Using WordPress as a CMS

We teach three kinds of website software: Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. At each class people bring different preconceived notions:

  • Drupal: “This stuff is really hard, right?”
  • Joomla: “This stuff is a quirky, right?”
  • WordPress: “This stuff isn’t very powerful, right?”

Our job is to convince them they’re wrong. One of the reasons people think WordPress isn’t powerful is because they believe it can’t be used to build an ordinary website with static pages.

If you can update static pages via a Control Panel then the software is often called a Content Management System (CMS).

Some people will say that Drupal and Joomla are CMSs and that WordPress is only for blogging. This tutorial will show that they’re wrong:

Using WordPress as a CMS

Step 1: Create all static articles as “Pages”

This is something you may do already. If you have an “About Us” page or a “Contact Us” page, you’ll create it as a Page rather than a Post. For a CMS website there are two differences:

  • You’ll use Pages not just once or twice but for a majority of the content on your site.
  • You’ll make one Page that will be your homepage. It will contain your main welcome and introductory text and images.

Step 2: Create your Frontpage

  • Go to WP-Admin >> Settings >> Reading and you’ll see a screen like the one below.
  • Click the radio button next to “A Static Page” and choose your frontpage from the “Front page” dropdown:

Wordress Frontpage

Step 3: Choose Your Theme Wisely

One really important step in creating a WordPress CMS site is find a theme with the right menu. WordPress menus come in different setups depending on the theme. Some use pages for their dropdown menu, others use categories, some use both and even through it other links. Go to WP Admin >>  Appearance >> Themes >> Install and here three themes for you to try:

  • Category example: deCoder
  • Page example: Buddymatic
  • Both and more: Color3

If you’ve found a theme that has a menu based on Pages and you’d like to take advantage of dropdown menus, make sure that you use the “Parent” attribute when creating Pages. For example, this new page will dropdown from underneath the “Welcome” link.

Wordress Frontpage

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