Is WordPress for association websites a good choice? If you’re not currently using WordPress, then listen up. WordPress powers over 30% of the Internet. If that’s not a good enough reason to make the switch, continue reading.

user creating a post in wordpress

We get that change is hard. Changing your CMS is a lot of work, and you probably have some fears – like losing content and going back to square one with your web traffic – by migrating to a new platform such as WordPress.

You may have heard from others that you need to have a WordPress site, but you need to know the change will be worth it. If you’re not familiar with WordPress or have heard mixed messages, we’d like to share some quick facts with you to dispel any concerns. WordPress is:

  • Free 
  • Not just for blogging 
  • A legitimate content management system (CMS)
  • Scalable and flexible

First and foremost, WordPress is free, so you can avoid those hefty licensing fees that come along with non-open source solutions. WordPress is a full-scale CMS – and popular site builders like Wix and Squarespace are not as robust, reliable, or SEO-friendly. 

And WordPress isn’t just for small businesses. Big names like Disney and The New York Times trust WordPress for their sites. 

Associations large and small are using WordPress today with great ease and effectiveness.

Here are 8 additional reasons you should consider WordPress for your association. 

1. Ease of use

graphic showing four features of wordpress

If you’re a small association, we know you’re wearing many hats. Your responsibilities could range from answering member phone calls to updating the website. You need a website that isn’t complicated to update.  

While many CMS products are easy to use, there’s a reason WordPress is so popular on the web: You don’t need to have a degree in computer science or web development to navigate it. 

WordPress comes with thousands of free templates or themes that are plug-and-play. You can change colors, backgrounds, and apply your logo without having any coding skills. WordPress even recommends specific themes for various businesses and purposes, such as blogging and e-commerce. 

WordPress is always upgrading and improving, with its Gutenberg editor. You’ll receive a notification when a new update comes available.  

You can also make updates while out and about from your mobile device, which is critical if you need to make an emergency edit.

WordPress checks the box if you want a website that makes a powerful statement and is easy to use.

2. Plug-ins

four popular wordpress plugins

Plug-ins are what differentiate WordPress from other CMSes. Similar to the WordPress themes, there are thousands of plug-ins to choose from for your site. Plug-ins allow you to extend your website’s functionality. Think of them as apps.

WordPress currently offers nearly 57K free plug-ins you can download. Other third-party websites provide thousands more to choose from and integrate for free or at a minimal cost.

By adding plug-ins, you can create an online store, a podcast site, or a directory. A few we love are Gravity Forms, Tickera, and MemberPress. Gravity Forms helps create online forms in a snap. Tickera is an events calendar and event ticketing plugin. And MemberPress is a WordPress membership plug-in with member management.

Word of advice: Be careful which plug-ins you choose, poorly-coded ones can affect your site performance. However, many are trustworthy and very useful. At Gulo, we take this into consideration and code from the ground up to ensure your site speed is never compromised when using plug-ins or other WordPress features.

Just like phone apps, there is a plug-in for everything. But do your research and choose highly-rated plug-ins before you download any to your association’s website.

3. WordPress for Associations & SEO

Association marketers realize how essential SEO is because they know Google is ranking your site behind the scenes, whether you plan for it or not. It’s better to control your SEO than let it go wild. A perk of doing SEO work is that it also improves the user experience.

Whenever SEO is mentioned, WordPress usually comes up because it’s so search engine-friendly. If you have a WordPress site, you are already a step ahead in SEO. To further optimize your association’s website, WordPress offers SEO plug-ins you can easily install. Yoast is one of the best.

Yoast makes search engine optimization a dream, and it’s a standard addition to any Gulo WordPress install. The plug-in reads through a page or blog post before you publish and tells you what to improve for your chosen keyword. Yoast also analyzes your page to ensure you are tagging images with proper alt tags. 

WordPress is the best SEO CMS on the market. With a WordPress website, your SEO will improve. If you use an SEO plug-in such as Yoast, it will take your SEO even further.

4. Great with media

graphic showing how wordpress supports different types of media

WordPress makes embedding audio or video on your site seamless from start to finish. It has a built-in media uploader, so you can upload various types of media such as photos, videos, documents, and audio files without being an expert.  

And of course, there are plug-ins to help. Numerous plug-ins can help you organize videos and media, displaying them in a gallery on your website.

Adding media to your website’s content is critical. According to MOZ, blog posts incorporating video, attract 3x as many inbound links as blog posts without video. 

With WordPress, you can embed YouTube videos into blog posts by copying and pasting the URL into the post editor. It’s as simple as that.  

WordPress for associations is a must, especially for membership websites that have large YouTube catalogs. It can save you so much time organizing and uploading media to your site.

5. Full control

Unlike the other CMS, WordPress is open-source. This means your association has full control over your content with no restrictions.

Other CMS platforms have constraints that don’t allow associations to update all areas of their website. Why is this a big deal? 

Because with other CMS, you are “renting” the website. If you stop paying, you lose your content and the ability to move it to another site.  

You also don’t have the ability to shop for the best hosting platform or the best value. These CMSes come with hosting built-in. And they limit the overall functionality and coding to customize your site. 

WordPress gives you full access to all areas of your site. You don’t have to worry about losing content. And you can custom-build WordPress for your needs.

6. Responsive design

graphic showing how a layout looks in three different devices

WordPress’s responsive design makes sure your website looks great on any device and screen size, including mobile phones and tablets. 

More and more associations are making their websites mobile-friendly because adaptation for mobile responsiveness ranks very high on user’s demands. 52% of consumers are less likely to engage with an organization due to a bad mobile experience.

With WordPress, you don’t have to worry about having a poor mobile experience. WordPress takes care of this for you, with its fluidity on every screen and mobile device. 

Check out how your association’s website looks on your computer screen, mobile phone, and tablet. If there are differences between them or issues in the functionality or loading, consider refreshing your website and switching to a WordPress site. 

Give your visitors a user friendly experience. You could be losing members if your site isn’t extraordinary.

7. Single Sign-On (SSO) 

example of a single sign-on

Check. The WordPress ecosystem is here to help you.

If you’re looking for the ability to integrate your website with your Association Management System (AMS), there are a lot of pre-built WordPress plug-ins available. Furthermore, a lot of agencies have plug-ins available that are under active development and require a very nominal paid-license to get you a significant amount of functionality such as personalization, membership level access (i.e. restrict content), and membership management.

If you’re looking for something that is tightly integrated into other 3rd-party applications (CRMs, Marketing Automation, Donation Management Systems) and with more customization, WordPress developers and agencies can build plugins to meet all your business objectives.

WordPress for associations – in closing

Take our word for it; WordPress is the best CMS website for membership associations. A quick Google search will back us up on this fact.

If you’re still not convinced the transition is worth it, WordPress’s most significant testimonial is that Microsoft, who builds the competing CMS platform, uses WordPress for their news website. Why? WordPress is unmatched even by their products when it comes to ease-of-use, SEO, and multimedia.

WordPress is like the Apple or Facebook of websites. When it comes to sites, there’s no other CMS that does it better. It’s free, intuitive to non-techies, and trusted by the biggest and smallest names alike.

Written by

Zachary Wilson

I enjoy reading & writing about the web and digital marketing. My day-to-day focuses on ensuring our clients have big wins. That begins with extraordinary website design and UX. The real exciting stuff is helping develop strategies to drive traffic (on-site page optimization) and help conversion rate optimization (getting new sales and / or customers). With all my “other” time, I enjoy exploring new adventures with my 3 daughters and wife.