WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms (if not the most), is capable of being more than just a blog platform. It’s capable of being a full-blown CMS (Content Management System). As someone who has both written small, custom CMSes from scratch as well as evaluated million-dollar professional CMSes for large corporations, WordPress‘ robustness never ceases to amaze me.
The key to many of the unique uses can be attributed to any or all of the following components:
- Custom theme.
- Custom code tweaks
- Custom or widely-available plugins.
- Custom fields per post.
- Custom code to use the custom fields.
Why Use WordPress?
Not everyone is for the idea of WordPress as a CMS. Some bloggers point out a variety of technical issues (which I’m not getting into here). True, WP is not a high-end CMS, but it can get the job done, especially for low-volume use. The point is that with WP, you don’t always need to pay $50,000+ for a proprietary, difficult to learn CMS. And that’s for starters. Many of high-end CMSes require “seat” licenses. That is, a fee for each person that MIGHT use the software. Add maintenances/ upgrade fees, support licenses, training, etc., and most small businesses or online publishers are spending more than they have/ is necessary.
WordPress can do the job, and as has been discussed here and elsewhere many times, has a lot of community support, free themes and plugins, and is relatively easy to customize or to find someone who can for a fair price. Below are some ways that WP can be used.
Basic WordPress Uses
The uses in this section require the minimum amount of customization, often involving only additional available plugins.
- Basic CMS for a traditional site or web magazine. One of the most common alternate uses for WordPress is to build a traditional website with no focus on chronological posts (blog) – that is, to use WP as a basic CMS. More recently, this approach is being integrated with a blog as well, particularly using “magazine” themes.
Some of the best visual examples I’ve come across are Twist’n’Shout and Simms Furniture Warehouse both designed by Charlene of Essentially Keystrokes, and Camacho Cigars. The latter integrates WordPress and Flash to produce a traditional site that you’d probably never know was built on WordPress if you didn’t check the source code. Another nice example is Ford’s Autoshow site. (This is not an endorsement of any of these sites, just simply an observation.)
There are reasons not to use WP as a CMS, but there are also reasons to use WP and many tutorials on how to do so. The fact is, you can use a Caching plugin to speed up the rendering of pages on your web server. If you prefer more traditional URLs, you can use an .HTML or .PHP extension.
- City guide or geocoded news site. The Thunderbird, a college journalism site built in WordPress, has an excellent example of what I mean by geocoded news. News stories on the site (which uses one of Brian Gardner’s Revolution magazine themes) are represented by colored icons on an embedded Google MyMap map. Clicking on an icon displays an excerpt bubble, complete with a “Read more” that, when clicked, opens a new browser tab/ window with the story in question.
You could expand on this idea to build City Guides. Instead of news stories, publish reviews/ profiles of restaurants, nightclubs, businesses, as well as interviews of local celebrities. Then geocode each post into an icon on a Google map. (I’ll cover Google Maps and geocoding here on Performancing starting in the near future.)
- History/ timeline site. Timeline from MIT is a visualization widget for time-based info. Event items are draggable, and clicking on one pops up a dialog with more detail, including links. Freshlabs offers a WP plugin that allows you to embed SIMILE Timeline windows into your posts. You could combine this with maps, video, images, and articles in order to create a history site. (E.g., a religion or dinosaur timeline.)
- Image gallery or photoblog. There are a number of ways that you can use WP to create a Photoblog (such as by using the Photopress theme) or an image gallery. For the latter, there are lightbox-style WP plugins and widgets, or regular image gallery plugins.
- Intranet. Intranets, in a nutshell, are websites that are internal to an organization, typically firewalled off so that only employees/ members have access. WP can be used for an Intranet that combines blogs, traditional sites, or pretty much any of the other uses described in this article.
- Movie poster and trailer site. Sprout Builder
is a new web service (still in beta) that allows fast creation of Flash media content. You can use its image and video components to build movie Sprouts. Each Sprout would simply be embedded in a WordPress post, possibly accompanied by a review and/or ratings area. The reason for taking this approach is because Sprout Builder allows you to build in interactivity.
- Network hub/ feed aggregator. Many bloggers have multiple web properties forming a blog network. Some also like to have a hub site that offers snippets of posts from across the network. A simple way to do this is to use an RSS feed importer plugin (such as the very cool WP-o-matic, which uses SimplePie) that automatically produces a new WP post snippet for each feed item. Hart’s Battling for Health hub site is an example of this.
- Polling site. There are numerous WP polling plugins (such as Democracy AJAX Poll and WP-Polls) that can be used to produce a polling site. This could be a standalone site, or combined with a blog.
- Real estate listings or guide. Take the idea of a city guide, mentioned above, and tweak it to build a real estate guide – possibly using a custom real estate WP theme (not free). Add maps, exterior 3/4 pics of a property, video, details and contact info.
- Web Chat. Embed one of web-based chat services into your home page or the nav bar. There’s even a new one that will “ping” your AIM chat client. So site visitors can chat with you without having to download and install AIM. Something like this could even be used to give web-based advice by church ministers, on a church website.
- Webcasting station. Imagine a main page with a single, large media player, with member “twittering” to the side. The best example of this used to be Evil Backwards, which used to use the very robust Splashcast Media player where the current video window is now. They’ve ditched the Splashcast player, so you’ll have to imagine it’s there. Splashcast offers embedded “channels” for video, audio and documents in a borderless player. A theme similar to Evil Backwards’ home page can be produced in WordPress using the Blueprint CSS framework (discussed below in the Techmeme clone item, in the next section). Of course, you can use a media player similar to Splashcast, but to my knowledge no other player offers embedded channels.
Website/ Web Services Clones and Alternatives
The uses in this section are visual or functional mimics of popular web sites/ services. Several can be done with a combo of a special, available theme and plugins. Some might require a bit of custom coding.
- Feedburner alternative. Feedburner, a web service that Google recently purchased, offers multiple functionality, but mostly the republishing of site RSS feeds and monitoring. Many bloggers say they don’t want to use Feedburner because Google tends to give the latter the search juice for an article. (There are feed direction plugins to get around that.) I like Feedburner because I don’t have to worry about server resources, and I can monitor my stats. But there is a WordPress alternative to Feedburner that uses a simple set of plugins to accomplish similar functionality (though not a visual clone).
