in to perform a search, and they change almost daily, but at their heart, Search Engines are trying to return the best results for the search terms entered by users.

If one website gets more traffic, because more people click on that link in the results, Search Engines translate the click-throughs as meaning the site is relavent to the search term, and  it pushes that website higher in the rankings over time. A business can easily go from several pages back in the results (and perhaps rarely being seen) to front page results, where most users will start and perhaps even end their search. It’s like rolling a snowball downhill, but this snowball can affect a business’ bottom line.

With more page views, there are naturally going to be more form submissions asking for quotes, more phone calls that give a business a chance to talk to warm leads, more chances to close a sale, contract work and get paid.

Is re-deploying your website a cost or an investment in your business?

Re-deploying your website will cost you money, but I know from talking to this particular contractor, that he has seen many times the return on what it cost him to do so. Is it an investment you can afford not to make?