How to use WordPress as a Truly Customized CMS

How to Use WordPress as a CMS

WordPress is incredibly versatile, in that although it is primarily known as a blogging platform, it can be used to run a non-blog web site as well. The more I use it – especially for my own projects where I have full creative reign – I am constantly amazed by just how much it is capable of.

I had been intrigued by the varied uses of WordPress, and knew that it was time to upgrade my own business web site to use the platform. Web designers / developers are often most critical of their own work and I was very specific as to how I wanted my own site to function.

I’ve finally given WordPress’ capabilities a full and through test by converting my own site from static HTML to WordPress.

This Is What They Call “WordPress as a CMS”

It is WordPress’ administrative area that turns it into a CMS or Content Management System. The WordPress admin area provides a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor – similar to a mini-version of Microsoft Word.

This allows virtually anyone to add and edit content themselves – all through their web browser – and without knowledge of HTML.

Of course, for more advanced users, there is a “code view” option where you can edit HTML code in a page, post or article, but it is not necessary for creating simple content.

Initial Settings – Permalinks and Comments

WordPress Custom Permalink Structure

The WordPress installation process is a fairly simple one, assuming you have the right web hosting (which must be capable of supporting the PHP programming language, and running MySQL databases).

Once installed, there are several settings to update. Some of the essentials being to update the Permalink structure, and in the case of a web site vs blog, I wanted to remove the comment features, as well.

Permalinks – also known as “pretty URL’s” – change your post URL’s from something like “/index.php?p=364″ to “/web-design/wordpress-as-cms/”

Typically with a blog, posts are setup with date based permalinks. In the case of the main site, however, I wanted to go with a more traditional format of “/category/postname/”- which help give the illusion that all areas of the site are Pages, as opposed to a combination of Pages and Posts.

I also turned off Comments and Trackbacks (links from other sites back to your own) throughout the site. Comments are an essential part of a blog, but not something I wanted on the main web site.

The comment settings are updated through the WordPress admin area, however I took this a step further by also removing the comment loop from my template files – basically just because I didn’t want a notice that “Comments are closed” on every page of the site, as well.

How to Resource Link…
Using Permalinks

Using a Static Front Page

WordPress Static Front Page

Once the main site settings were complete, it was time to begin on the content pages. To begin with, I wanted the site to use a static page for the home page (not the typical format of displaying the most recent posts).

This is a very simple setting in the WordPress admin area, which lets you specify either using the latest posts or a static page as the front page of the site.

How to Resource Link…
Creating a Static Front Page in WordPress

Individual Page Templates

WordPress Page Template

Using the Page Template option (and with some extra PHP files), you can indicate separate templates to be applied to individual pages.

By creating a home.php file,* the pre-defined front page of the site can use a different page template than the rest of the site, as well. In my case, I wanted the home page to use a specific header and footer, but NOT use a sidebar.

* It’s important to note that the home page file MUST be titled home.php – anything else, even page_home.php as I had tried to use, will not fully work.

On the interior pages, I wanted to have unique headers on each page – each one having a different slogan under the “Hello! Welcome to iDesign Studios” text at the top of each page, depending on which section a visitor is on.

There is also a difference on the header and footer of the site, depending on if you are in a main site section – take the Portfolio page, for example – vs the more personal About Me section (which includes my bio and resume, etc.)

How to Resource Link…
Creating Your Own Page Templates

Individual Templates For Categories and Posts, Too!

WordPress Post and Category Templates

While there is a readily available Page Template option when creating Pages – there is no similar option when creating Posts. I admit I had to do a bit of digging around on Google to find a solution to this problem, but I’m glad to say that I found it!

This one involves a bit of PHP scripting (explained very well at the link below) – but basically, by knowing your category ID’s, you can specify posts contained in different categories to use specific page templates.

This means that I was able to keep the header and sidebar from my Portfolio page along with my individual Portfolio posts, as well. Take for example the main portfolio page vs an individual portfolio post. By clicking through on the site, you’d really have no idea if you were viewing a Page or a Post, which was what I had hoped for.

How to Resource Link…
How to Set Up Custom WordPress Category Templates

Multiple Dynamic (Widgetized) Sidebars

WordPress Multiple=

Even more important than having individual headers and footers, I wanted to have separate sidebars, as well.

For example, on the main About the company page, I wanted to highlight one of my client testimonials, as well as link to additional information about myself (bio, etc.). On the Testimonials page, I wanted to include a PHP code that would automatically list all of the Testimonial posts so you can easily navigate from one to the next, etc.

Although I could just as easily have hard-coded the content of each of the sidebars in PHP, you have to admit that using widgets are easier. I could make updates anywhere as long as I have a web browser (without having to download/upload updated PHP files, etc.)

On each of the page templates, I’d link to the individual sidebar files. Where the real work comes in, though (which enables all of my sidebars to be widget ready and editable in the WP admin area) is to make some updates to the functions.php file.

How to Resource Link…How to Create Multiple Dynamic Sidebars for WordPress

Seamless Pages and Posts

WordPress Plugin - Redirection

Then comes the integration of WordPress pages and posts. On most blogs it’s quite obvious which is which. However, in this case I didn’t want to highlight content as being specific posts or pages – I wanted it all pretty much hidden.

With careful organization of my page and category structures (as well as the help of the Redirection Plugin) you’d never know the difference.

For example, if you tried going to – instead of getting a chronological listing of Portfolio posts, you would be redirected to which is the page I have setup with a general introduction to the portfolio, as well as a specific order of my work samples, etc.

