Why use WordPress for your website?

Why use WordPress for your website?

WordPress is the most popular open source Web Content Management System used by 27% of the entire Internet. It is free, extremely easy to use and provides thousands of plugins and themes to create a compelling user experience with a limited investment.

You’ve been warming up to the idea of a website for your business for a long time, but there has always been something stopping you. Finally, you’ve decided to create your own website. You know what it will be about and you also have some content idea to start with, and yet you have a huge question mark hanging over your head: what CMS should I use?

If you are here, somebody probably suggested you that WordPress is a great platform to start with. But… is it going to fit your needs? Is WordPress the right choice for you? The short answer is: probably it is. Although WordPress is born as a blogging platform, nowadays it is one of the most extended and comprehensive CMS platforms and it is a good choice for any kind of website. And you know what the good news is? It is still a very easy starting point for beginners.

We asked to Luca Sartoni, an Italian blogger who is now working at Automattic as a Growth Engineer, a few good reasons to choose WordPress for your first website. Here are his hints:

 So, in a nutshell, with WordPress you can maximize your output and minimize your risks, thanks to a strong and active community which contributes to the CMS in many different ways.

Excellent! Also, I have my own list of good reasons for you – and I’m pretty sure you’ll love them.

1. It’s free to install, maintain and upgrade

The cost voice is always such a pain, and any way to spare some money feels like a great relief. So, yes, you can spare on your website budget just choosing WordPress. If you choose WordPress, designing, developing and – especially – maintaining your website is going to cost you way less! How? Well, basically thanks to all the reasons below. ?

2. It’s open source – and here is why you should care about this!

Let’s start from the beginning: what does open source mean? Literally, open source means that the source code is free to use, to study and to change. This is not just something developers should care. In fact in the case WordPress, there are a lot of benefits here for you:

  1. The CMS comes for free. Forever. Anyone is free to install it, use it, and adapt it to his/her needs, for any kind of website with or without commercial purposes. And it doesn’t cost a penny.
  2. It keeps growing thanks to a large community of contributors who constantly work to build a better software (see the fourth point to know more about this).
  3. No vendor lock-in: if this is your first website, you’ll need a web agency or a freelance to design and develop it. In a few years, you may choose to change your vendor and rely on another one for several reasons. Well, thanks to open source, you won’t have to start from the beginning to project your website: any other freelance or agency which works with WordPress can take it over and update, upgrade or change your website according to your needs.

In short: with WordPress you are choosing a free CMS which is always up-to-date and has no vendor lock-in.

3. It’s extremely easy to learn, I swear!

Once the website is up and running, it’s incredibly easy to create and publish new content. You just open your WordPress back-end, create a new page or article and add any picture, video, or other media. Then you click publish and your new content is online. Not happy with your output? You can still go back and change it. That’s it, really. Anyone that can use a word processor can use it. No technical skills required. Just try and then tell me.

In other words, WordPress’ learning curve is so easy and comfortable, that you will be able to add content by yourself, without asking it to some dark technical figure (coff coff – just joking, uh?) to add new pages or to update the old ones.

4. It has thousands of themes and plugins to add new features in a snap

Since WordPress was born as a CMS for blogs, many people are worried about the customizations: is WordPress the right choice for an e-commerce? Will I be able to add a stunning design to my web pages? Can I do this and that? Yes, you probably can. While the core source of WordPress gives you already most of the things you need for a good basic website (or blog) which is responsible and SEO-friendly, you can explore a whole bunch of new opportunities by adding:

  • Plugins: to have more features and expand your website turning it into an e-commerce, an online community or whatever you have in mind.
  • Themes: you can choose from thousands of different designs and apply them to your website. To make the most out of them you can also heavily customize most of the themes, building a website fully consistent with your brand.

Once you discover the large family of WordPress plugins and themes, you’ll understand that you can do whatever you need just installing existing and tested resources. And the best thing is: many of them come for free. Just a few examples of websites using WordPress: Microsoft News Center, AMC (yep, those of Breaking Bad and Walking Dead), The Herald Sun, The Walt Disney Company, Quartz, Facebook Newsroom… I’m sure you’ll notice two things:

  1. There are a lot of big enterprises which are trusting WordPress
  2. You can build a wide range of different websites.

So… apparently, there’s no reason to think that WordPress would not fit your needs. Is it?

In a few words: since there are lots of ready-to-use resources, you can spare on web design and development, because customizing a website with WordPress is way faster, easier and cheaper than starting from a blank page.

