Secrets to Using WordPress as a CMS

by Eileen Lonergan October 5th, 2011 


As defined by Wikipedia: A content management system (CMS) is a system providing a collection of procedures used to manage work flow in a collaborative environment. These procedures can be manual or computer-based.

WordPress is the perfect platform for multiple users to contribute towards the content (both for blog posts and pages).

To take advantage of your manual labor create roles:

  • Administrator " has complete control over the site; can change themes, add new users, write and publish blog posts or pages.
  • Editor " can write and publish their own posts or those of other users.
  • Author " can only write and publish their own posts.
  • Contributor " can write their own posts but not publish.
  • Subscriber " can manage their own profile but can only read posts.

Plugins: Always beware of too many plugins or using a theme that doesnt have enough built in options; however, why not enjoy the labors of some very smart people and enhance the functionality of your WordPress blog|site with plugins? A few of my favorites are SexyBookmarks, WP Database Backup and NextGen-Gallery.

Set the permalink structure " dont leave it at default, you want to customize your URL's.  This takes 10 seconds and is great for SEO.  (Dashboard -> Settings -> Permalinks -> Custom Structure, type in %postname%)

Take advantage of the SEO capabilities: easy sitemap generators (plugin), add meta titles & descriptions, H1 tags.  Many well built themes (SmallBiz) have SEO options built right into the theme, if you have chosen a theme that doesn't have this, download All in One SEO.  If you have chosen a WordPress theme that doesn't allow any plugins, you need a new theme.

Custom Menu " drag and drop your pages into a hierarchy of parent and child pages.  If you have ever tried writing the code for a drop down menu you will bow down and pay homage to whoever implemented this function.  A really cool use of the custom menus is to create secondary menus for categories or child pages which you may use in widgets and footers.

What are your secrets to using WordPress as a CMS?  You can tell me, there are only a few thousand people reading this blog, and they won't tell.

Eileen Lonergan

Eileen Lonergan is a WordPress website designer, a ghost blogger, and manages social media for a variety of clients.

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9 Responses to “Secrets to Using WordPress as a CMS”

  1. Kevin says:

    Great SEO for WordPress tips. WordPress is an amazing CMS. I wouldn't build, or let my clients use anything else.

  2. Bob says:

    Nice primer post Eileen. Just one thing: Until WP fixes it (which I understand will be shortly), WP recommends against using %postname% for the permalink setup.

    • eileen says:

      Bob, thank you for telling me about the permalink structure, I hadn't known that I should be using it right now! I noticed yesterday when I was doing a fresh install that the default permalink set up was different than what I typically see, I am going to dig deeper into this. Thank you very much for taking a moment to amend the article, I really don't want to put out information that isn't as accurate as possible!

  3. Don Campbell says:

    @Bob, although WP says that %postname% is handled inefficiently in the code, it only really comes into play on really large sites with lots of Pages.

    I still use this method on a few pretty large sites (well, 1,000 pages/posts seems large to me, but may not be to someone else!) and have not noticed a performance impact.

    I'm not disagreeing, just saying that in my experience it is more of a theoretical issue unless you have a very large website.

  4. Bob says:

    @Don, I was of the same opinion,especially after reading all of the many blogs about the issue .. that is, until I had trouble with a site which had far less pages/posts than you have. After a lot of cursing and grumbling, what I learned was that although WordPress itself, or rather its relationship with the SQL file, only feel the effect on larger sites, that same logic didn't apply to many plugins that rely on permalinks. Needless to say, this is an issue that WordPress is fixing because it is hindering not only the larger site, but the developers as well. With that, I begrudgingly changed my permalinks to include the ID in front of the post name. It almost disappears, but to me, it still looks like crap, so I'm eager to see the fix take place.

  5. Dell says:

    Nice primer post Eileen. thank you for your clarification.