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Pros And Cons Of Building Your Website With WordPress

By Development, Marketing, Mobile, MVP, Security, Startup, Tips & Tutorials, Tools, WordpressNo Comments

WordPress as a web building tool has built its reputation as providing amazing features specifically in the world of CMS, powering over 75 million sites and almost 23% of the World Wide Webs’ sites. However, despite its popularity, WordPress has drawbacks as a website development platform that you should be aware of before jumping on the bandwagon. Being informed is one of the most important factors in deciding where and how to build your site.

 

A few of your options for building and designing your website:

 

Website Editor

(Wix/Squarespace or similar solution)

Website editor, easily learned, drag and drop designs, less customization, small sites

WordPress

Website builder, edit and manage content through admin access, customization limited to WordPress support and technical capabilities, learning curve

App development

Full development team/developer, Fully customizable, Supports large, complex sites with high user traffic

Some Things To Consider

 

Typical WordPress use

WordPress is largely known for its CMS (content management system) capabilities, but it supports models for blogging, eCommerce, and forum websites as well. Sites that differ from this will most likely need customization.

Cost

Building a site can be expensive, you need to make sure you’re getting what you need, rather than trying to opt for the cheapest solution. Custom website development can cost anywhere from $5,000 to upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on your needs.

Time

Building a site takes time. How much time do you have? Most web projects take an average from 12 to 16 weeks. However, the time is always dependent on several factors, such as the complexity of the project, scope of work, number of people involved, etc. Always be sure to set a realistic timeline when looking at website building solutions.

Resources

How big is your team? Do you have any technical skills? WordPress maintenance requires a learning curve and dedication to the site after the initial build. To keep your site up to date, make sure you are prepared to learn or are willing pay someone for maintenance.

Security

WordPress is a great resource because of its popularity, but that popularity leaves sites more vulnerable to hackers and information leaks. What type of content are you providing? Does it need to be secure? Developing your own website or mobile app can provide more security.

Mobile

WordPress does not support mobile app development but does allow for you to have a responsive mobile version of your site.

Users

Does your website require a large number of users to log in and out of your site? Depending on your business, WordPress may not be able to support the high volume and data storage that your site requires. Consider building a customized application with a development team.

 

Benefits of WordPress

 

Ease of Use – For non-technical folks

WordPress is great for non-technical users who want to be able to manage their content and make minor adjustments without getting knee deep in code. The content builder enables you to design within a set framework BUT does not allow for much customization. If you are looking for customization, you will have to get your hands dirty and add in some code.

Plugins

WordPress has over 45,000 plugins that you can upload that increases new functionality options. This is great for you, it means you can do more than just make a basic blog! However, they require a lot of updates and may need customization and code to get them working properly with your site.

SEO Friendly – Kind of

WordPress is wonderful because it bumps up your site on web browsers from the built-in SEO(Search Engine Optimization) system, however, if you are a novice with SEO, you may need some coaching. Too much tagging and repetition can kill your SEO rating and send your website to the bottom of the page. Luckily WordPress has a wide range of plugins to help with this, including our favorite, Yoast, which helps by rating your pages on readability, keywords, and more!

Open Source – Faster Development

Open source code is great for speeding up development time. All of the code is shared and used between developers all over the world. This means your developer doesn’t need to make everything from scratch, cutting down on development time. However, this is a catch 22, as open source also means less security. Be sure to you weigh the importance of development time over site security.

Professional Themes

There is an endless source of pre-built design templates from which you may choose to use for the foundation of your site. Themes include one or more demos which you can activate. This provides you with an appealing, pre-designed site that requires minimal effort to get up and running. Keep in mind that these can be pricey and limit your site’s capabilities and customization, as not all plugins work with every theme.

Overall Lower Cost

Typically WordPress is a cheaper option than hiring a software development team. Since it is open source and widely used, you have many options for designers and developers. You also have the option to maintain the site on your own – if you have the resources and time to do so.

Mobile-Friendly

WordPress makes it easy to transition your site from desktop to smaller screens such as tablet or mobile. This may require some customization to make it just right, but it can beat building a mobile app or an entirely new mobile site. Make sure a responsive mobile site is a right option for you as Hackernoon reports that in 2018 mobile users spend about an hour on the mobile web, while almost 3.5 hours on mobile apps.

