Want to take the stress out of selecting a new platform for your non-profit? Choose WordPress!
Perhaps you need more convincing? That’s understandable; non-profits can’t afford to engage with one platform only to find that it is too difficult to use, expensive, missing key features or won’t integrate with other systems.
WordPress is scalable and offers more choices
WordPress runs 60% of websites that use content management systems. Many developers choose to build plugins for WordPress because of its dominance. Wide availability of plugins means that your non-profit can quickly add new features to your site without expensive and lengthy custom programming. If you choose a platform that isn’t open source, you will be limited to the features available at the time of purchase or beholden to the platform creator’s interest in adding more features.
For example, even if you’re satisfied with your current donation platform or membership software, later you can upgrade to another plugin with more features such as an online directory or additional membership payment options. The number of WordPress membership plugins vastly exceeds the number of similar offerings for Weebly or SquareSpace, so you’ll have more choices as well.
It’s free and widely used
WordPress is open source software, which means that anyone can use, study, change and redistribute its source code. And best of all — it’s free! It’s not a coincidence that an open source platform is also the most widely used content management system (CMS) by far. What this means for your non-profit:
- Although WordPress itself free, you will sometimes need to pay extra for plugins that expand the capabilities of WordPress beyond its core offering. Plugins such as your membership database or event registration will likely charge for the service they provide.
- If you compare the price of a WordPress membership plugin like MembershipWorks to all-in-one systems that combine a content management system with a membership CRM, you will pay less with the WordPress solution.
- Developers have created tens of thousands of themes to choose from. WordPress comes with free themes, but you may want to invest in a theme with more a certain look, additional features or ongoing support and upgrades.
- Aside from plugin purchases, which may incur a one-time or ongoing fee, other ongoing costs to anticipate include website hosting, domain name registration, occasional maintenance support and a security certificate.
- You might budget for a web designer to help you select a theme and initially design the website to meet your needs. The large majority of WordPress themes can be customized without code knowledge, but you may want to hire professional help if you are:
- Wanting to progress quickly.
- Have very specific your design ideas or seek to emulate the look of another website.
- Want to be sure you are following best practices that come from years of experience.
- WordPress’s large user base means that you can more easily find people with the knowledge to fix, maintain or customize your website.
It’s portable and lasts longer
If you have worked in a non-profit long enough, you have likely witnessed the ugly process of changing software. Whether it is a new membership database software or membership billing system, change will always bring friction for staff, members and donors.
The learning curve is painful. Having a platform that minimizes change means it can last longer than other solutions.
WordPress helps avoid technology changes
- Instead of building a new website in order to upgrade or add features such as restricting content to members only, you can typically just add or change plugins.
- With thousands of WordPress themes to choose from as well as highly customizable drag-and-drop page builder options, all you need to do to redesign your site is to change themes. This saves you time; you don’t have to move your content to a different platform.
- Redesigning a WordPress site instead of changing platforms is good for SEO. You will retain your search engine results page (SERP) position; the pages that Google has crawled will keep the same URLs. Redesigned sites can lose search engine ranking if care is not taken to either keep the same URLs or create redirects from old page URLs to new URLs.
- If you want to change your website host, a WordPress site can be fairly easily moved by a developer. Some hosts even provide a plugin to take care of the move for you.
WordPress is upgraded often
Major versions of WordPress get released every 152 days on the average. Because it is open source software, the potential number of contributors working on improving WordPress is unlimited. No other content management platform or closed system has this potential.
Google likes WordPress
While Google page rank doesn’t matter to every non-profit, those using WordPress are well-positioned to do better in search engine results. Here are some of the ways WordPress helps with SEO:
- Current WordPress themes are mobile-friendly. Google gives ranking preference to mobile-friendly sites. As long as you are using a more recent WordPress theme, your website will have responsive design, which means that it scales appropriately to the width of the viewer’s desktop, tablet or smartphone.
- WordPress has plugins that can help you write copy for SEO and set up your metadata for each page.
WordPress has a great linking structure available for blog posts and pages. You can set up your permalinks to reflect your blog post titles, which are more likely to contain your keywords. More keywords in your URL improves placement in search engine results.
Amy Hufford is a Technologist at MembershipWorks. She has worked in non-profit website technology for more than 20 years and has experience with a variety of donor and membership software platforms.