WordPress is mainly used for blogging, but you can actually use WordPress for other purposes. This is the beauty of WordPress, it is so flexible that it has several alternative uses, even for people who aren’t that technical. It is easy to customize and presents your content in a very appealing manner with thousands of themes and plugins available for use.
In this article I will briefly point seven alternate uses of WordPress aside from using it as a blogging platform. There are only seven examples but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for other purposes. So, I hope you will enjoy this article and share your thoughts!
1. Online Shop
Just couple your WordPress with a specialized theme for online shops and a simple e-commerce plugin and you’re all set. It’s that simple actually. All you need is a basic understanding of how websites work and in less than 10 minutes you can already set up your website (provided you already have a host).
From small to medium online shops this is actually better than hiring a developer to start it from scratch. With today’s economy, everyone should be thinking about getting the best for less. And that means using WordPress to set up an online shop.
Security is always an issue, especially for 3rd-party plugins. There are decent free plugins that offer some support, but if you’re big-time serious, whip that wallet out and purchase a good plugin with full support. That way, you can’t be wronged.
2. Gallery or Image Viewer
(Plugging: massive CSS gallery collection underway, be sure to check back!)
This is best for designers and photographers who wish to have their own website instead of using ready made portfolio websites. This might be tricky for many, since we all know that designers and other creatives really want to add their personal touch to everything they do, such as the website design. Designing a theme is quite the task, but it pays off.
Most CSS galleries use WordPress too.
Before WordPress was around yet (and other popular CMS’), everyone who wanted to have a website of their own needed to have at least an intermediate understanding of web development and designing, or know someone who did. Now there are CMS’ like WordPress that eliminate the mandatory coding. That is a very good news for people. To add to that, making WordPress a gallery or an image viewer has become a common thing today because of the countless free and premium plugins and themes developed for this purpose.
3. Static Website and Brochure Site
For people who are in a hurry to get something online as soon as possible without learning how to code and design, WordPress is the man.
For promotion of a business, institution, idea, and anything that tells people what you are and what you do. Several restaurants have websites that are powered by WordPress, same goes for institutions and other propaganda movements. Websites like these doesn’t really need interaction from users, information is enough.
Expansion is also easy, from static to dynamic. No sweat, sonny.
4. Membership Site
There are websites that offer tutorials and several useful articles, like 1stwebdesigner. Then there are websites with a different and more focused side, membership sites. For a price their subscribers can get premium benefits; usually focused and more in-depth than the usual tutorials, resources, and extreme information that you can only learn from an expert.
People who create a membership site, whether they are individuals or a group of people, are already established in their field and have a massive following. If you are thinking of creating one, there are free and premium plugins ready for this, no more coding necessary. It’s really that easy, in fact, almost any feature that you can think of has already been made. All you need to do is know where to look.
Providing premium e-books, tutorials, web seminars, and other premium services you can think of.
Then there’s another side to this. Creating a membership website for close circles of friends or family. Clubs, organizations, friends and families can use Facebook’s Groups, but the features are quite limited. Using WordPress to help connect close groups of people is also a great idea, especially when the group has a large membership.
5. Collaboration Tool
Well, there are actually 70+ collaboration tools running out there today, but what I mean with WordPress as a collaboration tool is using it as a discussion board open for the public. An open, and engaged, community of like-minded individuals.
During my last year in the university, my team and I used WordPress to openly discuss ideas with our professor in IT. Other teams are free to criticize and read just about anything we posted there.
Here is one great article about a mathematician’s WordPress blog (can be done with other platforms too, but I’m citing this just to give you an idea). If you have time, you can read the second and third paragraphs. Already late for work? The gist is, Timothy Gowers (the mathematician in question) thought of posting his ideas and problems on his blog. Days later, people got involved.
6. Job Board and Forum
Well, it’s really far from its real purpose but you can actually use WordPress to create a forum and a job board. There are several plugins that you can use, and I’m not listing them here to force you to pay WordPress.org a visit and do the searching there. Or just use Google.
So, why WordPress again for this? Because it’s easy to use andvery flexible. Anyone can create a forum or a job board in an instant.
7. Link Repository and News Aggregator
I particularly like websites that link to other websites. Heh, that’s not even a clear description. What I mean is websites that categorize links so that readers of a certain niche are updated. It may work like a feed reader, but personally I find this one better. Take for example Smashing Network, that’s what I mean. A website that is focused on doing that. I don’t know about you, but I really like websites like that.
Although it may not be a WordPress site, one website I visit daily is eScienceNews. The website claims that it’s updates are fully automatic. Who updates it and how? Artificial Intelligence. Well, now you get the idea of what I mean. Maybe there are other definition of what link repository is, feel free to comment in.
So, What Else?
As you can see, almost anything that you can think of is possible with WordPress. All you need to have is a little background of how websites work and what features you’d like it to have and good research skills to find specific plugins. A web developer friend of mine told me “why start from scratch when there are good CMS’ available to expedite the process?” when I asked him “how long will it take for me to develop a website similar to icanhascheezburger.com?”
You may now start accusing me of leaving out other uses for WordPress. I intentionally left them out, I’ve thought of about 20 and read as many as 40. I don’t want this to be an over-saturated article so you can just post your suggestions and thoughts below. C’mon!
Rean concurrently served as the Head of Operations and Editor-in-Chief of 1stwebdesigner from 2011 up until Aug 2014. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development with a little touch of internet marketing here and there.