On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Nine ways of enhancing (your WordPress site).

Here’s nine ways of enhancing WordPress to go above and beyond just a blogging platform with the use of themes and plugins. Some of these feature an asterisk * which I explain below.

Portfolio

If you’re a graphic designer, you can use WordPress as a portfolio for showcasing your work. Here’s three themes worth checking out: IllustratrTwenty Fourteen and Espied.

Shopping Cart*

You can sell things using WordPress. I recommend using the free WooCommerce plugin which works incredibly well with any theme.

Online Courses/Learning Management System*

Do you want to feature online courses like Lynda.com or Khan Academy? You can set up your own courses too with plugins like the Lifter LMS plugin.

Lead Generation*

With a good form plugin like Contact Form 7 or NinjaForms, you can setup a landing page for generating leads.

Forum or Social Network*

Want to host an online forum? You can do that with BBPress. With BuddyPress, you can have your own private social network .

Membership site*

You can set up a site to provide exclusive content for members. WishList Member is a plugin that I’d consider, mostly because of it’s co-founder Stu McLaren who’s given me a lot of help on my website strategy.

Event Registrations*

You can use WordPress for people to register for attending events. Event Espresso, Events Calendar and Events Manager are three plugins I’ve used. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, so if you want more details about them, let me know in the form below.

Help Desk*

Yes, you can manage a help desk ticketing system from WordPress. WPBeginner has a good list and review of plugins, some of which require accounts with third-party services.

Email Subscription

If you’ve got an email newsletter you manage with MailChimp or Constant Contact, you can setup a signup form.

About that asterisk*

Online security is becoming an increasing issue, and many of these enhancements require users to enter personal data. For that reason, if you require personal information beyond an email address, such as a mailing address or phone number, I recommend upgrading your hosting so that you have an SSL certificate, which gives you and your users more security regarding your user data.

Adding SSL means possibly bumping up your hosting plan from less than $10 a month to perhaps $30 or more. If that’s not an option for you, you could use WordPress as a landing page to direct users to third-party services that can take care of one or more of these features, perhaps at a lower cost initially.

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