Beyond a Blog – Running a Full Website Using WordPress

Amir Helzer is a business owner, blogger, and webmaster, who runs ICanLocalize, a human and technology-based translation service for small businesses who want to move their product or services into multilingual markets.

Some businesses start blogging to expand their website. Some start with a blog. For the strongest online presence, business websites need both static content and dynamic news, a.k.a a blog. The blog builds traffic and establishes authority. The static pages helps convert that interest into business.

Essential Content for Static Pages

When planning static pages for a business site, this content is essential to serve a local audience anywhere in the world.

  • Information about what you’re offering – this could be your consultancy services, an e-book, affiliate deals, courses or anything else you’re selling.
  • Benefits – how what you’re offering serves to make someone’s life better. Features lead to benefits, but the benefits are what really matters.
  • Examples, testimonials and case studies.
  • Support information – let people see answers to common questions
  • Contact and ordering information (along with a firm satisfaction guarantee)

Using WordPress as a CMS

WordPress has everything you’ll need to build a complete website, without installing any plugins or changing anything. In fact, it’s already the most popular content management system being used today, competing with established CMS such as Joomla! and Drupal.

In WordPress, use ‘pages’ as your static contents and ‘posts’ as blog entries. Pages can have sub-pages allowing to create a complete hierarchy of contents. Using WordPress, you can also select a specific page to be your home page. Categories and tags make it easy to jump between related pages.

Choose or build a theme that displays posts and pages properly for both human visitors and search engines and you’re ready to open for business.

Building usable Websites

A effective website is critical to business anywhere in the world. Points to consider:

  • Navigation – good navigation will make it clear where I am, what to expect on this page and where to go to get what I need. It should include the top tab for main sections and drop-down menus (or the equivalent) for sub-sections. Context, knowing where I am within the bigger picture, is important at all times.
  • Page layout – A good website follows conventions. Don’t make me learn your rules. Visitors who need to learn how to use a website from scratch, often leave before they do.

Whether you’re just starting out or already have a pretty large website, you can get great ideas from Steve Krug‘s “Don’t Make Me Think“.

Search Engine Friendliness

A few years back, people considered search engine optimization (SEO) as a sort of witchcraft. Today, search engine spiders can find their way around a website and analyze page contents efficiently. Follow basic principles, you’ll be fine.

WordPress takes care of most SEO concerns for you by rendering valid HTML and using a correct hierarchy of headings. You can help (a lot) by writing short, topical pages, which search engines can easily understand. You’ll find it’s very helpful for humans, too, especially those you want to find your business and become your customers.