Using WordPress to make a CMS?

15 replies
I've been in web design for a few years now and I want to provide a CMS for new customers using Word Press.

I have searched around a lot about how to do this but most of the information I find is about Blogs. And if it IS about WP as a CMS, it is not detailed enough for me to understand the whole process.

What I am trying to understand is how PHP can be integrated into static pages. Then uploaded(?) so a customer can log into their WordPress admin panel and edit the text/images easily.

I want to make it as easy as possible for my customers, obviously they are not going to have a coding background.


Any help is appreciated!
#cms #make #press #word #wordpress
  • Profile picture of the author Earnie Boyd
    I'm just trying to learn WP since it seems to be the most used in this forum and I don't have the details of using the backend of WP yet. However, I've successfully used Drupal as my CMS for many years. Have you considered something that was meant to be more than a blogging engine? However, I do know WP has a static page entry the admin can load data into that is automatically then associated to the menu. Is that what you're considering?
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  • Profile picture of the author Entrecon
    WordPress IS a CMS!

    Have you installed it and played with it at all? While you can upload a static page, this isn't normally how you would do it. You choose a template and then insert your text and images into pages using the built in editor.

    I am not quite sure how you can be a web designer for more than a couple of months and not be able to figure this out.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nathan Joshua
      Originally Posted by Entrecon View Post

      WordPress IS a CMS!

      Have you installed it and played with it at all? While you can upload a static page, this isn't normally how you would do it. You choose a template and then insert your text and images into pages using the built in editor.

      I am not quite sure how you can be a web designer for more than a couple of months and not be able to figure this out.

      I have been building websites using only Notepad++ for several years.

      I would rather not have a program automatically creating code for me. Rather, build my own static pages in Notepad++, add PHP code to elements, put them in WordPress somehow then allow my customers to edit their website from there.

      Would it be better to build the website inside WordPress and not use Notepad++ at all?

      How do you do it? If at all?



      Originally Posted by Earnie Boyd View Post

      I'm just trying to learn WP since it seems to be the most used in this forum and I don't have the details of using the backend of WP yet. However, I've successfully used Drupal as my CMS for many years. Have you considered something that was meant to be more than a blogging engine? However, I do know WP has a static page entry the admin can load data into that is automatically then associated to the menu. Is that what you're considering?
      I heard WP would be the easiest for my customers to use. Not to mention, the only thing I need it for is editing static pages for brochure websites.
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    • Profile picture of the author Earnie Boyd
      Originally Posted by Entrecon View Post

      WordPress IS a CMS!
      Since any program that manages content is a CMS, then yes it is.

      Have you installed it and played with it at all? While you can upload a static page, this isn't normally how you would do it. You choose a template and then insert your text and images into pages using the built in editor.
      I've just begun to play with WP but all CMS worth using allow you to do this. With Drupal I can even modify the template for just one page, I assume you could with WP as well.

      I am not quite sure how you can be a web designer for more than a couple of months and not be able to figure this out.
      As a developer I find Drupal a bit more structured to developer experience than WP. I haven't wrapped my brain around WP in a development setting yet so this opinion is biased toward my experience with Drupal. Plug and play is nice but there are times when you must use the API to do something different.
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      • Profile picture of the author BlueLayerHost
        Some of you can be brutal. Just because the guy is a web designer, doesn't mean he is a web developer. They are quite different.


        WordPress CAN be used as a CMS as we've done in numerous implementations. WP uses a template system. single.php is used typically for blog posts, index.php is used for your blog's listing of posts and page.php is used for what people would consider "static" pages.

        That's the base of how WP works but there are other files that are needed to setup a theme. Also, it can be extended much farther than that with custom post types, custom meta, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Earnie Boyd
    I would rather not have a program automatically creating code for me. Rather, build my own static pages in Notepad++, add PHP code to elements, put them in WordPress somehow then allow my customers to edit their website from there.
    I heard WP would be the easiest for my customers to use. Not to mention, the only thing I need it for is editing static pages for brochure websites.
    Then why not teach your customers to use Notepad and upload the static pages to the server? Something like FileZilla which is a GUI FTP client could manage the drag and drop operation of copying the files to and from the server. But WP has the means to allow for "static" style pages, it's stored in the DB and presented dynamically though so some DB management needs to occur.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nathan Joshua
      Originally Posted by Earnie Boyd View Post

      Then why not teach your customers to use Notepad and upload the static pages to the server? Something like FileZilla which is a GUI FTP client could manage the drag and drop operation of copying the files to and from the server. But WP has the means to allow for "static" style pages, it's stored in the DB and presented dynamically though so some DB management needs to occur.
      I think Notepad++ is a bit beyond the average persons know-how. This is why I'm trying to configure WP as a CMS.

      I managed to find a video explaining it a little better:

      Apparently I need to create and upload templates(based around what I design in Notepad++) for WordPress. Then program the pages I want my customers to edit with PHP.

