WordPress is a fantastic platform for your private practice website. Originally a blogging platform, it's commonly used for websites because it's user friendly, functional, and easy to customize. I'm completely "in love" with it. For clarification, I'm talking about WordPress.org that is installed on your web hosting system, not WordPress.com - a web-based blogging platform. Since I changed to WordPress about a year ago for my practice website, I've been able to create a more dynamic and interactive website with fresh content, social media interaction, and an integrated a blog. So here's more about why I love WordPress:
1) You can be the webmaster
Even without knowing HTML, you can be the webmaster of your website with the ability to customize the function and appearance at any time. You can easily add or delete pages, change the color scheme, add blog posts, and customize the features at any time and from anywhere. Once I paid to have the basic WordPress site installed on my web host and had a few custom images made, I took over from there.
2) Free themes
WordPress allows you to "try on" different themes to your site with the click of a button. A "theme" is the skin of your site -- the format, colors, layout, etc. There are many free themes available, in addition to customized themes for a variety of fees. ThemeForest.net is a great site to explore variety in custom website themes.
3) Plugins and widgets galore
Plugins are tools that extend the functionality of your WordPress site and allow customization to your site. Widgets are WordPress plugins "that add visitor visual and interactivity options and features, such as sidebar widgets for post categories, tag clouds, navigation, search, etc." (WordPress.org)
Here are a few of my favorites:
- YouTube Videos -- feeds YouTube channel to websites
- Author Bio -- shows customized bio at the bottom of each blog post
- Amazon Associate -- integrates a bookshelf of our recommended books with a link to buy on Amazon.com.
- Google Analytics -- tracks visitor information.
- Constant Contact API -- integrates our newsletter sign up on the website.
- SexyBookmarks (by Shareaholic) -- add social media share links to each blog post.
- Share and Follow -- adds social media links bar on pages.
4) Easy to navigate
OK, that one's partially true. Though navigating the WordPress dashboard can be a bit overwhelming at first, once you're familiar with it, you can easily navigate it. For example, my juliehanks.com and wasatchfamilytherapy.com sites are built on WordPress, so when I started writing for PsychCentral (also built on WordPress) it was easy to jump right in.
5) It's cheap!
After paying for domain registration, web hosting service, and basic site installation costs, there are minimal expenses to update and maintain your WordPress website. I will occasionally hire a web designer to consult or add elements that are beyond my abilities, but that is the exception. I used to pay around $60 a month for a website service but I quickly outgrew the options they provided. Even with the start up costs, WordPress has been a cheaper option and much more fun to create a dynamic practice website.
6) Integrated blog
One of the reasons I started looking for a better website platform was that my current site platform didn't allow for an integrated blog. I had a blog on an external blogging site, but hated sending my visitors away from my private practice website in order to read my blog. Since WordPress is a blogging platform, visitors can stay on our site and read blog posts.
What platform do you use for your practice website?
Are there any other WordPress lovers out there?