5. It’s powered by a massive, supportive, awesome community

This is one of the coolest benefits of using WordPress. Anytime you need some help, advice or support, you’re just a question away from your solution. You can ask your question on any forum or social media group to the community members and receive valuable and actionable information. And it happens quickly! You may ask: why? Well, WordPress is adopted by the 27% of Internet websites and many web designers, developers, and content creators feel so much committed to it that they want to share value with the community and to see it grow.

CMS Usage 2017 | WordLift

The graphic above shows how popular WordPress is in the World. Source: W3Techs – April 2017 And you?

Well, anytime you have a cool idea, you can start working on it and share it, for the benefit of all the community. There’s wide space for the contribution and the cooperation of anyone with anyone around the world.

Let me put it this way: you can ask the help of the community to overcome any obstacle – so, less money spent in consultancy if you just have the patience to ask and learn.

In a few words: why do you have to start from the beginning if you can just jump on giants’ shoulders? ?

5 Handy Tips on Google Assistant to Future Proof your SEO Strategy

5 Handy Tips on Google Assistant to Future Proof your SEO Strategy

Are you are trying to add voice search as part of your SEO strategy? This article walks through 5 simple tactics to engage your audience with the help of Google Assistant.

I love it when new acronyms and buzzwords enter the scene in digital marketing. Most of the time these new words arrive bold and fast and we all get the feeling that it is impossible to keep up. Some expressions are simply fun, others are mind-numbing or even hard to understand. What’s behind a new buzzword? What does it really mean? What we have to keep in mind is that a new term is coined when there is enough understanding around a specific topic but at the same time – no one has yet given it a name. It is much like red links in Wikipedia: there is the need for an article explaining that specific topic but no one has yet created one.

A week ago, the columnist of Search Engine Land, John Lincoln introduced PASOPersonal Assistant Search Optimization and yes, we are going to create a brand new named entity in our vocabulary: it totally deserves it! As someone might say, “PASO is the new SEO” or at least, part of the emerging set of techniques that forward-thinking marketers and SEO experts shall master to compete in the era of chatbots, voice search and AI in general.

Microsoft Agent

Microsoft Agent

I have been a big fan of these technologies for a long time. In fact, it was back in 1998 when David and me, alongside with other geeky friends, began playing with personal digital assistants online in our first web agency. Microsoft Agent was our first programmable online buddy: a technology introduced in Windows 98 (I know this may sound prehistoric) that made use of animated characters, text-to-speech engines, and speech recognition to help people interact with computers. The fun part of it was that you could program it using HTML and VBScript and with few lines of code, you could see “Genie” popping up in your browser’s window. Now let’s be actionable and begin to share our secrets. “Where does the information come from?” This is the question you should always start with. When creating a chatbot or when starting a conversation in the real world we always begin from some kind of prior knowledge: an article we have read, a TV series, a book or a web page. Computers are not much different from us. They take their answers from clusters of information typically organized in large graphs. As we discover their sources of information we can inject our viewpoints and get them to know us better.

Tip #1: Control Rank Zero

When dealing with Google Home or Google Allo or Google Assistant (they do have their own slight differences) one source of information are the so-called rank zero snippets. These are featured snippets in search results whose summary has been extracted programmatically from a web page. While the real difference, for these snippets, is not the way the information has been fetched by Google (as this works much like the good old SEO) but how the result is presented to the user: these snippets answer a great lot of questions, triggered by our voice. Sometimes controlling Rank Zero can be as simple as interacting with a site owner, share your product and get a review for it. Here are the steps I followed:

  1. look for an easy-to-reach Rank Zero position that is relevant for your business. For example, I discovered a featured snippet for one of my favorite SEO tool by searching over Google “What is WooRank?”
  2. understand where the information is coming from, in my case the content on WooRank was extracted from a reviews’ website called https://reviews.financesonline.com/ (they do a very good job)
  3. contact the website owner and ask for a review as I did for WordLift, our beloved WordPress plugin
  4. Bum! “That’s right, man. I got in.” (epic quote from the movie “Tron Legacy”). The snippet was created within hours and this was a simple and easy way to train Google on what WordLift really is. 

Tip #2: Curate Your Entity

While Rank Zero results are driven by old SEO tactics other snippets are driven by data that Google can truly understand and compute. This information is stored in the Google Knowledge Graph (eventually evolved in the Google Knowledge Vault). This is a large database organized much like our brain in a network of synapsis. These snippets, called knowledge panels, are bound to a Knowledge Graph ID, a unique identifier in the web of data that maps unambiguously the information related to a person, a company or a product. Just to give you an example my Knowledge Graph ID is kg:/m/0djtw2h. A simple query using this ID will show you everything that Google knows about me.

