Did you know WordPress just turned 13 years old? A lot has changed since it was released in 2003. Back then it was a barebones system compared to what it can do today. It allowed users to create blog posts, or articles, and list them in reverse chronological order on a page. In short, it was a content management system (CMS) used to power blogs. In those days, many developers created a separate set of pages outside of WordPress to manage the rest of their website. That is an entire universe away from how the platform is used today. In fact, many multimillion dollar corporations are now using WordPress’ many features to support their sites and applications.
“Just a Blog” is a Myth
One of the most common myths about WordPress is that it’s, “just a blog,” or that it, “can’t power anything more than a small website.” While it may have been true in 2003, WordPress has evolved in a big way, adding crucial features, like the ones below, that allow developers and business owners alike to shape and mold WordPress into anything it needs to be.
1. Posts & Pages:
These are WordPress’ bread and butter. It can create articles, listed in a time-sensitive manner, and static pages with long term information on them.
2. Customer Post Types:
For the times when something more robust than a page is needed, there are Custom Post Types. These allow users to define new types of content and lay that content out easily. A good example is a business directory. A ‘Business’ Custom Post Type could include name, address, phone, email, website, and more that wouldn’t normally be found on a ‘page’.
3. User Management:
WordPress’ robust and extensible way to manage users means users can create multiple, gated sections of a website for different audiences or have a members area for premium content.
Perhaps WordPress’ greatest strength is that it’s pluggable. This means that developers can create add-ons to give new functionality to the platform. Some great examples are Ninja Forms, which adds feature-rich form building, Paid Memberships Pro, which creates deeply customizable member sites, and WooCommerce, which turns WordPress into an e-commerce platform, complete with shopping cart and checkout area.
Strength in Versatility
All of the above features and more make WordPress incredibly versatile. Not only can bloggers run personal blogs on it, but small businesses can house their websites, and multimillion dollar corporations can power their web applications, all on the same platform. Let’s look at some examples!
Electric City Roasting
Scranton-based coffee roaster Electric City Roasting recently got a brand new, WordPress powered site that does everything from showcase their in-depth selection and brewing process to take orders for their incredible coffee.
CNN is one of the world’s leaders in news and it uses WordPress for several of its websites, including CNN Español, News Room, and Time, to serve news all over the globe. These sites have been optimized to help WordPress perform against the huge amount of traffic they receive.
Newark Public Schools System
Newark Public Schools has nearly 100 websites in their network and thousands of employees, all logging into a WordPress-powered online presence!
Discovery is using WordPress to power their corporate website, with areas for the global newsroom, a custom interactive map of their network, careers, and more.
Colour Pop is a makeup website that handles thousands of concurrent users and millions of dollars in revenue every week. Their online shop is powered by an incredibly optimized version of WordPress and WooCommerce.
While Lexus isn’t using WordPress on their main site, they are using it for a robust customer relationship application called the Crisis Management System. They use this system to send notices and updates to customers, as well as collect information.
This list goes on and on. Companies like National Geographic, Microsoft, MSNBC, DirectTV, and a lot more are all using WordPress.
Blog, Information Site, Intranet, and More
In the last 13 years WordPress has evolved from a blog platform to a robust content management system and an app engine for millions of websites, and it will only get better. New features are regularly released – like the REST API for example. The REST API will allow us to connect to the WordPress database (and therefore all of the content) without using any a traditional theme, or even the Dashboard. That means we’ll be able to create robust applications (like the WordPress for Mac project that came out of Calypso) and mobile apps without needing to use HTML, CSS, and PHP. The REST API means freedom of data and applications that are technology-agnostic. This feature, and many more to come, will open the door for users and developers to create even more. The possibilities are endless!