WordPress is a large and feature-rich content management system and you can build everything you want with it. Even though it excels at so many things – that’s why it’s the best CMS on the planet these days and it always was – it has its own weaknesses. As everyone and everything does.
WordPress is excellent for so many reasons and offers you unlimited possibilities to build amazing stuff. You probably can do a lot more things with WordPress than you think you can.
But again, it’s not the master in everything.
forums hosted by WordPress? reconsider
Yes, you can create a small community on WordPress, but no, don’t use it for large and ambitious forum projects.
bbPress is WordPress’ own plugin that makes that. If you want to add a forum to your site, this free plugin will help you. If you have a small community you want to keep together for Q&A sessions, events, various discussions, it could be okay.
Still, using WordPress for large-scale forums with tens of thousands (or more) users, rigorous organization, and 24/7 initiatives and activities won’t be the best choice to make.
bbPress is fine, but it won’t come with all the necessary features to host a big and very popular forum. It provides a minimalist interface and minimalist options for a large forum. So you shouldn’t rely on WordPress for that.
If you have a WordPress site and you want to add a forum section, you can try to host it with another platform that was primarily created for that.
large social networks? avoid it, please
It’s the same case as for forums. Social networks mean online communities, just like the forums. If you’re dreaming of building a social network – some Facebook-wannabe – on WordPress, just forget it.
A WordPress social network can be built with BuddyPress and, as long as you limit yourself to a small online community or a chat room with friends, feel free to use it.
BuddyPress can create small social networks for niche websites. For instance, you can create a social network for a specific company, where all the members can join and interact with each other. They can sign-in, create profiles, and send private or public messages. BuddyPress comes with lots of extensions that allow you customize your social network as you like.
But this could happen only for small communities. If you’re planning to build a large-scale social network – like LinkedIn, Twitter, or so – avoid WordPress. It wasn’t made to handle huge numbers of interconnected users.
big online chain stores? better not
WordPress’ e-commerce feature is growing every day and allows you to create great and efficient online stores on your site. But planning to launch something like Amazon? Well, that’s what I call a big dreamer. It’s good to have dreams, but sometimes you must analyze things deeply before doing an important step.
If you have a few products – a relatively small number – WordPress is a perfect choice. WooCommerce offers a lot of good stuff that will handle an awesome store. But never a shop with Amazon’s – feel free to insert other big names here – magnitude.
WordPress CAN do all these things above. Nobody can contest it. But when it comes to proportions, you should reconsider the things WordPress can do and can not do. Because between simply doing things and doing things with a high impact and for huge people communities it’s an obvious difference.
Still, let’s not forget that WordPress does something incredibly well at a large scale: it’s the world champion when it comes to blogs.
And many other things.