There are 2 ways to make WordPress into a better CMS. The first way involves a lot more time spent building your theme and ultimately a lot more cost. The second way uses third party plugins to extend your CMS’ functionality.
If I could install any 10 plugins to make a CMS more CMS-like, these would definitely be on my list:
- Page Link Manager – If you’re using WordPress as a CMS, it’s quite likely that you’ll be using pages instead of posts. The Page Link Manager plugin installs a simple menu that allows you to check which pages you want included in your main navigation.
- My Page Order – Often, you’ll want to display your WordPress page navigation in a list, and you’ll probably want to have some control over the way those menu items display. My Page Order allows you to move pages around the list. It can also be used to move child pages around the navigation menu.
- Widget Logic – This plugin allows you to display different widgets on different pages. So now you can display a specific set of widgets on your blog, another set on your home page, and yet another on your product pages. The plugin uses conditional tags to trigger the logic bit.
- Yoast Breadcrumbs – Since the early days of the Internet, breadcrumbs have been used to show visitors where they are on your site. This simple plugin installs above your content and can easily be styled to suit your theme’s look.
- Search Everything – The default WordPress search function searches only blog posts. On a CMS, you want both pages and posts to be searchable. Search Everything gives you this added functionality.
- Analytics360 – I wasn’t going to add this one to my list, but 2 days into it, I’m loving having a Google Analytics system right on my WordPress Dashboard. Not only does the plugin display Google stats, it also shows when you published blog posts and can be integrated with the Mail Chimp e-mail management app. This one is great for blogs and corporate sites.
- WP-CMS Post Control – Even though WordPress has a simple page editing interface, it can still get cluttered, especially for new users. The WP-CMS Post Control plugin lets you set which write panels appear in your editing pages, de-cluttering it beautifully.
- Widgets Reloaded – 2 words. GET THIS. Justin Tadlock has created a widget set that pushes WordPress further than anything anyone has ever done before. In a nutshell, the plugin gives your widgets the ability to do anything. They’ll even make you coffee. OK, not really.
- Flutter – I haven’t quite got to grips with Flutter yet, and the video tutorials on the Flutter site leave a lot to be desired, but the idea is brilliant. You can set write panels to do pretty much anything on a post or a page, including adding images, file uploads, video or content. So, for a company CMS with loads of repetitive page structures, the Flutter write panels could be a massive time saver.
- Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu – This neat little plugin converts the WordPress admin panel’s navigation from the left of the page to simple drop down menus on the top of the dashboard. The result: All the plugins you’ve installed in steps 1-9 above are a heck of a lot easier to find.
Obviously you can have too many plugins, so it pays to only use a plugin if it’s really going to help make your site easier to manage. Know of any more I should have included?