WordPress is More Than Just Blogging Software

If you take a step back and look at the successful premium WordPress themes available today, the first thing you’ll notice is that they offer much more than the standard blogging template that most free WordPress themes offer.  You’ll find magazine themes, news themes, video themes, social networking themes, and all sorts of other themes that are designed to function as content management systems.

In looking at the future of WordPress, my hope is that the standard build of WordPress will continue to grow and many WordPress plugins will fill the gaps to make a fully functional content management system.

Recently BloggingPro did a great job of showing the versatility of WordPress with their post showing 7 different ways to use WordPress.  In their post, they highlight these 7 ways you can use WordPress:

  1. Blogging
  2. Photoblog
  3. Tumblelog
  4. Magazine
  5. Online Shop
  6. Contact Manager and Customer Relations Management
  7. Twitter Platform

Click over to see the examples of each!

I personally use WordPress for most of my content sites, including several static sites, a tumblelog, and of course several blogs.   Its versatility is amazing. In what unique ways have you used WordPress?

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  • How To: Tell WordPress To Function Like a CMS

    So, you have an established WordPress blog, but you’ve seen the pro bloggers doing it and now you want to turn that blog into a Content Management System (CMS)? Many people probably weren’t aware of this trick (including many web developers), but one neat feature added with WordPress 2.1 was the ability to have a different home and blog page without needing to install WordPress on a completely new directory.

    In order to accomplish this, you first need to make sure that the page that you want to be your blog’s homepage is named home.php. This will be the page displayed at the root of your domain.

    Next, you’ll want to create a new file named blog.php and place the following code within the file:

    <?php
    /*
    Template Name: Blog
    */
    // Which page of the blog are we on?
    $paged = get_query_var('paged');
    query_posts('cat=-0&paged='.$paged);
    // make posts print only the first part with a link to rest of the post.
    global $more;
    $more = 0;
    //load index to show blog
    load_template(TEMPLATEPATH . '/index.php');
    ?>

    That is all you need for code in that file. Upload it to your theme. This code creates a loop of your index.php file in your theme (commonly used as the single post page) and displays it as a typical blog homepage. Because this page will pull from your index.php file, going forward, any changes you make to your index.php file will update on this page as well.

    Now, go into your dashboard and create a new page called Blog. Then select the Blog file you just created in the Page Template drop-down menu in the right sidebar.

    Once that is done, the last thing you need to do is go over to your permalink structure page (under Manage) and add /blog/ to your custom permalink structure. This means if you are using an optimal permalink structure, you would want to use a custom structure of /blog/%postname%/. If you are doing this to an established blog, you can easily use the Permalink Redirect plugin to redirect your old permalink structure to the new one.

    Edit: This was written for WordPress 2.1 through WordPress 2.3.3.   It appears that a slight adjustment has been made for WordPress 2.5+.   Readers have confirmed that you can find the information you for a WordPress 2.5+ install in this post.   If you are using WordPress 2.5 or newer, please keep this in mind if you try this.

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  • Turn WordPress Into A CMS With WordPress Plugins

    With the recent popularity of themes attempting to turn WordPress into a content management system (CMS), people have begun purchasing premium WordPress themes in order to get the features and look they are wanting for their website.

    As Josh Byer’s points out, people can instead use free WordPress plugins to achieve much of the CMS functionality they are looking for.  Miriam of WordPress Garage also adds that a few additional plugins to turn WordPress into a CMS.  

    While using a theme designed specifically to function as a CMS has a few advantages, I think those of us that are on a budget can definitely get many of the CMS features we crave through the use of these WordPress plugins.

    If you were looking to purchase/download a CMS, what options are you most looking for?  Can you get this functionality via plugins?  I’d love to get everyones thoughts on this!

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  • How To: Display WordPress Categories in a Horizontal Drop-Down Menu

    One thing more WordPress bloggers have been doing lately is moving their categories over to a horizontal menu, rather than displaying them in the sidebar. Depending on the type of blog you run and how well you keep your categories organized, I think this can be a great idea to help manage the website and improve overall navigation. Doing something like this allows for a much better use of sub-categories, and gives you the option of displaying them in a drop-down to give your blog a much more professional feeling.

    If you are interested in moving your WordPress categories into a menu and then displaying sub-categories in a drop-down menu, Anthology of Ideas has taken the time to write a detailed post explaining how to display WordPress categories in a horizontal drop-down menu. You can also view their menu to see if you like it. I recommend you check it out before attempting this on your own.

    Of course doing this will require the use of Javascript, but the author does a great job of detailing the process and provides the CSS required to style it properly. Once you have everything up and running correctly, you can then adjust the colors and margins to give your new menu the look and feel you want it to have, as well as fully integrate it into your WordPress theme.

    I like the idea of having the sub-categories be drop-down menus, but one downside I see is that displaying categories in a menu sort of eliminates using a traditional menu for your pages. It would be hard, in my opinion, to achieve a good look with more than one menu, so you then have to find a different way to display your blog pages. I think you are probably best off using this method mostly if you are trying to achieve a magazine-style look or some sort of a content management system (CMS).

    What do you think of moving your categories to a menu and displaying your sub-categories in drop-down boxes?

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