 

 

WordPress Negatives

 

Open Source – Security

Open source is great for fast development, but it can leave your site vulnerable to attacks from hackers. This can lead to problems down the road, either legally or with development constraints. Are you going to be handling credit card information? What about users’ personal info? If you do, you will need extra security, make sure WordPress can secure your info or pick a developer/development team that is knowledgeable and can successfully secure your data. Have questions? Let us help you feel safe about your site’s security.

Customization Needs Coding

WordPress was built for blogging, CMS, forums, etc. This makes breaking that model to build a restaurant site, for example, with online ordering, slightly more difficult. Most WordPress themes aren’t built for any models besides the typical ones mentioned above, which means more customization and less flexibility for the overall design of the site. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it does mean less access to content without digging into the code base.

Frequent Updates

WordPress is constantly trying to improve and update their structure to better serve their large user base. Because of this, updates occur on a regular basis and could impact your site’s performance. At times, you may need to update plugins, which could result in your plugins no longer functioning correctly or not being supported by the new version of WordPress. It is very important to save a backup of your site before updating, just in case something goes wrong while converting to the new version. As you can imagine, this process requires some technical knowledge and the ability to fix bugs that may occur as you update your site.

 

Pro tip: WordPress doesn’t offer support!

 

Learning Curve

No matter whether you are a coder, a designer, or someone with no technical knowledge, WordPress requires time to learn the ins and outs of building and maintaining a site. If you think building a WordPress site is as easy as dragging and dropping elements on a page, you’ve got it wrong. WordPress is a very robust solution that is constantly updating and changing, it takes time and dedication to keep your site up-to-date.

Slow Speeds

WordPress has a reputation for having slow loading times and speeds for users. This is a big downfall as research from Hobo shows that users quickly get disheartened by slow loads times. Users will leave your site to find what they need elsewhere within 2-10 seconds of waiting on content to load. Even more concerning, eCommerce users will leave only after 2-3 seconds without content loading.

Not Easily Scalable

Unless planned well in advance, WordPress is not the best at scaling businesses. Most models are built with the intention that the site will stay relatively at the same size, volume, and structure. Modifying your WordPress site structure later down the road can lead to some sticky situations with plugins, content, and speed.

No Support Service

Building a WordPress site on your own? You’re Brave! Although WordPress has a massive following and plenty of answers that are just a google away, WordPress does not have an official support service. This means no one can get into your account and help you solve those more difficult, niche questions. Website editors typically have lots of support, but if those solutions don’t serve your needs, consider hiring a developer or development team who will only be a call away to give you unlimited support to solve your issues ASAP.

 

 

Conclusion

WordPress is great for some websites, specifically for smaller sites that don’t require tons of functionality and serve as a source of information rather than supporting large amounts of user data. Making sure you understand the capabilities and constraints of using WordPress will allow you to make the best decision for your business. If WordPress doesn’t seem like the right solution you may be better off using something more accessible like Wix, Squarespace, or even hiring a development team to build a customized solution. Sometimes the answer isn’t clear, and you’ll need to sit down and map out all of the pros and cons of each solution available to you. Feel free to reach out to our team for some expert advice. Good luck!

 

Have questions? Ask an Expert!

Our team of experts is always available to talk through your concerns and guide you in the right direction for your business, even if that option doesn’t mean using our team. Talk now.

Branding Your Company Part 2: Finding Our Why | Capabilities Flyer

By MarketingNo Comments

Our branding strategy played a major role when we began to apply it to our new capabilities flyer. Bytelion had grown both in number and in personality since the previous flyer. Recent hires brought great energy into the company, and we wanted to share that fresh energy.

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Question Your Team

From experienced employees to our student interns who just started, we interviewed a broad range of team members to find our “why.” It was important to hear from multiple employees to gather an accurate documentation of our company’s voice. We asked them, why do you come to work each day? What do you hope to accomplish at our company? What do you bring to the table that no one else can? Each employee talked about different aspects of our company. Each expressed what their work meant to them. Many employees talked about their unique passions. Whether their passion was for coding, project managing, designing, or even blogging, we discovered what united these different interests was the love to tackle challenging difficult problems. By the time we finished, we had pages of content. It was starting to look overwhelming, but we decided to continue and find common a theme.

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The Writing Process

The hard part was stitching together each individual’s thoughts into one comprehensive paragraph. It took many (and we mean many) attempts to slim our collective ideas down into one paragraph. What we found difficult was how effortless it was to start using long winded sentences that essentially were nothing but fluff. Returning to our goal, our “Why” sounded like an “It” was collective voice kept us grounded. To stay focused, we frequently asked, could anyone at our company recite this and be genuine about it?