Two additional plugins that proved to be essential for this project are Exec-PHP and Deactivate Visual Editor. Both plugins combined enabled me to add PHP code to my pages and posts from within the WordPress admin area. You can see this in action in the FAQ page, for example, where the questions are automatically inserted onto the page, just by including the “get_post” tags as demonstrated in the link below.

How to Resource Link…
Template Tags – Get Posts

Putting It All Together

WordPress RSS Feed

There were so many individual elements involved, but combined, the new site takes “WordPress as a CMS” to a new level.

With some of the automated features – such as the PHP code mentioned above to automatically list Testimonials and FAQ’s – all I have to do is add a new post whenever I have a new client recommendation, for example, and it’s automatically added to the main Testimonial page and sidebar.

I haven’t made use of the Feed options for the site yet, but by using posts for some of the more frequently updated content (especially the Portfolio section), this will be a great way to keep clients and prospects updated about company news and updates.

This was a truly great project that I learned quite a bit from. Nothing like really being able to spend time working on your own projects, where you can learn new techniques that you can later utilize for client projects, as well.

This is yet another demonstration of exactly why I love web design and development so much! It’s a never-ending learning experience, and it just gets better every time!

From the Experts – Complete Resource Lists

WordPress Codex

For the developers out there, here are some of the resources that I found to be invaluable while re-developing my site with WordPress.

These guys explain the techniques better than I could – and they helped me tremendously – so I figure a little bit of link love is in order!

Then come the plugins! Since WordPress is Open Source, there is a big community supporting the software. Many talented developers create plugins that extend the software’s functionality.

With several thousand plugins currently available, the possibilities are seemingly endless!  You can do so much with plugins but for this particular project, there are a few that were essential.

Big thanks to everyone involved in creating the posts and plugins listed here – without you, my site wouldn’t have been possible as I had envisioned!

If You’re Not a Developer and This Is All Greek To You…

Custom WordPress Theme Design and Development

Yes, it’s time for the obligatory shameless plug!

With the resources above, web developers reading (especially those versed in WordPress) should have no problem putting together a similar site.

But, you’re not all tech types (I don’t think…) So, if you need a web site of your own, or realize it’s finally time for an upgrade, but have no idea where to start… I hope you’ll keep me in mind!

Please check the Services page on the main site for details. I’ll be happy to put together a FREE detailed proposal with several options to choose from – just fill out the Quote Request Form or send me a quick message on the Contact page.

I look forward to hearing from you!

By the way, I offer “Design Only” and “Development Only” services that are great for other web designers / web developers who prefer to focus only on one or the other, and outsource the rest…


  1. says

    Hi there,

    As promised, I read your post. After reading through the post, I double confirmed that my thought on using WordPress for a non blogging project, is positive. I am a newbie in web design industry, and working hard to be a successful one. So, thanks a million for the post, think it really helps a lot.


  2. says

    Great post! I always wondered about this, and your set of links will be very helpful to me while I learn to implement my own wordpress website.

  3. says

    Great article! I’d begun constructing a site for my web-label, HPL Laboratories of Pennsylvania, using WP a few weeks ago, and the project was going on just fine, but thanks to your article, I’ve learned some new tricks to try that have made certain design and operational elements much easier to implement. Werd to ya mutha.

  4. Kevin says

    Hi, just a quick word of critique:

    I would think that you as a ‘professional webdesigner’ would know that white on black text is fairly difficult to read, let alone grey text. Same goes for the green links.


  5. says

    Thanks for your post. I can learn something new even though I have many experience in using WordPress as CMS. WordPress is great. In the past two years, I used it to build several websites that collect and aggregate Hong Kong location-based information. I am proud that I picked up the right tool. You might be interested to see how WordPress can be used in such a way.

  6. says

    Great post! As a developer who makes use of WP on a regular basis I firmly agree that it can usually bend to whatever desire you need.

    I have developed a plugin that you / others may find useful called Idealien Category Enhancements (ICE) – – which brings the selection of category and post templates into the admin module like page templates are. No longer must you use category-192.php and dozens of other templates. Set one via the manage > categories page and it will be used in whichever categories you assign it to via manage > categories. Same goes for posts in the template. Lots of inheritance / sub-category / post configuration options too!

  7. franky j says

    comprehensive tutorial – but im not sure why you would go to so much trouble customizing wordpress for a static site when you could just use a simple cms like cushycms

  8. says

    Hi there, helpful article!! Yeah, I also use WordPress as CMS too, but it’s just a simple one, never deep into further more for example the multiple widget sidebar and so on.

    So thanks ya! Delicious this post!

  9. ornob says

    nice – any suggestions about how to integrate a picture gallery into a wordpress site? want to do a portfolio for a friend’s site

  10. says

    Great post and a nice addition to the ‘WordPress as CMS’ idea to have separate sidebars without having to create new template files. I use WP almost exclusively now for my own sites and for clients – and like you Iove it!

    I would also suggest anyone using WordPress as a CMS use a fwe extra plugins – SImply Exclude allows you to excluse individual pages or posts from your blog front page, search results, archives etc. which is often useful for short term news. SEO Title Tag does pretty much what it says on the tin, and allows you to specify the titles explicitly, and Feedburner Feedsmith reroutes all feeds via a single Feedburner account for easier tracking.


