Essential Keystrokes is…

where I share my favorite tips, tools, reviews and commentary on web design, marketing, blogging, new media and related topics. For more about this site and the voice behind it, check out my About page.


SubscribeFollow me on TwitterLinked In Stumble Upon What I Digg Email me

Project Files – Using WordPress to Build a Traditional Web Site

By Char

WordPress is an extremely powerful platform for blogging, but it is also a great Content Management System (CMS) and recently I used it to design and develop a more traditional, static site for a local furniture company. They didn’t need all the bells and whistles WordPress has to offer, and the platform used was not important to them. What the client did want was a quick-loading, simple web site that would do well in the search engines. As a web designer, I knew that from a budget standpoint, I could develop a site that would meet all their needs quickly and for a very affordable price by using WordPress as the backbone for the site.

Furniture Warehouse

How It Was Done

  • I started with Brian Gardner’s Downtown Java WordPress 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 needed.
  • I hard coded the gallery sub navigation into the sidebar.
  • Each of the content pages was created using the Pages feature – this will make it super easy to update over time.
  • I used the WordPress static page feature (dashboard Options, then Reading) to control which page would be the home page.

Overall, it was a fairly quick project and both the client and I are very happy with it. If you have used WordPress to develop a site that is something other than a blog, I would love to see it!

Categories : Project Files



Great work. After finishing my first WordPress theme, the idea of using WordPress to build sites other then blogs is stuck in my head. You can do so much through just the theme.


Well done Char. I’ve also been using WordPress as a CMS for more traditional static site. The other advantage that I’ve found is that if/when they actually decide that having a blog is a good supplement to their marketing efforts it is very quick and easy to add the blog in at a later date.

Keep up the great work!


That is quite timely actually Char, I have just sent off a first draft of a site built on WordPress for a friend of a friend that I built last week. I can’t show that off publicly yet (but drop me a mail if you do want to see!)

I also built a quick contact/advertising site for my step-dad’s carpentry business earlier this year.

It is so easy to build out a site when something as simple yet powerful as WordPress underpins everything.


Argh! Typo in the last address… that should be



Looks great Char!! Neat header!


The biggest pet peeve with this method is every “Page” gets displayed on the navigation bar. Too many pages can break your theme.

I got around this by modifying the header.php file and excluding those pages using the “exclude” parameter on the php wp_list_pages statement.

You have to lookup the ID number for the page you don’t want displayed.

Yes, hard coding would work too :o )

Now that I’ve used WP, it’s hard to go back to HTML pages and Dreamweaver!


Thanks for all the kind words everyone.

Jimson, I used pages for the top level navigation and subpages for any pages I do not want showing up on the navigation. It has worked pretty well so far.


Duh! That was too easy! I never thought of that (I guess I try to over analyze things) Thanks for the tip.

I love this Blog as I always learn a few things that saves me time… from minutes to hours.


Great post Char, but I was wondering if you can elaborate on what, if any, changes you made on the admin side? I tried using WordPress with a client’s site a while back and it all fell apart because the admin “had to much ‘stuff’.”



I’m also very interested in hearing if you made any modifications to the admin side of it…sometimes I think we need a plugin that removes everything but the options to create and manage pages, and possibly uses the site’s theme for even those pages (like the Themed Login plugin).

But yes, I’ve also been using WordPress as a simple CMS for client sites…its amazingly simple to create new sites (especially building from the plethora of existing themes) and its generally easier for the client to maintain and update in the future.


I love Brian Gardner themes, he is a real pro, and they are so well coded and easy to work with. You have done a great job with the site.


Benjamin and Ravi – I did not make any changes on the admin site. This particular client will most likely not make changes themselves so any updates that need to be made, I will do.


Thanks for the follow up Char.


Char thanks. WordPress offers so much flexibility and ease of use (for developer and content authors) that it really could be a good option for building a traditional Web site. We too have started doing it and we found a very impressive WordPress gallery plugin ( that you could work for the site you built. Unfortunately the site is German, but it’s great plugin that you can use to showcase products. It can be used to give the site owner a good way of uploading images (products)


Char – I can’t seem to find where I can just email you, but I have an unrelated question. I want to track who is linking to my wordpress blog and don’t know where to find a widget to help me do that. Can you help?


All i can see is advantages using this technique. Have done the same before. Bookmarked!

Leave a Comment


Team Training NE Celiac Family

Warning: fsockopen(): php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home/essentia/public_html/wp-includes/class-snoopy.php on line 1148

Warning: fsockopen(): unable to connect to (php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known) in /home/essentia/public_html/wp-includes/class-snoopy.php on line 1148