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May
18

Project Files – Using WordPress as a CMS

By Char

Earlier this spring I took on a new client and was faced with a challenge. The client wanted a fresh, new site, but wanted to be able to make basic changes and updates themselves. The most logical solution to the challenge was to build the site around some form of a content management system (CMS). And what better CMS to use than WordPress? Afterall, WordPress is not just for blogging! You can easily create static pages and tweak the CSS to your heart’s content.

So, here is the finished product:

oga screen

How It Was Done

  • I started with Brian Gardner’s Blue Zinfandel theme as a base.
  • Next came the color scheme and some graphical elements.
  • Most of the typical WordPress blogging features were removed from the template as they are not really ready for interactivity yet.
  • The introductory text was laid into the home.php file above the WordPress loop in order to keep it always on top (thanks for the tip David)
  • Each of the content pages was created using the Pages feature – this will make it super easy to update over time.
  • And the hardest part was getting the drop down navigation (see below) to play nicely. Thanks to Randa for conquering that one!

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Now that I have seen the true power of WordPress as a CMS first hand – I will definitely be using it for other projects! If anyone else has used WordPress to create a “traditional” site, I’d love to see it!

24 Comments

1

You know, this is something my husband and I have been looking into. We have not had much success with the CMS we’ve tried so far. I know that you can make static pages in WordPress now, so that’s one step. Now this! This sounds like it might be right up our alley. Thanks for sharing! Have a super weekend!

2

Julia – you are welcome. WP is the easiest CMS I have set up yet. Have a great weekend too.

3

Here’s one I’m working on at the moment: http://proactive.im/

It’s nowhere as polished as yours, but same as you, I’ve used the “Pages” for the main content of the site. The WordPress Posts are used for the “News” section of the site, and I’m using a Feedburner widget to replicate these on the front page.

Still needs some work though

4

Owen – glad to see other examples of the WordPress power! Let us know how it progresses.

5

I have always considered WP a CMS. I am working with a friend to use it as kind of a database for redistribution resources in NJ. I have fond a great map plugin that makes it work. Take a look at Places For Everything

6

Skarld – that is a pretty cool site. Thanks for sharing it with us.

7

Char – I enjoy seeing the sites unfold. Thanks for sharing the process with us.

I am starting a new site on travel. I love WP, but wonder are there times when you would be better to use a “static” website as opposed to a blog such as wordpress?

I also wonder what will happen when as a blog grows, some WP blogs may have 2000 or 3000 or more posts. You can’t just delete them because you lose not only info but SEO benefits.

Any thoughts on this? I would be most appreciative of any insights either yourself or your readers have on this.

Thanks again

8

Did you look at other CMS software as well? It would be interesting to hear what your thoughts on the different options were and why you decided upon wordpress.

I’ve only ever really worked with wordpress and expression engine. Tho I found myself always going back to wordpress as ee’s theme system IMHO isn’t as nice. But I do use the framework behind ee (code igniter) in some of my pet projects.

Work wise I always use http://2fluid.co.uk/productdisplay/pagepilot/ but thats because the studio I work for built it. :)

9

This is really super, Char – nicely done! I simply love using WordPress as a CMS for regular websites, not just blogs. My own example of a site I did using WordPress can be found at http://bridalgowns.net – - this site doesn’t have a blog at all, yet it’s powered 100% by a single install of WP – - makes for easy updates and maintainance.

10

Bah! Of course! David is my hero for the day. I don’t know why I didn’t think of putting the static content above the loop but that’s freekin brilliant. Thanks and I’m off to tweak a couple sites.

11

Nice site Char :-) Have have used WordPress as a CMS a few times. Most recently for Reach Career Potential http://www.reachcp.com

Keep up the good work!

12

I’ve used WordPress for static sites for more than a year. I find it so easy to work with on the development side. And the editor is pretty good for clients. A few modifications I’d love to make, but mostly good.

13

Good work Char. Thanks for sharing your hurdles and solutions. While we have not used WP as a CMS to date (we use a proprietary solution) … at some point for a small site we will.

I think as the WP community grows and evolves we will see more CMS type plug-ins, it’s already starting. If it’s not WP, then another open source tool will appear and be even more robust … someone, somewhere is already tinkering with it I’m sure. :)

14

All – thanks for the great comments! I was away from my computer for the entire weekend (someone call a doctor) and am just now getting caught up with the day.

I have only worked with a few other CMS applications (Kintera, another proprietary one, and Joomla). There are many good ones out there, but I love WP because it is FREE, there are an abundance of free themes to use as a starting point, and it is easy from my perspective and the non-technical client who has to maintain it perspective.

Keep the examples and alternatives coming! It is great to be able to learn from each other.

15

[...] continue on with this tag frenzy – I extend it to these fine folks: Becca Wei @ Beccary.com Char @ Essential Keystrokes Kathy @ Pink Martinis Joelle @ Tenth Muse (whenEVER she happens to re-open that blog! Ahem!) [...]

16

Nice one with the green drop-down menu.

I think more and more sites should be considering opting for the CMS way. My primary reason would be to syndicate content even if that’s not a blog :)

17

Thanks Hans! I agree – every site needs an RSS feed.

18

You just gave me a great idea of how I can do a website for a local business using WordPress– thanks!

19

Hi,
This actually looks real good!
Wordpress indeed is very versatile in its usage… At most some tweekings and the whole thing can take a new face.

Well done!
Cheers,

Frédéric Panek

20

Hey Char!

Yes, WordPress works great as a CMS – for simple sites, at least! I’ve been working on a couple these days, and here’s one almost complete -> Monsters Under the Bed

Actually, if you think about it, with the insertion of the dynamic sidebars thing, so much more can be done! Think “drag and drop CMS!” *wink*

It does have some limitations too, though. Customizing the WordPress backend is tough (I’m dying to learn how to get it done!)… and edit user permissions sounds too tough for me too. :(

But still… it is one of the best ways to put up a “client-editable” site in the shortest time!

21

[...] of blogs built on the platform it is just a testament to the power of WordPress. I have begun using WordPress as a way to build traditionally static sites that have a CMS component. Clients like it because they can maintain their own content with out having to know HTML. [...]

22

i’m thinking of playing around with wordpress as an alternative cms (i’m used to textpattern) but there seems to be a lot of odd things you have to do in order to get it to work.

firstly, if you put that introductory text straight into a php file, how are your clients ever supposed to edit it cleanly without wading through code? (either through the php directly or the wp theme editor)

23

I’ve been playing around with the thought of using wordpress as a cms (i just don’t have the skills to do it). But it’s nice to see someone play around the cms possibilities of blogging software :) How about the client? Are they able to use it as they would use a traditional cms?

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