  11. says

    I’ve been building websites on WordPress for a few months now but I haven’t implemented multiple sidebars because I haven’t been sure how or if it was worth the effort. The widgets always seemed like a great idea, but I’ve just coded the PHP into the regular sidebar. I had just decided to look into creating a more integrated and adjustable site when I came across this post. Thanks for the resource. It came just when I needed it! I’m not a designer, just an obsessed hobbyist. :-)

  12. says

    In my experience, even out of larger agencies there’s a surprising number of them using WP as a CMS. Most of them have pretty hacked up custom installs and plugins in use.

    Nice article. WP is a bit of a mystery (and mess) for people starting out with it.


  13. says

    Wonderful post! This will help a lot particularly in projects where we will use a silo structure in WordPress blogs (because the SEO gurus say that’s the way to go). :-)

    I’m intrigued by your approach of redirecting Category pages to written Pages. I don’t see too many WP bloggers doing that. I like it because it’s also a good way to address the “duplicate content” issue.

  14. says

    Well written and beautifully timed!

    I’d left WP a years back (when it got spammed constantly) in favour of Textpattern but TP just isn’t any good for clients to use if I’m honest.

    With the 2.5+ versions out I’ve come back to the fold and was literally talking about the feasibility of WP as a CMS yesterday with peeps.

    Your article has addressed my main concerns and though I don’t speak PHP (didnt know html when I started using that though either) I know I can offer this as a good and not just workable solution.

  15. says

    Is there a version of this post in a more reader friendly contrast? Grey on black is one of the hardest combinations to read web text on.

  16. says

    Great article. Amazing idea. Surprised it hasn’t been done before now…

    Anyway I am almost done building a site in which users (who are for the most part web illiterate) can register, author and post online articles (usability is a huge consideration). It also has an e-commerce section.

    Do you think I could retrofit what I have done (simple 2 column CSS layout with header and footer) with your CMS idea for WP? The online WYSIWYG editor and CMS functionality are obvious pluses. This would be SO much better. Any issues that may prevent something like that from being done with WP? Don’t want to postpone the launch date and start down a road that I find out later I can not use due to some unforeseen limitation.

    Thanks again for a great article. You are sparking many ideas.

  17. says

    @everyone – I have to thank you ALL so much for such great comments on this article! I had really hoped it would not only point out some of the benefits of using WordPress to run a non-blog site, but for the developers help point you in the right direction with some of the techniques I used.

    I myself got stuck several times trying to figure out how to accomplish a few of the things I wanted to do, so hopefully this post helps save some frustrations when you are developing your own sites, too!

    Anyway, thank you all for the love on this post – I got a lot of social votes and bookmarks from this one (even more than my previous “popular” post “6 Phases of the Web Design / Development Process

    @Kevin – Sorry you feel that way about the light / dark. I am aware of the issues of reverse text. But with this being my own personal site, I decided to take a calculated risk – something I can’t usually do with client web sites (unless it’s something they want to do, as well).

    The number of people who take issue with the lighter text is very low in comparison to the number of people who don’t mind it, so so far, so good… Most of my previous personal site designs were dark text on a lighter background. This time around I wanted something much more edgy. Black is great for portfolio sites, too…

    Also I went with light grey text as opposed to white text because it was much less jarring on the eye. I started with white text, but felt the contrast was too much on the eyes for this amount of text, so light grey won out… I don’t think the green links are hard to read, but it’s all personal opinion.

    @Jonny K – I literally LOL’d at your comment. Thank you (for not loving me in a weird stalker-guy way!) ha ha

    @JamieO – Thank you for posting your plugin link! If only I had known, it would have saved me quite a bit of time, lol.

    @franky j – I haven’t used cushycms (though have heard of it). WordPress is used so widely that I wanted to continue to utilize it. I already use it for this blog, but decided that as I’m now focusing more on offering WordPress custom theme design and development to clients, that I would convert my static html web site to utilize the same platform, as well. Since this was for my own site, I was able to spend as much time as I wanted to learn some new techniques (putting it on my own dime, so to speak…) – you don’t always have that luxury with client projects. I’d call it a self-learning educational project so to speak…

    @wasser – You mention that cushycms is a hosted solution – then yes, I wouldn’t have wanted to switch my web hosting to another company either. Too much hassle when I have several databases setup here, etc. (I’m happy with my web host, lol).

    @ornob – There are several plugins that do a great job of integrating photos for a portfolio (or other) type of image gallery. On my own Portfolio I use the Slimbox Plugin. Another great (and even better) gallery plugin is NexGEN Gallery which I use on another personal blog. That one is the most comprehensive that I’ve used and will likely integrate it into my portfolio at some point, as well. If you have a Flickr account, Flickr Photo Gallery plugin is a good one too (you can see that one in action on my recent vacation post displaying photos of the US Virgin Islands

    @Bill – thanks for the plugin recommendations! I use Feedburner Feedsmith (very helpful to track all of your subscriptions!). The Simply Exclude sounds great, too – I use a variation of that (which is probably more complex?) as I have the Google XML Sitemap plugin, however you have to manually enter in post/page ID numbers in order to exclude it from the sitemap. I’ve also installed All In One SEO Pack which handles all of your meta tags (I admit it’s a recent installation for me, though, so I still have to actually start using it to it’s full potential!

