It’s no secret that WordPress is one of the most popular platforms in the world. It powers half of the world’s websites — over 80 million — and has evolved from a humble blogging platform into one of the most powerful content management systems on the market.
But there are plenty of uses for business WordPress that aren’t blogging. E-commerce is, of course, the most common — there are hundreds of thousands of sites powering their sales with WordPress plugins. If you need help getting started, there are plenty of good resources out there to help you get set up.
Full-featured websites are also extremely common, whether they’re simple or sophisticated. Setting up a WordPress site is fast and easy, with free themes and plugins available. You don’t even have to set up your own server — just find the best WordPress hosting you can and get started from there.
But there are plenty of other business and agency uses for WordPress that are a bit more niche. Let’s take a look at some of the more unusual things you can do with the platform.
Web forums don’t enjoy the popularity they once did, but they’re not dead. A forum plugin can help you form a community, whether it’s around a common interest between enthusiasts or a place for customers to give feedback or discuss ideas.
If you’re a company looking to hire people, or a person working in an industry who wants to help others find work, you could create a job board. Once you gain a following, you might get companies reaching out to you to get their openings listed, and there are not only plugins for job boards, but also membership plugins to help build your community.
Another way you can help out others working in your industry is by creating a business directory. You can list their contact information, a description of their business, and even implement a rating system to help others find the best businesses in your area.
Many non-profits choose WordPress to power their donation websites, and for good reason. WordPress has plugins specifically aimed at charity organizations, fundraising, and crowdfunding. This includes not just plugins for donating money, but functions like SSL to make sure donors’ information is safe.
Not every WordPress site has to be outward-facing. Having a website for your customers and visitors is fine and necessary, but WordPress is also useful for creating an employees-only site for sharing information, creating a central place for discussion and important updates, and storing confidential files. If you have a small business and neither the budget, the time, or even the need to implement a more sophisticated solution, this might be the solution for you.
A wiki is a great way to organize, edit, and present information. But a full-blown wiki application can be time-consuming and difficult to set up. With the help of some plugins, you can turn your WordPress site into a wiki without the headaches of setting up something like MediaWiki.
Sooner or later, many businesses need a means of project management. While some turn to hosted services like Basecamp, or install dedicated PM software for employees to use, this is another case where WordPress can come in handy. While they may not be quite as feature-rich as their dedicated counterparts, the functionality they do offer might be just right for your purposes — at a much better price (free)
Just as you might have a need for a secure intranet solution for your internal processes, you might also have use for a client-facing website to foster communication and share resources. While a lot of businesses do this via email, a client portal site puts the power to get in touch in the customer’s hands — and the organization and presentation is completely under your control.
A close cousin to the client portal, an online help desk can be a powerful tool for making customers happy and increasing their options for support. With an online help desk, features like ticket creation, issue tracking, and customer communication help make the process easier. And many plugins will integrate with existing help desk software such as Zendesk.
If you have a business or organization that hosts events, seminars, or other gatherings, an events calendar plugin can be just the ticket (pardon the pun) for your needs. A WordPress event calendar can even integrate with external ticketing agencies to make it much easier to manage bookings.
Finally, let’s talk about the importance of feedback. It’s a well-known fact that customer testimonials can be a great marketing tool — especially if you can display them on your website. With the help of some plugins, you can embed reviews from external sites and encourage customers to leave their own feedback for your company. This can do a lot to streamline and automate the process of gathering feedback.