Considering WordPress’s popularity and huge user base as a blog platform, it makes perfect sense that people are pushing and testing its limits. I’ve been seeing creative and new uses for WordPress everywhere. Photo galleries, job posting boards, e-commerce sites. The list goes on and on. Once you learn what WordPress can do, the sky is the limit.
One popular implementation is to use WordPress as a Content Management System (or CMS). A CMS is a tool used for creating and editing content for your site. You might ask yourself, "Isn’t a blog a type of CMS?" And you’d be right. However, there is a big difference between the tools and features you need to run a blog and the tools and features you need to run a more static, paged-based site. Below you’ll find a list of plugins that makes transforming WordPress into a powerful CMS just a little bit easier.
Flutter is a plugin that allows you to create and manage custom "Write Panels." One of the big difference between a blog and a CMS is the higher control of content types. By default, WordPress supports Posts and Pages. With Flutter, you can edit how you enter data, so not only would you have Posts and Pages, you could have Downloads, Events, and Quotes. I could go on and on about how useful this is, but it’d be best to just watch the video.
While blogs are typically the voice of one person, many times a page-based site represents a whole company. And because of that, sometimes you’ll find that many people need access to the content. Enter Role Manager, a plugin that lets you lock down which parts of the admin panel a user can access. Need to make sure “Nosey Ned” only has access to his own author profile and not the blog settings? Just use Role Manager to restrict his access and your blog settings are safe and sound.
Google XML Sitemap Generator
Site maps are always important. They help your user find his way around your site. They also help search engines find their way around your site. Which is why a site map on a more basic site is so important. With a blog, its easy to identify the newest content, its usually sorted by date, and thus, relevance. With a page based site its easier to lose track of what’s been updated when and how the pages all connect to one another. Which is why its nice to have a plugin to generate a Google compliant XML-Sitemap for your site.
WP Super Cache
Something that often gets overlooked at the beginning of a project is how much impact the dynamic creation each time a page is loaded can affect your bottom line. Often sites start small, quickly growing out of scale. Dynamic sites can create problems by requesting too many connections to the database, maxing out your server processing allotment, and most of all they just become unstable during high traffic (the digg effect, anyone?). Using a cache will create static pages from your dynamic database, then reserve the static file over and over to save you resources.
One things blogs do really well is give your users instant access in contacting you. Any time they need to get a hold of you, they can just leave a comment. On a page based site, comment forms on each page would seem silly, so its useful to give the users one central place for all questions and feedback. Enter cforms II, the most complete form solution available. Just one glance at the mile long list of options shows you this thing means business.
Really, the first step to using WordPress as a CMS is to understand what WordPress does and what it does not do. The only way to really learn this is to get in there and start experimenting. With a little practice (and the help of plugins like these), you’ll find things disappearing off of your "does not" list and you’ll realize how flexible WordPress really is!