WordPress is a popular blog platform. But did you know you can run other non-blog websites using WordPress too? You’ve probably seen some of these already, especially when magazine-style WordPress themes became popular. But creative theme and plugin developers have made it easier than ever to use WordPress as a comprehensive content management system (CMS) to create almost any kind of website you can dream up.
Let’s take a look at a variety of ways you can use WordPress to build your next website.
How Much Can WordPress Really Do?
Here are 25 types of websites you can build using the WordPress platform (in alphabetical order):
- Article Directories — You can let users register and submit content even from the front end of your site to create a niche article directory.
- Blogs — There are hundreds, if not thousands, of themes available to help you run a professional-looking blog using WordPress.
- Classified Sites — Use a plugin or a theme like ClassiPress to run your own classified ad website.
- Contact Manager — Themes like Driftwood allow you to use WordPress as a simple contact manager.
- e-Commerce Sites — If you want to sell multiple products and integrate a shopping cart, e-commerce themes like eStore make it easy!
- Feed Aggregators — Would you like to set up a niche aggregator? The FeedWordPress plugin can help. Just be sure to get permission before publishing other people’s content.
- Forums — Plugins like Simple:Press let you add a fully-functional forum to your WordPress site (or run a standalone forum using WordPress). Add more of a community feel to your blog or use it as a support forum for your business site.
- Job Boards — Want to launch a specialized job board attached to your site? The Jobpress theme is one option — use it to launch a separate job board site or in a subdirectory to launch an internal hiring board for your company.
- Magazine Websites — There are countless magazine-style WordPress themes available now. You can use them to run chronological sites like blogs, but with more complex layouts.
- Membership Websites — You can also use WordPress to offer subscription-based premium content by having users register on your site for access — free or fee-based.
- Mobile Sites — Create a mobile version or your site or make a site mobile-friendly with tools like the WordPress Mobile Pack.
- News Sites — Set up your own local or industry newspaper-style site using WordPress.
- Photo Galleries — It’s becoming more and more common for WordPress themes to offer gallery page templates. Or you can use a theme dedicated to being a photo gallery, like the PhotoSquares theme.
- Podcast Sites — Use WordPress to host your own podcasts.
- Portfolios — Are you a freelance professional looking to host an online portfolio that can help you land work?Look into options like the Portfolio WordPress Theme to help you out.
- Press Release Distribution Sites — You can set up an online press release distribution site much like you would set up an article directory, letting users register and input articles (press releases in this case). You can even let them be scheduled for specific release times.
- Q&A Websites — Want to run your own Q&A site like Yahoo! Answers? Themes like AskIt make it possible.
- Real Estate Websites — Professionals can run specialized sites such as real estate websites with the use of professionally-designed themes like the AgentPress theme from StudioPress.
- Review Sites — You can create a simple review site using the WordPress platform by implementing post rating plugins.
- Sales Pages — Selling an e-book, software, or some other solo product? If you want to use a long-form sales letter type of site, why not use WordPress? Plenty of simple themes are available, and all you have to do is use the WordPress settings to make a static page your homepage.
- Social Networks — Do you want to get in on the potential growth of niche social networks as opposed big general ones? Use the open source BuddyPress solution and launch your own social network using WordPress.
- Static Websites — You can build a simple traditional static-looking website on WordPress by using pages rather than posts. Just remember to set a static page as your homepage in your WordPress settings.
- Video Sites — Use WordPress to host your own vlog or feature other videos by simply embedding them.
- Web Directories — You can use WordPress to set up a general Web directory or niche directories (for example, I use the Biz Directory plugin to host a writer’s market directory on a site for freelance writers).
- Wikis — Want to create your own Wikipedia-style knowledgebase? Themes like WikiBase make it easy!
As you can see, WordPress has become an incredibly versatile piece of software over the years. Does that mean it’s the best option for all of your Web development projects? Of course not. But what it does mean is that you have the potential to incorporate one or more of these elements into a single site with a single user login, and you can build new sites in a familiar system.
What else do you use WordPress for? Can you think of other alternative uses for WordPress beyond blogging? Leave a comment below to share your ideas or link us to new resources or examples of sites using WordPress creatively.