    A note on the plugins… I’ve got a massive list of plugins and other tweaks, etc. that I will be writing about soon (I’ve been promising this one to people for months – lets see if I can’t finally get it published within the next couple of weeks, LOL)

    @Manuel Viloria – The redirecting of the categories just came from me being anal retentive and overly controling, I guess, LOL. Even if I don’t list a link to the categories, I’m sure those versed in WP can easily type in the url and get a dis-organized list of posts, etc. I went with the redirection to help control it a bit, and send them to the page I want them to see (where posts are in the order I setup). The SEO “duplicate content” issue is an added bonus!

    @Gesnok – Apologies for the grey on black text – that’s one of the “controversial” issues about my site. Most don’t seem to mind, but every once in a while… Anyway, I don’t currently have another version (though would like to work on a theme selection option, where users can select the default light on dark, or a modified dark on light theme…). What I can suggest is that you subscribe to the feed, because through your feed reader you’ll be able to read the post with your feed reader’s default design (which is likely black text on a white background). And just pointing out that I’m not saying that to get more subscribers, LOL – you can unsubscribe if you want, it’s just a way to be able to view the text differently. Also, until publish another post, you should just be able to read this post on the feedburner page without actually subscribing. Just a thought…

    @Dragon – I don’t see why you can’t use your existing WP theme with some of the techniques above. There will be a little bit more work, just that you’ll have to create some new php files. But they can certainly be based on your existing files, with whatever changes you wish to implement for each of the individual page/category templates. Good luck if you decide to give it a try! I hope you’re able to get it out by your launch date!

  18. says

    Thanks for responding. I have decided to take the plunge.

    Where would you suggest I go for a quick tutorial on editing static content in WP like the header or footer PHP includes? Or even changing the layout of the page to accommodate my existing design (which is not in WP)?

  19. says

    Thanks for this great post. I use WordPress as a CMS for most of my projects. The multiple dynamic sidebars comes very handy as my current customer is asking for a different sidebar content on each page. I know to do it directly in the code by adding some PHP functions, but I actually didn’t know the “Multiple Dynamic (Widgetized) Sidebars” trick. Thanks a lot.

  20. says

    Great article – wish I had found it several months ago. The two eye opening moments in using wordpress as a CMS were the dynamic sidebars and the use of page templates. Still not as friendly as some CMS systems but it is nice not to be forced into the everything is a box design of a lot of CMS systems.

    Nice work on the category page templates that was new to me.

  21. says

    After customizing my new layout, I decided using WordPress as a CMS is a great solution. I like designing websites, but for some, it’s faster to not re-invent the wheel, so to speak, and design this way. Plus you get the added bonus of having the blog. I am bookmarking this article for future use in a few upcoming projects. Thanks for the great info!

  22. says

    Thank you all for the continued feedback on this post! I’m so glad it has helped many of you!

    @Dragon – I don’t know of a specific tutorial offhand, but I’m sure a google search will give you some great ones (it’s a matter of weeding out the good vs not so good ones, lol).

    To start with, though – I’d suggest going straight to the source with the WordPress codex site. A few helpful links on their site…

    WordPress Template Tags
    WordPress Lessons
    Designing WordPress Headers
    Stepping Into WordPress Templates

    Just a few, but those might help get you started…

  23. says

    This is a great article. I’ve been thinking of using WordPress as a CMS just because I know WordPress so it’s easy for me to use. This article helps. :)

  24. says

    Continued thanks for the positive feedback on the post!

    @Josh – thanks for providing your links! Your articles both seem to be good resources with additional detailed information – thanks for sharing!

  25. sj says

    Hi. I have used WP for a very basic CMS for static pages. Is it possible to create dynamic pages, such as news, besides blog post, without knowing PHP? Let’s say we need a special promotion text message box on the sidebar. Can a client, who doesn’t know html, change the text without getting into template design change?
    I’ve been googling on how to do that with WP, but I’ve got no luck.


  26. says

    It is absolutely possible to create dynamically generated news pages in WordPress.
    You would need to know PHP to do this however, because you would need to alter page templates.
    Regarding changing promos on a sidebar, you can definitely do this without knowing HTML– the key is making sure that a certain plugin is installed.
    In terms of good WordPress resources, here are two I recommend (these are from a post on my site):
    * Joost de Valk has written what he calls, “The Definitive Guide To High Rankings For Your Blog”.
    * Ian Stewart has an excellent guide: “Use WordPress As a CMS: Plugins, The Bare Minimum“.

    (There’s also a link to an article I wrote in an earlier comment on this post).

    Hope that helps!

  27. Dave says

    Thanks for that information! I will refer to it if someone wants to use WordPress as a CMS. I use WordPress a whole lot, but use other systems as well, such as MODx, Website Baker, and I test others all the time. When you do that, you begin to see a system will do a particular thing much better than your fave.

    WordPress is, indeed, flexible enough to be adapted to almost anything with enough mods and tweaking. But the problem with any CMS is that when someone becomes enamored with one, they start to believe that it’s omniscient and always better than anything else. And that’s very much not the case.

    A very quick example would be that setting up multiple templates in MODx is much easier and more flexible than WP, and customized menu generation is more flexible and easier. Yet WP crushes MODx on plugin updating, form creation, etc. The right tool for the job, as it were.

    It’s easy to see why this happens. Apart from emotional attachment to something one likes, after spending a lot of time with a system, the thought of learning still more can be annoying. And if you’re part of some large IT department, they will resist change, even for the better, because it’s just too big a deal to do so.

  28. says

    i’ve used WP as a CMS quite a lot for various things. it’s a veritable playground of fun what you can do w/ WP. keep it up.

