Using WordPress as a CMS


A couple of years ago if I’d said WordPress would make a great CMS, you’d have probably thought I was totally mad! These day however, when you need a simple CMS WordPress is a brilliant option. In this post I’m going to show you how to make your wordpress CMS even better with some simple bits of code and some not so simple plugins.

Customising the navbar

First thing we can do is display pages on the navbar instead of categories. We can do that with the following code, creating an ordered list:

But you won’t always want to display all your pages, so you can be picky and exclude certain pages by finding their IDs:

[xml] <ul>
<?php wp_list_pages(‘exclude=pageid,otherpageid’ ); ?></ul>

Or maybe you’d like to display pages based on date?

[xml] <ul>
<?php wp_list_pages(‘sort_column=post_date&show_date=created’); ?></ul>

Source – WP Codex


Flutter is a WordPress plugin that will transform your site into a fully fledged CMS. What does it do? Check out the flutter release page for the complete low-down, but in a nutshell it allows editing of posts without leaving the post page,
gives you ‘custom write panels’ that give you more options besides post and page. It also has phpthumb built in for ‘powerful image manipulation’.There are a couple of videos running through the features on the plugin’s microsite, so check it out!

Manage what users can/can’t do

Something that is essential in any CMS is the ability to manage users. Whilst WordPress has basic user management built in, you can extend it further with the Role Manager plugin. What this allows you to do is precisely manage your users: the options are huge! The screen below is from one of my sites,, where I use the plugin.


Using page templates

Page templates allow you use a custom template in pages, a really useful feature – you can integrate Google Custom Search for example. How do you create a page template? Open up your editor (ie Notepad) and add the following code:

[php] <?php
/*Template Name: whatever you want your template name to be */

With that at the top of the page, you can add whatever code you like below.

To use your new page template, upload it to your theme directory and go to the page editor, and under attributes find your template. Done.

Display a page as homepage

Another essential CMS feature is the ability to display static pages as the homepage. Once you’ve created your page, go to ‘Reading’, under the Settings tab. Select the option ‘A static page’ and then select the page you want from the drop-down menu. Done.


Something that you should do anyway for SEO’s sake, but is also a nice CMS-like feature is change your permalinks. Again under settings, select ‘Permalinks’. The WP Codex has a list of all the options you’ve got, but I’d go with /%category%/%postname%/ or /%postname%/.

And finally

In this post I hope I’ve given you a couple of pointers and ideas to make WordPress your CMS of choice, but there is a lot more you can do besides! Stay tuned for a WordPress-as-a-CMS theme coming soon!

Additional reading

Chris Coyier’s screencast on the topic, for CSS Tricks.

Creating page templates – WP Recipes

WP Codex – Pages