- Popurls clone. Popurls is a popular site that lets you get a bird’s eye view of several popular sites. This format is very handy and can be used to monitor the blogs in a niche or even several niches. Ericulous offers a handy free WP Popurls clone theme. (There are a few plugins necessary, but they’re included in the ZIP file.) While it’s not robust enough yet to handle non-RSS format feeds, it’s still an excellent launch point.
- Techmeme clone. Techmeme is in my blogger’s toolbox as handy way to monitor the tech niche. It’s not as “bird’s eye view” as a Popurls clone, and it algorithmically follows a set of RSS feeds. If you blog is in the tech niche, it might be included one day in Techmeme’s stream and not the next (or ever again). You can solve that with your own Techmeme clone using WordPress and various plugins. Though there are two things to point out:
- I haven’t come across a ready-made WP solution to Techmeme. The closest clone to Techmeme is Megite, which I understand is available for licensing at $15,000+.
- Techmeme and Megite use “topic clustering” algorithms that are the core driver to how the story items are presented on both sites. I haven’t deciphered this yet, but I’m working on it.
Nevertheless, the basic idea behind Techmeme is a “river of news”. This can be produced using RSS import plugins and a custom WP theme – best created with the Blueprint CSS Framework and related tools (something I’ll try to cover in the future). You’ll end up with something like Techmeme River as a starting point. From here, you’d have to apply clustering algorithms, which are way beyond the scope of Performancing.
- Twitter clone. Twitter microblogging has become something of a phenomenon online, with some people even preferring this mode of communication over blogging. But it has its drawbacks – namely a 140-character message/ tweet limit, no simple inclusion of visual media, scrambled URLs, etc. Sure, there are Twitter alternatives such as Jaiku and Tumblr, but if you want to do something similar in WP, you’re in luck. Matt and Automattic (makers of WordPress) have released the Prologue theme. It has Gravatar support and loads of RSS feeds, and is ideal for group “twittering” activity. (See the section below for specific uses of Prologue.) Their download site is down at the time of this writing, and apparently doesn’t offer a ZIP, so go visit Sizlopedia instead.
Additional Uses of the Prologue Theme
The Prologue theme, mentioned in the last section for “Twitter clone”, is a versatile theme/plugin package with a lot of potential. Here are some additional ways you can use it. Keep in mind that for some of these uses, you might want to either password-protect each new posting manually, or write some custom code that automatically sets a post’s status to “private”. (That’s not covered here, but if you’re using WP 2.3+, it probably has simplified privacy options.)
- Article assignment system. There are several ways to set up an article assignment system in WP. The simplest way is to use the Prologue theme. Each writer gets an account, and when the editor posts an available assignment, the first person to claim it by posting gets it. (Details of the assignment might be elsewhere.) The success of this approach depends on the discipline of writers not to post anything else except acceptance of an assignment. Questions can be posted as comments on the source assignment message, not as additional messages. Otherwise, the message stream will get cluttered fast.
Now, if you want something more sophisticated that sends out reminders, etc., you’d need to write custom plugins/ code to manage that information.
- Confession log. People love to confess private things (or hear about others’ confessions.) Set up a site with the Prologue theme. Keep registration open (but possibly with email confirmation) and let people confess whatever they like.
- Celebrity or political microblog. If you only want to post short newsy items about a niche (such as entertainment or politics) and don’t need to upload images, Prologue is ideal for this. Thrivecore is an example used for pop culture microblogging. (Just keep in mind that to include links to other pages, you need to enter the appropriate HTML code in Prologue’s textarea.)
- Grocery list. Use the Prologue theme and enter grocery items. When you go to the grocery store, access your list with your Apple iPhone. (You can use other devices, but from what I understand, the iPhone is the best mobile Internet device around in terms of usability and readability.) You could also write custom code to tweak the list and convert it to some other format via a web API.
- Log book. One of the biggest pains in the behind when you run your own business is tracking expenses and/or logging meetings. Use the Prologue theme and enter items AFTER they occur. Voila, an automatic logbook. If you have a mobile phone with Internet access, use it to enter items on the go. Later, you can use a desktop computer to collate the items and record them more permanently in a spreadsheet. If you’re a codemonkey, you can write a WP plugin to export items to a private Google Spreadsheet, a web calendar, or a web to-do list service. Alternately, you can use your log book site’s RSS feed.
- Reminders. A Reminder system is similar to a to-do list but actually sends out reminders with a service such as Retweet’s Timer. Setup a Prologue theme as usual, but rig a Twitter stream using your site’s RSS feed. Use the necessary notation for Timer, and reminder items will be sent to you. Keep in mind that this shouldn’t be used for anything but items that are at least a day ahead, as it’s hard to predict when Twitter will check your updated RSS feed.
- Review site. Use Prologue with a group of friends to easily share brief reviews of movies, music, books, etc. Browse through JakartaBar for an interesting example. Make sure to check the comments (labelled as “reviews”.) I’m not sure what plugin they’re using for their ratings, but here are a few places that you can find review/ ratings plugins: Dan Grossman, Paul Goscicki (movie ratings – compliant with hReview microformat), Sneak, Channel-Ai.
I haven’t tested any of these with Prologue yet, so I don’t know how they’ll look. (The movie ratings plugin is for the use of a post’s author, so may not suit Prologue use.) Which plugin you use depends on who will do the rating (author or reader) and what is being rated (the actual post or something referenced in the post).
- Software bug logger. Are you testing web or desktop software with a group of developers/ testers? Setup a subdomain with WP, using the Prologue theme. Turn on “privacy” in your WP control panel so that search engines don’t know about the site. Give each tester an account and have them follow a specific notation that can be parsed into a web spreadsheet or some other bug log.
- To-do list. Use the Prologue theme to post new tasks for yourself. It’s not elegant, but it’s easy to set up and use. It’s also available from anywhere that you have Internet access, and you can always pretty up the items later. In fact, if you can define a notation for items and use it consistently, you can send the to-do list feed through custom code (or a Yahoo Pipe) whose output works with the API of either a real web to-do list, calendar or spreadsheet service. (I.e., Google Calendar or Spreadsheet.) Check out Twittercal (and its Twitter bot) to get a better sense of this.
Note: If you’re serious about the above uses, get
yourself a personal domain (e.g., yourname.com) and create one subdomain per use. Or use a single subdomain and create a unique notation that makes clear what each posting represents. Then use a Yahoo Pipe or other code to filter the RSS feed, which then can be sent via APIs to a web spreadsheet or calendar.
