Install WordPress as a CMS
More and more people are realising how flexible WordPress is, especially when it comes to using it as a lightweight CMS (content management system). A good understanding of WordPress helps of course, but there are additional sections of WordPress that you may not have ventured into when using it as a blog.
The Static Front Page
First off you need to install WordPress as you usually would. Once you’ve got it installed, log into the admin panel and go to Manage -> Pages. By default, WordPress creates an about page. Instead of deleting this, click to edit it, change the title to Home and save it. Then go to Settings -> Reading and the first option you can change your front page to be a Static Page. Select this option and then select the page titled ‘Home’ from the drop down (see figure 1).
- Figure 1: Settings -> Readings options panel
Once you save these settings and visit the front end of your site you’ll see that your front page is now the default about page, which you renamed as ‘Home’.
WordPress as a CMS
You can look at WordPress as having two sections – pages and the blog. When you turn WordPress into a CMS, you can still use the blog section to power news, events, site updates, anything that may continually be added to.
Designing your Site
When designing your site, obviously a little knowledge of WordPress helps to ensure that you can lay the various sections that WordPress can create, out in a suitable way. For example, you’ll have a list generated for the pages. This can be a single depth list with all the pages, a single depth list with just the parent pages, or a list of pages and nested lists containing the children pages. Any blog categories, eg. news and events, will have to be treated as a separate section as these are generated independently of each other.
There is a great deal that WordPress can cope with, and create for you. I see a lot of people hardcoding their pages in, or restricting their designs due to lack of knowledge of what is possible with the built in Template Tags. I’ve already explained how to use the basics of WordPress, now I’m going to venture into the CMS and business side of using WordPress 🙂