This is a guest post by Timothy Lupo of Fresh Tilled Soil - a leading Boston web design firm that specializes in custom WordPress CMS websites and UI web applications.

WordPress started as a simple blogging platform back in 2003. Since its introduction only a few short years ago, WordPress (WP) has blossomed into a winning content management system (CMS). So what are your actions once you create a website?

The functions of WordPress seem to be endless, as more and more people are harnessing its power for template designs, blogging, corporate websites/blogs and so much more. You’d be crazy to side against its ballooning online audience and argue that WordPress isn’t here to stay.

If you’ve ever looked for a CMS platform you understand the complexity of finding a simple CMS that actually works and isn’t full of bugs or fatal error messages. Finding a CMS platform system capable of adapting to your growing needs is also a must. This is exactly why so many individuals have chosen to use WordPress as their CMS.

Benefits of Using WordPress as a CMS

Simple Interface:

The WordPress platform offers a simple user interface when it comes to other content management systems. After logging into WP you’ll arrive at the dashboard. The WordPress dashboard allows you to change many elements of your website without having to know a line of code. You can change/edit images, pages, posts, content and a variety of other features fairly quickly. Check out the logged in WP dashboard below:

The Complete WordPress as a CMS Guide: Benefits, Tips, Common Questions and Inspiration(WordPress dashboard)

User Friendly:

WordPress is extremely user friendly. Other content management systems boast about their endless list of features, but more often than not, they are extremely complicated to use. WordPress however, is easy to adapt to without any needed support. To add a new post to your blog/website you’ll need to create a new post, customize the URL, upload/edit content and “update” the page, which will push it live on your site. Check out this process below:

The Complete WordPress as a CMS Guide: Benefits, Tips, Common Questions and Inspiration

(WordPress Dashboard – Editing & Posting Content)

Web Library:

WordPress has an extensive web library of templates and plugins. Templates are used to change the look and feel of your WP website. Often times you can download a variety of free templates online that can meet a variety of your needs. Plugins are another great feature that allow you to add specific elements to your WP platform. If you do a search for either WordPress templates/plugins you’ll be able to peruse the extensive list of templates/plugins.

Online Community:

Even if you do run into problems when you’re setting up the WordPress platform, don’t worry. WordPress has a very strong and tight-knit community ready to help you out. All you have to do is run a simple search to find answers to all of your questions.

It’s Free:

You don’t have to pay for the WordPress platform. The only time you will ever have to pay for anything is if you decide to create a custom WP template. Typically you can hire a third party web design firm that specializes in WordPress, with you want a unique/customized template.

It’s Evolving:

WordPress is a CMS that’s going to change with your business. WP has one of the largest online communities that’s dedicated to making this platform work for you. These individuals are constantly striving to push the limits of WordPress, provide users with a platform that’s capable of evolving to meet future expectations and needs.

WordPress Installation

WordPress is famous for it’s “5-minute install.” Of course, if you’re migrating content from an existing CMS to WordPress or creating a customized theme, it’s going to take much longer. But if you’re starting fresh and are ready to install WP right out of the box, without any customization, it doesn’t take long at all.

Here are the detailed instructions: Install WordPress

Things to Think About Before Switching to a WordPress CMS

Even though the WordPress platform is very solid from a performance stand-point, like any technical system, you can run into problems along the way. Typically, problems can arise when you try to change the WordPress platform too much. If you are able to maintain a lot of the original features and integrity of WordPress you shouldn’t run into too many problems. Make sure if you do many extensive changes you hire professional who specifically deals with WordPress, as they will be able to maintain and update your system without any issues.

Often times problems can arise when too many changes or too many active plugins modify the original WordPress code. It’s important to note that many of the plugins created for WordPress are from third-party developers and when you update to a newer version of WordPress, the existing plugins may not always work. That’s why it’s important to hire someone knowledgable in WordPress if you want to make

Common Questions about WordPress, Answered

If I’m migrating my current site to WordPress, will I lose any of the search rankings I’ve worked so hard to establish in Google?

No. Almost 100% of the time, you will be able to maintain your search rankings. Whenever you migrate an existing site you should follow best practices. This means establishing the proper 301 redirects and creating a similar site structure on the new site. This way you can property redirect old pages to new pages of the site.

If I migrate my website to WordPress, will search engines and search robots be able to easily index my site?