To my knowledge, the uses in this section are mostly speculative and thus require custom code, themes, plugins and/or web services.
(Note: Several of these ideas are taken from a blogHelper article.)
- Article library. Set up WordPress so that the home page template displays no posts on the home page, only a static index of articles. Each article is a post with its own permalink page. An example is A-Level Econoref.
- Calendar. You could drive your web calendar by using a Prologue-like home page (discussed indepth above), using a custom notation for items. The items would be parsed elsewhere and sent to a web calendar such as Google Calendar, or displayed on a calendar widget on your site. [This is an extension of the idea discussed for To-Do List and Reminder items above.]
- Classifieds. Using the Edgeio Classfieds plugin, you can add paid or free classifieds to your WP site. This could be integrated with something like a real estate listings site, as discussed above.
- Contact manager. As discussed in Pushing the Envelope of WP Functionality, Design Canopy is offering a WP-based Contact Manager theme (with plugins).
- CSS/ Site awards gallery. There are lots of gorgeous CSS Gallery sites out there, and if you have the need to create a niche one of your own, you have several choices – including writing your own custom theme and plugins. If that’s too much work, Shabu at OS Designer offers a free WP-based CSS Gallery theme (with necessary plugins) that uses two columns. (Example: CSS Design Gallery.) If two columns are not enough, or you want some flexibility in item pages, Small Potato at WP Designer is selling a CSS Gallery WP theme. Both Shabu’s and Small Potato’s themes use a voting plugin whereby visitors can rank a site.
- Ecommerce site. WordPress can be integrated with plugins or custom code, and PayPal, to produce online shops. An example is Filipino Artisans. (I’ve read that Moo.com also uses WP, but I think it’s for their blog, not their online store.) There are also code packs that allow you to integrate Amazon or other merchants into your own e-store.
- Media collection manager. You’ll need custom code, but WP can be used to track your CDs, DVDs, books, software, collectibles. You’re basically using it as a database manager for a specific type of item, though you could generalize. Alternately, you can use a Prologue theme interface with a unique notation, then parse added items and send them to a web spreadsheet via its API.
- Voting site. The CSS Gallery setup examples above use a voting plugin. You could tailor one of these for a more traditional social voting site, or you could produce a custom template like the one at N4G (News for Gamers) – though I don’t believe they are WordPress-based. But with all the components discussed in this article, a WP-based theme similar to N4G’s is possible. You could also combine the WP Prologue theme with a voting plugin to build a rudimentary voting site.
- Web portfolio. Designers and other creative types might like to offer an online portfolio showcasing their past work. W web portfolio has elements of an image gallery and a CSS gallery but isn’t necessarily either. One example is Twist’n’Shout’s portfolio. Also, check out blogHelper’s two-part series (part 1, part 2) on how build a WP-based portfolio.
15 Additional Uses of WordPress to Explore
Here are some additional possible uses of WordPress that didn’t have time to research and write up, but wanted to share with you. Much of the technique you need to use WP this way is already discussed above in this article.
- Church sermons.
- Fark-like user-submitted links.
- Forum. Sure, BBPress by Automattic is probably a better choice than a WP-based forum, but the fact is that you can do it.
- Job listings site.
- Music archives.
- Press release site.
- Project/ task management.
- Sales pages.
- Social network.
- Short film festival site.
- Video sharing site.
- Web command dashboard. (Private site to monitor your sites’ metrics, etc.)
- Web directory.
- Web soapbox.
These lists above are only a sampling of the uses for WordPress. So if you thought WP was only for blogs, hopefully you these examples stir up some ideas for your own projects. (Thanks to all the input by Hive members.) I’ll be covering a lot of these examples in more detail all this year.
I always recomiento WordPress you can start knowing nothing, is very intuitive and easy to edit and you can handle as you want, plus everyday people are working to get more out, creating new plugin and new templates to make it more useful if possible.
Great writing buddy! I loved it. Thanks! 🙂
Nice work, I’ve been looking for some uses of wordpress and now I know it can be used for everything.
Nice compilation of things to do with a blog. I’ve used wordpress to set up clients with SEO friendly sites that seem to be easy to optimize. I plan on using wordpress as long as it remains favorable with the search engines
Thanks for this list, i’ve bookmarked it. WordPress is a great piece of software with a huge community backing it. I have used it for several websites already, wanted to use is for our kinderkleding-business (that’s dutch for kids fashion 😉 ) but we decided to go with a different software package.
Great list, some really interesting uses here. Also, good directory site I’ve found which I think uses WP is http://www.juicyexeter.co.uk
thanx… goog information. ^_^
Thank you very much for publishing this article.
That realy unique. Ini benar-benar unik, dan pertama buat saya. Banyak cara yang ternyata bisa dilakukan pada wordpress. Terima kasih info nya. Pimpii akan coba terapkan.
I really like using WordPress as a CMS. I know it’s not the end-all, be-all, but with all the themes, easy installation, and customization, it’s a no-brainer for a lot of sites. Small businesses can use it, like I did with my parents’ kitchen cabinet business.
Great post (even though it’s a bit old now…)!
having knowledge of wp, however didn’t know that it could be used in the many ways you describe in the post. I’m sure there are many mores ways that we didn’t think of, that i’m going to try and find for myself and post what i’ve found
Im planning to use wordpress as a blog directory listing all blogs belonging to a particular user community say my college.
My plan is to use a gallery based theme and post the details about each website as separate post with the necessary tags.
But I want to include the latest posts from each site and also the rankings (alexa, technorati, google page rank, etc) of that site to be shown along with that post.
Is there any resource which I could make use of for this project.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for taking your time and put this together.
Bookmarked and sent to meneame.net
WordPress is the best tool for a web designer and for SEOs
Muy buen post, sin duda el mejor post creado en wp
nice post…thanks for the share…i will keep watching for your next post…thanks….
nice, really nice!
WordPress is the best script!
i use it as blog, cms, gallery site, portfolio site…
i glad that there are a lot of plugins for WP!
Cool post! I’ll bookmark this page and wish to share it to all my friends and clients.
majority of them like to use laptop as the trend is changing so fast and with the speed everyone wants to walk or run to keep up with the world. people are least bothered about repair when buying and why should they bother as everything in this world gets repair.
