WordPress is one of the world’s most popular web publishing platforms. From simple, one-page sites through a mass of personal blogs and online communities, all the way to large enterprise websites and retail stores, this flexible and friendly platform is loved the world over.
Originally designed as a personal blogging engine, the flexibility and openness of WordPress are such that the platform now powers a multitude of different types of websites. Here’s a sample of just some of the ways you can tailor WordPress for various uses.
Build an ecommerce empire
For years, developers tried (and failed) to harness WordPress for online retail. Early results were not encouraging until WooCommerce came along. Originally created by a third-party developer, WooCommerce’s user base grew quickly from launch and the plugin was subsequently acquired by WordPress’ developer, Automattic. It offers a comprehensive array of retail features out of the box and supports hundreds of third-party addons that further extend its capabilities.
The WooCommerce plugin builds a framework of custom pages on top of the basic post and page types offered by WordPress. They include product and product category pages, shopping cart features and payment processing, plus a host of more complex features including tax and shipping controls, currency management, inventory features and more.
Dazzle the world with your photography skills
WordPress is a great platform for showcasing photography portfolios. Powerful media management and gallery publishing features allow you to create and publish beautiful portfolios out of the box.
Be sure to also check out the wide assortment of image plugins available for the platform which further extend media management and publishing features, including lightbox customization, social media links and digital retail support.
Launch a community forum
WordPress may not be the first name that springs to mind when considering forum software, but peruse the support areas of many sites and you may find they’re running your favourite blogging platform behind the scenes.
The bbPress plugin adds a rich selection of community forum features to WordPress, with single sign-on support, theme integration, topic tags, subscriptions, powerful search capabilities and more. While it may not be as comprehensive an assortment as a dedicated forum platform, it’s more than sufficient for busy websites.
Support your customers like a boss
Another popular use for WordPress is publishing customer support sites. We’ve already mentioned discussion forum support, which is perfect for generating crowdsourced solutions to common queries. You can extend your support pages with FAQs courtesy of plugins like HTML5 Responsive FAQ or Ultimate FAQ to deliver a first-class customer experience on your site.
Land your next job
The flexible capabilities of WordPress enable it to power a wide variety of job websites. Check out sites like Problogger to see how the platform can be customized for job postings. If you’re seeking to advertise positions online in your own organization, take a look at plugins like WordPress Job Board.
Publish an interactive resume
Why rely on sites like LinkedIn to show off your talents when you can bring your skills to life with WordPress? No matter the business, technical or creative discipline, there are WordPress themes available that do a brilliant job of showcasing creative portfolios, business projects and case studies. For freelancers, in particular, publishing your resume online is an almost essential tool for acquiring commissions but it’s also a great way for anyone to present themselves to potential business partners, new clients or prospective employers.
Take online reservations
If you’re running a business or managing an organization that takes bookings – for property, equipment or consultations, for example – then you’ll find a WordPress website that can be enhanced to manage online bookings. Plugins like Booking Calendar allow you to create and manage resources for hire, supporting calendar views of availability for potential customers and administrators with the necessary booking communications handled on your behalf.
Raise money for a good cause
If you’re planning to conquer Everest to raise money for charity, or you’re trying to build funding for a great new idea, then host your campaign on WordPress.
To develop a new crowdfunding site, or to inject a crowdfunding campaign into an existing WordPress installation, take a look at IgnitionDeck, which offers integrated themes and standalone plugins.
Manage and promote a sports team
Whether you’re coaching a mini-league or your team’s about to win the championship, WordPress could be a great platform for building support.
Sell your possessions and declutter your life
Once in a while, it’s great to have a purge of the seldom-used kit cluttering the garage and the attic. Take your yard sale online by adding classified ads to your website – it’s a great way for you (and your neighbours) to promote great local bargains.
Free plugins like AWPCP-Classifieds can be used to quickly get up and running, promoting local products and services with ease.
These are just a few ways that the flexibility of WordPress ensures it can be a top pick for almost any type of website.
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