These types of results are way more powerful than the results generated using the Rank Zero snippets as they can be computed. The machine knows what it is talking about – it is not just reproposing information scraped from a webpage. The AI now has the data needed to discover other data and learn from it. 

Here are the steps in this case:

  1. look for the Graph ID you need using the Knowledge Graph Search API (here is a good article to walk you though) – if you can’t find it – give yourself a new target and build the data you need to get a Graph ID for your entity
  2. ensure that a consistent representation of the same entity is available in other digital spaces such as social networks, the universal encyclopedia, and your own website or blog 
  3. remember to add in your structured data markup (on all websites you can control) a direct link to that Graph ID identifier. WordLift does this for you automatically and tells Google “Hey here we’re talking about entity X and here you can find additional information to learn from”. This is very a powerful technique for the so-called semantic search optimization
  4. Yes, now the fun begins!

Tip #3: Teach Google the right Synonym

The explosion of online information has led to an impressive growth in quantity, diversity, and complexity of linguistic data accessible over the Internet. These resources become way more useful when linked to each other. Today’s natural language interfaces and personal assistants leverage on this vast amount of information and benefit from the linked data paradigm. There are already incredibly useful lexical-semantic resources that AI tools and PAs can use by accessing linked data: WordNet, FrameNet as well as general knowledge graphs like DBpedia and Yago represent the foundation of today’s computational linguistic. How can you take a spin at these technologies and improve the visibility of your brand?

Semantic Web | WordLift

Discover “Bauernherbst” with Google Allo

Here is an example that uses structured data markup to help Google Assistant promote a major festival in Salzbugerland whose brand name is a German word (Bauernherbst), to an English speaking audience:

  1. start with an entity (in this case an entity of type event that describes to the harvest festival in the region of Salzburg)
  2. add the synonym to the entity using the schema.org markup
  3. create the same entity (and the corresponding web page) in both German and English
  4. connect the schema.org linked metadata of the German page with the schema.org metadata of the English page (and you can do all of this with WordLift without any technical skill)
  5. Voilà, magic happens!

Tip #4: Hijack your environment and let the PAs do the talking

I remember the first time I saw the Google Glasses at SXSW Festival in 2013. The proud smile depicted on the faces of the very few lucky early adopters and how easy it was to kill their enthusiasm and annoy them to death without even talking to them. As soon as they would pass by with their head-mounted displays, someone nearby would shout … “OK Google” therefore activating the device and requesting them to press a button and stop the talking. We all know now, as Google Assistant has been shipped to all most recent Android devices, how frustrating it is when it gets activated by mistake. Now what if…this is done with a purpose and within the context of an online advertising, a business talk or a presentation? This is what Burger King just did a few days ago to set the Internet on fire and to force Google update all home devices and shut down the assistant-activated ad. Burger King’s new 15-second commercial on YouTube triggers Google devices by shouting a voice search query within their promotional video … “Ok Google, what is the Whopper burger?”. Sorry, I just loved that. There have been a lot of understandable complaints and yet, if used properly this is a game changer. Here is how it goes:

  1. Make sure you can successfully have the PA talk about you or your preferred entity
  2. Create a podcast or a video that engage the PAs in the room where your video is being watched
  3. Always avoid being too invasive and remember privacy is important for everyone

Tip #5: Claim and Optimize your Business

Being successful in the Voice Search world is about strengthening your online presence, focusing on the user intents and making sure content, as well as data,  is consistent across the Internet. A lot of people use voice search to get information about local businesses. Sometimes it’s quicker from a mobile device (if not absolutely mandatory – if you’re driving) to ask your PA to make a call for you or to help you drive on time to a destination. These search queries rely on the accuracy of the business listings and on the consistency of business’s name, address and phone number (NAP).

NAP to boost your Voice Search results

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Here is what you need to do to help Google Assistant find your business:

  1. Add it to Google My Business, Yelp and Bing Places for Business and remember to choose the right business category  
  2. Incorporate schema.org markup on your website to tell search engines: yes, this business has this website and yes, this is the business’s name, address, and phone number. Schema markup helps PAs truly understand what your business is all about and reinforces the same data you should have already on the various directories. 

Are you still afraid of how structured data works? WordLift walks you through the process of creating and publishing five-stars linked data in schema.org and including it on your website. Give it a try or schedule a live demo!


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