I only got into using wordpress recently after spending my time building sites with html so I haven’t even scraped the surface of what’s possible yet.
Your post as really opened my eyes and given me plenty to think about.
Se ja era bom, agora então, sem palavras, WORDPRESS na cabeça!
i didnt know most of these ways that we can use wordpress…
Thank you for these informations.
Thanx a lot! I try many useful links and information in this your post! great!
This has been very informative post about WordPress. I can’t say enough good about WordPress. Unless you dig real deep, there is absolutely nothing WP can’t do. I use it for all my sites including this one doing well Golf Reviews.
So many different ways to customize the beloved WordPress!
Hey Thats Great Nice collection !
brilliant post ty
- Some of the generated HTML code is hard-coded within some core functions! The best (ie worst!) example is the navigation menu: it generates <ul><li> elements (which is a good default choice). But what if you’d need something else, or simply add some specific class to some of the generated items?
- Sometimes you hit some totally improbable limitation you can hardly predict. For instance I had to make a site, where each post represented an exhibition. WP seemed fairly well adapted, since the exhibitions had to be ordered chronologically, just as posts usually are. So, for this to work, the editor had to set the date of the post to the date the exhibition starts at. The problem is that posts published with a date in the future are impossible to display! Again, I had to hack some core functions to get around this limitation, which was far from easy!
- At the beginning of this article, it is told that it is easy to add custom fields. Well, unless you use the meta keywords as custom fields, there is no easy way to add custom fields! And the meta keywords are really no user-friendly solution for custom fields! So all you have is a title and a content! Which is simply not enough if you need something slightly more complex!
- And keep in mind: every dirty hack you do, will probably make some future update of WordPress fail! First of all, every change you do to a file outside of the wp-content folder (except to the config.php of course) will make your WP updates a nightmare. Then, if you don’t use the WP functions the way they are supposed to be used, you risk at every update that your blog (err: site) doesn’t work anymore!
- Using WP as a CMS implies that you’ll also use the WP functions a bit more than for a basic blog. The problem is that IMO WP’s documentation Wiki is a complete mess. I often loose minutes before I finally find the documentation about a function, when there is some! Usually I end up reading WP’s source code to understand how it works… Furthermore, excepted for the basic functions, the naming is not coherent at all.
- Finally a point that might also cause you troubles even if you use WP for what it has been made for: WP uses absolute URLs for every internal link and saves these absolute URLs everywhere in the database. It has been designed this was in order to make sure that you’ll get a headache and loose a lot of time each time you want to move your blog (such as from localhost to the online version).
Excellent post and very useful for me.
Thanks, 48 ways it’s really cool!
Thanx a lot! I try many useful links and information in this your post! great!
I host CVs on WP-MU. (actually, just one yet). http://cvvanmij.nl/wkossen
This is not necessarily very strange, but it is effective as you can easily manage parts of the CV in a familiar and easy to use admin-back-end.
Please comment on http://cvvanmij.nl
Great post! I was looking for post describing a portfolio making process, thanks for linking to that 2-part tutorial!
Has anyone here done a museum like site in WordPress? I will be re-designing a museum site soon and I thought about using drupal at first but its only a small museum so I might get by with WordPress. If anyone has any examples please let me know. The site would need things like a calendar of events, present & future exhibits, staff section, department sections, store, contact forms, etc.
Here is what the site looks like now:
Thanks for this great collection !
As mentionned in point 39, I use wordpress for a Press Release site…
Check this at : MisterPress
WordPress is nothing but pure genius! It is just a matter of time before wordpress becomes synonymous with a website. Almost every second website is being designed on wordpress these days and this is simply cool!
seems you have researched a lot to write all the tips. Hopefully I will try to incorporate them in my future web endevors
For anyone who could teach me, please email me here, [email protected]..
Can anybody teach me some of the techniques in using wordpress, I need it so much to construct my website project thesis..Thank you!
Wow thanks for all the good stuff! I love wordpress so much, but I didn’t realize all the great ways it could be used!
I am using your theme for my blog and I am wondering why I cannot get the polls to show up. Also, how to I change the background picture behind my title.
I use wordpress for publishing church sermons and it works great. No more uploading different html files and messing with code. WordPress does it all from my browser. Awesome!
Hi Ryan is there an chance of providing a link to this as I need to achieve something similar for a client.
Thanks in advance
seems you have researched a lot to write all the tips. Hopefully I will try to incorporate them in my future web endevors
I added you to my RSS Reader.
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I use word press for my blog and love it. Very easy to use and extremely intuitive.
Just recently, Google’s 3D world Lively was shut down. Now Google announced they’re canceling a couple of other products or product features. These are: (Google-acquired “activity streamer” Jaiku, on the other hand, will be migrated. Google says they “are in the process of porting Jaiku over to Google App Engine. After the migration is complete, we will release the new open source Jaiku Engine project on Google Code under the Apache License. While Google will no longer actively develop the Jaiku codebase, the service itself will live on”.) Google is acting quick and getting leaner during the recession, and sometimes that’s good to focus on what’s important. Not doing so, you risk trembling over your own weight, and especially deserted products like Google Catalog won’t be missed by many. On the other hand, some of the users of the now canceled products, like the Mashup Editor, may begin to miss their tools, and trust Google less when it comes to future choices of where to put their content. Reto Meier in the comments writes: If all these are signs of a less experimental, more consolidated Google*, then there may be another side effect: potential employees may be less willing to apply for a job. For one thing, a rather free-roaming environment is an attractive job feature for developers.
Great post! that must of taken a ton of work. i have bookmarked to come back and continue looking at all your references. Thanks!
I’m not a fan of the 2 or 3 current choices, simple:press or bbpress, or td forms?
Hopefully someone will come up with a decent bridge for smf or punbb, or the current options will mature and improve.
If that could be fixed, i think wordpress would be almost perfect. At least for me.
Nice article! I knew WP could be used for a lot, but some of these uses blow me away.
I didn’t see it mentioned in the article, but a lot of adult (porn) websites use wordpress for their websites. I read a long thread about it in an adult webmaster forum. A good example would be Smutbomb.com (NSFW).
I liked to read it. it was verry wel written. Thanks.
