Do you want a website that makes a real difference in your business?

WordPress is by far the most popular website platform available today. WordPress is used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites. There are 60 million blogs that run on the WordPress platform.

One of the reasons WordPress is so widespread is because it is easy to use. However, that does not mean that once you install it your work is done.

Making your website stand out from the crowd takes a lot of work.

The keyword here is “lot”. If you follow the suggestions below, you will maximize what WordPress can do for your business.

One – Promote your blog across social media. Whenever you add a post to your blog, share it on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and whatever other social network sites are relevant to your industry. You don’t have to go social media crazy. Don’t try to be everywhere. Focus on a couple of them. If you try to cover too many social channels you will get burned out sooner than you can say “tweet.”

Two – Make content sharing easy. Plugins like “Share Buttons by AddToAny” for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest” allows your readers to promote your content. One Facebook like from the right person can do more for your site than hours of keyword research. Your content is nothing without sharing and promotion. The easier you make it, the more people will share it.

Three – Speed kills. That is slow speed. The slower your site the less people will stick around. Speed up your site. Readers have little patience when it comes to page load times. If your site takes more than a few seconds to display on the screen, you will lose traffic. Use caching plugins to prevent your site from regenerating the same pages over and over again. I like to use WP Super Cache, but there are many more out there. Use optimizing plugins that remove unnecessary scripts and CSS files.

Four – Make your site reliable. The only thing worse than a slow site is a site that is offline. Not all hosting providers are created equal. Make sure that your web host has a good reputation and a strong record of uptime. This is one of those areas where going with the cheapest options available can cost you a ton of money in the long run. Cheap hosting is cheap for a reason. You get what you pay for.

Five – Own your domain. If you want people to take you seriously, you have to own your own domain. When you own your own domain you have control. I have heard countless stories where people lost months and years of work because they didn’t own their own domains. Both your readers and the search engines will pay more attention to your content if it is hosted on an owned domain. Domain name registration costs less than two trips to Starbucks so there is literally no excuse not to do it.

Six – Register your domain for longer than one year. When it comes to SEO it helps to have your domain registered for multiple years. I recommend to register your domain for five years.

Seven – Put your site in the cloud. A content delivery network (CDN) dramatically speeds up the load time of your site. CDNs work by caching your content on servers all over the world and delivering it as needed to nearby readers. It sounds expensive but unless your site gets YouTube levels of traffic the service can be very inexpensive. [adrotate group=”4″]

Eight – Be active on your own site. Many sites on the web are generated almost entirely by script. Others are created with loads of keyword stuffed articles and then abandoned. Don’t let your site be one of these. Be an active poster on your site AND make sure you respond to all of your users comments. The best sites are dynamic. Don’t think of your website as a brochure. Update it frequently with information about your business, services, accomplishments, etc.

Nine – Make your site visually appealing. The default WordPress theme may work but it’s boring. Spend some time and find a theme that works well with your sites desired audience or hire a professional to have a custom theme created just for you.

Ten – Sites with pictures, photos, and images also maintain user attention far longer than sites that are text-only. Use creative commons photos if you are short on cash or spend a few bucks and purchase some royalty free stock images. Low resolution-web ready photos are a lot less expensive than copyright infringement penalties. The best photos are the ones that you create about yourself, your products and services. If there is a way avoid using stock photos.

Eleven – Collect emails. There are some great plugins like PopUp Domination that can drastically increase your email list. The key here is to give people a reason to give you an email address. Don’t even think about asking people to sign up for your newsletter. Yuck. Believe me no sane person wants to subscribe to one more newsletter. Forget the newsletter. Give people a real reason to sign up. Offer something of value like a free book.

Twelve – WordPress is open source. There is an entire community of people around the world that constantly improve WordPress. There is virtually no company in the world that can compete with a development team that large. When you chose WordPress for your business you can rest assured that you will always find help.

Thirteen – It is true that WordPress does many things well, but most importantly it is simple to use.

Fourteen – WordPress is scalable, so it can grow with you business. You might start out with a five page starter website today, but WordPress will scale to hundreds or even thousands of pages. It will not become a bottleneck for your business.