Set Up WordPress as a CMS

By Sarah | WordPress

Apr 12

If you’re used to how WordPress works, then using it as a CMS (Content Management System) to power a standard website is an excellent idea. It’s lightweight and easy to use, has fantastic support from the WordPress community and is easily extendable with the various CMS style plugins available. If you also want a news or continual archive style section for information (eg. news, announcements, events etc) then you can still utilise the blogging system that we know and love.

WordPress can manage a 5 static page site, a 5 page site with a news section, or a 500 page site, all very easily. You can have pages, sub pages, a gallery, and more. You can even turn WordPress into an ecommerce site!

So where do you start? Well first off you need to install WordPress. Then on the default install go in to edit pages and change the default About page to have a title of Home, change the content to your home page / welcome content, and save it. Then if you want to still have a news section or a blog, create a new page called News (for example). Don’t worry about content for this page.

You then need to go to Settings and Reading. At the top of this page there is a section ‘Front Page Displays’. Select to show a static page and select your Home page for the front page. For the posts page, select the other page you’ve created eg. News.


Your site is now set up as a CMS. You can add as many more pages as you want to, although I would advise to keep a good page structure and use sub pages as well as parent pages. Also use the page order system under the Page Attributes to control the order of your pages in the wp_list_pages() template tag.

Recommended Plugins

If you’re intending to use or already using WordPress as a CMS then a few recommended plugins are below:

All in One SEO Pack
This makes it easier to set your page title and meta description for each page. You could also achieve this with custom fields.
Page Link Manager
Not every page you create will want to be displayed in the menu (eg. a thank you page for a contact form), so this plugin allows you to easily exclude certain pages.
Page Menu Editor
Allows you to set the anchor text and title attribute text of your page links to be different from the page header.
Sitemap Generator
This allows you to easily generate a sitemap of your site.
XML Sitemap Generator
This will generate and XML sitemap and keep it up to date when you add new pages and posts. it will also notify Google, Yahoo and MSN when you make updates.
WP e-Commerce
Adds a shopping cart system to WordPress, allows you to add physical or digital products and accept payments via PayPal or other payment systems

About the Author

A PHP Developer using WordPress to power both blogging and commercial CMS sites. I've written and released a couple of plugins for WordPress and am currently writing plugins for use on commercial websites.

Roseli A. Bakar April 12, 2009

This is great info Sarah.

Never try this before but I should now.

Terry Cavender April 12, 2009

Happy Easter Sara!

Just what I was looking for! I am new to WordPress and was wondering how to convert WP to a CMS. The list of plugins were quite helpful as well, some I do have, others I was not aware of. I am learning so many things from this Blog! I have been reading with interest your series "Creating a contact form" I never knew spammers could use contact forms to send spam. I am not much of a code person and was looking at using a WP plugin for a contact form, are any of those plugins secure against spammers? I noticed the contact form post was made some months ago, will your form code work with WP 2.7? I am so glad I found your blog!



agrotime blog April 13, 2009

Happy Easter!

This is good info, I've never tried this on my blog, I'm going to need to try it. Thanks a lot.

Sarah April 14, 2009

Terry – the contact form will work with WP 2.7. Unless the template system is changed (unlikely) it will continue to work with all future versions 🙂

Terry Cavender April 14, 2009

Thank you Sara,

Working with PHP and CSS is all new to me. I am glad you have provided this information for us beginners, it's quite helpful. I am wanting to change my current site over to CMS with WordPress. I have found some good templates on but they don't do everything or look exactly the way I want. Now I can make the changes I need to make them work. 🙂

Thanks again,


sanjeev bhadresa April 15, 2009

Thank you for the suggestions.

(Shameless plug alert!) – Instead of installing WordPress, your readers are more than welcome to a free fully hosted blog/website on our WP MU installation.

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