Nice Info, WP is easy as a-b-c-d and also so many useful plugins that make our blogging life easier 😀
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Thanks for sharing this info with us. I’m a WP beginner – so my first things just gather all information about WP, especially the tips and trick
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I think everyone has his 49th way to use wordpress. I wrote about my ways on Aerotheme.com
After see this i just say this SUPERB
Nice post. WordPress is very handy and I use it for a few sites.
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Thank you very much for publishing this article. It’s like a WorldPress bible. Precise and very informative and I don’t have anything to add to it. I have bookmarked this page, will be referring to it often and would advise the other readers to do the same.
Thank you .
Indeed this is what worries me the most everytime when WordPress come out with a new updates – but I bet this is just not about WordPress. Even if you’re using other CMS like Drupal or CMS Made Simple, you still face the same problem when you change things from the back end.
The list just prove what I thought since two years ago: WordPress is, for sure, getting more and more powerful. What amaze me is that there are geeks that manage to build a Popurl clone using just WordPress – that’s something remarkable!
good thanks a lot. perfect!
That’s a great list. I’ve bookmarked this page. WordPress indeed is very powerful if used the right way. I only had I question, is there any plugin to display list of pages/posts from specific categories on a page/post. This is for something like the Article Library example you gave above. Is there some plugin to list them all in one page?
It turns out I don’t use my WP site even for half of these things. Gotta improve!
Hey, great post, it was really insightful. Before this I never thought of any other ways to use wordpress.
Speaking of wordpress you may enjoy this article.
WordPress SEO Internal Link Tweak
I use WordPress for all my websites now and I can’t think of why anyone would want to use anything else. It is so simple to set up and modify. I love it!
Great list!I never thought that wordpress can be that useful…
Excellent! Thank you for sharing this!
johnMark: I don’t see why not. You can customize a WP installation’s PHP code to aggregate web feeds, then massage the items and display them. I’ve done this several times, both with just the latest article headings of a set of blogs, and with an excerpt of feed items.
Thnx for the cool tips and will implement it !
wow this is the best list. I really learned a lot from your post. Very complete and very well explained. Thanks for the information.
Thanks for this post. I need to comb through it again more slowly.
Can you tell me if there is an easy way in wordpress to build a community/aggregator blog? Something similar to Beliefnet?
Great post and Thank you very much.
We are actually using Worpress to rate and review iPod and iPhone accessories. The website is iPod Stuff Reviews.com. Check us out at http://www.ipodstuffreviews.com
Really interesting article, great time killer.. loved it!
Thanks you very much.
I have been arguing with myself about this for quite sometime. The plug ins alone make the switch from traditional web design to using WP a no brainer. However, having wrap my head around basic web design for ten years, this should quite interesting.
That’s really helpful
Thanks a lot. Just bookmarked. Now I have some ideas how to extend my blog
I have 2 sites working with wordpress as a backend:
This a blogs directory. I used a theme that made by me, a few plugins and some custom fields.
2. Que Comer
A restaurant guide where I list every place in the city, photos, what services they offer, descriptions and more… I use a lot of categories, some custom fields and custom made theme and plugins.
There are a few plugins around that can make your life easier… you just need to look for them.
I also have a few websites that uses WP as the backend and I’m working on a very advanced theme (and some plugins to go with it) to manage intranets for SMBs.
I use WordPress for all my websites now and I can’t think of why anyone would want to use anything else. It is so simple to set up and modify. I can’t agree more!
Thanks for this post, especially for the pointer to Prologue theme.
I have been using wordpress.com blogs … and have experience wiht many CMS systems Plone, joomla, Drupal… I would always like to use a CMS for even a simple website due to its ease of management and delegation capabilities… But i am happy to note that wordpress can do so much .. i plan to shift one of my website from drupal to wordpress.. as i do not plan to use much programming…
Okay i liked the article and the list but.. i’m getting tired of wordpress.. i mean a blog looks.. well.. too much like a blog… and that is what i don’t like about blogs.. i know it sounds strange but almost every blog on the web (with a few exceptions) looks like every other blog on the web .. i.e. all of them look almost the same.. not exactly like but you know its a blog by just looking at its theme.. i dunno i just feel that way 😛 anyway besides that kudos for the great post!
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Awesome article.. simply love it. thnx.
Great list…if you know what you are doing, you can customize it for any purpose really…
Nice compilation dude. I never knew WP can be tweaked so much.
The Confession log idea sounds pretty good.
Wow this really shows all the great possibilities of WP!
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Try a full Content Management System such as Joomla or Mamba for something like softpedia. WordPress may not have enough functionality for what you want to try.
WordPress is the sh*t! I’m sure there are a million other great uses for it, but these are the 48 best!
im wonder if download site like softpedia.com can be done using wordpress? because im looking to create a site for software view and review, anyone can give me a answer?
This problem has been eased by the documentation you can get here:
I use WordPress for all my websites now and I can’t think of why anyone would want to use anything else. It is so simple to set up and modify. I love it.
What a post! I have bookmarked this for future reference. I use wordpress for all new sites now as it can be used in so many different ways and getting content up fast is important for me. Thanks.
Really helpful information, and thanks for adding grocery lists and confession logs in the list.
I know of a lady who uses wordpress to keep in touch with her kids during the day. She posts up what they are having for dinner, and what she needs the kids to do when they come home. She’s a single mother and often isn’t home when her kids are there. So they can check the blog.
Beat that !
Another good idea for a wordpress use would be a knowledge base.
Will check the sites out Raj! Ty.
Thanks Poppy. Gabriel is trying to promote his own product I’m experimenting with several uses of WP right now, some of which will be discussed at Nettuts.com, one at FreelanceFolder.com, and the rest might be on one of my sites. All of these WP experiments will either be home page templates or full themes, and will be freely available once I’ve worked them all out.
Great post Raj. Thanks. WordPress definitely is far more than blogging software. There are many uses! It customises to integrate into website designs as a content management system very well from I have found and still validates. I have to disagree with Gabriel.
Deepanshu: That’s a very strange question. Which blog post are you reading that you’re actually asking me, a WordPress lover (except V2.5) why I don’t use WordPress? I use WordPress on 95% of my blogs.
Ads can be embedded easily by editing admin theme.
Also, soon wordpress will be releasing a social networking platform as ‘BuddyPress’. People will have their personal network insted of just blogs.
i belive in open source & wordpress so much that i am soon going to make my domain goelji.com a free self hosted sub domain blog platform using WordPress and the users will be able to communicate with each other also. right now its in ‘bleeding mode’ – as wordpress says.
