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How a Custom WordPress Site Gives Your Association Superpowers

Ali Zamanian October 5, 2022

Today, the bulk of what you see on the Internet runs on WordPress. Over 40% of all websites are built on the platform, and 65% of all websites that run on a CMS use WordPress to support their digital publishing. As you consider what your association website needs to be successful, WordPress casts a long shadow over every other option.

Frankly, there’s a reason for that. WordPress is a powerful and flexible platform that supports an array of custom plugins and third-party integrations. When utilized properly, WordPress allows organizations like yours to implement whatever website functionality your members need. 

By working with the dominant open source CMS in the marketplace, you can be assured that future needs ranging from software updates to development resources are easy to procure. Plus, when you take the extra steps to customize the backend interface, you can ensure your site editors will publish timely updates with a streamlined experience that protects your brand.

With the help of the right digital agency, your WordPress site will empower both your association and your members right now — and far into the future. 

5 Advantages of a WordPress Association Website

1. WordPress is Expandable and Flexible

With a proprietary CMS, you’re at the mercy of the product’s parent company to introduce improvements or respond to security or feature requests. The popularity of WordPress has led to a large community of developers which means improvements and new functionality is released more regularly. And with complete access to the source code, you’re able to expand its functionality as you see fit with virtually no limits.

2. Editing in WordPress is a User-Friendly Experience

Out of the box, the WordPress admin interface is easy to navigate. Content editing is intuitive, and the platform allows you to preview your changes before publication. For the most part, the editing interface follows norms from word processing software, which allows more people on your team to learn to manage your site with a lower barrier to entry.

Already designed to eliminate the need for your site editors to understand code, the WordPress CMS grew more simplified in 2018 with the block editor, known as Gutenberg. The block editor allows your teams to easily edit and rearrange custom elements on any page. Page layout changes that once required technical expertise can be done with a click, while protecting the integrity of your brand.

When you work with an agency like ours, we customize the interface to suit your needs even further. When your teams need to make changes, they see only the editing tools and functionality they need — and none of what they don’t. 

3. WordPress is Powered by an Active Open Source Community

WordPress is an open source platform, which means developers can access the platform’s source code to expand its capabilities. Just as importantly, your organization also benefits from an active community keeping the platform up-to-date. 

WordPress is so ubiquitous, it benefits from a huge population of developers working to resolve bugs or create new features and plugins. The platform also has a dedicated security team of developers and researchers working to discover and resolve any detected vulnerabilities.

When you use a proprietary CMS, your organization is at the mercy of the parent company’s development schedule for new feature releases. By contrast, the WordPress community ensures the platform remains in a state of constant improvement. On average, WordPress releases two new updates per month. And with an open source platform, you have complete access to the source code, so you can create any custom features you need.

4. WordPress is Scalable

WordPress is flexible enough to handle sites ranging from small businesses to corporate giants. The core technologies within WordPress have been proven over time, which means your developers don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes time to setting up the server infrastructure. However far-reaching your organization’s goals may be, WordPress will be able to take your site there.

5. WordPress is SEO-Friendly

When you’re managing large amounts of content for your organization’s site, you need a platform that integrates SEO from the beginning. If your site isn’t visible to search engines, it’s effectively invisible to your new and prospective members. WordPress incorporates best practices that are ranked highly by search engine algorithms. Plus, WordPress supports plugin tools like Yoast that ensure your content conforms with requirements to boost search engine rankings.

WordPress Integrations Connect Your Association’s Website with Vital Tools

WordPress is flexible enough to be customized to support whatever design and functionality your association website needs. That flexibility is best reflected with how well WordPress integrates with third-party platforms to expand your site’s capabilities with external data or functionality.

Of all of the advantages WordPress offers, one of the greatest stems from its overall popularity. Whenever a software service provider creates an application, it’s always in their best interest to provide a plugin that integrates their system with WordPress because it connects them to millions of potential customers. Same can’t be said for less popular platforms, as you’ll have to either wait and hope for someone to build an integration that you can license, or spend lots of time and money yourself creating the integration.

And when an integration doesn’t already exist, WordPress allows us to create custom integrations for you with most modern systems and data sources. Whether you work with a tool like MemberSuite, here are just a few examples of how WordPress integrations create a richer website experience for members:

  • Event calendar and management: Use an API integration to pull your organization’s events from an AMS into WordPress to create a centralized and user-friendly calendar.
  • Directory management: Draw member information from your AMS to create an interactive directory searchable by location or other details. If you need to display information for specific committees, we can design your site to display those too.
  • Member management: Remove the need for multiple login points and create a single-sign-on integration with your AMS to give different levels of access to your website to staff, members, committees and even the board. 

WordPress is so extendable that your site can sync with multiple data sources to further build community and increase engagement among your members. You just need to work with the right partner to bring all the pieces together.

How to Customize WordPress to Suit Your Association’s Needs

WordPress is the dominant website platform. But not all WordPress sites are created equal. You need a website that’s consistent with your brand, cohesive with the rest of your organization, and simple enough to manage that your team can easily edit and publish new content.

Due to its popularity, you can find a countless number of low cost and off-the-shelf themes and templates that may appear to suit your needs. But these templates are built as broadly as possible to serve the needs of as many organizations as possible. That comes with many disadvantages. You’ll never find a theme that’s designed to solve your specific challenges, communicate effectively with your unique audiences, or one that sets you apart from your competition. In addition, it will include hundreds of features your organization will never use. These elements will leave you with a site that’s more confusing to edit and manage, and unnecessary bloat that can slow site performance and drag down search engine rankings. 

WordPress offers a variety of ways to create a website customized for your organization, but you need to start from the ground up. When you work with Position, you can be assured that your site will be finely-tuned to accommodate what you need, no more — and no less. 

Our approach to WordPress design and development delivers two benefits to your organization:

Protect Your Brand and Your Investment 

Your brand communicates your organization’s mission, values, and vision, and builds trust and loyalty from your members. 

An off-the-shelf template can be your brand’s worst enemy by being too flexible. It may empower your teams to build whatever they want, but the end results are detrimental to your organization. As you have multiple people working on your site, your organization soon has multiple pages designed to suit numerous needs and standards. All too quickly, your new website will degrade into a state worse than before.

A site that degrades over time isn’t just a bad investment; it creates an overall negative impact on your organization’s brand.

On the other hand, a custom WordPress site built in accordance with your brand, goals, and best practices, leaves your organization better positioned for the future. At Position, we build sites that create a separation between design, functionality, and content, which protects your brand while giving your team just the right amount of flexibility to edit and manage your content.

Empower Teams with an Intuitive Editing Experience

At Position, we build systems that are designed to make your life easier. A customized, ground-up approach to your organization’s site doesn’t just create an admin interface for site editors that’s intuitive and easy-to-manage. It also will provide guardrails that protect your site’s design, aesthetic, and performance in the long run. 

Your organization moves at the speed of light, and you need a site that enables your team to be responsive to your needs. When you need a last-minute landing page to support an upcoming event, your teams will be empowered to create what you need without having to reach out to anyone for help.

When you need a new website, the end results are simply too valuable not to protect. When you’re working with the right agency, those protections will already be in place.

Don’t Let Your Site Be a Jack-of-all-Trades and Master of None

You need a website that perfectly serves the specific needs of your association and your members (and next generation of members). And you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

Let’s talk about building a custom WordPress website that makes an impact — now and for years to come.

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