There’s one thing that 90% of American businesses have in common: Microsoft Office. From Word to Excel to PowerPoint, Office keeps the offices of America running.
And it’s not just Office. At the recent Northwest Arkansas TechFest, I heard a lot of talk about Microsoft vs. WordPress, from the speaker who casually remarked that his clients assume everything they build will be MS-friendly and won’t consider using open source software to the guy in the hall who announced, “I hate WordPress! Hippie %@#$!” For some Microsoft fans, if it’s not MS, they don’t want to hear about it.
Microsoft vs. WordPress is not an obvious match. Microsoft makes dotnetnuke, a clearly inferior WordPress alternative, and the newer Umbraco CMS is based on .net. Microsoft also offers its Web Platform, composed of the venerable Visual Studio, Internet Explorer, and Web Matrix, a tool which Microsoft recommends for WordPress users. Look at it dispassionately, and you can see that Microsoft is working to be compatible with WordPress rather than trying to compete.
You might not be looking at it dispassionately, though. If you are a true dyed in the wool Microsoft user, you are accustomed to choosing software specifically because it works with Office. Your team knows how to use Office and is comfortable with it, so the prime consideration in choosing new software is its ability to integrate with Office.
WordPress? That hippie @#$%?
Yet you may also have heard that WordPress allows easy, agile updates to your website and that you can do a lot of things with its extensive library of plug-ins and unmatched developer support community. If you’re happy letting your IT department take care of your website and you like the idea of using Microsoft products exclusively, you’re probably not having any difficulty making a decision. If you’re toying with the idea of using WordPress, though, you may just be wondering how compatible it will be with your current tools.
The important question is this: what do you plan to do with your website?
- “I want to be able to update my website with new products and services at any time, without waiting on the IT department.” Then you want WordPress. It has the best balance of power and user friendliness. Ask your designer to set up Pods or another simple system that allows you to make the changes you foresee without having to learn any code, and revel in your ability to make changes as needed.
- “I want a mostly static site, but we want to blog in-house.” WordPress is your friend. Most of the icons will be familiar to your team from Word (or Facebook). There’s also a handy Word button that lets you cut and paste from a Word document into the WordPress post window.
We have clients who have their website built in something other than WordPress with an integrated WordPress blog, but there is no particular advantage to doing this — you still won’t be able to access your website from Outlook, after all. WordPress pages can be built in HTML and CSS, and can be completely custom. (By the way, that in-house blogging plan? If it doesn’t work out, we’ll be happy to help.)
- “I want to put my website up and forget about it.” Our experience shows that this is not the way to have a successful website. However, it’s more practical with a traditional website than with WordPress, which gets frequent updates. It takes a good two minutes a month to keep up with those updates. We know people who find updating their WP site burdensome, specifically because they want a set it and forget it website. We have to reiterate, this is not a success path in 2014. However, if you have someone managing your website for you, they can take care of your updates along with the rest of the website management.
So yes, a Microsoft shop can certainly love a WordPress website. In fact, no one needs to know that you have a WordPress website. It can be your little secret.