Also Raj why dont you use WordPress?
This is very impressive. I never knew you could do so much with wordpress. I’ll definately print this out and keep it as a resource.
Thanks for this post. Its given me a few extra ideas on how to extend a wordpress blog.
Found this one very useful. Thanks! Especially for the pointer to Prologue theme.
Care to share the rental site details? I’ve been looking for something like that!
About a year ago I took our church website completely to WordPress. It was a painless transition and bears no sign that it is WordPress. I have to take other developers to the Admin panel and change stuff on the site before they believe me. WordPress has made a great CMS for us at St. Simons Community Church.
I think that knowledge base was mentioned above, but probably not clearly. But, yes.
Another good idea for a wordpress use would be a knowledge base.
Ivan: I see no indication that archer.ie is a wordpress site – neither in the HTML nor in the footer.
There is alos a recruitment agency: http://www.Archer.ie on PW – with jobs posted and all…
Ivan | http://www.SeoConsultant.ie
Jonathon: If you list the features that you need for your template choice to have, maybe I can suggest a few themes.
I’m an unapologetic drinker of the WordPress Cool-Aid. It works, it started out pretty easily and more flexible – and it keeps getting easier and more flexible.
My principal blog – popular logistics – is about disaster preparedness – but as I realized what I could do with it – and how easy it was – I’ve set up WP sites for a number of friends and family members.
Am currently looking around for a WordPress theme that can be promoted as a standard blogging template for communications in large-scale emergencies. And while I’m not sure which theme – or whether or not to use MU – I know enough about WordPress now to know that it can handle what we have in mind for it.
And now that I’ve read Raj Dash’s article – I’m seeing even more possibilities.
Wolf: My German is minimal. Does the site allow people to post jobs and to apply?
there’s a real life example for a job listing site called Job Watchr, set-up and managed by a friend of mine. It’s in German only but the content should be still quite self-explainable.
really interesting post, just bookmarked! 😉
Nice and amazing article.
I summarized it for my italian readers on http://www.wordpressmania.it
Manu: Thanks for the tip. Very nice.
should you plan to use wordpress as a photoblog, consider using the PhotoQ Photoblog Plugin in addition to a photoblog theme and your life will get much easier…
Orizens: Definitely a unique way to set up a portfolio. I haven’t seen it done that way.
i use wordpress as a cms for my website:
Presenting some info about my services, showcasing my portfolio which is integrated with zenphoto gallery. wordpress is working great for me as a cms for my needs.
Seting up WP-powered site is very easy. It means we can also set WP as the engine of domain parking. Just put up some articles which related to your domain, set up contact page.
Great post! I gathered some really interesting ideas from it!
Michael: Lazy?!! Do you know how many hours #1-33 took me to research and write up? Way way too many. If it makes you feel better, I agonized about including those without a description. But I will try to expand on #34-48 and several of the others (with some live examples) over the rest of this year.
Bassa07: Nice idea. So many theses never get published anywhere else.
Here you have another nice use: a “thesis blog”:
34 to 48!!! whats up with that…I wanted to know about number (47) Web Directory!
Hey that’s great, Sarah. I like your idea of making a gallery of WP themes using a WP gallery theme. Very clever.
I bought a CSS Gallery, CSSSocial.com, with a colleague last Fall, but due to miscommunication, all the hosted content was lost. I’ve been waiting for a WP gallery theme, so I’ll be reviving the site soon. There are actually a couple hundred galleries out there, but a WP gallery theme was only created recently (Small Potato and OS Designer are the only two sites that offer them, as far as I know.)
Great post (and now I have a full tab-bar from all of the links I consider “must read”!).
I just launched a WP theme review site (my link, if you want to see it) based on the CSS Gallery theme and one custom plugin to calculate SEO score, and it was reasonably straightforward to code. (Of course there’s also a lot of work behind the scenes to actually review each theme’s source code, but that’s a separate issue.)
I’m actually kind of surprised there haven’t been more gallery sites cropping up, given the moderately low barrier to entry, but I’m glad the ones I’ve seen are pretty niche-oriented (“sites created with WordPress” and other similarly narrow categories); they add more than just trying to recreate the original galleries.
Looking forward to digging in to the Popurls clone! Sound like exactly what I need for my “About Sarah” site.
I have converted a theme I found into a site for the booster club for Ohio State Women’s Basketball. It works like a charm.
Andrea: Thanks for the explanation about WPMU. I’ve been looking at your site and I’m looking forward to your equivalent “48 Ways” article for WPMU
Sorry for the typos, redundant words and bad grammer. 😀 Now I’m interested in writing a similar article only using WPMU as the base for site ideas. 😀
Prolouge is just a theme (yes?), so as long as your changes are theme-specific, then no, it does not affect all blogs. each blog can have their own theme AND you can make it so they have their own unique themes.
the only other caveat I’ll add for MU is there’s no interface for domain mapping (it’s manual in the db, or there’s a semi-usable plugin) – which is for having any sub-blog have its own domain, and there are a few plugins which either don’t work or need tweaking to work because of how the database is set up.
For example, MU woudl make an exceptional ecommerce site, with each blog being a seperate shop (think of something like etsy.com). Right now, you need to do a lot of work to get it to do that though. I think the people behind wp-ecommerce ar eworking on an MU version of their shop plugin though.
And plenty of people are already using WPMU-based sites as a social networking place, each in different ways. I’ve also seen a *lot* of MU-based realty sites, with each blog either being an area with listings, or each blog being a listing itself.
on my own site, I’ve recently started a weekly feature highlighting a particular MU-based site and the flexibility involved. Some good stuff out there.
Andrea: I never considered WPMU as I don’t know much, but yeah, I can just imagine what you can do. Though if you have one code installation to control all the “blogs”, won’t tweaking the code change ALL of the “blogs” too? In other words, can you really have one blog be a Twitter clone (Prologue), another be a movie trailer site, etc.?
And if you go slightly to the left and think of uses for sites based on WordPress Multi User, the sky is the limit really. As many blogs as you want, all under one roof. of course, if you don’t think of them as blogs, that’s when things get really interesting.
BN: Ah, apologies. Well certainly, you can tweak a plugin to point to publish the links you add via Prologue. Here’s the simplest way I can think of to handle it:
(1) Setup your Prologue site, possibly in a subdirectory or subdomain.
