by Brian

Use WordPress as a CMS and Blog – The Best Way

So, you are just like me (one week ago) and are wondering how to set up WordPress as not only a blog for a website, but also as a content management system for the site. WordPress by default **sort of** allows you to do this, by creating pages and posts alike. However, one problem that I ran into was that I needed the frontpage to be a normal homepage, without all of the blog posts.

After searching Google for a while, and visiting a number of sites and blog posts about this topic, I was not happy with what I found. Many of the instructions were pretty long winded and when I actually tried a few of them, they never worked. They also went into some source files to make changes which is often the last resort when customizing WordPress.

So, after asking Aaron Russell (an experienced developer) how he would do this , I was able to set up a website using WordPress as a content management system and a blog in a few easy steps, while keeping using one template for the homepage and a different one for the blog page.

Here are the simple steps that Aaron provided that will make this extremely easy to do! You can finally use WordPress as a content management system and a blog without too much stress at all!

  1. Install WordPress into your root directory as normal.
  2. Create a new ‘page’ called "Home".
  3. Then, create a new page called "Blog". Make sure the slug is "blog"
  4. Go so Settings > Reading and change the ‘Front page displays’ to Static and select your new pages, "Home" and "Blog"
  5. Go to Settings > Permalinks and change to a custom structure. This can be any structure you want but should begin with ‘/blog/’ – for example, you will normally want it to be like this ‘/blog/%postname%’ (if this does not work, you may have to fix the permissions on your .htaccess file. (check out Permalinks over at WordPress’ support forum.
  6. That’s it – you’re done! How easy was that!
  7. Now, obviously you need to make sure that you have a link set up somewhere on your site to go to www.yourdomain.com/blog/

I know that this is not really anything new to a lot of people that have been using WordPress as a CMS and a blog for some time, but there seems to be a lack of really simple instructions available for those trying to do this.

I hope that this quick tutorial has helped you to get your site rolling and now you can spend that valuable time customizing your site and getting the content together!

Now that you have your CMS and Blog ready, you need to start thinking about all of those great plugins you will need before you turn the site over to the client.

Here is a top 10 from Blueprint Design Studio of WordPress CMS Plugins

  1. Cforms II – This is far and away the best contact form plugin there is. The reason? configurability. You can easy build literally anything with it. We’ve built out employment application forms, wedding checklists, and more for clients. It also drives our own quote form. There’s also built in spam protection, via question and answer or captcha.by delicious days
  2. WP e-Commerce – Unlike cforms, this plugin has no competition. It provides an easy to manage storefront and shopping cart as an integral part of your wordpress installation. It includes the ability to sell digital downloads as well, which is great for photographers, musicians, and authors. By default it includes support for PayPal, although the $29.99 fee for the authorize.net module will pay for itself in lower fees for most serious e-Commerce sites.by Instinct Entertainment
  3. Search Everything – Since most of the sites we develop focus more on their static content than on their blog posts, this plugin is essential for allowing users to search your entire site without leaving your site and relying on google.by Dan Cameron
  4. Google Sitemap Generator – The biggest benefit of using wordpress is the manual labor you save because the software already knows where all of your content is. This Plugin submits a comprehensive index of your site to google, yahoo, MSN Live, and Ask.com every time you update your site. It’s a huge boost to your site’s SEO .by Arne Brachhold
  5. Subscribe2 – Subscribe2 is a newsletter plugin for your site. It allows you to create newsletters and manage subscribers within your WordPress Dashboard. It also allows you to email subscribers when you post a blog entry, which allows you to have a permanent copy of the newsletter that you can refer people to.plugin homepage
  6. Event Calendar 3 – There are a ton of event plugins out there. This is the best & most integrated one we’ve used. It provides an iCal feed, in addition to the standard RSS feed. Since the events are created as Blog posts, it’s easy to integrate them into your site.by Alex Tingle
  7. Page Links To – by far the simplest plugin on this list, This plugin allows you to create “pages” that link to something else. It’s the easiest way to add links to your main menu, without mucking around in code. It’s good for adding a link to an external photography portfolio, for example. You could also use it to link to sections of a page, rather than an entirely seperate page, which could be useful for linking to sections of a restaurant menu, or other small sections of a larger page.by Mark Jaquith
  8. TinyMCE Advanced – I’ve posted a lot about using this plugin. It was referred to me by Jim Burke from TSG Real Estate, who needed a way to easily add classes to blockquotes, tables, and images. The plugin also does a great job of making tables work well with WordPress posts.plugin homepage
  9. XSPF_Player – As much as I’m not a fan of auto-playing music on websites, This MP3 player makes it easy to manage playlists, cover art, and artist links. It’s a great way for music venues to highlight upcoming shows. Used in conjunction with Event Calendar, you can make the track link lead to the post for their upcoming show, all of which is easily manageable from your wordpress dashboard.by Boriel
  10. pageMash – I just posted about this, but it’s worth mentioning again. This plugin makes it very easy to put your pages in order, without having to edit every page individually.by Joel Starnes

You will also want to download the "Role Manager" plugin here

Others discussing WordPress as a Content Management System and Blogging Platform:

Andy Peatling
http://apeatling.wordpress.com/2006/11/23/five-wordpress-cms-enabling-plugins/

Web Helper Magazine
http://www.webhelpermagazine.com/2008/04/wordpress-wow-seven-top-sites-using-wordpress-as-a-cms/

Sizlopedia
http://www.sizlopedia.com/2008/07/27/free-wordpress-cms-themes/