  29. Ana Montebon says

    Thanks you very much for this timely post… I am now in the middle of transferring a website I am now working on to a new url and this is giving me a chance to do a revamp. A lot of very useful information you have given me!


  30. says


    Great information you have provided. I have just finished a project consulting with this information. Thank you.

    I have a problem, I could not be able to find how to highlight parent page link inside navigation while viewing the sub page of the parent.
    Please help how can i do this.

    Your help will be much appreciated.

    Once again, thank you very much

  31. says

    Selene, yours is one of the cleanest designed websites I have come across and a great testament to your abilities.

    I look forward to seeing more from you.

  32. says

    A great post :) I’m looking at using wordpress as a cms for an upcoming project and I think you’ve just made my mine up!


  33. says

    Hi, Thanks for the information. I’m new to WordPress and these tips are helpful.
    If you don’t mind me asking… what is the name of the plugin for the “accordion” sidebar? Does it work with 2.7?
    Also, what plugin do you use for the 3 sections (Above Me, Skills & Experience & Contact Me) above the footer? Thanks so much. Keep up the good work!

  34. says

    Thanks everyone for the continued great comments on this post!

    @henri – I’m using the “Tabbed Widgets” plugin (yes, it’s compatible with 2.7).

    As for the “About Me / Skills / Contact” info below, that is all hard-coded into the footer.php file. Although I saw a post somewhere showing how to set that up as if it were a sidebar so that you could edit the content as a widget. (Sorry I don’t remember where the article was, though…)

  35. says

    This was very helpful and I thought it was what I needed but I can not get it to work.
    I have a page called “videos” and I want that page to only display posts from the category id 3. My category is displaying this correctly but the page does not display the posts.

  36. says

    When I call multiple headers, the page gets loaded TWICE by wordpress.

    That only happens on headers that are note the header default.

    Any help will be really appreciated

  37. says

    EXCELLENT article. I have seen some good ones before but an excellent thorough explanation as well as resources to make it easier. Your portfolio examples are wonderful as well. As a web designer myself (other half of my biz) I can appreciate the work it took to make it seamless and effective.

  38. says

    This is an amazing resource. Thank you for taking the time to put all this together. I will be trying all your suggestions with the next site I create at datingology dot net. Thanks again and wish me luck 😉

  39. says

    great post, lots of awesome info here for a web developer making the jump into the wordpress world of being…haha its a lil different on this side, but i like where it is going. thanks again!

  40. clairessa says

    this is a very wonderful piece of work. cant wait till i have more time to read the other half of your article 😀

  41. clairessa says

    i have read your other half and let me just say that this article is a life saver :)

  42. Steve moriarti says

    Great blog. I’m a web developer looking to use wordpress as a cms and this is perfect. Well done. :-)

  43. says

    Firstly let me say I like your black on gray..I could read this perfectly.What a wonderful post I have just started in the blogging world and progects. You’re site has given me so much good info,from all of you.I am looking into wordpress CMS.. so wish me luck…Thanks for a wonderful informed post…I will vist again.

  44. Lisa says

    ok, so I took a course online, and while thorough, it doesn’t tell you where to paste the snippet of code if you are in affilate marketer trying to promote other peoples products. So where do you paste product codes? So frustrated. I thought this would be fairly simple.

  45. says

    Thank you so Much ! saved alot of time !

    Its a Killer CMS actually , better than the available ones !

    This was a good day for me !

    Thank you again

  46. says

    This is a FABULOUS post – thank you so much for sharing all this information! I think you just saved me a ton of time. Yay!

  47. says

    I had always associated WP with blogs and so had overlooked it as a CMS instead using Joomla and Drupal but after having useed WP I can honestly state I would have used it for about 90% of the others. It is also a dream to install and update.

  48. says

    WordPress is the most easily configurable CMS on the open source market.
    I am really curious what the next versions will bring…

  49. Kathir says

    I would say that I have really found a great source for my technical big picture. Honestly, your writing style is pretty simple and excellent in explaining the stuff in a nutshell. I started recommending my peers too. :-)

  50. says

    Cool Article n so detailed,
    I was searching for some information for creating a CMS with WordPress. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Will try this soon.

  51. says

    This is a truly excellent tutorial page – simple clear language and instructions with great graphics.
    I wish all tutorial pages were this good! OUTSTANDING & INSPIRATIONAL!

    Just started building a WP based site (in the sandbox atm) & wanted CMS structure on the front end with blogging capabilities, you showed me how.

    Heart-felt thanks.

  52. says

    Great post! WordPress can easily be used as a CMS for small web sites, especially since the ‘pods’ plugin was released. Templates are the only issue but not really a big deal if you know a bit of CSS and HTML.

  53. Emil says

    Nice tips. The alternative to “Using a Static Front Page” is home.php, once the home.php is created and uploaded it will pose as your default page and it will replace the index.php.


    Once you have the home.php in place, you may do pretty much whatever you please and fully customize your WordPress to act as CMS.


  54. says

    Great info. I’ve been looking for this type of information over the the last few days. Can’t wait to give it a go.

  55. says

    I’ve found WordPress to be one of the most user friendly CMS’ when it comes to giving clients the ability to edit their own websites. I did get a few more ideas from this article though, thank you for providing such a comprehensive guide!

  56. says

    Thanks for the information, just started using wordpress a few months ago and found myself thinking, “where have I been all of this time?” I just might try using it as a CMS.