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Revisions

What we discovered is that it takes multiple revisions to write your company’s true passions and visions onto paper. We learned a lot, but most importantly to not be afraid to eliminate the elaborate phrases that don’t have meaning or value. In some cases, we had to completely start over to find the right set of words that encapsulate the spirit of our team. We concluded that the broad range of expertise our employees share is the desire for excellence, passion for perseverance while fostering individuality.

Review! (Again and again)

Once we established who our team was, we reassessed our flyer. The purpose of the capabilities flyer was to share Bytelion’s abilities with potential clients. What we had, was a great summary of our team, but our resume did not truly stand out for our clients. Then it clicked, our ‘why‘ was our clients. So what if we were passionate about coding? Why does it matter to our clients what our personal interests are? What they need to know is what we as a company can offer them. Do we have the ability to make the idea a reality?

If our flyer could not prove that we could provide something of value, we would be wasting their time. So, we decided to change who we were addressing. It was no longer about us; it was about our clients, -the people who need to understand who our company is.  We decided that the needs of our clients should not only reflect all aspects of our company but also be the core of our brand.

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screen-shot-2017-09-14-at-3-01-38-pmFinal Thoughts:

In conclusion, branding goes far beyond a simple name and a logo.  It is the legacy that is carried on long after others have moved on. The development of the brand can be profound due to its complexity. It should embrace all aspects of your company, but when applying your brand to your work, make sure that you are speaking to your clients. Don’t let the presence of your brand overwhelm your product. If done correctly, with a well-developed brand you will gain broader recognition of your company. Through your brand, you can share your company’s positive attributes and stand out from the competition. Your customers will enjoy interacting with a company that goes far beyond their demands and expectations.  After all,”people don’t have relationships with products, they are loyal to brands.

What are Customer Personas? And How can they Help my Business?

By Marketing, Tips & TutorialsOne Comment
So you are starting a new business or maybe a new product line for your company. You know that time is ticking and you need to get your product out in front of customers soon. It’s a pretty daunting task that requires answering some challenging, time-consuming questions. You wonder, Where should you sell? Who should you sell to? And how will they find your product?

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There’s a strong likelihood that these questions have been tormenting you, and you probably have completed a little research on competitors to find these answers in your branding strategy. I understand how hard it is to come up with a concrete solution when there are so many variables. But you need clarity to make your business successful, so how do you find the answer to these questions? Research, research, research, and more research! More specifically, user research. To discover who your customers are, where they will buy your product, and how they will find it, you need to know what your customers like, what kind of lives they lead, and what drives them to purchase.

So what’s the solution?

Customer Personas! They help you define and target the right audience for your product or business so you can focus on what matters to your clients. This will lead to a better product, better sales, and a bigger profit!

What are Customer Personas?

Customer personas are made up of research of various attributes of actual individuals which are condensed into a fictitious representation. It may seem odd that a persona is a fictional representation of a person to rather than a real person, but it allows you to empathize with your whole demographic instead of only one customer.

Benefits to Using a Persona:
  • The Customer’s needs and wants become clear
  • Provides a benchmark for your team to fall back on when questions arise
  • Marketing content can be relatable to the goals and needs of our customers
  • When going to design and build your product or business, you know what your customers desire from a product
  • It can tie into the why or what for any aspect of your business

What to Research:

  • Demographics
  • User Behavior
  • The User’s Goals
  • User Needs
  • User Frustrations
  • Related Skills

Those are the main points of what you need to know about your customers, but you may want to know more, depending on your product. For example, if your product is a mobile app, you need to understand not only the technical skills of your users but the phones they use and how often they use them. To learn how to research and build a customer persona, Hubspot has a great article with a template you can download.

Customer Persona Example:

screen-shot-2017-07-27-at-10-46-37-amConclusion

Brainstorming valuable ideas can only truly happen if your team understands the customers and the problem you are solving.  If you put in the time to research your customers and figure out what motivates them, you generate incredible insight. Customer Personas will give you and your team the ability to answer questions about your business because you will have a better understanding of your clients. When it comes to customer personas, it really is the more you know.

If you wanted some expert help with generating your personas, contact us at info@bytelion.com for help!  

Halie was featured as a mentor in our Intern Blog check it out!

