#41: WordPress as a CMS

We once did a poll asking people what their favorite CMS was. WordPress was a run-away winner, but also got many comments of "WordPress isn't a CMS!!". Well clearly, in the strictest sense, WordPress is a CMS as it "manages content". But is WordPress really only suited for blogging, or can it be used for more traditional non-blog sites? In this screencast I attempt to show off a number of WordPress features that make it very "CMS-like" in my opinion. Including page templates, dynamic menus, parent-child relationship pages, and using posts as ancillary content.

Links from video:


  1. User Avatar
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    Agh! The video is corrupted. It quites about 7 minutes in. I was really enjoying too…

  2. User Avatar
    Scotty Bollinger
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    Awesome video. Thanks for posting!

  3. User Avatar
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    I love WordPress lol – I use it more like a CMS than a blog anyway :) – awesome and thanks for the overview!

  4. User Avatar
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    Chris Thank you for all of the great tutorials you do for us who are learning. You’re a great teacher.

  5. User Avatar
    Christian Ross
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    Thanks for the WordPress tips. Headed to download the Defusion theme now to pick up the sweet navigation code.

  6. User Avatar
    Matt Wilson
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    Really nice tutorial. I never would have thought about reading an RSS feed from my own site. There’s also a way to get posts by running “the loop” with a specialized query, but that can be kind of tricky.

    Your approach is clean and simple!

  7. User Avatar
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    Here’s Another site made with Worpress ( You’ll see a lot of familiar things from Past tutorials..thanks for that by the way!!)

    Hope this helps with the point of this tutorial.


  8. User Avatar
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    Maybe it’ll be a bit better to put the event php code in a page template instead of directly in the page?
    That would be a way to not being forced to use the phpexec plugin.

  9. User Avatar
    Toni L
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    Enjoyd it very much, got a bunch new info and still hoping to find more CMS like featrures in wordpress. Maybe a video about “essential wordpress plugins” would be nice at some time. :)

  10. User Avatar
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    Awesome!!! And timely, I was just looking into either using WordPress or Expression Engine as a CMS engine. Clearly expained with some great examples…well done.

  11. User Avatar
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    Hey, Chris, great tutorial.

    What was the reason for using the SimplePie RSS plugin to grab the most recent posts for the sidebar? Surely just using standard WordPress code/widgets would have done the same job.


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    Hip Hop Makers
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    Great video. I really appreciate all the information you share. Keep up all the good work.

  13. User Avatar
    tj mapes
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    This was so beneficial.. I am so happy you posted this. Thanks so much. Excellent resource. I’m going to spread this around and share.

  14. User Avatar
    Bob Pease
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    I am currently working on a project where we want to use WordPress as a CMS. Thank you so much for this video, it was a huge help and couldn’t have come at a better time!!

  15. User Avatar
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    WordPress is not in the Open Source CMS Award of PACKT. It can be a CMS? oh, suck!

  16. User Avatar
    Simon B
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    Another great one, thank you Chris :o)

  17. User Avatar
    Chris Barnett
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    This is awesome. Thanks again Chris. Think this is just what I needed to have WordPress be the back-end for most of my sites now. Gets me excited to get back to designing. I really like some of the easy submission features you had on the demo site as well. Cheers!

  18. User Avatar
    Nathan C
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    I use it for my site. Nice podcast!

  19. User Avatar
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    The video just stopped all of a sudden. What happened?

  20. User Avatar
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    Ur a machine! -Thanks for the great stuff.-Continue like this!

  21. User Avatar
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    I cannot for the life of me get SimplePie to work. It just will not display. The source code isn’t even there… Both core and wp plugin are activated, cache directory is there (permissions are 777) … anyone ever have this problem?

  22. User Avatar
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    I have had problems with the page template option disappearing in WP as well. What did you do when you were whistling and stopping the capture to make it work?

  23. User Avatar
    Chris Coyier
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    @tbrams: That isn’t the first time that has happened to me, and both times it was the same super weird problem. I literally had to go into the Design area and activate the theme again. It was kinda half-active and needed to be chosen again. Not sure what’s up with that.

  24. User Avatar
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    Excellent tutorial. Some of the custom code could be handled by existing plugins, but you did a great job highlighting the possibilities.

  25. User Avatar
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    is this a bug to activate the theme again ?

  26. User Avatar
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    Great Job, great tutorials as always!!! Nice new design, Keep it up.

  27. User Avatar
    Shafaat Awan
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    Great Video, I learned a lot from this video. I have been working with worpdress for the last few months, this is ever most informative stuff i have ever found while googling about WP. Thank you very much for sharing this.

  28. User Avatar
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    I can get dropdown menus. WP 2.6.3…???
    Really wish I could THAT easy.

  29. User Avatar
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    hey man i love your site.. your friend michael told me you were looking for a new way to earn some extra income online.

    i own an awesome website where you can make money online..most our users are making like 20-50 bucks a day.. with minimal work.. its pretty simple to do.. its actually so easy to do you won’t believe ill actually pay you to do it.. and its 100% free to sign up and try.

    another positive about my site unlike all the other sites.. i will pay you out daily.. so you earn 5 bucks in the first 5 minutes you work on my site.. request a payout and i will pay you out right then.. i guarantee no other sites like mine will pay out daily multiple times..

    i’d be glad to help you.. if you sign up..

  30. User Avatar
    Gustavo Bordoni
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    Very good, I really like WordPress.

    For me is the best CMS on the web.

  31. User Avatar
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    WordPress is great. I have used it as a cms many a time!

  32. User Avatar
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    Thanks for the tutorial. This will make things easier for me since I'm designing a page for a client and Joomla doesn't seem to fit for it. WordPress is perfect for what she has in mind.

