How to Create a Better Non-Blog WordPress Site

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WordPress has far surpassed its anticipated use as a blogging platform as many website owners have been using it for non-blog websites. And it’s not surprising that so many are turning to WordPress, even if they don’t blog. There are a lot of attractive benefits for the average website owner who wants to use WordPress for their non-blog site, including the ability to:

  • Avoid the cost of a custom design
  • Add or modify content and pages without having any coding experience
  • Incorporate photos and graphics easily, while being able to modify the size and placement
  • Bypass the need for a standalone FTP program
  • Change the theme easily
  • Use plugins that make advanced functionality easy

It’s not always as simple as installing WordPress and putting your site online, though. I’ve seen a number of those sites that seem to be almost there but are missing a few major changes that would more effectively transition WordPress into the framework for a well-organized static website.

Whether you’re creating a non-blog WordPress site for your own use, or if a client asks for help in getting one set up, here are some of my tips for getting started.

Wordpress LogoPick a Good Theme

There are a lot of excellent WordPress themes, but not all are good for non-blog sites. For example, you may not want your content organized by date, or showing multiple excerpts at a time. So you’ll have to do some exploring to find a good non-blog theme for your purposes. Typically a magazine-like theme is a good way to go. You can check a few out on this post, 5 Best Non-Blog WordPress Themes.

Use Pages, Not Posts

Actually, you could probably go either way when it comes to pages vs. posts, although I prefer pages. Pages and posts basically do the same thing on a non-blog WordPress site, but if you end up using both, you may be creating a navigational mess. My suggestion is to pick one or the other (and there are benefits to going in either direction), and then stick with it for all of your content.

Set a Static Front Page

If you’ve chosen to use pages, you will also want to set your site to display a static front page — your homepage. To do this, create the page you want to designate as Home, then go to Settings > Reading. Select the “static page” radio button and pick your chosen page from the dropdown menu.

Get Your Hands Into the Code

Even if you select the perfect non-blog theme, you will have to do some code tweaking to remove some of the blog-centered content and references. For example, even if you turn commenting capability off and still use posts, most themes will still show a “No Comments” line. You will probably also want to remove the RSS subscription option and some of the information in the sidebar that is irrelevant on a non-blog site.

Get Picky with Plugins

There are many different plugins that can make the transition of WordPress from blog to non-blog easy. For example, HeadSpace lets you easily manage meta-data and various SEO tasks through one interface.  And Flutter is a plugin that creates custom write panels that can be fully customized (radio buttons, file uploads, image uploads, checkboxes, etc).

For More…

You can find more tips on using WordPress for a non-blog site through these links:

If you want to take this even further, you can hack it into a fully functional CMS. Check out the SitePoint forums for more on using WordPress as a CMS.

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  • http://www.jakub.chodorowicz.pl/ chodorowicz

    “Flutter – Compatible up to: 2.8″
    Many of the info in this article is out of date

    • Christopher R Smith

      Magic Fields is a fork of Flutter which works up-to the current version.

  • valu

    Nothing new here. Really too basic tips for wordpress users.

  • http://www.curtismchale.ca curtismchale

    It would be great if you answered the questions why? in regards to your statement about using pages or posts for all your content. They operate in two different ways so some types of content are best as pages and other types are best as posts. A blanket suggestion that all the site content goes into pages (or posts) is a bad suggestion.

    If you’re content is reasonably static (not updated every week) or the updates are to just refine the content (optimize sentence structure, spelling..) then a page should be used.

    If you’re publishing news about your industry, case studies…on an on-going basis then it’s posts.

    Posts are not just for blogging, it’s for continually published content.

  • JF

    or don’t use wordpress… there are outer great tools to use for CMS besides an obviously blogging dedicated tool like wp.

    • Robbo

      Yeah it is a stupid decision. Blogs on this site seem to be getting more and more biased and more pointless crap. Why not make a blog about an actual CMS and write the same thing about plugins and themes?

      Why can’t you blog about forums? And what about a JS library that isn’t jQuery?

      There is this new forum called XenForo which is using new technologies you keep blogging about but you don’t give it the slightest mention. It has also been surrounded by drama with lawsuits but apparently blogging about using software for something it isn’t built for when there are far better options.

      /rant

      • http://pixopoint.com/ ryanhellyer

        Why not make a blog about an actual CMS

        WordPress is an actual CMS.

  • http://pixopoint.com/ ryanhellyer

    You seems to be assuming that all non-blogs will not include both posts and pages. There are many uses for posts, most of which are totally unrelated to blogging … ditto for pages (and custom post-types).

    Flutter is an awful plugin and so are all the forks of it that I’ve seen. Most of the functionality of those plugins is already built into WordPress anyway and the rest of it just utilizes regular old custom fields so is of little use.

    The following makes no sense to me, as I’d have thought you are just as likely to need an FTP client with WordPress as with any other CMS or method of building a website.

    Bypass the need for a standalone FTP program

    How is HeadSpace any more useful for a non-blog site than a blog-site? The same SEO principles apply in both cases!?

  • http://p163.sg angelee

    WordPress is fine, only free and premium themes made it crowded. There could have been links showing samples of WP used as non-blog sites.