  57. Hakha says

    Hello, I’m very new to WordPress. I create a homepage with wordpress. Now I would like to add a blog and link to /blog. How do I do this?

  58. says

    Wow! This is wonderful. Thank you so much for posting it.

    I’m new to the professional design world and just transitioning my old static site into a proper portfolio with blog, free resources, about, etc. I’d been considering trying out WordPress to build the whole thing, but was unsure if it was even possible — until I read this! :) I’m sure this will be a huge help as I delve into the process.

  59. says

    Cool Article n so detailed,
    I was searching for some information for creating a CMS with WordPress. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Will try this soon.

  60. Harley B says

    Hello Selene,

    Very nice work with this post – but I’ve run into a couple of problems with the multiple templates for pages.
    In both the ‘Individual Page Templates’ and ‘Individual Templates For Categories and Posts, Too!’ sections you linked to the same resource link..

    Also, when creating home.php (as a copy from page.php) it becomes the default template – the page used as your static front page (Home) and the blog page (Blog) will always take on home.php as the template, even when defining the template as a different php file.
    Any other page (that isn’t set as the static front page or blog page) is fine and will take on the defined template php file.

    I noticed you have a sidebar on your blog page though none on your homepage – so you must have found a workaround (or I’ve missed something completely).
    Anyway, I’m sure you can understand the annoyance of spending hours trying to find a solution to a single problem, so if you can help me out I’d be ever so grateful..!

    Very nice work – keep it up,
    Harley B

  61. says

    Exactly what I was looking for, thanks for taking the time to post this! I’ve been using WordPress as a blog CMS but now I want to use it for my entire site! Great site design too.

  62. Ted says

    Hi Selene,

    As others have mentioned you have a very beautiful site and the information you’ve shared is very much appreciated. If you don’t mind sharing a bit more – did you use a plugin for the navigation at the top of the page (Home, About, Service …) and the navigation below the header (About, Biography, Resume …)? I’m new to WP and do not code. Was hoping there is a plugin that would allow for custom navigation and the ability to place navigation in different locations on the page.


  63. says


    Nice site. I usually to use wordpress for blog only and rest of the site in MODx CMS. I had to make two template and install two separate software’s MODx and wordpress separately.

    Thanks for sharing this knowledge. Now I can use only wordpress as pure CMS with an inbuilt blog.


  64. says


    I communicated with you few weeks regarding my domain appraisal :-) , hope you remember me.

    I got few clients who were looking for customizing WP for converting to a CMS & I had a tough time , I should have read this article before , that would have saved my time.
    Anyway this helps me to meet my client’s requests in the future.

    Thanks for the post.

  65. says

    Wow, lots of nice info. Just looking around to find help on converting the webpagei admin to a wordpress site. And this article really outlined several good ideas. First stop for me is to find a useful professional looking template for the site.

    thansk again for the inspiration.


  66. says

    I’m not a wordpress expert and these tips of yours really helped me in customizing my blog, Thanks for the tip in putting up this list for us.

  67. says

    WordPress is really an great software for beginners in creating websites and blogs. It is search engine friendly and very easy to use and customize even without knowledge of CSS.

    I am turning all of my websites into WordPress….Thank you for the great content!

  68. says

    I love WP too. But when it comes to editing, I’m dead :-)

    BTW, do you know if it’s possible to exclude one single post and customize it in any way I want?

    I want to drive some traffic to a single page of WP, a post, but would love to use Google’s Optimizer to test different elements. But I can’t see how to do that??? Is it even possible?

  69. says

    I’ve always found the limits of WordPress frustrating when trying to develop a blog into a fully featured site. WordPress does have a few good features that make it easy to use for clients but there are so many other content management systems out there that are more suited to different types of site and are often far quicker to setup.

  70. says

    My mate has been on to me for ages to get in to wordpress. He swears by it, but I had it down as being a bit limitting. I use dreamweaver, and this is complicated. It seems, having had read your article, and had a try with wordpress, that maybe “complicated” needs to go, and wordpress can have the front seat now!

  71. says

    Using WordPress for a CMS is a great idea. Thanks for this great article on ll of the great features that WordPress offers for a CMS solution. We have been using WordPress as a CMS for a few years now and our customers seem to love it. Now that WordPress 3.0.1 is out, they have even more flexibility in creating subblogs or subsites off of the main domain.

    We adore WordPress as well and really like your blog. Keep up the great articles on WordPress!

  72. says

    Thanks for sharing this tip, i got to hear of you from and recently just launched a blog for entrepreneurs myself and don’t know how to reposition the numbers of comments on a post from the bottom of the post to the top of the post where it can be easily seen. Any suggestions pls?

  73. says

    I’m intrigued by your approach of redirecting Category pages to written Pages. I don’t see too many WP bloggers doing that. I like it because it’s also a good way to address the “duplicate content” issue.

    Very well thought out and designed post.

  74. says

    Some very good information here that I haven’t seen anywhere else. I like the idea about removing the comments sections the way you described it. Most comments are spam thanks to bots, but you can compensate for that dynamic interaction in other places. Thanks!

  75. says

    WordPress is my favorite blog and why it’s my favorite just because of it’s easy setup and customized CMS for Multiple Headers, Footers, Sidebars and more!

  76. says

    I´m a huge fan of WordPress. It´s a very useful tool in many ways, both from a personal and professional aspect. It is often viewed as simply a blogging tool, but is much more than that.

