More Than A Blogging Tool – Discover The Versatility Of Wordpress12/14/2011
The popularity of WordPress is nothing short of amazing. Currently, the open source platform hosts almost 15% of the world’s top million websites. Even more impressive, close to a quarter of all new websites registered in the United States are built on WordPress. That’s quite an achievement for a web application that started in 2003 as the personal project of a 19-year old philosophy student, Matt Mullenweg, who wanted a better way to blog.
WordPress has been embraced by millions of users, hobbyists, and professionals alike, and is now used to power an incredible range of projects. Which brings us to the subject of this article: although most people associate WordPress with blogging, the open source platform is so versatile that it can be used to build almost any type of website. With its powerful templating systems, open architecture, and extensive plugin support, WordPress is the cornerstone of blogs, business websites, forums, wikis, and even online stores.
In this article, we take a high-level look at the things you can accomplish with a WordPress website. In particular, we discuss how you can use WordPress as a CMS, to power a forum, and to build your own online store. We analyze some of the options that you have for each purpose and demonstrate why it’s important to invest in a quality WordPress hosting service.
Create an impressive website for your company with WordPress as a CMS
A content management system (CMS) is used to manage the content for a website. In other words, a CMS lets non-technical users add articles and pages, edit content, and upload media such as images or video, all without having to edit any HTML code.
Without a CMS, users have to edit the source code of the website in order to modify it. This makes simple operations, such as adding a page or changing the formatting of an article, difficult and time-consuming. In addition, modifying the source code directly poses reliability and security risks. On the other hand, a CMS separates the content from the code structure, thus eliminating the risk of breaking the website, while also making site updates simpler and more effective. If you plan to have a frequently-updated site, or one that uses interactive or dynamic elements such as news items, promotional items, or blog articles, using a CMS is highly recommended.
You can get all the features of an expensive CMS platform by opting for a WordPress web host. Turning a WordPress website into a capable CMS requires a few steps that we will not detail here. There are plenty of free WordPress tutorials to help you get started, and you can probably get some help from your WordPress hosting provider.
Alternatively, you can buy a good CMS-oriented theme or even use one of the free WordPress themes available online. No matter which option you choose, you can get a professional looking WordPress website at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone to build you a site from scratch. Plus, you will save a lot of money in the long-term, as you will be able to update the site yourself.
A blog or a forum? Why not both?
Whether you run a business, a non governmental organization (NGO), or a fan community, you can (and should) engage your visitors and give them the chance to interact with your site and provide feedback. One of the best ways to build a community around your site is to create a forum. However, forum applications can be expensive and hard to deploy and maintain. For many small sites, having a full-blown forum app is overkill. As a result, many site owners give up on the idea of using a forum and choose to have a blog instead.
But there’s an alternative. With only the small investment required to purchase a WordPress hosting solution, you can have your own easy-to-run forum. How is this possible? There are a number of free plugins that let you turn your WordPress website into a lightweight forum. These plugins use WordPress’ rich architecture to transform posts into forum threads, and comments into thread replies.
In a matter of hours, you can have your very own forum, with only a few dollars invested. There are many plugins that can help you achieve this. Among the best known are bbPress – built by the same team that created WordPress, a feature-rich forum plugin called Simple:Press, Wp2BB, and the easy-to-use Mingle.
The best part? With a good WordPress web hosting service, you can have both your blog and your forum. In fact, if you choose a provider that lets you host unlimited WordPress blogs, you can have a multitude of sites deployed for one small price.
Make money with a WordPress-powered online store
Having an online store used to mean paying a hefty fee for the services of a web designer and another fee to hire a programmer to code the back-end application. Today, there are some good shopping cart applications available that are cheaper and easier to deploy, and even some free ones.
But why complicate your life with an expensive, hard-to-work-with app, when you can get the same functionality for free with your WordPress host? That’s right: you can run your very own online store using the same platform that you have come to love for blogging.
You have a wide range of options for turning your WordPress site into an ecommerce platform. One of the most popular ecommerce plugins for WordPress is WP e-Commerce, a comprehensive online shopping solution that provides everything you need to run a successful ecommerce store. If you want something that is even easier to use and maintain, try Ecwid, a free plugin that lets you create beautiful, interactive web stores. Other notable ecommerce solutions include eShop, Shopp, PHPurchase, Checkout, and Shopify.
As with forums, you can host your online store and your other sites on one account if you use a WordPress web hosting solution that lets you host unlimited WordPress blogs.
Create the website of your dreams at Certified Hosting
As you can see, it’s surprisingly simple, and not to mention cheap, to find a WordPress-based solution for just about any application. And the list includes more than CMSs, forums, and online stores. There is really little that you can’t do with WordPress, some free themes and plugins, and of course, a quality WordPress web hosting services provider like Certified Hosting.
Certified Hosting is a leading provider of quality web hosting services, including unlimited WordPress hosting solutions. With Certified Hosting, you can host unlimited WordPress blogs for a flat monthly fee. Plus, you get free WordPress installation, free WordPress upgrades, and free WordPress themes, allowing you to start your own blog, forum, or online store with a minimal investment and no headaches.