How has WordPress evolved as a business tool?

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WordPress as a business platform is not a new trend by any means. Successful businesses have been running on WordPress for a long time, what’s changed is how they do it and how easy it is to join them. Whether B2B or B2C, it should be the first choice CMS for existing businesses and new startups alike.

Of course there is quite a bit more to it. One does not simply get set up on WordPress, configure a few plugins, sit back and get rich. To achieve success you need passion, drive, some skill and a product that people care about with a strategy that promotes it.

It makes sense then that this year’s WordCamp Cape Town should focus on just how WordPress is evolving when it comes to being used for business.

In that vein it’s bringing in the CEO of digital marketing agency World Wide Creative Fred Roed, to share his own perceptions on factors common to reputable entrepreneurs. David Mugo, the chairman of Wikimedia Kenya, will discuss social media strategies that are integral to acquiring and retaining your audience and Neil Pursey delineates the effect social media has on SEO. Web developer Matt Bush’s talk takes a more offbeat look at getting all you social media properties in one place, especially for musicians, but these techniques apply to everyone really.

WordPress Themes, eCommerce and Plugins

Since their advent, eCommerce plugins and other plugins for WordPress have matured at rapid pace and are readily available and far more flexible. Pair this with the most powerful CMS around, it’s safe to say that businesses starting out in WordPress will have a much easier time these days when trying to spread their message and get return on their efforts.

With the release of WooCommerce last year, South African company WooThemes has made an impressive impact on the global WordPress community.

Beyond that, the online payment industry has taken off in emerging markets like South Africa. From payment aggregators to full on credit service providers, there are many services available that can be integrated into a WordPress site, quite a few of them don’t require any additional development. Online marketing consultant Bennie Stander will be at WordCamp talking about this and site monetisation.

Bearing all this in Mind, WordPress has definitely moved beyond it’s old blogging days. WooThemes core developer, Matty Cohen, will give a retrospective talk about WordPress past, present and future, and the talk by Jeff Pearce, will steer attendees towards the best tools for WordPress.

The premium WordPress theme industry is still booming and especially focused on shops. Just have a look at the sheer volume of eCommerce themes, of which many are now responsive. The need for cross-platform browsing has definitely been embraced by WordPress theme developers. Whether desktop, mobile or tablet, responsiveness is top priority – as it should be. Tackling the premium theme market these days is a tough undertaking. Themes are starting to look and behave like full on web apps, so you will need some serious skill to be competitive. Riaan Knoetze will be there on the day to talk about this specifically.

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