  77. says

    O man Do I have a long way to go. When I visit sites like this quality site I am soooooooo pleased that I found WordPress on my cpanel by accident no less.

  78. says

    Always great to stop by and read the comments and more importantly, what new on the blog. Visited a bog this morning and major host co and was shocked that there are actually people than criticize wordpress. O well I suppose it takes all sorts. Thank you for showing the potential and what we can achieve

  79. says

    Very profound article! I must admit I was not aware of some obvious features like multiple templates. I thought you gotta be a PHP guru to make it work yourself.

    In one of my articles, I discuss the question of whether WordPress is a good CMS. I should admit, I am a Joomla kind of person. However, I am using WordPress for my projects whenever I can. After reading your article, working on my next project made me really think if I should use Joomla or WordPress since a LOT can be done with WordPress now.

    The major reason why I thought about it is WP’s INTERFACE SIMPLICITY. I really like it about WordPress – you just post and go. In addition, it is easy to teach my clients to use it. In Joomla, the interface seems a bit confusing. I like it, but my clients are not as happy with it as with WordPress.

    So, my major point is that WordPress is definitely great and your examples given in your article are very well chosen and described!


    Best of luck!

  80. says

    This is a very informative article. Many people think that word press is only good for blogging and do not realize that it is perfect as a CMS tool.

    Thanks Selene :)

  81. says

    Thank you, I’m going to give this a go tonight with a template I made. I hope it all goes well. Is there a book anyone would recommend on using wordpress for a CMS for a detailed read?

  82. says

    Great article!
    I have a very positive experience using WordPress. Very easy to learn and with a little work on CSS style can turn your blog looking really nice and personal, plus it’s SEO friendly! I just love WP.

    Keep up the good work Selene!

  83. says

    Hello, I’m very new to WordPress. I create a homepage with wordpress. Now I would like to add a blog and link to /blog. How do I do this?

  84. Mark Lancaster says

    Thank you for taking the time to write this article, I found it easy to follow and very useful.

  85. says

    WordPress is a great platform not just for blogging but for other purposes as well, I use wordpress alot in some of my non-blog websites and it can surely delivers. More power to wordpress.

  86. Tammy says

    I was interested in what you had to say until I saw your Bluehost ad. I have zero respect for anyone who promotes Bluehost and claims to be a web professional. Bluehost is a bottom feeder of hosting companies. WordPress struggled to run on my Bluehost account with a basic install with no plugins and extremely light traffic.

  87. says

    Hi Tammy, I’m sorry to hear you feel that way. I only have an ad for BlueHost because I use them myself. Other than the occasional downtime (which any host has at some point or another) I haven’t had any problems with them. I don’t have the largest amount of traffic, but it is decent, and do have quite a few plugins installed and everything has been running well. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, though!

  88. Tristan Zimmerman says

    Hi Selene,

    First, I really want to thank you for this tutorial. 3 years after you first published it and it’s still as helpful and relevant as ever.

    Second, I was curious if you could tell me why we should use the home.php file and what it should contain. After some research I found where home.php falls in the WP template hierarchy, so I see it’s primacy as a possible benefit, but I still feel like I don’t understand it. Couldn’t a person just assign a custom version of their theme to the “home” page?

    Anyway, thank you again! You have already been a huge help.


  89. says

    I am using wp for a project and would like the blog posts to go to and keep the pages in tact. Changing the blog url to does not seem to work.

    The other site I am using is installed as how would I integrate my static site to the blog. ie. the reverse of the previous scenario

  90. says

    hv been using my wordpress blog for some time npw, and i want to know how to increase my blog template width, pls does anyone has any tips

  91. says

    Very nice and well explained.. I agree with you the more you use it the more you are fascinated by how much it is capable of. I have use wordpress for years now and I see the power of CMS on handling not just three to four transactions at a time but more than you could hardly imagine.

    What Amaze me most is the simplicity, user friendly and very fantastic dynamic designs. It can accept many other kinds of plugins that will help you work more faster more reliable and most of more it is very affordable.

    I encourage everyone to use wordpress in their blogs, sites or business projects.

    Thanks for sharing fellow…

  92. says

    Hello Selene,
    Excellent little web page you have here. I too love working with Word Press and with the new release since 3.0 its just gets better and better.
    Recently i have done some work for a client in Joomla ughhh it was not great to work with at all.
    Though some will hail joomla i understand, but for me anyways i will stick with WP projects in the future only.

    PS never liked the look of sites that used a dark theme. I have to say that i do like yours very much so much that i wanted to comment.

  93. says

    This is a great article. I’ve been thinking of using WordPress as a CMS just because I know WordPress so it’s easy for me to use. This article helps.

  94. Beginner Gal says

    Finally, a blog with some practical information on the keywords that bring it up.
    bless you.

  95. says

    I think trying to reconstruct WordPress as anything more than it was designed to do is a mistake. WP is for blogging. There are so many solutions that make website editing super easy.

    In short, let WP do what it does best and let others do what they do best

  96. says

    I always laugh when I hear SEOs talk about so called “black hat” techniques. It’s amazing what some people consider “black hat” and “spammy” and what others consider “white hat” and perfectly fine.

  97. says

    I still prefer using WP as a CMS instead of Drupal or Joomla.

    Only thing is I hate using the custom fields, WordPress should improve this.

  98. says

    I so enjoyed every bit of this site and I’ve bookmarked your blog to keep up with the new topics you will post in the future.