(2) Setup your “drudge report” site, which gets its source content from the RSS feed of the Prologue site.
(3) Define a notation for the Prologue site’s entries. For example:
t This is the title of the great post I found
d This is a description of the great post
So each “message” you add via your Prologue site represents a single report item. Somewhere in the process, you’d have to parse an entry’s notation, to format and display it the way you want. That might be what the plugin does, which would be installed at the “report” site.
Or something like that. Hope that helps.
Thanks for this post. Its given me a few extra ideas on how to extend a wordpress blog. At the moment I got about 30 wordpress blogs for mfa and seo use and I think its a very easy cms …
@BN: If I get your requirement right then Blog archive: The publishing power of bookmarks might be a good reading tip for you.
> my own short descriptive headline permalinking directly to the original source
A) Will link to the original source: Don’t blog, just bookmark somewhere like del.icio.us with a special tag and publish the RSS feed. If you i.e. need a chronological structure add the date: bookmark:0803.
B) Will link to your blog: Publish to a hidden category not published anywhere else and create appropriate site elements for that category.
Publish mini blogs as asides is another idea.
Thank you, Raj for your kind response!
Auto-Aggregating RSS-Feeds Popurl-style is not quite what I thought of… I would like to be able to publish various links of different sources (not always feeded) as I find them, without blogging them the usual way but only with my own short descriptive headline permalinking directly to the original source instead of having it under my entries´ permalink in the loop. I would not need any pics for that.
Sure I would get Prologue to imitate that by linking the text, but its RSS feed headline would still permalink to my entries´ id, not to the source directly. Could I change that? Would it be possible to pack that functionality into a plug-in?
BN: The simplest way to do something like the Drudge Report is to use an RSS feed import plugin (example: WP-o-matic) and tweak it to show only headlines. There are other similar plugins. I think the Popurls clone code uses a tweaked FlickrRSS plugin. (See above in the article for “Popurls clone”.)
Now as for inserting the photographs, you might have to do that manually, or through custom fields. However, since pics are not showing for every post, that might not work.
Yes, you could use Prologue for entering the links, but for displaying the links, it would depend on what layout you want. If you don’t want the default Prologue stream, you could take the resulting RSS feed and send it to a separate WP installation. Or you could tweak Prologue theme code to display it differently.
Always great to get such terrific looks over the own WP-Dashboard!
As there is so much WP-Know-How around here, does anyone know a way to publish Links Drudge-like in a normal Blog layout environment? Would it be possible to implement at all, via Plug-IN or Custom Fields or iframed single page?
Perhaps the Prologue theme would be adjustable, but it requires a complete independent WP installation, right?
Thanks for the comment Raj
There are endless possibilities with wordpress. Definitely a great CMS to use for any project.
Bizjama: I’ll sooon be following up with live examples (and a step-by-step tutorial) on some of the Prologue examples mentioned above.
I saw this mentioned on another blog and just had to say thanks! You’re enabling a great many WordPress addicts. 😉 I also hadn’t been aware of the Prologue theme, which might work out well for something I’m trying to do on one of my sites. Thanks again, Raj.
Check out 21 Famous Sites That Use WordPress over at WordPress Hut.
Gabriel: Wow, that is a really nice panel! (Didn’t know you could embed ads within the panel)
Thanks for your answer Raj.
You are right about the admin panel, which can be adapted to specific needs through plugins. It’s just quite time consuming to make it a WP plugin when you’re not used to it. Furthermore plugins are good for creating new admin panel pages, but existing pages are not so easy to modify. In our case, we unfortunately didn’t have the budget for making it.
About the complexity of the admin panel, it get easier with WordPress 2.5 version which should come out this month (in March): Have a look at the demo site!
Gabriel: I didn’t notice your second response until now…
It’s true that WP is not designed for client end-use. Neither are million dollar CMSes. In the latter case, the integrating team develops end-user interfaces to make things simple – or the company hires qualified employees at great cost.
I know this because I often had to write end-user documentation and/or do training sessions for complex software. Years of experience tell me that non-technical people are simply not going to understand. But WordPress, a FREE platform, shouldn’t be blamed for the inability of a client to understand how to use it. Yes, the interface could be nicer, but considering how young the software really is, and the fact that it’s open source, with only recent monetary injection(s), it’s accomplished a lot. There are also ways to get around the admin panel, including plugins for a nicer interface. Another option, for your client, would be to develop a plugin that shows them a simple image upload interface.
Granted, your client needs seem to go beyond what WordPress can offer, but again as I pointed out, for bloggers and small businesses, WP can get the job done. I am not saying that there are no other options. There are dozens of other free alternatives, and people who swear by them. But according to Technorati statistics, WordPress is the most popular platform. So for that reason, I focused on WP. I’m simply saying that WordPress is more than a blog platform, and all of the example URLs of WP-based sites that were dropped in the comments show this to be true.
WPdaily: There are actually several WP Admin plugins that make for a much friendlier interface. I came across a good blog post, but as I find the default panel very easy to use (sorry, i’m a long-time tech-head), I didn’t think of following up on it. If I find the post again, I’ll try to write something about it.
Daniel: Very cool – yet another example of expanding WP’s use.
Besides JakartaBar.com (mentioned in the article, which we developed), we have also used WordPress to develop a games site with over 300+ free online games.
Powered with thanks to a modified version of a WP theme which uses custom fields extensively to create very non-blog pages, this site shows how WordPress’ CMS capabilities combined with a clever theme can help us serve up a free online games aggregator site quickly and efficiently:
The site is still a beta release so any comments appreciated.
Thanks in anticipation….
This is a very well thought out post. It helps WordPress developers think outside the box.
Gabriel – I agree that adding custom fields can be tricky and should be made more user friendly. It’s a great feature when you understand it.
Personally, my only complaint is the design/layout of the Admin section. As a whole, it isn’t user friendly as I feel it should be.
Again, thanks for a great post
If you’re going to use WordPress as a low end CMS, it’s great to use it in tandem with Google Custom Search. I helped a client steer clear of CMS costs by setting up a WordPress interface to manage a research database (http://www.glisodin.org)… for a site that is only going to be updated every few weeks at the most, this turned out to be a pretty good alternative!
DeFries: Ah, you beat me to it. In fact, I’m going to be posting something later today (Sunday) about WP Elements and the cool plugins/ themes.
