WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. It has many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by over 16.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites and as of August 2011 manages 22% of all new websites. WordPress is currently the most popular blogging system in use on the Web.

Every business is unique. The products they produce, the attributes that make them valuable, the services they provide, the industries they serve, partners who they work with – all of these unique factors need to be highlighted and brought to the forefront in a corporate web site.

The primary challenges businesses face when adopting WordPress as a CMS for their website, is that WordPress is a blogging CMS, organized around topics, posts, and user inputs. It is not natively designed to make product management effective. The entire WordPress codex is not only public, there are forums in which developers around the world can communicate and discuss methodologies for exploiting various aspects of the core coding of the software. While this makes a great environment for building plugin tools and widgets, it is also a source of incredible opportunity for hackers and malware developers.

Moving to a WordPress CMS framework provides great opportunities and comes with great hacking and malware risks. As your webmaster, we can help you weigh and manage these risks.

An effective WordPress website is monitored closely for hacks and code exploits. Backups must be performed regularly, and tight controls over when, where and how plugins and widgets are added are essential. There are thousands of plugins and widgets available – many for free or available at a lower cost than developing a custom solution, however your website security is only as secure as the code used in the weakest widget. Your webmaster should test and be on the lookout for malware exploits related to the plugins and plugin developers related to your website.

One tremendous advantage of working with WordPress is that the popularity of the software makes it an attractive platform for large Software-as-a-Service providers (SAS), like Salesforce.Com to encourage integration. Some of our best work has been integrating WordPress with SalesForce.com, Genius for email marketing, and MemberNation for content membership management. Having a core codex that other development partners can look at makes collaboration and customization far more straight-forward than working from an entirely custom code base.

The trade-offs are related to security, however by integrating with SAS providers who can add layers of security for the aspects of your website that need it, you can actually manage risk quite well. Imagine, for example, that all of your company’s general website content was handled in the straight WordPress CMS. Your administrative staff could be easily trained to manage and maintain those pages. Imagine none of that content is sensitive or requiring usernames or passwords to view. Than imagine that you have sensitive reports and documents that you would only want to make available to staff or clients. This marks an opportunity for a CRM integration so that you can not only authenticate and determine who can see what, but you can then use CRM systems to track user interactions and prompt follow-up from sales and marketing staff. Integrating with a SAS provider such as SalesForce.com takes the authentication process, encryption and security, off of your WordPress CMS completely and places it with SalesForce – who takes responsibility for maintaining the integrity of that data. Software developers who offer Salesforce-ready products, then work within that environment, making the security of your data and communications with your clients far above and beyond what would be possible within WordPress.

Integrating WordPress with other SAS options for sensitive and more custom product/service customer interactions is the way to go. It is the best of both worlds.


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