      I will give this a go and report my findings here to help anyone else wanting to know this also.

      Thank you for your posts,

      Nathan.
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  • Profile picture of the author msu
    That's exactly how to do what you want with WordPress. There's a big section covering all the available template tags on wordpress.org - that'll help when you're creating your templates.
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  • Profile picture of the author Leo Wadsworth
    There are also a couple of WordPress plugins I'd recommend that helps it to act much more like a CMS.
    1) Pages Tree View -- provides a nice tree view of all your pages. The normal WP view is just one long list. This gives you collapsing regions and sections for sites with more than a handful of pages
    2) Redirection -- gives you solid Google-friendly redirects, including 301 redirects
    3) Style Press -- lets you add CSS to a page or the whole site VERY easily
    4) All in one SEO pack - handles many SEO features automatically
    5) Tiny MCE Advanced - exposes many more functions of the built-in WYSIWYG editor and lets you configure them easily
    6) Widget context - lets you choose what widgets show up on what pages

    Other than that, the biggest "strange" thing is that WP expects the blog to be the homepage. However, it is easy to set up different pages for your home page and your blog page. This is where it is counter-intuitive: the option to do that is found through the dashboard under Settings --> Reading.

    Good luck! WP is a solid powerful platform. Drupal is too, but WP has a much smaller learning curve and is more usable right out of the box. (I've used both)
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  • Profile picture of the author Entrecon
    Sorry, Not trying to be brutal. I just get tired of some folks who through some HTML together or have an old copy of FrontPage calling themselves web designers.

    In any case, the benefit of WordPress is that all of the functionality is there and you can easily tack onto it.

    If you did want your users to be able to update, but were not comfortable with a full CMS, just build a form that dumps the data into a MySQL database and have the PHP do a call to retrieve the information.

    One other note, as Drupal was mentioned, another CMS that is out there that seems to fall somewhere between WP and Drupal is Joomla.

    I guess the main key to my initial post is that sometimes the best way to learn it is to play with it. If you have been designing sites for a while I am sure you have some server space somewhere that you can upload these tools and play around with them a little bit. I don't think you can fully grasp the power of them until you get into it.

    Warning, they can be a little daunting at first, but with the video tutorials out there on some of the functionality, I am sure you can pick it up.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nathan Joshua
      Originally Posted by Entrecon View Post

      If you did want your users to be able to update, but were not comfortable with a full CMS, just build a form that dumps the data into a MySQL database and have the PHP do a call to retrieve the information.
      MySQL/PHP retrieval was my first attempt at a CMS, it worked great, but wasn't very user friendly and required a lot of coding.

      Originally Posted by Entrecon View Post

      I guess the main key to my initial post is that sometimes the best way to learn it is to play with it. If you have been designing sites for a while I am sure you have some server space somewhere that you can upload these tools and play around with them a little bit. I don't think you can fully grasp the power of them until you get into it.
      I had it installed on my test server. I played with it for several hours, watched at least 3 hours of tutorials.

      After I learnt the basics I searched around Google for an hour or 2 and the best I found was: Convert HTML to WordPress — The Theme Foundry (The process involved with creating templates) and the video above.

      I needed more specialist help, from people that have dealt with this process before.

      Today I am going to try this on a previous customers website. (I have asked permission)

      Thank you for the great posts guys <3
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  • Profile picture of the author Earnie Boyd
    I watched the video Nathan posted but I don't understand how what I watched gives Nathan's customer the ease he expects them to have of modifying the data? If they have difficulty with Notepad++ then how are they not going to have difficulty with adding a templated page?
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    • Profile picture of the author Nathan Joshua
      Originally Posted by Earnie Boyd View Post

      I watched the video Nathan posted but I don't understand how what I watched gives Nathan's customer the ease he expects them to have of modifying the data? If they have difficulty with Notepad++ then how are they not going to have difficulty with adding a templated page?
      I will be adding the templates for them, all they have to do is Login > click Pages > click All Pages, Then click the page they wish to edit in 'visual' view.

      Really easy, even for a beginner
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      • Profile picture of the author Earnie Boyd
        Originally Posted by Nathan Joshua View Post

        I will be adding the templates for them, all they have to do is Login > click Pages > click All Pages, Then click the page they wish to edit in 'visual' view.

        Really easy, even for a beginner
        That's what I thought but was confused by your initial post. Thanks for the video link it was informative about using WP.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Hi guys!

    Start by WordPress basics - install it locally and use XAMPP:

    install wordpress locally xampp - Pesquisa do Google

    The head over to WP Codex: Main Page « WordPress Codex

    You need to understand what's going on in WP so you can use it with YOUR skills and to ACHIEVE what you want. For someone with HTML/PHP knowledge, it's pure fun.

    Best advice I can give you is to install it locally and mess around reading the codex.
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