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Smashing Wordpress

Smashing Wordpress

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Published by Maria Vasii

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Published by: Maria Vasii on Jun 26, 2011
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So you’re considering using WordPress as a CMS for a project huh? Great, and probably a good
choice too! However, there are several things to consider when planning, designing, and setting up
the WordPress install. Tat’s when this checklist comes in handy. You need to think of these things
frst to avoid running into unwanted surprises along the way.

Te frst questions:

Do you need a CMS for this project? Sometimes hacking HTML is the way to go, afer all.

Is WordPress the correct CMS? It may be great, but sometimes other things would work

better.

Te WordPress admin interface:

What additional functionality do you need for the admin interface?

Should you use plugins to cut down on functionality? Te admin interface can be pretty over-

whelming to non-savvy users.
If you’re going to employ user archives, consider what usernames to give everyone involved.

Should the menu(s) be editable from within admin? If yes, how will they be updated?

Does it matter that the admin interface is branded WordPress? If yes, you need to give it some

new style, and don’t forget the login form.

Categories and tagging:

What is your strategy with categories and tags?

Which categories should there be, and do you need to do custom category coding and/or

templates?
How should tags be used, and how will you educate the users in the praxis you’ve chosen?

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176

Part IV: Beyond the Blog

Pages and posts:

Do you need custom felds?

Do you need to create Page templates to achieve things on your site? If so, make sure you’ve got

those Pages created from the start.
How should Pages relate to each other? What should be a top-level Page, and what should be a

sub-Page? Make sure you know the hierarchy, and how you will present the various sections.
How will you present the posts? Do they need any specifc treatment to ft in?

What will be on the front page? A static page, latest news updates, or something else?

Other things:

Figure out your permalink structure right away, and stick to it. You may need plugins to tune it

the way you want.
Do you need specifc shortcode to speed up the publishing and avoid unnecessary HTML code in

the posts?
What features does WordPress not cover itself, and what plugins can you use to achieve those

features? Also, how likely is it that this will cause you trouble with regard to upgrades in the
future?
Is there a good translation available, should you be working for a non-English speaker? Tere are

plenty of language fles for WordPress, but what about themes and plugins? Is there additional
work there?

Don’t Forget the Manual

To you and me WordPress may seem a breeze to use, and truly it is, today more than ever with
WYSIWYG writing and the like. Te problem is, not everyone sees it that way. In fact, people not as
used to Web-based systems at all may fnd WordPress daunting, despite being perfectly at home in
regular word processors and more or less well-designed sofware.

While the wordpress.org Web site and the wordpress.tv screencast-fest may be a good
tool to point your users to, in the end you’re probably better of creating a small how-to guide to
describe how WordPress works. Tis is especially important if you’re using WordPress as a CMS
for a static Web site, hence not doing any of the blogging stuf really. If you point your users to the
Codex then, they’ll just be confused. Besides, the Codex is great, but it is not the most user-friendly
creation online.

If you’re a WordPress developer and/or designer, and you do a lot of WordPress sites, I advise you
to put together a starter kit that describes the most common tasks of the day-to-day usage. Tis kit,
which can be anything from a simple document to a printed booklet, should be easily updated as
new versions of WordPress come along. It should also be constructed in such a manner that you
can add to it whatever custom functionality is used for the client sites. Maybe you have a category
for video that acts diferently from the other ones, or perhaps there’s the ever-present issue with
custom felds and their usability. Add plugin usage, widgets, and possible settings that you’ve
devised for your client, and you can save yourself a lot of questions if you deliver a simple getting
started manual with your design.

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Chapter 9: WordPress as a CMS

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