Essential Plugins for Using WordPress as a CMS
I’m sure there are a hundred and fifty of these articles out there listing 10 Best Plugins to Make WP a CMS and 100 (+3) Best WordPress Plugins for Content Management, etc., but I’m writing this article anyway. Why? You asked, or at least read me writing that you’d asked, so I’ll tell you. There aren’t 10 essential plugins for turning WP into a CMS, it’s pretty much already there, regardless of it’s official status as a blogging platform or not. It manages content, it’s a content management system. That said…
All in One SEO Pack
SEO is important, but you don’t need to spend a kaboodle if you’ve already got the kit. Install this plugin and use the knowledge of how to get your page titles vs. the titles of your page all in a row, using the infinite knowledge you’ve no doubt already amassed from reading a dozen 10 Most Important Things to Know about SEO Page Titles articles, etc. and you’ll be on your way. Or just have me build your site for you and you won’t have to worry about a thing.
This plugin lets you manage a second block of content on a page. Currently, one of the biggest drawbacks to using WordPress as a CMS is that you need to create multiple pages and then include them (using another great plugin, listed below) from one page onto another if you want multiple blocks of non-linear content. For example, if you want different information on every sidebar, you either have to use some type of widget (and go away from the page editing screen), or create two pages and include one on the other as it’s sidebar (which leaves you with a bunch of odd pages users can find when doing a search on your site). The My Snippets plugin puts a little box right below the main content editor which allows you to add some text or HTML that can be placed in your sidebar, or any other area on the page that you have widgetized.
Even with the above plugin, there are going to be times when you’re going to want to include the content of one page on another. 404 pages, sidebar content that spans across multiple pages, and when you want to bake a thousand cookies for your kid’s school birthday party tomorrow but only have an Easy Bake Oven and some Play Doh. Ok, maybe not in that last scenario, but you get the picture. This is the plugin to do it with, and it’s uber simple and straightforward.
Contact Form 7 or Dagon Design Form Mailer
Almost everyone wants a form on their website. They’re annoying to fill out (vs. a simple email address) and make you look like you have a robot answering emails for you, so of course everyone will want one. They also involve a lot of neatly aligned boxes, and everyone loves to be reminded of Legos. Contact Form 7 is an incredibly simple and fairly customizable form creator that almost any client will be able to use, and Dagon Design Form Mailer is a big time hardcore get the job done but it’s almost as hard as just coding the form yourself type of plugin.
There you go, four plugins that I use on almost every one of my client’s sites, unless you count that last entry as two plugins, in which case…there you go, five plugins that I use on almost every one of my client’s sites. Hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two about numbers, numerology and even Newman’s Best. That’s some good salad dressing.