Using WordPress as a CMS (Content Management System) gives you the opportunity to make a fast start on your craft business website with a powerful set of easy-to-use tools. It looks professional yet you can do it yourself.
Sure there’s new stuff to learn, but it’s nothing like as complex as any of the high-end web design programs that you would need to use to get results this good in any other way. All you ever need to do is point, click, and type as you would in a word processor.
Although it might start as a small craft business website, it can grow as you do. A built-in blog comes as standard, of course, and you can add ecommerce in a number of different ways. In fact a WordPress CMS can do anything any other site can do.
But what do you need to do to change a standard WordPress blog installation into a CMS?
It will depend which theme you choose. Many premium themes are set up as a CMS/blog already. In fact the boundaries between which is which are getting blurred as WordPress becomes ever more powerful.
…and it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get the performance and flexibility that your craft business needs.
Let’s assume you haven’t invested in a premium theme though and you want to modify an existing free theme that you’ve chosen. No problem…
I am assuming you have got your own domain name and hosting and have installed WordPress. If you haven’t, instructions are included in my ebook “Set Up For Success” which is yours, free, if you would like a copy. Just let me have your email over there on the right.
Once your basic set up is done you then need to go into your dashboard and create two new Pages – not posts. Call one “Home” (without inverted commas) and the other “Blog”. They don’t need any content at the moment.
Next you need to go to Settings and Reading
Where it says Front page displays, for a normal installation it shows the button selected for Your latest posts – which is exactly what you want if you are running a blog. Your most recent blog post will always be the first thing your visitor sees.
However, with a CMS you want to show the same page – normally what you call your “Home” or “Welcome” page.
So we need to change the setting to A static page below then we need to select precisely which page you want to show first (where it says Front page:) and which page you want your blog to appear under… in other words, your Posts page:.
For Front page: we now have “Home”, for Posts page: we now have blog… just like the navigation at the top of this site in fact.
That’s it. That is all you have to do to use WordPress as a CMS.
You can add more navigation elements to your site… Product Pages, Downloads, Contact Us, etc., which is all done simply by adding more pages. Many WordPress themes automatically create the navigation tabs at the top of the page for you. Some you might have to make further choices if they have multiple navigation options, but it’s all point and click.
One important point. Although you can do this with any WordPress installation, not all free themes accept it. One of the challenges that comes up is that you might get two “Home” pages appear in your navigation – which looks like an error – very unprofessional.
There are a couple of ways to deal with this. First is to choose a different free theme. Frustrating perhaps, but it costs you nothing except your time.
Secondly, you could access the theme editor and alter the php code. Do-able, but not something I would recommend unless you’re an expert – which most of us are definitely not!
Third option – and the best in my opinion – is to select a dedicated CMS theme. It’s a small, one-off investment that will give you top quality from the start and proper support if you run into any obstacles.
Of course if you’d rather, I can set all this up for you. Check here for details.