A lot of people think that WordPress is just for making websites. Well I’d like to invite those people to start thinking outside the box. In my opinion, WordPress is much more than a site builder. It can be an amazing tool to work with that can help you accomplish a plethora of tasks.
In this post I’ll show you a few examples of how WordPress has turned mundane, time-consuming tasks, into easy to use and manageable systems.
Project management and CRM
There are so many project management and client relationship managers out there. They all do different things, a lot do the same thing, but trying to find one that matches your exact needs is not an easy task.
I was in that situation a few months ago. I started using Base CRM which was really amazing. The only thing I didn’t like was the way it handled deals. It didn’t fit my needs. I make a lot of partnerships with people so putting a fixed price on a “deal” that I made wasn’t very accurate. I needed something that would help me keep track.
So I know that WordPress has the ability to create custom post types, custom fields, taxonomies, etc. This is something that I feel everyone should take full advantage of! You’re not limited to just a post and standard layout. You can literally build anything!
So thinking out the box a bit I went to work and created my own Project Management/CRM (The actual site is currently not live to the public). I’m not the best coder in the world and I didn’t have weeks to spend on a small project of my own, so I turned to an amazing plugin called types and views..
I’m fluent in HTML and CSS so the plugin allowed me to easily create a few custom post types and display them how I wanted.
Bottom line is that it’s not a website. It’s a tool that I deemed necessary to track my projects, clients, and deals and it worked out amazing.[sws_yellow_box box_size=””]Note: Bill Erickson also has something similar but I can’t really speak on it because I never tried it. [/sws_yellow_box]
Another example of Thinking outside the Box with WordPress is a little project I whipped up in my spare time to help increase productivity within my current work place.
Where I work, we build landing pages for companies that want to hire employees. The process is as follows:
- Get the request
- Hand Code and Format the client description
- Hand Code and Format the Job Description
- Take the code, add it to a backend application
- Push the code live
- Check the code, make any fixes, repeat
So believe it or not, this was literally a 30min – 1hr task. After coding everything, we’d first have to double-check the styles, then paste the code into a separate application, and finally upload the style sheet and images to another location. It quickly became a tedious mundane task that took forever.
Why not build a template?
Well we tried, but the information was always different and a lot of times the format changed. So we had a generic template to go by but in the end we still ended up deleting most of it and making our own.
So how the hell did WordPress manage to make this easier? Well, I can’t stress how awesome this plugin is, but once again, types and views came to the rescue.
Now remember this was a small side project, I was just tired of myself and my colleagues having to constantly build out these pages. So I needed it done quick without eating too much time of my personal/side work life. So I finished it in about 3 days (few hours here and there).
I took ALL those steps and turned them into one simple Custom Post Type. The post type included an area for the company description and job description. I also added fields to dynamically create a table that we use on all the pages. The post view takes everything in the post, spits it out in the correct format and displays the code using the Crayon Syntax Plugin as a simple way to copy and paste.
On the same post is an iFramed version of the backend application that we use. It dynamically pulls the right link based on the id of the page we’re building. So now, there’s no extra tabs that have to be opened.
Additionally, right below the iFrame is a button that, when pressed, runs the script to push it to the live site. Then another link to preview it.
As an extra bonus, I added styles to the TinyMCE Editor, so that literally, anyone can set up a page and use the correct format without having to code a thing.
I cut the development time from 30min – 1hr to 10 – 15min, and it’s a little more fun to build them out now =).
I’m sure there are many more ways that WordPress can be used besides building generic websites for clients. So I challenge you to think outside the box, and see how you can use this powerful tool called WordPress!
So have you used WordPress in any interesting ways?
I’d love to hear how someone else may have used WordPress in a new and inventive way besides just a website? Share in the comments!