WordPress to Power Your Startup: Innovate Pasadena Friday Morning Coffee

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This morning’s Innovate Pasadena weekly Friday morning meetup featured Alex Vasquez of DigiSavvy talking about how to use WordPress to Power Your Startup.  If you don’t know, WordPress is a highly extensible content management platform.  It started off as a blogging platform but now it can be used for lots of different content sites.  And, as Madge used to say on TV, you’re soaking in it.  This blog is done with WordPress.

Alex started off by revealing some interesting factoids about WordPress:

  • WordPress runs on about 19% of the top million sites web sites tracked by Quantcasts.
  • Overall, 4.5% of all sites run on WordPress
  • WordPress is downloaded about 500,000 times per day

[Side note: I think that the third bullet point indicates a fairly high abandonment rate on WordPress downloads.  According to InternetLiveStats, there are about 955 million web sites.  4.5% means that 43 million are running WordPress.  At 500K downloads a day, 43 million is only 86 days worth of downloads.]

So, here are Alex’s top 5 reasons for a startup to use WordPress:

  1. It’s free.  You can use it as a service on the WordPress.com site or can download it from WordPress.org and run on your own machine.
  2. No Question who owns the content: if you use services that offer instant websites, there is always some question as to how to get your content out if you want to go another direction and a question even of whether you still own the content once it’s posted.  With WordPress, the intellectual property never leaves your hands.
  3. It’s highly extensible.  There are over 38,000 plugins that add functionality (including one from yours truly).  On top of that, there are thousands of themes.  Wordpress can give you a high functioning and beautiful site in pretty short order.
  4. Host a blog to market your site: If your main product is actually a web site, you will find that WordPress can provide a really excellent marketing channel.
  5. New Distribution Channel: WordPress is also a really good tool for creating a news channel, either outbound with your own news or aggregated from other source.

An important topic that Alex brought up and was also part of the Q&A after is that WordPress sites handle Search Engine Optimization (SEO) really well.  There are a few reasons for this, according to Alex:

  1. Indexable and Sharable.  Wordpress handles meta tags well.  Meta tags are code that is on a web page that give information about the information on the page.  Some of this is used by Google when it indexes a site and it is definitely part of making a page more shareable to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
  2. Clean URLs: WordPress supports what is called “clean urls” meaning that the url also contains information about the page.  For instance, look at the url of this page.  That’s a clean url.  What’s a dirty url?  Well, this page is also available at http://www.michaelgrover.com/blog/?p=708.  Doesn’t that make you want to take a shower?

There was another element that Alex brought up that kind of astounded me.  There are two services, AppPresser and Reactor, that will convert your WordPress site into a native app that can be distributed to users through the various app stores.  I’m going to learn more about these and will post about it in the future.

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The crowd behind me.

This morning’s session was at the Cross Campus co-working space.  It’s a really great environment.