WordPress as a CMS – Content Management System

Content Management Systems (CMS) allow users to publish and update their web site content with relative ease and with  little knowledge of programming languages such as HTML.

WordPress is so much more than a blogging platform.  WordPress is a powerful database-driven publishing platform and best of all; it is open source!  WordPress is very user-friendly, customizable and extendable. Clients tell me they find WordPress is easy to use. It has wide community support with hundreds of third-party plug-ins to add functionality to a site freely available for download.  You can make just about any style of web site you have in mind: blog, portfolio, gallery, e-store, online community, etc…

Some developers will argue that the WordPress core isn’t a CMS in the true sense of the term; as WordPress allows users to publish web content most of us would say the term is appropriate.  If you need to extend the capabilities of WordPress all you have to do is install the Pods CMS plugin and WordPress will be a complete CMS.

Pages:

With WordPress you can create pages for your basic content.  To understand how to create a page in WordPress read WP-admin Lesson 3: Pages.   The WordPress codex explains how WordPress Pages are dynamically generated from the database:

A web page can be static or dynamic. Static pages, such as a regular HTML page that you might create with Dreamweaver, are those which have been created once and do not have to be regenerated every time a person visits it. In contrast, almost everything in WordPress is generated on the fly, dynamically upon each new visit. With WordPress a Page contains static information but is generated dynamically. All of your WordPress Content (Posts, Pages, Comments, Blogrolls, Categories, etc.) is stored in your MySQL database. When your site is accessed, that database information is then used by your WordPress Templates from your current Theme to generate the web page being requested.

Using a Page as the Front Page:

A Page can easily be set to be your site’s Front Page.  The default setting shows your blog with the latest blog posts. Changing this setting from posts to a home page changes the presentation of your site from a blog to a website. In the  administration dashboard of your WordPress site go to > Settings > Reading panel and under Front page displays, you can choose to set any (published) Page as the Front Page.

Individual pages can have different layouts with the use of Page Templates within your theme. Some themes will come packaged with various custom templates for you to select.  A custom page can also be created and uploaded to your theme folder.  Custom Fields can further extend the functionality of your theme.

Plugins:

  1. Exclude Pages Plugin: This plugin adds a checkbox, “include this page in menus”, which is checked by default. If you uncheck it, the page will not appear in any listings of pages. Pages which are children of excluded pages also do not show up in menu listings.  This is valuable if, for example, you have pages such a sitemap that you want to link to in the theme footer but not include in the main site navigation.
  2. Pods CMS Plugin: Pods is a CMS framework for WordPress. It sits on top of WordPress, allowing you to add and display your own content types.
  3. All in One SEO Pack: This plugin is essential in so many ways. One great thing this plugin does is allow you to control the Menu Label – this is really useful to fine tune Page Navigational Links!  Use this if you want your menu item to say Home but the page title (hopefully an h1 tag) to have a different keyword-rich name.
Sources: WordPress codex

Please add a comment.  I’m sure there are other plugins to add to this list.

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