  33. User Avatar
    TJ Mapes
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    eventually Page Template options just never showed up again in the admin… I read on a forum that you have to go into design and change themes quick then change back and sure enough Page Template options come back in the admin..

    This pissed me off for hours so im hoping to save lives with this comment :)

  34. User Avatar
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    Nice! I’ve been using WP as a CMS ever since I learned how it works. It’s great. I’m taking it a step farther and using WPMU as a CMS for work. I manage the website for a University IT dept. We have several content managers for our different units, so I am hoping it will help with the overall management of our collection of minisites.

    • User Avatar
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      How did it work using WPMU for your project? I am thinking of setting up an intranet with each department having its own wordpress site. Wondering what, if any, issues I may be up against?

    • User Avatar
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      I tried responding to this yesterday, but it looks like it did not post. I’m in the process now of converting the pages, so I’m running into some things to tweak, but it is mostly theme related. One problem I am having is figuring out what to do about the landing pages of the different units in our org. Since each one is a “new blog” according to WPMU, but not post-oriented, I’m trying to sort out what code to use on the the main index.php for the theme. I’m trying to decide if I should use custom page templates for the landing pages and set the first page of each blog as a page OR shoudl I set up the index.php with multiple sidebars instead.

      If you have any ideas, I’d love the input. I’m on twitter @srbarnes if you want to follow me and send me a DM.

  35. User Avatar
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    video is not working after 7minutes

  36. User Avatar
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    Loved the tutorial and it really shortened the learning curve for using WordPress as a CMS tool. So thank you!

    One question though. Once you’ve make your home page a static page, how did you make your news page a blog style page? That part wasn’t clear, or I simply missed it.

    Thanks again for all your hard work!

    • User Avatar
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      Never mind. I figured it out.

      Under the “Settings \ Reading \ Front page displays”, simply choose the page that you’d like to serve as your “posts” page.

      Of course it won’t work until you create both the page AND an entry. :)

  37. User Avatar
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    I went to look for the defusion theme, but it seems to be gone. Does anyone know where I can find this (or a good one that is widget-ready with dropdowns)?


  38. User Avatar
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    I think WordPress is miles away to be a good CMS, just because a client would think it’s tood difficult to manage.

  39. User Avatar
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    Hey Chris, Thanks for the video and explaining the little things. SimplePie and NextGen look awesome. What did you used for the form?

  40. User Avatar
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    Hi Chris, I’m a WordPress User too and so far it is a very nice Blog-CMS and it truely can be tweaked to a rather Minisite-CMS like behauviour. Well, since a few weeks I grew a bit unsatisfied with wordpress since it’s always heading to making something do something it wasn’t actually built for from ground up. So when it comes to small web projects I think I’ll have a look at FrogCMS since it offers a very clean backend and customers do appreaciate good usability.

    Anybody out there who knows easy to learn CMS systems like Frog hopefully with these functions:
    – subdomains
    – multilanguage option (adding translated texts by hand, not meant as auto translation)
    – meta content besides the main content
    …and all imaginable for small scale stuff

    keep it up!

  41. User Avatar
    Charlie Sheen Smith
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  42. User Avatar
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    Hi Chris, I’m in the process of putting together a a site using wordpress as a CMS and was intrigued with the dropdown navigation option you showed in the video. My question is, how difficult is it to add to an existing theme to reduce the number of navigation tabs and what do you need in the way of coding to achieve it.

    By the way, GREAT Info!


  43. User Avatar
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    Great video. I use WordPress for a variety of websites and blogged about how to use WP as a CMS, and that post became the most popular one during 2008, so one just gotta love WP for allowing us to do this.

  44. User Avatar
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    Very interesting vid..I appreciate the videos you have created for free !!

  45. User Avatar
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    Looking at the SimplePie documentation didn’t really give me a clue, but I really would like to use WordPress more as a CMS. I am converting some old sites and since I am using WordPress for my blogs, it would be nice to use the same software and theme basics for everything. Saves re-inventing the wheel.

    Off to see the video…

  46. User Avatar
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    This all great and good to know, but how do you actually get a site into word press? I never used any CMS products, but recently a client asked me if there’s a way she can update her site herself. I was looking at Word Press but didn’t find a way that describes how to add CMS function to an existing site. I was hoping that your tutorial will explain this, but it seems to be only for people who have used Word Press. Would be nice to have one for beginners.

  47. User Avatar
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    Thank you for this and other very interesting videos when building web sites. The link “Download Website Files” gets not the correct files for this screencast

  48. User Avatar
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    That is a great tutorial. Word Press is The easiest platform for the newbie developers and it is used when CMS or frequent updations are required

  49. User Avatar
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    This is a great video, thanks.

  50. User Avatar
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    In WP , each static page will generate a nav menu item, but
    most of the time there is no content of a parent item of nav menu.

    How to deal with in this case ?

  51. User Avatar
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    I am trying to figure out how to adapt the information from this screen cast with the current default theme … Twenty Eleven 1.2 … where do I add the code for this … I have sat here and read through the code several times … but my brain is starting to hurt …

  52. User Avatar
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    I am looking for a set of videos for setting up WP as a CMS. Is this the best?

  53. User Avatar
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    Simply say awesome. Thanks for sharing this video..

  54. User Avatar
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    Thank You from Argentina. I’m learning a lot with your blog.

  55. User Avatar

    WordPress clearly exceeded its limits as a blogging platform, you can quickly build a professional looking website in no time by simply using some settings, plugins, tweaks in the code and flexible WP theme generators. When I found Lubith an online theme editor and saw what a single additional application can do I was convinced by the fact that WordPress is the perfect CMS out there giving you vast oportunities as a home user.

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