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WordPress As A CMS Checklist

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July 30th, 2008
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CMS, WordPress

Thord Daniel Hedengren over at Devlounge has published an extensive checklist based on his experience of things to consider when using WordPress as a CMS, especially when it will be used for a client. His post covers a number of different situations you should think about ahead of time before you step into your favorite code editor. According to Thord, there are three things you need to consider before committing to WordPress:

1. Is the functionality needed covered by the WordPress core functions, and/or with the addition of (not too many) plugins? This is usually managing information pages (using Pages), and publishing news/press releases (using Posts). If I need to add a lot of custom stuff, including the custom fields, then perhaps it gets too complicated for the client.

2. Is there a good translation of WordPress available, so that your client can get the backend in their own language? Why should my Swedish customers not have their CMS in Swedish? There is no reason, of course, and it is easy enough to install a language pack.

3. Will my client be able to upgrade WordPress themselves, or do I need to make plans for this as well? This is true for most platforms out there, but nevertheless you’ll need to have an upgrade strategy.

I’ve never dived into the realm of setting up WordPress for a client so this is all new to me. However, I know a lot of you install and configure WordPress for your own clients. With that in mind, I’d be interested in knowing your own checklist of things to consider before committing them to WordPress.

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  1. JamieO (5 comments.) says:

    The upgrade strategy is very important. As exploits are identified in code they will resolve them with fixes (if necessary) or the next release. It is an unfortunate chicken / egg scenario that plugins you are dependant on may also have to upgrade their version in order for you to upgrade to keep yourself safe. Make sure that upgrade strategy also includes regular backups of both the database and code! I have been hit by an sql-injection attack on a v2.1 WP site before and if I didn’t have those it would have been much worse to deal with.

  2. Jorge (5 comments.) says:

    i’d rather set up WP for my clients than set up a bunch of static pages, it gives them much more functionality…plus it’s bitchin’ when you give your clients a walk through their new wordpress web site – truth is, just because we install this software day in and out, doesn’t mean others are even remotely comfortable working with the back end, so yeah, it’s important to consider if WP is a good platform for the client you’re working for. i wouldn’t use WP (for example) on a record label, i’d use another cms totally geared for a media presence without using any plugins whatsoever like Jamroom.net. of course, i really like wordpress platform, it just gets to be too much if a client requires a lot of plugins making their experience a bloated one. ya’hear? it’s up to the Web designer to guide the client to the best available cms for their needs… for as versatile as WP is, it doesn’t cover every little thing, or it would be too much (this is in my opinion).

  3. Jorge (5 comments.) says:

    oh yeah, WP should have an automatic upgrade already built in that disables plugins and enables them when upgrade is complete, etc…after all, think about who makes it…shouldn’t it be an automatic upgrade from a link in the dashboard?

  4. Gail (1 comments.) says:

    1. Can client afford a CMS built from scratch?
    Unfortunately, being a Manila-based company, cost is the first consideration for us. Some clients (both local and abroad) expect to get good quality designs for a really low price just because we’re in the Philippines. Since WordPress is easy to customize, it’s an alternative CMS we offer our clients in place of a more complex CMS…. we get to offer it at lower price since using WordPress is going to simplify their requirements as well: basic info pages and a simple news section.

    2. Plugin-dependent or not?
    If I could avoid it, I try not to rely on Plugins other than the “basic” ones like a Contact form. There are things that CSS and design can already remedy without relying on plugins, and that’s something I really consider.

    Frankly, being plugin-dependent “scares” me a bit… There’s always this question nagging me “what if it’s no longer compatible when WP upgrades?” Things could get very sticky if an upgrade happens during production and would require me to re-code :P

    Same goes for editing WP core files. I’d rather work around not editing the core files than go through the hassles of upgrade.

  5. Jonnya (3 comments.) says:

    You may find my new plugin rather useful if you are using WordPress as a CMS – it’s called WP-CMS Post Control and allows you to control what options are displayed on the write page/post panels.

    You can find it over at http://wp-cms.com/our-wordpres.....ol-plugin/

    There is much more planned for this plugin, but it does a great job of getting rid of some of the confusing/un-needed options.

  6. Barry (33 comments.) says:

    The “Depending on a lot of plugins” argument is subjective really. I create a lot of sites using WordPress that you wouldn’t automatically think would fit and whilst they use a few plugins for the sites public facing side a greater number of the plugins I write (and use) are solely to streamline the administration end of things.

    You can customise and streamline the administration part of WordPress just as much (if not more) than the front end of a site to make things easier for your users. If you are considerate with your code, the admin plugins are only loaded if the user is in the administration system, so you don’t have the performance overhead of a lot of plugins on a popular site.

    The user upgrading their own system is a factor though.

  7. Jeffro2pt0 (164 comments.) says:

    I thought the bit about which user level permissions to give the client was interesting. Wouldn’t want them to have access to break the configuration of their site.

  8. David Esrati (1 comments.) says:

    The key is- can the client understand and use it.
    WordPress is easier to manage than a static site- or a Drupal or Joomla site. We’ve shown hundreds of small businesses how WP works as a CMS and as a tool to get them to the top of Google.
    The question is how much Geek do they speak?

  9. graphicscale (2 comments.) says:

    i want only inline form to edit modify content on frontpage.
    others is perfect for me.

  10. Michael (12 comments.) says:

    I upgrade WordPress for my clients when it’s necessary. An instant upgrade plugin makes it pretty easy these days with very low risk.

    For some sites a large number of plugins are essential. For smaller sites I keep them to a minimum.

  11. Jonnya (3 comments.) says:

    Just to let you know I’ve updated my WP-CMS Post Control plugin – it now controls all aspects of the write panel in 2.6 and introduces the ability to disable the Flash uploader, disable post revisions and autosave. Being able to disable post revisions is particularly useful in larger CMS environments – and some people just have plain trouble with the Flash uploader!

    You can visit the plugin homepage over at http://wp-cms.com/our-wordpres.....ol-plugin/

    Oh – one essential for me has got to be the Role Manager plugin in a CMS setup, gives you complete control over users, very powerful.

  12. Jonnya (3 comments.) says:

    To celebrate the launch of WordPress 2.7 (and it’s wonderful new interface!) I thought I’d let your visitors know that the WP-CMS Post Control plugin has now been updated to cover all the new features over at http://wordpress.org/extend/pl.....t-control/

    It gives you complete control over the write post and page panels, along with some cool new features for WordPress 2.7 only, like hide the favorite dropdown and even the ‘screen options’ dropdown – which once set becomes quite unnecessary – only leading to confusion and questions from most clients (great for us that actually understand WordPress though!).



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