Power your website's CMS with WordPress

Ryan Boudreaux shares some of the plug-in options that can turn your WordPress implementation into a robust website CMS.

In my previous installment on WordPress, I reviewed the basic requirements and installation procedures for setting up the blogging platform on your web server or hosting service. In this segment on WordPress, I will review how you can leverage the power behind the tool into a very good Content Management System (CMS) solution.

What is CMS?

What exactly is needed for a system to organize and manage content and be called a CMS? The basic definition of a content management system is to provide a collection of procedures used to manage workflow in a collaborative environment, either in a manual or computer-based function. WordPress does all that, but just to be sure, let's check off all the things it can do based on the designed functions of a typical CMS:

  • Allow for a large number of people to contribute to and share stored data.
    • Given the setup, WordPress allows anyone to comment on public access sites, and administrators can establish users who are allowed to contribute.
  • Control access to data, based on user roles (such as view, edit, publish, administrator, etc.).
    • WordPress administrators can establish and add access control for user roles in several categories including Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, and Subscriber.
  • Allows easy storage and retrieval of data.
    • WordPress uses PHP and MySQL for the backend
  • Reduce repetitive duplicate input.
    • WordPress has plug-ins that simplifies post and page version control.
  • Improve communication between users
    • Email notifications to user groups can be configured to send updates anytime a post, comment, or page is created.

How do you leverage WordPress for CMS?

Out of the box, WordPress allows you to start blogging immediately, however, getting the power behind it pulled into a CMS takes a little more effort in the way of adding some plugins, widgets, and maybe some customizing for your particular organization's needs and requirements.

How you implement your WordPress for CMS (WP-CMS) depends on the requirements for your situation, and many of the following resources are a great start for getting your WP-CMS solution in order.


Plug-ins are available that can transform your basic WordPress implementation into a fully functioning CMS tool. Several of them are listed here for you your review.

WP-CMS Post Control rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on the WordPress.org Plugin Directory. It is created by WordPress CMS modifications and is a great tool allowing you to hide unwanted items like custom fields, trackbacks, and revisions; in addition, it also gives you a whole lot more control over how WordPress deals with creating content. A screen capture of the plugin control panel as displayed in a typical WordPress implementation:

Figure A

CMS Tree Page View adds a CMS-like tree overview of all your pages and custom posts to WordPress, which is much like the view often found in a page-focused CMS. Within this tree, you can edit pages, view pages, add pages, search pages, and drag and drop pages to rearrange the order.

Figure B

White Label CMS allows customization of the dashboard and logos, removal of menus, and gives editors access to widgets and menus and a lot more. The plugin is for developers who want to give their clients a more personalized and less confusing CMS. It gives you the ability to choose which menus appear, along with three CMS profiles of Website, Blog or Custom so you can modify the menu system to suit the CMS purpose. These settings will only apply to user roles of Editor and below.

White Label CMS allows you to remove all the panels from the WordPress dashboard and insert your own panel, which you can use to write a personalized message to your client and link to the important elements in the CMS. This feature also allows you to add custom logos to the header and footer as well as the all important login page, giving your client a better branded experience of using their new website.

CMS is a collection of plugins to make WordPress feel more like a CMS. It includes an admin panel to switch all adjustments on or off, and it helps developers create websites with WordPress and for their clients to manage these websites.

Figure C

Turning WordPress into a CMS takes more than just a few plug-in applications, and this short 800 plus word blog post is just scratching the surface. To help you in getting a WP-CMS implementation tweaked into your required CMS specifications, and for more in-depth information on the matter, I have provided a good list of resources to get you started for creating a CMS website powered by WordPress.

WordPress CMS resources