WP #6: Everything You Need to Know About WordPress – Truths vs Misconceptions

In case you didn’t already know, WordPress is a pretty big deal.

Nearly 80 million websites and blogs utilize some form of WordPress. That’s basically the population of Germany, just for reference.

As a CMS (content management system), WordPress has 59% of the market share. There are also over 44,000 plugins available for WordPress that have been downloaded over a billion times.

So if we say that WordPress is a big deal, you will agree.

But like anything remotely popular, WordPress is often misunderstood. There are false myths and dated rumors we see constantly passed around. Because of our fierce love for WordPress, we wanted to take a moment to set the record straight.

Here is what you need to know about WordPress. The truths, the lies, and everything in between.

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WordPress.com and WordPress.org are not the same, but they are similar

Let’s start with the most confusing. So WordPress itself is a free, open source content management system. Essentially, it’s software that allows people to create, organize, and update websites without having to manually code every page.

Now, WordPress essentially comes in two forms.

First, there is WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a blog hosting service not entirely different from Blogger. It allows a person to setup a free website that operates on a custom version of the WordPress software. This version is limited in what themes and plugins it can use.

A WordPress.com website also cannot be transferred to another host. It’s a bit of an out of the box, package deal.

WordPress.org, on the other hand, is the home of the full, open source WordPress software. If a company is building you a WordPress website, this is what they’re using. This what the site you’re on right now is using.

With the WordPress.org software, you can do just about anything.

Confused? Don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one.

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From now on, we’ll mostly be talking about the full WordPress platform (.org).

WordPress is for a lot more than blogging

Thankfully this doesn’t happen as much as it did a few years ago, but for the longest time, when we told a client we build WordPress websites, their response would be something like “but I don’t want a blog. I want a website.”

As with the .com vs .org situation, there’s good reason for confusion.

WordPress has its roots in blogging. When it was first built, WordPress was mostly for blogging (WordPress.com is still primarily for blogging). And some of the biggest WordPress websites are primarily blogs.

But WordPress today is so much more than a blogging platform. Sure, it has a beautiful and easy to use blogging system built into it still, but there are hundreds of thousands of WordPress sites that don’t even utilize their blogging functionality.

Simply put, WordPress is an all-in-one website platform. It can do everything.

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Which brings us to the next point…

WordPress is usable for websites of all sizes and functions

There are WordPress sites of all shapes and sizes. Some may think that WordPress is only suited for smaller websites with a handful of pages and a blog. This is simply not true.

Sure, we’ve built WordPress sites as small as one page. But we’ve also built WordPress sites with hundreds of pages, posts, and products.

That’s right, products.

If you’re looking to do some e-commerce, WordPress offers a powerful solution with Woocommerce. Woocommerce is technically a free add-on to WordPress, though to get the full use out of it, you’ll probably need to purchase a few premium plugins.

WordPress can also be used to create social network sites, online schools, scheduling systems, and much more.

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WordPress is SEO friendly, but you still need to work for it

WordPress has been built and structured with search engines in-mind. The way the pages, links, images, etc. are laid out is based around how search engines crawl websites. That said, there’s a big difference between being SEO friendly and actually being search engine optimized.

Now, it’s time for some “buts”.

WordPress is secure, but the attacks are more frequent

The WordPress team is always hard at work with new updates, patches, and security adjustments. And for good reason. Because of WordPress’s prevalence and open source nature, the platform is always under attack.

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It’s the same reason why there’s more malicious content out there for Windows and Android devices. Because that’s what the majority of people in the world use.

That doesn’t mean WordPress is insecure. Far from it. As long as you stay on top of updates, take proper security precautions and stay away from bad plugins, you should be just fine.

WordPress is super user friendly, but you may need a developer

When it comes to adding and editing pages, writing blog posts, or adjusting things like the menu, WordPress is about as easy as it gets. Depending on what themes and plugins you’re using, doing more advanced changes may be possible too.

But for the average website owner, you’ll want someone around who can get technical. Especially if you want a customized site. Even if you’re using a templated site, tech support can be a huge asset.

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Lucky for you, we provide for all of your WordPress needs including design, development, hosting, maintenance, support, and more.

Our pricing plans start as low as we appreciate our loyal customers. Visit our contact page for more information.

Have a question about WordPress? Maybe a thought you’d like to share? Feel free to comment below.

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WP #5: 15 Things You May Not Know WordPress Can Do

We all know WordPress as the perfect tool for running a blog or regular website. But due to it’s open architecture, WordPress is much more than just a CMS, with many developers taking it to a whole new level.

Making WordPress into something more than a CMS is typically done with themes and/or plugins. In this article we’ll show you 15 alternative uses of WordPress (plus 2 bonuses). We will be taking a broad look at what’s possible with WordPress, in the hope of inspiring you to use it in a way you hadn’t thought of before. For each use, we will show you a working example, and how it’s done.

1. Amazon Shop

WordPress Amazon Shop

Combining WordPress with WooCommerce makes for an excellent ecommerce solution. But what if you could take it a step further by adding Amazon as your supplier. You could start selling without having your own stock to worry about.