  99. says

    Thanks very much. I love wordpress but have trouble combining it as a decent website and as a cms. Great tips.

  100. says

    I’ve almost become obsessed by WordPress and it’s not yet let me down to what it can do. I never considered the capabilities of multiple sidebars so that’s something I’m going to have a play. I’m due an overhaul on the site anyway so may integrate some of that functionality.

  101. says

    You’ve put together a great explanation of the different elements and functionalities of WordPress that allow it to be used as a CMS. It might take a while to build it exactly the way you want it, but the point is that WordPress can do it, so you have the benefit of a site that looks and functions as you want it, that can be easily maintained by one or several people.

  102. says

    I suppose if you one knows absolutely nothing about databases and sql then wordpress is a really good tool for building dynamic websites. my problem is that i like to build everything from scratch first myself and then, and only then, look for other solutions to the same problem! that i when i discovered wordpress, now i may start using it if it helps speed up development time…. but on the other hand i have developed my own website-structure and cms tool that works just as well and is so simple to use, it does require the admin to become familiar with html and css but really i think that is a good thing, after all, why aspire to having ones own website if one can’t be bothered to learn basic html?

  103. says

    I find wordpress more user friendly than any other cms. but you will need to careful about security aspect. You can handle security issue with proper permission on folders, security scanning plugin and using tested plugins. Thanks for sharing the article.

  104. says

    You’ve done a great job here Selene, I teach and train WordPress design, SEO and Link Building for hundreds of small business owners for the past 9 years and I’m going to use this explanation on how to use WP as a CMS.

    Great job on explaining it so simply. RC

  105. says

    Great post! I was weighing cms/blog options and after reading this, I think I will make a run at setting up a WordPress site. Thanks Selene!

  106. says

    Thanks for your work.. I’ve been thinking of using WordPress as a CMS just because I know WordPress so it’s easy for me to use. This article helps.

  107. Kristen B. says

    WordPress is definitely a good platform to use for blogging. I didn’t know that there are so much it could offer like the sidebar, footer, etc. All I know is how useful widgets and how wonderful other wordpress themes could be. Thanks for the insights about wordpress as cms.

  108. says

    Nice thanks for the help with the WordPress blogs I’m setting up my own so this is really helpful! BTW love your cartoon girl she is so cute!! Thanks again :)

  109. Prodyot says

    You are wonderful.
    I came across this tutorial just in time.
    It will save me a lot of pain in creating a full fledged website.
    I can now take full advantage of the beauties inherent to WordPress and create a website.
    And, you presented it so beautifully that even a person with a tiny brain like me can make the necessary changes to transform the wordpress blog into a website :)
    Even thought of writing a complete tutorial and offering a PDF download?
    That will be a great help for the wannabees like me.
    While reading your tutorial i felt a feminine care which is all over the write-up.
    That makes the tutorial a pleasure to read and follow.
    I remain indebted to you.
    Salute from India.
    Keep the good endeavour going.
    Thanks a lot.

  110. Prodyot says


    “Even thought of writing a complete tutorial and offering a PDF download?”
    should be-
    “Ever thought of writing a complete tutorial and offering a PDF download?”

    -somehow I relate enthusiast “newbies” to “new bees”.
    The just born bees (new bees) demonstrate greater level of enthusiasm in the works they are (predestined) to undertake and deliver :)

  111. says

    @Selene M. Bowlby : Thanks a ton for this article. It’s day two for me while am reading articles on your site. All are very helpful. Read your Post for Mashable also. thumbs Up. Your personal blog post about ‘taking the plung , i am free’ was also very nice. god bless.

    Your work here is both very helpful and resourceful. keep up the good work.

    I need your advice : I am a newbie in WordPress. Started with WordPress 3.x on Genesis Framework using News Child Theme. I got various issues. Many are now solved, but one stands tall. Am not able to use WP-PageNavi plugin, as because it installs perfectly, but am not able to find that where I should put it’s code in function.php etc. So if you can tell/demonstrate. it would be a huge help.

    And if you can suggest any tutorial material other than Codex, where I can get strt with basic and then can go deep in wordpress and genesis. I used “WordPress for dummies” and “Starting with Genesis” but was not satisfied. Anything simple, or from the scratch would be good.

    Thanks a lot. :)

  112. says

    I use word press for my own blog, I have used wordpress for contructing two websites, The plugins are awesome and the best part is it so very search engine friendly, you can make the most of the Search visibility without having to invest in professional SEO firms

  113. says

    Thanks for the great info! I was searching for just this information to have all my content fed into my site via blog post for various reasons, not the least of which was the great automatic twitter posting and fast indexing. Now it’s so much easier to do with these tips!

  114. Will says

    Great article!
    I combine WP with essential plugins that can help me imrpove the website’s functionality, user-experience and appearance. For design I use Lubith, an online WP theme generator. The combination between quality content and powerful applications can’t fail when it comes to creating a professional website.

  115. says

    Hey Selene, just wanted to say that this is a fantastic step-by-step post for anyone working to help a small business get setup with WP as a CMS.

    Take Care,

  116. says

    One of my clients started off with a blogspot domain, but once he discovered WordPress he never looked back. Its effortless customizability is one of the reasons.

  117. says

    With so many great plugins wordpress is an amazing CMS. here are some must plugins backupbuddy, and advance custom fields these tools are easy to use and are so customizable.

  118. Web Tec Mart says

    i have created a blog on wordpress, but that was not so creative, now reading this blog it is so easy for me, thanx…

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