Why WordPress is more than a content management system

A cross-functional solution

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.

WooCommerce for WP Content Management System
Use WooCommerce to turn your WordPress site into an e-commerce powerhouse.

Getting started with WooCommerce is relatively straightforward. Plus, there’s a complete set of both free and premium extensions on hand to help you build out wider shop functionality over time.

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.

MemberPress WordPress Plugin
Plugins such as MemberPress give you a full range of membership solutions.

Membership 2 Pro and WooCommerce Memberships are just two of the leading contenders in this area. You can get a full breakdown of further options over at industry insider Chris Lema’s blog.

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.

Buddy Press WordPress Plugin
BuddyPress puts a full range of social community features at your disposal.

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.

KnowAll WordPress Plugin
Solutions such as KnowAll turn WordPress into a slick customer service solution.

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.

WordPress also plays nicely with most of the leading third-party customer support solutions.

 

You’ll find integrations available for products such as Zendesk and Help Scout that enable you to tie separate systems together with ease.

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 WordPress Plugin
Create a niche directory with ease using Directory.

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:

  1. A full range of e-commerce implementations
  2. Paid membership options
  3. Fully-fledged online communities
  4. Slick customer support
  5. 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!

Image by: pezempire via Compfight cc

Tom Ewer
Tom Ewer is a freelance writer, online entrepreneur, and the founder of Leaving Work Behind and WordCandy. He has been obsessed with WordPress since he first laid eyes on it, and has been writing educational and informative content for WordPress users since 2011. When he's not running his businesses, you're likely to find him outdoors somewhere – as far away from a screen as possible!