I’ve developed a teaching module that helps students start to create a simple business web site using WordPress. The students launch a new site on a web host via an install script, come up with a simple category structure, and download/upload a new theme.
As an example of a business WordPress site, I use nextbusnews.com. NextBus is the groovy technology that tells me real-time how late my next MUNI bus will be (more details on how NextBus uses WordPress as a simple content management system here).
It amazes me that only 36% of US small businesses with net access have a web site (as reported in the Wall St. Journal last week). This is 2008, not 1998!
Is there an opportunity for WordPress to become a kind of generic small business solution? Business sites can be done now, of course, with some tweaking and geeking. But, following the analogy from Stephen O’Grady’s talk at WordCamp on Saturday, perhaps someone needs to build a company on top of WordPress, in the same way that Google builds its services on top of open source software. A small business website service built with WordPress, but where 99% of the users don’t even know what WordPress is? Edublogs for small business, but maybe without even using the term ‘blog’? Is this a good idea? Is somebody doing this? In the meantime, we think there are lots of good reasons to teach students about open source business platforms and basic content management via WordPress.
(I’m going to wait on an official release of this teaching module until after I hear from reviewers at the WITS 2008 Technology Instruction in Business Curriculum Competition.)