“So I hear it is free to set up a website with WordPress? – so why can’t you deliver my entire online marketing plan for free?”

This is something I hear increasingly often – “WordPress is free! – so make me a site (for free) and get me to number 1 in Google (for free) and help me sell huge amounts (for free)

As usual this is somewhat of a misunderstanding of the situation.

Yes – WordPress is free… – but the skilled person setting it up for you is not.  And the hosting of your site will not be free either – and nor will a memorable domain name.

Yes – Google does not charge you to be listed… – but getting to number 1 is going to take the non-free services of an expert in SEO (search engine optimisation)

Most of the tools of our trade are in fact free – but the expertise and skill to actually use them effectively are not.

And this leads onto one of my favourite sayings: a website (or a social media campaign, or an online marketing campaign, or your organisations entire integrated online and offline marketing strategy) is a process, not an event.

You cannot create something once and never update it and expect it to deliver results.

Again using one of my own favourite self-invented sayings: when was the last time you yourself ever bought anything on the first visit to a site? – online shopping is an exercise in comparison shopping and evaluation: you think about things, you make short lists and then you go in and make the purchase.  Almost no-one ever buys on their first visit – and if on t heir second and subsequent visits nothing has changed or been updated on the site then they are increasingly unlikely to buy.

Most of the tools required to create a website are indeed free – but the skills of an experienced expert are not. And if you do not have the time to create an effective online marketing plan then you will never get to number 1 in Google, or sell more product or get more customers.