Using WordPress as a CMS

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Today, I was honored to present at the WPSummit again. I talked about how WordPress can be used as a content management system (CMS). If you’d like to view the presentation with my presenter notes, you can press the “s” key on your keyboard when the presentation loads up, and it will open a new window with the notes. If you’d like to print the presentation as a PDF, you can do that, as well. Unfortunately, it does not print with the notes (I’m working on trying to find a solution for that).

One of the key elements I forgot to mention during my last slide about plugins was the ability to integrate Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) into WordPress. That will improve your search capabilities within WordPress quite a bit, making search perform much faster and more accurately, as well as making it easier to use search across a multisite installation. You may have to roll your own integration to use your CSE in WordPress, but it’s fairly simple to do so if you use the mu-plugins directory to store your PHP code, and you hook into the `get_search_form` filter.

Also, I forgot to mention a handful of additional plugins that can be really helpful in using WordPress as a CMS. Following are the plugins that I like to highlight for CMS usage:

  • EditFlow – Implements some workflow capabilities
  • CMS Tree Page View – Allows drag-and-drop re-order of pages
  • RoleScoper – allows granular permission management
  • WhiteLabel CMS – rearranges admin area, customizes login screen
  • Types and WPToolset – implements custom content types, custom taxonomies, custom fields and template manipulation
  • Document repository – manage all documents in single library, across multisite, with persistent links to latest version
  • JetPack – adds multiple new features, including spelling/grammar check, image carousels, ability to post via email, custom CSS, etc.

During the talk, I also discussed various authentication methods that you can use with WordPress. There are a number of options, including Active Directory and LDAP, Shibboleth and Central Authentication Service (CAS). For each of those methods, there are also a number of different plugins available. Following is a break-down of plugins worth trying for each. Because of the nature of enterprise-level authentication (where each server is configured slightly differently, and plugin developers usually only have access to one of those servers), you may have to test a few different plugins in order to find one that works the way you want it to.

Active Directory



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  1. Hi Curtiss,

    Can you recommend any plugins for in-line editing? I feel like replacing the backend dashboard with a front-end editor would make it easier on busy faculty members who are responsible for updating their program webpages.

    • That’s a great question. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a viable solution for that, yet, but I am looking into them. I was hoping that the CRED Front-end Editor would do the job, but it appears that it’s just meant for creating content (similar to the way you can with Gravity Forms, but with a little more flexibility), rather than allowing people to edit existing content.


  1. […] shared his slides from his presentation online, as well as in PDF format. He also published a follow-up post to his presentation with recommendations for plugins he’s found helpful in using WordPress as a CMS and […]

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