When we first decided we wanted to provide websites, membership and event solutions for organizations, we had to decide whether to build our own platform, or design components that can be plugged into an already existing platform.
The first thing we did is look back on my experience as an Executive Director, and talk to others to make a list of the most important qualities for organization websites. Some of the feedback we kept hearing over and over led us to choose WordPress for the following reasons:
- Its easy to update and maintain
- Easy to learn and lots of great resources, help and information
- Popular and widely used and supported
- Customizable through plugins and themes
- Large number of developers available
- Not a proprietary system that locks you into a particular vendor
Ease of use tops the list because most small to mid sized organizations can’t afford to spend days training their staff and volunteers. WordPress is the most popular CMS. In fact with more than 60 million sites using WordPress, there is a good chance your volunteers or employees are already familiar with the system.
WordPress is extremely easy to use, even for technophobes like me. Well designed templates can make it a plug-and-play solution. I was able to put most of the content into a site simply by copying and pasting from Word documents. By including templates for all the common types of pages utilized in organization websites, the blue.lift template allowed me to create a versatile website without any programming knowledge. And it only takes me about 3-5 minutes to make an update to the site.
By having the ability to do your own updates, organizations can save time and money because they do not have to outsource the work. They can also make instant updates, even post event pictures while the event is happening.
For those who need a bit of guidance to get started, we include video tutorials with our service in the Help section. There are also plenty of online resources. Online training videos mean that not only can you get trained quickly, but your staff and volunteers can self train, leaving you free to attend to other duties.
WordPress is extendable, and with over 20,000 plugins available, you can probably find a plugin for any need. If not, there are lots of WordPress designers and developers that can customize your site specifically for you.
Being on WordPress will give you more freedom. Since it is not a proprietary system, you are not locked in. You can switch to a different theme at any time to update the look of your website without losing any content. You can even move your hosting, or migrate to a different CMS, and there are tools available to help you do that.
We believe that WordPress is a long term solution because of the freedom it offers organizations. Since you don’t have to know programming to create and update your website, it frees you from dependency on employees, volunteers or board members that you may have had to rely on before to update your website. The ease of use also frees up a lot of your time that would otherwise be spent in training. Most importantly, being an open ecosystem,with all the plugins, themes, and developers available, WordPress frees you from being locked into an antiquated or unsuitable website.