ifacethoughts

WordPress Makes Sense For Many Non-Blog Websites

A friend wants to develop a corporate web site and wanted to get my advice on what CMS he should use. As usual I asked him what did he want to do with it and got a judgement about his technical skill. The website he envisoned was one of the simple ones, with basic information and he was not exposed to any web site management before or to managing raw HTML. I advised him to use WordPress for it. However, he knew that WordPress was a blogging engine and felt that I was trying to tackle him cheaply.

So here goes my justification for why WordPress makes a lot of sense for many simple web sites, including the non-blog ones. The shorter version is that WordPress provides good infrastructure of web publishing and gives you tools to build an interactive web site. And I think this is common knowledge in the WordPress community.

Pages and Posts

WordPress supports two basic types of content – Pages and posts. Pages are used to hold information that is valid for a bigger span of time. For such content, a change overwrites the earlier content. Posts are used for content which is more dynamic, like news and updates. In stead overwriting with changes, such content builds an archive.

Now, any web site that represents an entity – company, product, educational institution or an individual, at least in today’s age, has both such types of content. Providing news and updates and their helps keep the readers and customers uptodate through subscriptions.

The recent versions of WordPress also lets you set one of the pages as the homepage. You can do away with the blog and archives look and create a corporate user interface. In a blog the posts take over the entire web site, whereas in a non-blog web site the pages get more dominant.

Categories

Sometimes you might have more than one content types for which posts are suitable, like news and articles. In such a case you can use the categories to differentiate between the two. The categories can be hierarchical and there is no limit on the number of categories you have. This is one of the best tools to use for content classification.

Feeds

Feed is one of the most used techniques by readers to keep themselves updated. WordPress generates feeds for both pages and posts and various other queries, which you can offer to your reader and customers. It is also quite popular that these feeds can be easily converted to emails using various services. What this means is that you can reach out to the web, feedreader and email users by just publishing the content once.

Excellent templates

The templating system of WordPress supports a lot of customization through the rich template tags. It gives you complete freedom over the HTML markup, data retrieval and styling using CSS. Since the control is with you, you can take the responsibility to build a valid (X)HTML and CSS. Which means that you can also control the SEO aspects and use of JavaScript.

The default theme looks very blog like and has a specific layout. However, that is just the theme, you can easily create your own to satisfy your needs.

Permalinks

Permalinks are the URLs that are easy to read and easy to remember, without the question marks and ampersands. WordPress has a flexible way of constructing the permalinks and lets you create your own schema. Not only that, using code, you can even add your own terminology within the permalinks.

Easy administration interface

All said and given, administration of a web site is one of the biggest hurdles in maintaining it. WordPress provides an easy to use administration interface for writing and managing content, and configuration of the web site.

There is a lot of talk about the WYSIWYG editors, but I usually advise people to use the default editor that comes with WordPress. It is the best balance between ease of writing text and HTML both together.

Having said that WordPress does come with a WYSIWYG editor, and there a host of other plugins for it.

Roles and Permissions

WordPress also sports a simple but effective roles and capabilities system. This is extremely useful if you appoint different people for managing the web site configuration, managing content or adding the content.

Interaction

Comments is something I believe all web sites should borrow from blogging. Comments can be used to interact with the readers and customers. They can contact you or contribute to the content or report problems using them. Comments are supported for pages as well as individual posts.

Not only this, WordPress comes with the Akismet plugin which can save a lot of your effort and time in dealing with spam.

Saves Effort and Time

Because of so many inbuilt features, WordPress can save you a lot of effort and time of development. Most of the times it is development of the theme and configuration of the web site. Not only for development, but WordPress, which requires PHP and MySQL is also easy to deploy with many hosts. This also makes WordPress most suitable for doing pilot projects and prototypes.

Other than these, WordPress is completely open source and has built a huge community around it. It is extremely difficult to miss the huge amount of themes, plugins and third party tools built around it.

Whether it can be used for complex web sites or not is completely dependent on the developer’s skill, however it surely is suitable for many simple web sites, including the corporate ones. Hopefully this will help the skeptical ones realize that you can do more than blogs with WordPress. This is not to say that other tools are not effective, but they can be an overkill many times. I will continue to recommend WordPress for many simple web sites, it really makes sense.