Branding your Company: Part 1 What you need to know before jumping in

By Marketing, Startup, Tips & TutorialsOne Comment

Part 1 of 2

Your brand is your company’s identity; it’s completely original and unique to you and your business’s mission. The message it portrays will fill the minds of both current and potential clients; it separates you from the rest of the pack. If done correctly, branding your company will help define yourself as a leading force in your sector, but where do you even begin?

 

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Start Soul-Searching:

To brand yourself successfully, you need to spend some quality time figuring out who you and your team are. You need to be honest with yourself in order to figure out what makes you great. Get out a pen and paper and jot down any answers that come to mind. Consider what particular factors of your business shine and in what ways these factors separate your company from the competition. What are the core values and long term goals that you wish to share with the public? What elements of your team’s personality should be represented in the brand? In what ways will you ensure that the message of your brand is shared with your audience?

Most importantly ask yourself, why. What is the reason you get out of bed every day? What is the purpose of your company, why is your business unique and why do consumers need your product? This Ted Talk, featuring Simon Sinek, sums up this concept of asking why nicely and how asking the right questions can lead to successful business.

Focus on who matters:

Of course, branding also needs to appeal to your customers and to please them in the best way possible; you must do your research. It is important to gather information about your industry and your business, who are your consumers? What do they enjoy? What do they do in their free time? How do they communicate with their peers? What makes them happy? And most importantly, how can you help them solve their problems? It is crucial to discover what information can aid customers so they can actualize their vision.

season-1985856_1920Connect with your Customers:

An article on HubSpot recommends that companies should find a way to connect with your customers on a deeper, more emotional level. The article asks: “Do you give them [your clients] peace of mind?” By discovering both the physical and emotional needs and desires of your customers, you can adjust your efforts to help them be successful.

Answering these questions can provide an accurate representation of your customer base. To create a simple overview of your clientele, you must group your current customers and record the characteristics of optimal clients that your business interacts with frequently, this is creating the coveted list of Customer Personas. Before publishing a blog, picking up the phone or promoting an advertisement, checking the list of customer personas can ensure efficient communication and a pleasant interaction for both parties.

In the quest to please your customers, do not forget who is essential to the entire process: you and your team. In order to create the best experience for your client, it is essential to assure that the brand is represented accurately across all fields of your company. The branding should include a consistent, congruent message which is recognizable across all sectors: from customer service, to social media to your website. If you are looking for inspiration, check out this great article by Muzli.

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Share Your Knowledge: 

If you appear open, friendly and genuinely concerned about the needs of your clients,  you are creating an inviting environment for your customer while simultaneously establishing trust. By offering advice, you have created an excellent opportunity to promote your brand and showcase your company’s values and personality. It is important to remember not to force your product or services upon potential customers, it could create a barrier between yourself and them. Offering advice and consultation makes you genuine, positioning you as an advocate for your customers.

Study your Competition:

After some deep contemplation, turn outwards and start analyzing your competition, ask: What works well for them? What makes them successful? How do their strengths and weaknesses rank against yours? After compiling all of this information, take note of the recurring ideas, feelings, and emotions which are conducive to your business.

Furthermore, the advantage of taking these steps before developing a branding program is that it provides a benchmark. As you implement your new strategy, over time you will be able to measure improved conversions and customer loyalty. All in all, research allows you to measure results using objective metrics.

Concluding Thoughts:

At Bytelion, we wish you success as you start developing your brand.  We sincerely hope we can help you. What kind of blogs would help your business? We would love to hear from you, and if you have any questions please comment below and subscribe to our blog here.

Stay tuned for part 2 on how to begin building your brand.

 

Additional Links:

Want to find out more about customer personas? Click here

Make Your Content More Compelling With Embedded Twitter Searches

By Development, Marketing, Tips & Tutorials, Tools

Twitter has made it easier and easier to select content out of their daily feed to help you track items are you interested in. For example, if you were interested in knowing what was happening in the twitter sphere of influence for new environmental projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline Protects, you could simply embed the search on your page like. The steps you need are to:

Step 1

Create a twitter account (if you don’t have one) and log in.

Step 2

Go to the widget page:  https://twitter.com/settings/widgets

Step 3

Select Create new search widget.

Search Widget

Simple Twitter Search Page

Step 4

Configure your widget.

Configure the widget according to the specifications you have set.

Configure the widget according to the specifications you have set.

Step 5

Copy text and paste example into your WordPress blog.  Similar to this.  See below.  And, that’s it! You now have content that is far more compelling with live data.