WP as Content Mangement System CMS WordPress

WordPress as a CMS

by Dixie

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When people ask me about setting up a content management system (CMS), they almost never think of WordPress. Even if they have used WP, like it, and are running several sites on WP, they still don’t think about using WordPress unless they are setting up a blog.

Please be aware we’re talking about self-hosted WordPress as a CMS, and not the free blog setup available at WordPress.com. The blogs at WordPress.com have less functionality and far less flexibility than a WP installation set up on a commercial web host, and would probably not make much of a content management system.

And while WP is the defacto standard for blogs, truth is that it can do a whole lot more. Fact is, you can have a WP site with all static pages. No blog required! With a little planning and the right choice of theme and plugins WP makes a fantastic, lightweight CMS that nobody will be able to recognize as WP (if you don’t want them to).  [1]

WordPress is widely used and supported with a huge community behind it. There are countless tutorials, plugins, themes and other resources for bending WP to your will. It’s easy to learn, easy to use, and flexible. Non-technical folks can easily create content in WP, and even the technical ones spend their energy focusing on the content–at least, when they’re done tweaking the site to their satisfaction.

When to use WP as your CMS

  • Are your needs simple? Can you find a few plugins that fill the bill for all required functionality?
  • Do you have experience with WP? Do you like it?
  • Do you need non-technical people to update the site?

When Not to use WP as your CMS

  • Would required functionality require hacking core files?
  • Does your site have to interface with other systems in a way that would be difficult for WP? Bridges and forks can work, but will complicate your life in maintaining.
  • Would the required functionality necessitate a large number of plugins? Or use plugins in non-supported ways?

Each CMS has it’s strong points and weak points. If you have straightforward needs, can find actively-supported  plugins that do what you need without a lot of trouble, and are already comfortable in WP, it’s a great choice. There’s no law your WP site has to have anything in common with a blog! Chances are a number of your favorite sites are actually running on WP, but you just don’t know it.

If you find that you’d have to do backflips to force WP to do your bidding, would have to hack core files, or would need to juggle a staggering number of plugins playing together nicely to pull it off, another CMS that’s more closely suited to your site’s needs would be a better choice. If WP is the round peg and you’ve got a square hole, look for a square peg.

The trick here is looking beyond what you think WP is about–blogging–to understand that you can design and organize your site content however you want. Forget the blog: ask if what WordPress can do well is well-suited to your requirements.

Footnotes
  1. See this terrific list of WP plugins especially useful to CMS-WordPresss users. []

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jilly February 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Other plugins I like are

Google XML Sitemaps
All in 1 SEO

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Dixie February 7, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I haven’t tried All-in-One SEO because I didn’t start working with SEO for my WP blogs until after I started using the Thesis Theme, which has similar stuff built in, but I understand it’s a good plugin. And I totally second the vote for Google XML Sitemaps! :)

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