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Dan Spring said:

    Nice post mate

  2. Kevin said:

    Interesting article. Here are a few more reasons why you may want to consider using wordpress.
    http://www.delphicsage.com/home/blog.aspx/d=476/title=Reasons_to_Consider_Wordpress_as_a_CMS_for_Simple_Sitesjump

  3. Sajid said:

    The plug-in is very easy to use, setup and then configuration is also very easy. All you need is to create a category called Featured. Just want to let everyone know about a great Website Design company. “www.cmn.com.pk”….

  4. Sajid said:

    Thanks for sharing. Completely agree, WP is perfect for non blog sites.

  5. Irfan Mahmood said:

    I see worpress is complete and perfect for website but how to use and where.

  6. StarCraft 2 said:

    I only use WordPress because it is so accessible to everyone. The fact that it is open source makes me happy too.

    Great post!

  7. John Vasko said:

    Hi Abhijit,

    Thanks for your post. I’m convinced that WP can be used for a corporate site but what would be really helpful would be so show a couple of examples that don’t use a traditional non-blog format and simply list a few of the top themes for non-blog sites. Do you have any recommendations.

  8. Wordpressthemegenerator said:

    WordPress is really the all-in-one solution for the normal citizen!

    Great article!

    Now Citizen can make Online Word-press Themes in few click… Check my Website.

  9. Ryan said:

    Agreed. I’ve used WordPress on a non-blog site and it works perfectly. Best part though is that I was able to add in blogging features as I needed them. Biggest one was commenting, but adding a blog section was trivial since I was already using a blog backend.

    On the other hand, I have setup a site that started with WordPress and migrated to a custom built solution. The WordPress version was great, but it was overkill for what I needed and actually made it more difficult to get content online.

  10. Taylor Consulting said:

    We used WordPress to build our entire corporate website. I couldn’t be happier, it has made it so easy to manage (especially with multiple users). We can quickly add pages as needed (new product, new service), in addition to blogging (news, ideas). WordPress is known as the best blog platform but it is also a great CMS.

  11. Bill Bartmann said:

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

  12. Alison Wood said:

    I have made the switch from using WordPress purely for blogging to setting up some CMS themes and I find it it totally intuitive and easily accessible.

  13. Tom Baker said:

    I just started my site on wordpress at your suggestion. I’m happy so far. Thanks.

  14. Roberto Ciccolella said:

    I am also a big WordPress fan; Since I discovered it I have never looked back. All my clients and personal web sites are built with WordPress as CMS. Great article, thank you!

  15. Bali Car Rental said:

    Sure, i got 5 websites, and those aren’t blog. I Love WP.

  16. Barbara said:

    Hello … just wanted to let you know that 2-1/2 years after you posted this excellent article, it’s STILL helping people! I set up my blog with WP but normally used FrontPage for “regular” sites. After FP was dropped, I tried DreamWeaver and Expression Web and found both to be difficult to learn. They may be more powerful than WP, but unless I’m interested in doing a very complex site, who cares? Your article helped me decide to take the plunge and set my next site up with WP. THANKS!

  17. Joe said:

    Great post. We are using wordpress to build a site for our community. Things aren’t perfect but the amount of plugins available to wordpress are so helpful.

  18. Michael said:

    We are tring to provide non-blog websites to our customers. wE find it challenging to convert them so they look like the typical websites.. where can we find non=blog templates?

  19. web designing hyderabad said:

    WordPress is really flexible and super easy to use, and most important, it is very SEO friendly.

  20. web designers hyderabad said:

    WordPress can be used to make upto medium sized websites. However, for big sites.

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  22. Lili said:

    Many websites use WP as CMS, but also as blogs at the same time. For example http://thefantasticmom.com, a SoCal children directory lists reviews for business, products but also let visitors socialize or blog.

  23. Kweku said:

    Can anyone recommend a good website that shows you how to build a good website from scratch using wordpress.

    Also, can you recommend a good wordpress website designer/developer that is reasonably priced.

  24. Mike said:

    I really cannot see the point of using WordPress. In the time it takes to learn all of WordPress’ funny little special ways you could become fluent in PHP and Javascript. It’s a waste of time and I would strongly advise beginners to give it a wide berth. Learn to code a website properly from scratch – it’s not that hard.

  25. Conrad Bentley said:

    WordPress isn’t for beginners in that repect, and no substitute for learning the basic web skills properly. But once you know what your doing you can use it to your advantage.

  26. som said:

    managing WordPress site is not so tough.And it is real that it can be used for CMS.

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  29. Rohit club said:

    I agree..wp can also useful for non blogging website…

  30. Dan said:

    This is a great well written and thought out article.
    I am abig fan of WordPress and use it for all my web sites these days
    thanks

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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