Step by step instructions needed for a WP CMS site

I have received a lot of help both here and on the wordpress site but unfortunately I have to change directions. My client does not want a blogging site, he wants a static site that he can add or remove content from. Now I have read that WP can be used as a CMS and I have found video tutorials and written tutorials on the subject, but they make absolutely no sense to me.

Here is what I have. This is a 6 page site. The home page has a left and right sidebar. The left sidebar is for news info that the client will manually add. The right sidebar will hold his external links, an event calendar, an RSS feed link and whatever else he wants. The other pages will be 2 column pages with only the right sidebar still in tact. The left sidebar goes away.

I have saved all HTML pages to .php pages with this code at the top of each <?php /* Template Name: Home / ?>, <?php / Template Name: Noise 101 / ?>, <?php / Template Name: Meeting Recaps */ ?>, etc. When I try to create a page I don’t see on the right hand side the drop down to pick default template or whatever in the page attributes. If I install the default theme, I see it. I know that I have to have Home page template, etc, which I do but for some reason it is not triggering the drop down.

I try to copy and paste all the code from the home page into the editor and click update and get nothing. Do I need to add php code for this to work? There is a video on youtube that I thought would be helpful but it really doesn’t go into a lot of detail on how to accomplish what I am really trying to do.

The site as it is right now is at I can’t believe how difficult it is to use WP. HTML/CSS I understand, this I don’t. Please help me learn this. Thanks.

Wordpress isn’t all that difficult to understand, once you know the basics. If you understand HTML/CSS like you say you do, that is more than half the battle. After you code the site in HTML/CSS, you can’t expect it to automatically start working after adding a php tag or two, there is a bit more to it. Wordpress is probably as close to “english” as you are going to get in a language. In a nutshell, you have the page with your content, followed by a header, footer, and sidebar that is the same throughout the site. THis is done by a wordpress function get_ (get_footer, get_header, etc).

I know you are not using it as a blog concept, but the idea is more of less the same. THere are a string of codes that connects your page to the CMS aspect of Wordpress. It would take forever to list of everything, but what I suggest to keep doing is read up on it, and keep watching videos to really understand the modular form of Wordpress, at which point you can shape it into what you client needs.

If you haven’t already, I recommend taking a look at this video, I’m sure it will at least help you get going.

@Elementax: I think that cgacfox has been using WordPress for Blog type websites but would now like to figure out how to move beyond a blog and create real multi-page and multi-section websites. I’m a Drupal developer and after reviewing the comp, I would just built the site in Drupal 7. That site looks like it would be a snap to do in Drupal but I understand it WP3 provides the ability to move beyond Blogging and develop real CMS websites so I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t be done.

Ah I see. From what I read, I was under the impression that he knows HTML / CSS, but just recently started venturing into Wordpress for the client. Either way, the idea is more or less the same for using Wordpress structure in a blog or just as a CMS in general, there are just certain code / widgets you may decide to leave out since they have no use outside of a blogging environment.


Hey guys, thanks for answering my post (BTW, I’m a she, not a he ;)). I do have the site working pretty well now. This is my first adventure into creating a website using WP as a CMS. I finally grasped adding pages and having them output correctly using 2 different templates. The home page has a slider and 2 sidebars, the remaining pages do NOT have the slider at the top or the left sidebar. You can view it at and for the 2 pages I have published so far. Now my main problem with getting the menus working that were created in HTML/CSS. It’s not a straightforward way of doing this as it is in HTML. I think I have to register menus first, or can I just use some php in the <li> sections? I have been reading the Codex and watched several videos on the subject but nothing fits what I am trying to do or I just don’t understand how navs work in WP.

I did use the menus area and got both header and footer menus to work!

Next up is the links in the pages. I have styled them for HTML/CSS but they are not showing up as I wanted them to in WP. An example is on the Noise 101 page. There are links to read pdfs that are not styled as they should be. Here is the code I have in my CSS

/*-----styles for the links within the content---*/
#content post p, #twoCol_content post p a:link {
	color: #FFF;
	text-decoration: none;
#content post p, #twoCol_content post p a:visited {
	text-decoration: none;
	color: #F00;
#content post p, #twoCol_content post p a:hover {
	text-decoration: underline;
	color: #9ED3ED;
#content post p, #twoCol_content post p a:active {
	text-decoration: none;
	color: #39F;

Not sure why this isn’t working.

Also on those links I need them to go to the pdfs in a pdf folder I set up. My path is not working. I have a feeling I have to do something different in WP.

<div class="post">
<h3>2010 Noise Report Spreadsheet <a href="noise_pdfs/2010 Noise Report Spreadsheet.pdf" target="_blank"> read more »</a></h3>
<!-- .post --></div>

I am almost done with this project once I get these items resolved.

The first part of each rule targets the <p>, not the <a>. So you need

#content post p [COLOR="#FF0000"]a[/COLOR], #twoCol_content post p a:link {
	color: #FFF;
	text-decoration: none;

[edit]O, I just noticed alo these things:

  • you don’t have a Content div any more. Try #contentWrapper
  • you need to write “.post” rather than “post”. There is no element called “post”
  • those links are inside an h3, not a p (though they should be in a p. Those aren’t headings)

So the overall code would be:

#contentWrapper .post h3 a, #twoCol_content post h3 a:link {
	color: #FFF;
	text-decoration: none;


Well silly me, you are right! They are h3 not p. I changed them and it works now. I don’t have them changing colors depending on the different stages but I like it. Thanks again, Ralph.

Now I just need to get my links there to have the correct path. The absolute path is wp-content/themes/cacnr/noise_pdfs/2010 Noise Report Spreadsheet.pdf. <?php bloginfo(); ?> does not work. The absolute path does work. However, I am sure there is a better way of handling this.

Meh, I’m all for absolute paths … although, technically, what you’ve posted there is not absolute.

I must be misinterpreting what absolute is then. Does it include http://?

Yes, I believe so. It is the full, complete URL that could be accessed from anywhere.

Actually, my preference tends to be for relative paths, but root relative paths, rather than page relative.

This is a page relative link:


as it will only work from any file in the same folder as wp-content.

This is a root relative version of the same link:


This path works from anywhere in your site, so is more reliable. The forward slash to the left tells devices to look in the root folder for the /test/ folder, and the location of the root folder is always known.

Yesterday evening I was able to embed a WMV on the About Us page and put some events into the calendar I added as a plugin.

I am now wondering how I am going to upload the database on my local machine to my test site and then from there to the clients site.

I have been making changes locally and then manually added them to the test site when they work locally. What I want to happen is take the database I have been using locally and import it onto the database set up on the test site, which is hosted by It is actually a folder in my business site. Once the client approves of the complete project, I then need to import the database to his existing WP site. He hasn’t touched it since Feb of 2011 so I dont think he will mind me overwriting his current database. There is very little on the site.

Now I know that I had to set up my config file for local and my test site. I believe I would have to tweak it for his existing site.

How do I go about handling these steps?