WordPress has become a popular buzzword in the past few years. Many newbie web developers flock to it immediately without much thought as to why they might want to use the platform. Experienced web project managers will tell you that there’s a direct correlation between the ultimate success of a project and your reasons for why you’re selecting a particular CMS platform, as well as how you intend to utilize it within the scope of the project. Luckily, WordPress is an exceptionally flexible platform that serves as a fabulous choice for most applications—but not necessarily all.
WordPress started its life as a blogging platform, and it’s arguably the best currently available. Whether you’re looking to create a topical hobby blog or an authority blog, WordPress is an excellent selection.
Flexibility in handling simple content types like fairly static pages, combined with the custom menu options and robust blogging capabilities, makes WordPress an awesome platform for small,mid-sized, or large businesses alike. It’s suitable for just about any informational purpose.
Information marketing and affiliate marketing websites An industry that exploded in the latter half of the ’00s, information and affiliate marketing has special needs that blur the line between blogging and ecommerce. Having been banned by most free blogging platforms, this type of site can find a home with WordPress, offering all of the required customization, sales functionality, and token passing and tracking in a format that allows marketers to own their space instead of renting or potentially breaching terms of service else- where.
Light to medium-level ecommerce
Combined with one of several supported plugins,WordPress can be an extremely robust ecom-merce platform for physical and digital products, all while offering a simplified, easy-to-use interface.
Whether you’re seeking a simple membership wall, or selling access to a multiple-tiered mem-bership program on a single site, there are myriad plugins available that provide solid function-ality.
Core WordPress includes most of the fundamental functionality that IT managers look for in an intranet. Combine that with WordPress’s standard privacy options, as well as a well-placed plugin or two that provides solutions to each corporation’s unique needs, and WordPress is
appropriate for many corporate intranets.
A set of plugins and themes exist that are collectively referred to as BuddyPress. BuddyPress extends WordPress’s standard functionality to allow registered users to message and interact with one another, as commonly seen on social media networks. While there are certainly other
options available in this particular area, WordPress is, at a minimum, a viable choice. Light to medium-level forums WordPress can also be extended to serve as a forum (also referred to as a bulletin board). There are several plugin-based solutions that introduce this functionality, the most lauded of which is bbPress. 10 It’s useful to note that while you can technically add forum functionality to a
WordPress installation, it’s typically done as an addendum to other functionality on the same site. Sites that are fully dedicated to forums often find more fleshed-out functionality in other solutions.
We’ve already alluded to WordPress providing for what’s called multisite capability, allowing you to manage either a few websites or thousands of them from a single installation. Multisite also centralizes the management of network-wide plugin additions, and introduces more
sophisticated, layered user and roll support. For more on multisite, have a look at Chapter 10. You might think this preceding list covers just about everything, but it really doesn’t. There are a few more specialized types of sites that the current core release, combined with the selection of widely available plugins, simply fails to offer a commercially viable solution. Many of these types of sites are either extremely specialized or incur enterprise-level traffic. Of course, this isn’t to say that there are no WordPress solutions available for these types of sites; certainly, new plugins are developed daily that may not have existed or had wide release at the time of writing. Please take the following list with a grain of salt—but here are a few examples of the kinds of sites we’re talking about: Large-scale, specialized forums Businesses and organizations whose entire business model revolves around extremely large, robust, and secure forums often opt for more specialized commercial software to suit their purposes.
Large-scale ecommerce sites
WhileWordPress does offer excellent ecommerce platforms to work with via premium plugins, there are still several types of ecommerce functionality you commonly won’t find. In such in-stances, there are specialized commercial options that can prove to be better solutions for the
high-volume retailer with specific needs. Some functionality that’s currently lacking includes customized visual product configurations, support formultiple shipping centers based on factors such as proximity to the purchaser or type of merchandise stocked, or automated RMA (return
merchandise authorization) support.
Photography sales and gallery management
This is a fairly specific one. While there are plenty of WordPress themes and plugins that manage images and galleries in various ways, there continues to be a gaping hole in the market for photography professionals who seek to present public and private, password-protected
photo galleries that have full ecommerce integration. These types of sites are usually sought out by event photography professionals and portrait photography studios. Currently, better options are found with commercial and SaaS (software as a service; typically cloud-based and
Customer Relationship Management
CRM solutions do exist for WordPress, but most organizations find that the feature set they re-quire is better served by one of several popular SaaS CRM solutions. Web-based project management Similar to CRMs, solutions do exist for WordPress, but more widely accepted and utilized
project management solutions can be found through popular SaaS options.Now that we have a good idea of what WordPress is mostly used for, and what you can use it for (and what you probably shouldn’t use it for), you should now have a better sense of how you’ll implement it within the context of your project.With all that said, let’s start playing withWordPress