Anonymous: I posted about Scriblio in a comment above.
For libraries or just for fun: http://about.scriblio.net, check this!
If you’re gonna do a video site with WordPress you should check out the development over here: http://www.wpelements.com/2008/02/27/what-features-would-you-like/
Raj, to make a constructive critic, the missing points for WP to be a good CMS for simple websites are:
– More flexible and consistent general purpose functions (or classes)
– Better structured and more complete documentation
– Complete separation of markup from WP’s core functions (have a look at the Walker_* classes in wp-includes/classes.php generating a lot of markup you won’t be able to change!)
– No absolute internal URLs saved to the database
– Better tools to make custom loops over desired posts (I too often end up writing my own SQL queries)
I systematically struggle on these points, which makes me crazy.
And about custom fields, I had to lay text over a lead graphic. The client who had to use the site never understood how to get the URL of the uploaded image into that custom field, because the GUI is absolutely not made for that.
Gabriel, your points are well taken, but I have to strongly disagree with you. As I say in the article above, I evaluated million-dollar CMSes for very large corporations, used high-end CMSes, and even wrote small CMSes from scratch several times. For the type of use I mention, WordPress will work just fine, especially if you using caching properly. And custom fields ARE NOT difficult to add. Of course future-dated posts won’t display – not until the date indicated. Why should they, otherwise?
Now, I don’t know if WordPress could hold it’s own against a million-dollar CMS that has load-balanced servers, but I stated that for bloggers and small online businesses, WordPress will function just fine and won’t cost a fortune.
I use WP in several of the ways above, or am about. I’ll report my findings at the end of the year, but I’m thinking it’ll be fine. Though it does help to have a high-end server setup if you need to handle multple simultaneous database connections as well as huge traffic spikes. That is hardly a failing of WordPress.
i think wordpress is great invented on the internet. its brilliant.
I had to create a few websites using WordPess as CMS and I can tell you: it is a really BAD idea!! Unless your site is very basic or … a blog, you will regret your choice. You will end up adapting your design to the technical limitations, or loosing a lot of time performing dirty hacks.
Here are some of the issues showing why this is such a bad idea:
So unless what you want IS a blog, or a very simply designed web site, use a real CMS, such as CMS Made Simple. With the time you’ll loose tweaking WP, you’ll also learn a real CMS (and there are plenty of great open source CMS out there, no need to pay)!
Hi, really awesome list. Check also the ‘course by blog’ idea that I’m attempting to implement: http://dataminingntua.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/acoursebyblog/
The blog section of the http://www.mickfanning.com/ is also a wordpress backend. WordPress works great for that kinda stuff, although we did need to proxy to get around flash’s sandbox violation errors with the images. But after that it’s all happy times.
Thanks for everyone’s response…
Kirk: Ooops! My mind always thinks it’s “essentially”. I have no clue why.
You’re always putting out such great stuff Raj. I’m going to have to spend a half a to read the other end of all those links you provide.
Psst! A word in your ear sir…it’s “Essential Keystrokes” by the way. Picky, ain’t I?
Nice post, a good example of a city guide that was built in WordPress is Stamford CT Guide. I love using wordpress as a cms, it works really well and its light/fast!
Mark: I’d need more detail about the video blog – hosting of responses, etc. However, there are web-based video widgets that do let people post video responses right into the comment stream of the widget. The widget is usually placed in the navigation area.
I’ll have to look some up and post info here later (though I can’t predict by when, do feel free to remind me)
I use wordpress to publish my community blog. It had GEO coding enabled for posts and a nicer theme until one of the community members managed to crash it somehow.
I’m new to the blogging world. My goal is to create a video blog site that would also allow people to post video responses to the site. Would there be a way to do this with WP? What about allowing for forums with WP?
I know someone who is using WP as a rental system. Allows property owners to paypal subscription and submit their properties.
I use a geocoded travel map as on my independent travel guide for Puerto Rico.
It’s nice to be able to highlight a place, resturant etc. and then have a link to a post that the user can click on.
Here are some additional links:
Library services built on WP:
Building an unified social network on WP:
Excellent input/ info/ tips from everyone in the comments section. Thanks!
WordPress can also be used as not only a way to show your resume, but also how to present the whole “Why Should You Hire Me” aspect of job hunting. Especially if used withpermalinks (to help with SEO), resumes would have the proper keywords in the URL (internet recruiters know how to search there/title content), “why hire me” would have the same qualities, etc.
Plus, if you’re looking for a position in the communications field, having an active blog gives your prospective employers a sample of how you write.
Thanks for this post. Its given me a few extra ideas on how to extend a wordpress blog. I’d come accross a few of them before but there were some in there I’d never thought of.
Raj: This is a really nice article about WordPress. The only complaint I have regarding WordPress is that it seems to be quite “heavy”, like Windows Vista, in that it works with a very complicated interface and so is very slow on my machine. Surely, more memory would be nice, but I feel that WordPress is not quite as good as Google’s Blogger platform for blogging. Anyway, some great ideas here in this article. Thanks, Keith Johnson, Author “The Secret of the Universe”.
ComicPress is a great way to transform WP-powered blogs into webcomics. There’s also a Link Directory plugin for that web directory.
I have to say, I don’t consider Tumblr/tumblelogs a Twitter alternative, especially since they came first and aren’t limited to 140 characters. I believe more people are embracing the tumblelog-style of blogging because there’s just so much content a person can create, and one would like to aggregate all of it in one place.
You should also check out the websites that showcase WP-powered sites (and is obviously WP-powered as well), welovewp.com and wploop.com. And don’t forget those NYTimes blogs powered by WordPress.
Thanks for writing about JakartaBar.com, really appreciate it.
I can confirm that we used Dan Grossman’s excellent ratings plugin to facilitate our visitors in rating the bars they visit.
You may also be interested to know that besides using the Prologue theme for the desktop / large screen version of JakartaBar.com, we also have a customized version of our site just for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
Here’s a link to our iPhone site listing on Apple’s web apps directory:
This is of course all powered by WordPress in the backend and I would be happy to share more of our experience in using WP for JakartaBar.com and other sites.
Nice post. Very interesting… Thanks for taking your time and put this together.
Check out http://www.webunload.com. It’s a good example of a CMS based on WordPress with impressive features. From the makers of devlounge.net
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