Other thoughts on WordPress as a CMS

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As a follow-up to my previous post WordPress as a CMS I ran across “WordPress as CMS: Plugins that will get you there” from Out:think.  Tim Grahl points out some real problems that people using WordPress as a CMS need to consider. His first two issues didn’t seem too relevant to me.  Since I build custom templates for my WordPress installs I feel free to rip out anything I don’t want.  But then I considered that not everyone is probably digging deep into the WordPress themes system and might want a simplier way of controlling these elements.

I don’t personally use these plugins but maybe you’ll find them useful.  Thanks Tim.

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2 Responses to “Other thoughts on WordPress as a CMS”

  1. eksith Says:

    This is strictly personal opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

    I think for the vast majority of sites, it makes no sense to me to go with a feature flooded CMS. Chances are, WordPress does 90% of what’s needed most of the time right out of the box even without a plugin.

    There are little known features of WP, that even some designers or plugin programmers aren’t aware of or fully utilise, that make getting a site up and running much simpler for the average user.

    Take your Church site for example…
    Chances are that it’s mostly run by volunteers or only a handful of paid staff. When this is the case, you need something really simple that can be easily taught to someone new in a few minutes.
    And, more importantly, be flexible enough to expand for future uses.

    Small features like custom fields on posts do make updates a little bit tricky, but it allows a huge amount of customisability. Each custom field can hold a unique bit of information.

    E.G. A guest sermon field (used consistently) can provide an easy way to present and format that information in a custom template. And, of course, you’re not limited to one or two custom fields. It could be as many as necessary.
    The template can be tweaked to format and present each custom field if it’s present in a particular post.

    Then take a look at the template hierarchy. That right there gives a great deal of flexibility that you just don’t see in other platforms. Each page, category, post, tag, or whatever else you want to present, can be individually customised with a custom template if necessary.

    Maybe you want a particular posts in one category all formatted one way, while the rest are all default. Well, by creating a template that matches the ID or name of that category, you can do just that.

    All that even before we get into plugins.

    So a “proper” CMS like Drupal may make sense for some people, but most of the time, it’s best to work with a skeleton framework like WP and expand the site from there.

    And a vast majority of the problems pointed out by Tim, can be solved with a thorough brushup of the template and plugin system. As you already may know, even the admin section can be customised to avoid confusing novice users.

    Tweaking the admin section is an often overlooked option when considering a site build for an organisation whose members that may not be all too computer savvy.

  2. Dan Pedesen Says:

    I agree with all your points. Part of what drew me to WP was how simple it was to get up and going (and a decent web host will do that for you automatically these days) plus, how simple it was for me to adapt even fairly complicated designs into its templates. Now, I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty in the code, but many who are running smaller church sites might be. I liked the plugins Tim wrote about because those who are not willing to dig their way through some code can still adapt WP to their liking. And as you and Tim both point out, there are plugins that can improve the administration side of WP. I’m ok with how it is, but WP again proves its versatility here. Yes, a good coding framework may ultimately have a more complete form of flexibility, but if it requires a CS degree to get running that’s going to be a fairly big hurdle for many part-time church web masters. WP works for me and I bet it can work for many others.

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