So, you’re starting a fashion business and are looking for the best platform to show off all your fabulousness via the almighty labyrinth that is the world wide web. This can be a tricky task with so many routes to choose from, so I’m going to try to make the decision a little simpler by explaining why I, (as a fashion blogger myself), believe that WordPress is by far the easiest, most dynamic and forward-thinking platform of our age to begin your website or blog successfully.
Firstly, let’s talk about the basic pros of WordPress (assuming you’re a newbie)
1. It’s easy to use
Probably the most important point, WordPress wasn’t built for techno-savvy computer geeks who do web programming as a living; it’s called a dynamic platform, which means that unlike the old static kind (which need all sorts of sorts of expensive software and programming), WordPress was made for the average Tom, Dick or Harry who wants to create a professional website or blog, without all the technophobia arising. No codes involved and no need for a web-master, you do all your own designing of the site so all you need is a browser to do it. If you do approach a glitch, however, with all the millions of people out there using WordPress there are YouTube tutorials, help-articles and forums galore, so you’re not alone!
2. It’s good for Search Engine rankings
The fashion world is notoriously tough with a hell of a lot of competition out there, hence why it’s so important to get your site noticed in the maze of fashion blogs and sites out there on the web. To do this you need to make sure yours is popping up on related google searches; WordPress is good for this for a number of reasons:
– It allows for high content: Unlike the old static sites, WordPress boasts the ability to handle thousands of pages, and the more fresh, updated content your site produces, the more likely it is to be found on search engines.
– Search engines are familiar with the WordPress internal link structure, making them work together like clockwork.
– Interactive features that are built in with WordPress allow for extra exposure.
– WordPress has extra plugins to make your content Search Engine Optimized, allowing you to monitor your analytics and drive traffic.
3. It allows for interaction with your audience
One of the most important aspects of a successful fashion business, creating and maintaining good communicative relationships with your viewers and others in the industry is essential. With WordPress you can easily add a blog to your existing site allowing you to create fresh, easily readable content on a regular basis, as well as build a community, giving your readers the ability to add comments and thus initiate conversations and potential collaborations. Here are some of the handy plug-ins available to WordPress and what they offer:
– Comment Relish: Sends a customizable ‘Thanks for your comment!’ type e-mail to each new reader who comments on your site, great for forming relationships with new readers as well as of course being a nice personal touch that will hopefully bring the reader back.
– Brian’s Threaded Comments: Gives the ability to reply to individual comments in a ‘nested’ format.
– Akismet: Already included in your WordPress installation, this is a great spam filter for your comments that I’d highly recommend.
– WP Enhanced Form: Let’s face it, who wants to go through the long-winded process of sending a full-blown e-mail just to say ‘hey, like your blog, would you like to do something together?’ This plug-in provides a simple contact box on your site giving the reader the option to contact you directly, relieving that long-windedness.
– CommentLuv: A way to share your blogger ‘luv’ with other fellow bloggers. This is actually a great one because it puts the commenter’s latest post as a link below their comment, meaning they’re more likely to do so as it’s a win win for both parties.
4. The ability to customise
As a fashion-based website, the aesthetics of the pages are of course of every fashionista’s concern, and with fashion being one of the fastest-paced industries around, we need a site that can keep up and reflect fashion’s ever-changing world. WordPress allows this and more with thousands of easily changeable themes released daily (both free and premium styles) or alternatively you can create your own! Which means once you get bored (which, let’s face it, all of us arty types do), you can give your site a fabulously fresh re-vamp in just a few clicks.
5. Dynamic functionality
We want our site to be interactive and dynamic, with the ability to do everything we need quickly and easily so as to make your reader’s experience an enjoyable and functional one. With over 10,000 plugins to choose from, WordPress is definitely at the top of the pile when it comes to creating dynamic ability to your site. Here are just some of the useful functions you can add to your site with plug-ins:
– Social sharing features: You know those little symbols for Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest etc that you see everywhere? Those are created via plug-ins; simply add the ones you want and boom, instant social network access to all your social channels through one simple click on your site.
– Photo galleries: Pretty self explanatory, a plug-in that gives you the ability to add a gallery of photos of your fancy, quickly and easily, and they look great. Who doesn’t love a quick photo flick-through?
– Video galleries: Same as above, but with videos. Super interactive, videos give the entertainment factor and can add some real personality to your site, a super important factor for a successful fashion blog.
– Slide shows: Similar sort of thing as the photo gallery but the fact that it flicks through by itself creates an interesting movability aspect to the site which is very visually appealing.
– Events calendar: A really great feature for every fashion blog, a calendar of all the fashion-related events going on (fashion weeks/shows/sales) will let your reader know you know what you’re talking about and give them valuable information that will interest them and keep them returning to your site to find out more.
– Shopping basket: A shopping basket directly on your site saves the need for added links that can a) be off-putting to your reader to have to bother with the effort of opening up a separate link, and b) keeps the reader located on your site viewing all the other great things you have to offer without sending them off somewhere else. Again, a win-win.
– E-mail sign-up form: Great for business, if people like what you do enough they might be inclined to sign-up so as to not miss out on future updates/sales etc.
– PayPal: The easiest and safest way to process payment on the web, having PayPal on your site will make people feel secure about purchasing, whilst taking the pressure of organising payment and insurance etc yourself.
6. It’s mobile friendly
Super important for the fast-paced mobile world we live in, WordPress has a ‘responsive web design’, meaning it is completely compatible with all mobile devices including phones and tablets, so your site won’t look ridiculous or be difficult to use on any electronic devices.
7. It’s free
For all this greatness, WordPress is totally free, and with the option to place (personally selected) ads on your site, you can even earn yourself some extra cash by using it.
With top brands and companies such as InStyle News, Bata, and Vogue, plus thousands of big-time bloggers such as The Satorialist, My Style Pill and The Man Repeller (to name just a few) using WordPress, the proof is in the pleather when it comes to deciding where to start your fabulous new fashion venture… what are you waiting for?