All you need is this plugin called Amazon Shop and an Amazon affiliate account.

2. Forum

WordPress Forum Theme

WordPress as forum software, who would have thought? The guys at EngineThemes (you will see them mentioned several times in this article) have a great thing going on. They managed to turn WordPress into a very good forum app with a theme called ForumEngine.

It’s basically a modified version of WordPress posts + comments, combined with front-end controls and easy administration. And they know how to make slick designs.

If you’re interested in using WordPress as a forum, you should also check out bbPress from the creators of WordPress.

3. Coupon Site

WordPress Coupon Theme

Coupon sites are a perfect way to generate affiliate commissions, provided you don’t use shady tactics to draw in visitors. AppThemes made an excellent theme called Clipper which offers integrated coupon management at a very advanced level.

4. Directory

WordPress Directory Theme

This is another one of those themes where you can’t imagine WordPress is running the show. This directory theme called Directory doesn’t only allow you to make an impressive homepage, but incorporates many specific directory features on it’s listing pages.

5. Twitter Look-alike

WordPress Twitter Theme

Often referenced as “Twitter for WordPress”, the P2 theme is an excellent way to enable short communication in teams or companies. It’s the theme Automattic (the makers of WordPress) use themselves for internal communication.

Due to its inline commenting, someone can post on a topic, after which other users can respond in a very convenient way. There’s not much more to it, but it’s great at doing what it needs to do.

6. Job Board

WordPress Job Board Theme

Another theme from the geniuses over at EngineThemes is this theme called Job Engine. To us, this is the best example of what WordPress can be. Because of it’s front-end controls, you don’t actually need to use the WordPress Dashboard anymore. It has Ajax filtering, infinite scroll and a slicker than slick layout.

7. Issue Tracking

WordPress Issue Tracking Theme

This theme called Quality Control makes great use of WordPress functionality by turning it into a quality control tool. Posts become issues, and comments become status updates. It has an integrated ticket system, which can be filtered on priority, status or milestone. It even allows for assigning tickets to a specific user, making it a full featured issue tracking tool.

8. Booking System

WordPress Booking System Theme

This booking plugin called Booking System Pro can be used for many different sites. Hotels can use it for room or location bookings, or restaurants can use it for table reservations. It can be configured in various ways, including hotel room booking with features such as late checkout. Combine it with WooCommerce and you can accept payments for bookings as well.

9. Memberships

WordPress Membership Plugin

Membership plugins are some of the most popular plugins for WordPress. Because of WordPress’ convenient user system, it’s quite easy to combine it with different membership levels. Add some payment options to it, and you can start selling memberships.

This plugin called s2Member can protect your whole site, or even allow for pay-per-article. And unlike most of the themes/plugins listed here, this one is free.

10. Customer Feedback

WordPress Customer Feedback Theme

Let’s bring in the guys from AppThemes again. They made a theme called Ideas for collecting customer feedback, where a user can submit an idea or suggestion for others to vote on. As a developer, you can filter by the most popular ideas to work on, as well as having the ability to comment on it immediately.

11. Support Desk

WordPress Support Desk Theme

There are many knowledge base themes available, but with this theme called SupportPress it’s even possible to have your own ticketing system. There’s even the ability to enable chat functionality (plugin based). You can include documentation, FAQs and an integrated forum, all in one theme.

12. Real Estate

WordPress Real Estate Theme

With real estate themes, WordPress is really stretched to the max, and this real estate theme called Real Homes is a perfect example. It allows for a Google Map with objects for sale or for rent. There are numerous ways of filtering the offered properties, and the listing page itself is a real beauty. You can put up the property agent’s information, or use a contact form. It’s a very well thought-through theme for selling houses.

13. YouTube Look-alike

WordPress YouTube Theme

While there is no theme that gives you the exact YouTube look, this theme called Video Pro gives you plenty of ways to show your videos and increase engagement. YouTube itself of course allows for direct uploading of videos, but offering that on your own site isn’t feasible for most of us.

But this theme has the option for visitors to submit any link they like, so you can incorporate the video into your site right away. The theme offers extended sharing and liking functionality to allow for proper engagement.

14. Quora Look-alike

WordPress Quora Theme

This will be the final mention of EngineThemes, but these guys just make great app themes and really show what alternative uses WordPress is capable of.

For those of you who don’t know Quora, it’s a site where people can ask questions for others (mostly experts on the topic) to answer. With this theme called QAEngine you can build a site just like that.

Questions can be marked as answered, and answers can be up voted or selected as the best answer. This focus on engagement makes sure you are getting the best quality content, something which you might not be able to come up with yourself.

15. Classified Ads

WordPress Classified Ads Theme

Classified ads are still very popular, so of course there’s a great classifieds theme called ClassiCraft to convert WordPress into a classified ads site. This theme has great usability, and allows for multiple ways of monetizing your site by offering premium ads. It allows for showing a map alongside each listing and a contact form.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many ways in which you can transform WordPress. The familiarity you might already have with WordPress makes working with these themes and plugins a breeze, and you can do almost anything you want with it.

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As there are tons of different uses and themes around, please don’t hesitate to use the comment section to share your suggestions or thoughts.

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