Setting up a small business website with the WordPress content management system has never been simpler. When it comes to putting together a convincing online presence, you can be up and running in no time at all and handle much of the implementation yourself. You don’t need much in the way of technical expertise.
But WordPress is so much more than a content management system.
One of the most interesting things about WordPress is the way it can grow with you. By choosing the right plugins, you can make your website more robust as your business expands — and in some cases, even point the way towards possible future profit streams.
Options that would have required thousands of dollars of custom development work just a few short years ago are now within the reach of site owners for a relative pittance.
In this piece, we’ll step through some of this wider potential functionality, and highlight five ways you can use WordPress as much more than just a CMS. Let’s start with the most obvious one.
1. Use WordPress to sell products worldwide
The incredible success of WooCommerce has firmly established WordPress as a legitimate e-commerce solution for companies of virtually any size. The really good news? Its core functionality is completely free.
2. Lock in recurring revenue via membership modules
Reliable recurring revenue is the holy grail of pretty much every business, whether large or small, and adding a membership component to your offerings is a wonderful way of achieving that goal.
WordPress is particularly well-served in this regard, with a string of highly polished plugins that put every possible membership option at your fingertips.
3. Create your own tribe with a community site
If you’re fortunate enough to have a product or service that naturally attracts a passionate audience, WordPress potentially gives you all the tools you need to turn those people into a tribe. The forum plugin bbPress, for example, integrates smoothly with the vast majority of WordPress themes and gives you a stripped down set of community options with the click of just a few buttons.
If you’re looking to kick things up a notch in terms of engagement, BuddyPress provides a full suite of social networking functionality that can be added to any WordPress site. It’s admittedly a more complex beast to manage, and running a full-on community brings its own challenges, but the rewards in terms of engagement and consistent traffic could be huge.
4. Handle customer support professionally online
Customer support is one of those areas where picking the right tools can make the difference between a smooth-running aspect of your business and an ongoing nightmare for all concerned. With WordPress, you’re already off to an excellent start in terms of options available to you.
Dedicated customer support themes and plugins such as those offered by Hero Themes enable you to quickly put together slick and serviceable customer-facing FAQs and knowledge bases.
5. Dominate your niche with a directory
WordPress isn’t just a great option for organizing your own content; with a little extra assistance from specialized plugins, it also provides a compelling solution for putting together directory listings targeted at individual niches — and making a profit to boot!
Directory plugins such as Templatic’s Directory and GeoDirectory enable you to both create and monetize listings, with the option of adding advanced features such as ratings and reviews, should the fancy strike you.
Dynamic content management system
By choosing WordPress, you have the comfort of knowing you’ve picked a solution that can both scale with your own success and enable you to take on entirely new opportunities when necessary. You can be confident you’re ready to tackle all the following areas and more when the time is right:
- A full range of e-commerce implementations
- Paid membership options
- Fully-fledged online communities
- Slick customer support
- Comprehensive directory listings
The five broad areas we’ve introduced represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can make WordPress do, but there should be more than enough there to get your mind buzzing with possibilities for your own business.
Are you chomping at the bit to explore the full range of options WordPress makes available? Or do you have any questions on the solutions we’ve covered? Get in touch via the comments section below and let us know!