WordPress as a CMS – Part 1

If you’ve been around Nicasio Design & Development long enough, you’ve probably noticed that we’re always talking about using WordPress as a CMS. But what exactly is this CMS thing anyway, and why should you use it? Let’s break it down.

CMS stands for content management system. WordPress’ administrative area turns it into a CMS because it provides a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor similar to a mini-version of Microsoft Word. Basically, anyone that knows how to work Microsoft Word will be able to add and edit web content themselves without having to know any technical junk, like HTML. Below is a screenshot that shows what a WYSIWYG editor in WordPress looks like. Once you type in the box and hit save, whatever you’ve written is automatically published. It’s that simple.

At first, WordPress was strictly a blogging platform used to publish personal blogs. Fast forward a few years and a select few companies (like ours) started thinking outside the box, realizing that the technology behind WordPress provided the necessary framework for managing content for full company websites, not just blogs. In fact, most websites today are managed with content management systems ranging in varying prices from open-source (or free – WordPress) to very expensive.

The invention of WordPress as a CMS was a pivotal moment in web design history. Prior to this point, clients had to hire web developers just to update the content on their sites. You can imagine the annoyance this caused as clients had to call their designer and spend hours communicating back and forth just to make a simple copy change. Not to mention the hole that deepened in clients’ pockets as they were charged for hour after hour of designers’ site maintenance fees.

With the creation of CMS’, clients were given the gift of full content control and their only need for the designer became just that – to hire them to design the front end (graphics) of the site, and develop the backend (the techy coding stuff that we mentioned earlier).

Now the thing is, very few designers have tapped into using WordPress as a CMS. Many are still either a) creating static HTML sites, or sites that have to be manually updated by the designer using code vs. a WYSIWYG (and hey, why wouldn’t they do that – this means more money for them!), or b) stuck on using WordPress as a blog platform, meaning that the site may have a company logo on it, but look exactly like a blog with everything on the homepage in chronological order. Usually, most recent posts are at the top with categories and links on the right.

Check out Part 2 on Friday for some examples of innovative ways WordPress is being used a CMS!

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