Yes. When you properly set-up the WordPress CMS and install the necessary plugins, it can be a powerful tool when it comes to search engine indexation. WordPress gives you the ability to easily manage, customize the individual page URL’s and create unique meta data that’s great for your SEO and search engine efforts.

Is WordPress just for bloggers?

No. WordPress isn’t just for bloggers anymore. When WordPress was originally founded it was a blogging platform, however, since then it’s grown-up and become a full-fledged content management system. Many corporate websites are now running on WordPress and love it’s sleek and simple to use interface.

What features are hard to support when you migrate to WordPress?

On average WordPress is a great system, but there are some instances when it might be difficult to migrate certain elements to the new platform. These may include user driven content, membership setup, online payment processing, large sites (over 10,000 database entries). You should talk with a professional that’s familiar with WordPress to discuss each individual concern you have and they will be able to lend insight into a possible solution.

Top 10 WordPress Plugins

When you log into the WP dashboard be sure to navigate to the “plugins” category and search for these popular plugins that will help make your WordPress blog/website that much better.

All in One SEO Pack:

In it’s simplest form, this plugin optimizes your WordPress blog for search engines. It allows you to create unique title/description and other important meta data for each page of your site. It will automatically populate fields right out of the box. There is very little you have to do once you set it up. Learn more here.

Google XML Sitemaps:

This plugin in will generate a special XML sitemap for your website, that will help the Google search engine more easily index and priorities your website/blog. Learn more here.

WP Super Cache:

Sometimes WordPress sites that have a lot of content or have a lot of visitors can run a little slow. This plugins speeds up the load time of your site by creating static versions of webpages, requiring less CPU processing. Learn more here.

AddToAny:

This plugins helps people easily share/bookmark your content on their favorite sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, Digg and many more. Which from a social media standpoint is very good. Learn more here.

Broken Link Checker:

This plugin is extremely helpful for websites that have a lot of pages and link to a variety of outside sources. This plugin notifies you will links are broken on your website, giving you the ability to easily monitor and update these broken links. Learn more here.

Google Analytics for WordPress:

If you want a way to monitor your on-site traffic easily then this plugin will be a sure winner in your book. Once you sign-up for a Google Analytics account, this plugin will automatically add the analytics code to all pages of your website. Learn more here.

Gravity Forms:

Creating custom forms on your website is no longer a hassle. This plugin allows you to create and manage several forms on your website right within the admin panel of WordPress. Learn more here.

Simple 301 Redirects:

Whenever you change existing URL’s you’ll want to be sure to set-up a 301 redirect. This plugin gives you the ability to set-up 301 redirects from existing pages to new pages of the site with no downtime. Learn more here.

WordPress Database Backup:

If you are worried you might lose valuable data, then it’s important to be able to easily and frequently back that data up. When you use this plugins it automatically sends a backup copy of WordPress database to your email so you never have to fear lost data. Learn more here.

Autoptimization:

This plugin optimizes your site by pulling all the CSS and JavaScript code together and compressing it. This allows for a quicker page loading and makes your pages more lightweight without being weigh down by endless code. Learn more here.

WP to PSD:

WPfromPSD is the leading US based PSD to WordPress coding service.

WordPress Inspiration

If you’re still questioning the power of WP you might be inspired by these businesses that have successfully integrated WordPress into their blogs and corporate websites.

Blogs:

Ebay

The Complete WordPress as a CMS Guide: Benefits, Tips, Common Questions and Inspiration(click here to visit: ebay blog)

Sony

The Complete WordPress as a CMS Guide: Benefits, Tips, Common Questions and Inspiration(click here to visit: Sony Blog)

Ford

The Complete WordPress as a CMS Guide: Benefits, Tips, Common Questions and Inspiration(click here to visit: Ford blog)

CNN

The Complete WordPress as a CMS Guide: Benefits, Tips, Common Questions and Inspiration(click here to visit: CNN blog)

 

Corporate Websites:

Network Solutions

The Complete WordPress as a CMS Guide: Benefits, Tips, Common Questions and Inspiration(click here to visit: Network Solutions)

 

Spotify

The Complete WordPress as a CMS Guide: Benefits, Tips, Common Questions and Inspiration(click here to visit: Spotify)

 

Fresh Tilled Soil

The Complete WordPress as a CMS Guide: Benefits, Tips, Common Questions and Inspiration(click here to visit: Fresh Tilled Soil)

Eye-Fi

The Complete WordPress as a CMS Guide: Benefits, Tips, Common Questions and Inspiration

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