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WordCamp Whistler Pitch: Moving Beyond the Blog – Building Web Sites with WordPress as the CMS

WordCamp is coming to the wonderful winter wonderland of Whistler on January 24th, 2009 and I’d like to throw my name in the hat of presenters and share some of what I’ve learned working with everyone’s favourite blogging platform WordPress as a full fledged CMS. Now I’m not part of what is considered the Vancouver blogging community and most of these people don’t know who I am or what I do so I figure instead of just sending the pitch off to the great unknown I’ll share it with the good readers of this blog for comments, questions and suggestions.

Session title: Moving Beyond the Blog – Building Web Sites with WordPress as the CMS

Alternate title: This is not a blog! Harnessing the Power of WordPress for Non-blog Websites

Alternate alternate title: Letting the Genie Out of the Bottle: WordPress is More than Reverse Chronological Posts

Session length: 30 minutes to 1 hour (1 hour preferred)

The Pitch:

It is well established that WordPress is a great blogging platform. But the capabilities of the application go way beyond merely outputting posts or articles in a reversed chronological order: WordPress is in fact a full fledged Content Management System (CMS) that beyond blogging can serve as the basis for pretty much any type of web site imaginable.

By understanding the anatomy of WordPress and how the different pieces go together and interact with each other you can create some truely spectacular sites that look nothing like the classic two-column blogs but still retain all the functionality, ease of use and SEO power that makes the application so popular.

The session will start off with a crash course in WordPress anatomy and how to quickly move beyond the standard templates through some simple theme hacks and CSS. Using the WordPress based sites for Sablok & Sablok and Bellevue Gallery (work in progress) as examples I will demonstrate how to use pages, posts and categories to create strong and functional taxonomies that make for easy navigation as well as management. The session will go on to cover how to use custom templates, conditional custom fields and template tags to create pretty much any layout you can imagine. And to wrap it all up; a brief discussion of why using WordPress as a CMS for “regular” web sites gives the site owner and end user a huge advantage over regular sites and how businesses can increase their web presence and findability by adding a news page or blog to their site and share some of their know-how with the public – for free.

So who is this Morten dude anyway?

I’ve been designing web sites for close to 10 years now but over the last two years WordPress has become the most imporatnt tool in my web design arsenal. In fact it is now the foundation upon which 80% of my business is built. I’ve learnt most of what I know about the application by reading and listening to the thoughts of others and experimenting with the code and now it’s time I give some of that aquired knowledge back. My blog Design is Philosophy features a series of tutorials and articles on how to customize WordPress to make it do what you want and I’m in the process of developing a free “God Theme” for WordPress that will give the user access to pretty much everything they need to create web sites using WordPress as the CMS.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Morten Rand-Hendriksen is a Senior Staff Instructor at LinkedIn Learning (formerly specializing in AI, bleeding edge web technologies, and the intersection between technology and humanity. He also occasionally teaches at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He is a popular conference and workshop speaker on all things tech ethics, AI, web technologies, and open source.

8 replies on “WordCamp Whistler Pitch: Moving Beyond the Blog – Building Web Sites with WordPress as the CMS”

I’ve been saying this until I was blue in the face for years: forget the word ‘blog!’ People get so hung up on that word that I hate to even mention it. WordPress is a simple, easy way for non-geeks to organize and maintain their own websites.

That said, the proofreader in me couldn’t help but notice that there is a misspelling [‘wether’ instead of ‘whether’] on the front page of the Sablok & Sablok site. That’s what happens when we put the inmates in charge of the asylum.

Greetings, Morten …

Well, bearing in mind that I’m a WordPress Newbie and might be suggesting something that is already there, what I would like to see in a CMS approach is info on adding SQL and/or other DBs, so I can collect user supplied data, produce reports, and send the totals back to the users via a results page or email. Have a good time at the big get together 🙂

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