Screaming Monkeys Presentation: The Advantages of WordPress as a CMS

WordPress as a CMS frist slide

It was great to be able to give a talk last night to the Screaming Monkeys web guild here in Fort Wayne on using WordPress as a CMS.

Rather than force anyone to scribble down notes as I went, I’m dropping a few of my notes and recommended links up here for anyone to grab.

Presentation notes

  • You can use Parent/Child themes to vastly speed up your development time, and depending on the kind of work you are doing this can completely transform the way you develop WordPress sites. Ian Stewart has a great writeup on how to use WordPress child themes. He’s also the guy behind Thematic, the theme I briefly demoed during the presentation.
  • Spend time on the Codex if you are looking to learn more about building WordPress themes. In particular bookmark this list of Template Tags. I’ll still return to this page every now and then.
  • If you’re developing with WordPress you must install WordPress locally for your work. It will vastly speed up your work. If you’re going to do this, I would suggest looking into installing WordPressMU locally, to run a number of WordPress installs from one Dashboard. I’ll put together a tutorial on doing this soon.
  • In general, some websites to become a part of if you’re looking on being plugged into the WordPress development world: Theme Playground, WPTavern, WPCandy.

Recommended Plugins

This is a list pulled straight from my own go-to Plugins list. I’ve linked each one to their page on the Plugin site (except where the Plugin is commercial), along with my own brief description of what they do.

* must-haves

Added theme functionality

  • Audio Player — Creates a nice, simple audio player.
  • Breadcrumb NavXT — Simple Plugin for showing users breadcrumbs, or their current location on the site.
  • Date in a nice tone — Gives a template tag for listing the date in a readable way. For example “3 days ago”, or “last year”.
  • * Gravity Forms — The very best WordPress forms Plugin I’ve used. Create any type of form, save and track the information inside of WordPress itself. Does cost.
  • My Link Order — Control the order of your links.
  • Page Excerpts — Gives pages the same excerpt functionality as posts.
  • Page Link Manager — Control the slugs, page titles, and menu link text of pages.
  • Page Links To — Override page URLs to redirect to other pages. An easy way of adding links to the nav without changing out wp_list_pages();
  • WP E-Commerce — Build out eCommerce sites with WordPress.

Custom content/taxonomies

  • Custom Taxonomies / Simple Taxonomies — Create and manage custom taxonomies, following either the “Category” or the “Tag” base type.
  • * More Fields — Add new content types (of the “post” or “page” base variety) and manage custom fields and post areas on those pages.
  • Podcasting — Allows for easy podcast publishing via WordPress.
  • * Rich Text Widget — Adds a WYSIWYG editor text widget to the list of available widgets.
  • WordPress Petition Plugin — Takes names as “signatures”, creates a running petition.

Improved site functionality

  • * Akismet — Manage comment spam.
  • * Google Sitemaps — Keeps an automatically updated Google sitemap, based on your site’s content.
  • No Self Pings — Stops WordPress from registering any self pings.
  • Restore ID — Adds the post/page ID back to the edit post/page screen tables.
  • WP No Category Base — Removes /category/ from the URL structure on category pages.
  • WP Super Cache — Can speed up a site by saving and caching your pages of content.
  • * WordPress Database Backup — An easy way of creating database backups straight from the WordPress Dashboard.
  • WPTouch — Creates an iPhone/mobile version of your site, resembles an app when it does. (See an example at

Social integration

  • Twitter Tools — Integrate a Twitter account into your WordPress site.
  • WP-SocialCount — Gives social counts, in plain numbers, from Digg, YouTube, and

Users, login

  • * Customize Your Community — Drops WordPress sign in, register, and edit profile pages into your default theme. Essentially brands your admin pages for your users.
  • Login required WordPress Plugin — Pretty straightforward, requires login to access the site.
  • * Members — The best user/role access management Plugin I’ve used.
  • * Peter’s Login Redirect — Send different users, based on their ID, their role, etc. to different locations after they sign in.
  • Register Plus — Control what’s asked for during the default WordPress registration process.

Thanks to everyone for showing up and participating last night, it was a lot of fun. I look forward to being able to speak about WordPress again in the future — maybe even something on WordPressMU/BuddyPress? 🙂

Posted to Uncategorized on November 17th, 2009. No Comments »

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