5 Ways to Use WordPress

Flickr/Phil Oakley
Online ranters, ravers and reviewers swear by WordPress. It's easy to install and use, there are thousands of ways to customize it and the script is free, making it one of the most-used content platforms on the Internet. Many people associate WordPress with blogging, but it can do much more, such as marketing, sales and social engagement. There are two WordPress options. WordPress.com offers blogging and limited functionality. For ultimate customization, WordPress.org provides the platform to do just about any online function you want your website to do.

5 Social Network

Sick of Facebook? You can create your own social network using WordPress Multi-User. With a few extra steps in your WordPress setup, you can have a full network that includes everything most popular networks have, such as status updates, photo and video uploads, blogs and more. The main challenges in managing a network are fake members and spam comments, sometimes referred to as splog. Fortunately, there are plugins to filter and delete splog.

4 Membership Site

Membership sites have grown in popularity as a way to generate income using a blog beyond affiliate marketing and advertising sales. Membership sites offer exclusive information to members who pay for access. They can be created around any industry or topic from VW Beetle owners or chocolate lovers to business mastermind groups. Many plugins provide the technical support needed to create and manage memberships, including payment integration that allows for recurring payments. The plugin works to ensure only paying members get access to your content.

3 Storefront

Building an ecommerce site used to be expensive and technologically challenging, but not anymore because of WordPress themes and plugins. With a few clicks, you can have an online store and a system for managing your products. Further, many are integrated with PayPal and other payment systems to make collecting money easy. Some plugins allow you to set up an affiliate program by which you can recruit an army of affiliates to promote your store in exchange for a percentage of sales.

2 Directory

Along with getting information, people go online to find stuff. You can help them by providing a directory service. You can create directories for almost anything including job announcements, service referrals and classified ads. You could make money by selling listings or advertising, or by integrating ad services such as Google's Adsense. To include a directory in WordPress, simply search for and install a plugin that meets your needs from within your dashboard. For example, search "job board" for a list of plugins that will help you manage a job board.

1 Portfolio/Resume

Clients and employers scour the Internet to learn about you. You can make it easy for them to find the good stuff through a WordPress site showcasing your skills, experience and education. Blog about news and trends in your industry to show off your knowledge. Include samples of work and references or testimonials. When you pitch a potential client or apply for a job, include your WordPress website on your application or resume to show you are familiar with technology.

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