updated: January 5th, 2016 / Ross Johnson / 11 Comments

5 WordPress Plugins that will turn WordPress into a CMS

Most web developers/designers are extremely familiar with the WordPress blogging platform. It is a highly supported, open source, plugin diverse piece of software, and it would be a shame if we couldn’t easily turn it into a viable CMS for non blogging sites. Luckily we can!

1. Home Page

Obviously in most cases we don’t want our home page to be the latest news/posts, it should be an introduction to the page. Luckily we can use the Static Front Page plugin to fix this slight problem. Static front page is an easy to install plugin, that simply sets a page created with the title “Home” to be displayed first instead of your latest posts. Now you can have your introduction page first, and a separate link to news/updates.

2. WYSIWYG

Most of us coders would opt to use the code view than the WYSIWYG function of WordPress. However if you are installing the system as a CMS for clients that are not familiar with HTML, the WordPress WYSIWYG features leave a lot to be desired. There are a few WYSIWYG plugins for WordPress but none of them really had all the features I wanted (such as heading tags) or were a PITB to install. I came across a nice plugin called ChenPress that is packed full of features and tags. It is a bit of a hefty download, but it is worth it.

This way you can style all the text markup so it fit’s the sites design – all your clients have to do is insert headings, pictures, lists, etc…

3. Contact Form

If you are like me, you will do anything to save time and increase productivity (or are lazy, like in my case.) Contact forms are simple to make, but take way too much time. Luckily there is a quick and easy plugin called WP-ContactForm. Upload the plugin, configure the recipient address, and drop in one line of code to any post or page and you are ready to roll! It is pretty basic, so if you want different fields you will have to customize the plugin slightly – but it is pretty straight forward. Those who are used to creating forms will have no problem making these basic alterations.

4. Image Gallery

Who doesn’t want an image gallery of some sort on their site? Portfolio’s, Employee Pages, Member Page’s, etc – everyone tends to want a page that is primarily thumbnails and images. fGallery to the rescue! Quick and easy, and it integrates lightbox with in the plugin itself! Can it get any better? (probably, but let me be excited!)

5. Sitemap

Finally what is a quality site with out a site map? (and no snickering about my blog’s lack of site map.) WordPress already has a pretty robust search engine by default, but all sites could benefit from an up to date site map for usability and SEO reasons. Sitemaps are a pain to update yourself, and you certainly can’t expect clients to make them. Download and install Sitemap Generator for WordPress it does all the heavy listing for you.

Conclusion

You already know how to use WordPress, it is simple to learn, and it is open source. Why not use it for a CMS? While plenty of people have hacked WordPress to make it a usable CMS, there really is no need to go through that hassle anymore. Simply upload a handful of plugins and you are good to go. Need other features for your WordPress CMS? Check out the endless list of WordPress Plugins , chances are someone has thought of it and developed a plugin already.

11 thoughts 5 WordPress Plugins that will turn WordPress into a CMS

  1. Pingback: » 5 wordpress plugins that will turn wordpress into a full CMS

  2. Can you suggest a couple social bookmarking plugins?

  3. I’ve been using the WPContactForm plugin for a while, and it pulls in a decent bit of spam. Nothing huge, but spam nonetheless. I found a modified version from Douglass Karr that adds a challenge question like “2+2=” to the contact from to beat the bots. You can edit the challenge question and answer from the blog admin. I haven’t gotten any spam since installing it!

    http://www.douglaskarr.com/2006/09/22/wordpress-contact-form-with-spam-protection/

  4. A static front page can be created without the use of a plug-in. Simply design a page using whatever WP template tags you want and save it as home.php to your theme directory.

    Ta-da. That page will be displayed at the root URL of your WordPress install. Downside to that however, is that you have to edit the file itself to make changes, rather than use WP’s built-in editor.

  5. Pingback: MarcNext » Blog Archive » Een volwassen WYSIWYG WordPress editor

  6. Thanks for the improved plugin David – I have noticed the same problem. I am going to update the post and include that and reference your site.

    Good to know also tunequest, as far as the home.php. I had come across a few sites that mentioned it, but most of the situations where I use wordpress for a CMS the people like to tweak the front page as well.

    Easier for us developers to just make a home.php page however.

    ross
  7. For those that want a WYSIWYG (What You See Isn’t always What You Get) editor, ChenPress is a good choice. However, there are some issues with the groups-beta server over at Google. You can pull the latest version of ChenPress (currently 3.1.1) off the pixelficker website. (Don’t ask; I didn’t name it.)

  8. I think you should add the Search Everything-plugin to this list!

    Good job.

  9. Pingback: Shirock Photography is live! -- Joe Sak - a web programmer’s blog

  10. A nice list of plug-ins, and I am glad the contact plug-in has a modded version which includes the spam question. Don’t want that stuff getting through!

  11. I’ve been using the WPContactForm plugin for a while, and it pulls in a decent bit of spam. Nothing huge, but spam nonetheless. I found a modified version from Douglass Karr that adds a challenge question like “2+2=” to the contact from to beat the bots. You can edit the challenge question and answer from the blog admin. I haven’t gotten any spam since installing it!

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