Entrepreneur
Article
By Alyssa Gregory

How to Create a Better Non-Blog WordPress Site

By Alyssa Gregory

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.

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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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