WordPress: A Content Management System

There are a whole slew of reasons why WordPress has got to be the best blogging software out there. If you ask me however, WordPress’ ability to serve as a very functional, simply implemented, and relatively robust CMS (Content Management System) takes the cake. I was introduced to this concept by a pretty good blog article which got me started in my first full site installation. This article will walk you through the basic steps you’ll need to use WordPress as a content management system for your tech savvy self or for your non-techie clients.

The first step is to understand what WordPress can do. WordPress, which started out as just a blogging software, has expanded to include both posts (on a blog) and pages (like an about us page, or contact us page). In addition to that, WordPress is open source (which means that the code that creates it is public) allowing for people to create additions to it called plugins. These plugins do pretty much everything you can imagine like create a contact form, display google calendar events, create flickr photo arrays, or show youtube videos. With this software, you can make incredibly complex sites, with lots of ease, and simple site management capabilities.

So here are the steps to setting up WordPress as a CMS for a website. First you’ve got to install wordpress in the root directory of your site. If you were using wordpress just for blogging, you might install it inside of a folder called “blog”, but you’ll be using it for everything, including your homepage, so root it is. Second, after your installation is complete including database setup and the like, visit http://yoursite.com/wp-admin/, login using the admin information you setup during installation, and visit the “pages” section on the left navigation. You’ll want to add TWO pages. Call one of them “Home” with a permalink of just your root address, and the other whatever you want (if you are including a blog on this site, then perhaps create that page, if not, just do an about us page or something). Third visit “Settings > Reading” on the left navigation. With two pages already created, you’ll be able to set the front page as “Home”, and if you are including a blog, that page as your posts page.

That was the initial and easy walkthrough. With those three steps, you’ve already successfully setup your site to have pages, with a homepage, and a blog as a subsection of your site. Outside of obviously editing your theme to work with your design, you may also want to install some plugins to make managing the site more convenient for non-tech people. There are prebuilt plugins for youtube, flickr, google maps, google calendar, facebook, twitter, and most other platforms that you or your client may already be using.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. The link in the beginning of this article discusses a lot of good plugins that you might find helpful, though the article is a little outdated and may be lacking on newer plugins. For example sites that use wordpress as a CMS and blog, check out this site or one of my clients. Good luck!

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