Performancing Metrics

College Crunch: WordPress as a CMS

Repost This

For the last few months, I have been working on College Crunch, a site devoted to online colleges, college life, and more.

When we started the project, I knew it was going to be large in the number of pages and whatnot it used, but we decided to go with WordPress because it was a platform we knew well. Installing the blog, getting some plugins set up, and having a designer make it all look pretty was easy, actually using WordPress on a day to day basis has had some drawbacks.

Managing Pages

When you have hundreds of pages and posts, set up in WordPress it can become annoying to manage. Slowly wading through the pages, or trying to search out what you want can be frustrating. The page management feels incomplete. Also, moving many pages from being a sub-page set in one area to being a sub-page set in another area feels awkward.

I have tried out numerous page management plugins, but they have either caused errors, or left something to be desired.

Listing out Sub Pages

As I created more and more pages, I needed to list them out, and doing the xhtml link for each page I added was a pain. I had to install Exec-PHP to allow me to add some PHP to the pages, and using built-in WordPress functions, I was able to automate the process.

The code I used to list out child pages:

    < ?php
    global $id;
    wp_list_pages("title_li=&child_of=$id&show_date=modified
    &date_format=$date_format&sort_column=post_title"); ?>

Blog Posts are Less Important

Blog posts are only a small piece of the site. We knew we wanted to have a blog section, and that it was really going to be used to drive traffic and links, more than comments and community, but we left comments open and moved the blog section to the College Crunch Gazette. This left us able to use the front page for a variety of things.

We highlighted the blog posts pretty heavily on the front page, though only a percentage of our visitors come from the front page anyways.

Post Images

Each one of our blog posts have an image attached to them so that on the front page we can use the Post Image plugin to highlight posts in an effective way. The posts that don’t have an image automatically show a graduation cap image on the front page. This has been great at drawing attention, but looks bad if the trend is to not include an image, as I am bad for not doing.

Search

I am not a fan of WordPress’ built-in search, and even after taking some ideas from Joost de Valk’s make search suck less post, I am still not happy with the type of results it gives. I might push for us to switch to Google’s Custom Search, and integrate it as best as we can into the design of the site.

Conclusion

WordPress is very malleable, which is great, but it doesn’t come with very many, or very well thought out CMS features and that has been more than a little frustrating.

Sure, we could have gone with another platform to run the site, but that would have meant a learning curve, and learning curves slow down site development and launching. I really hope that more people take the time and energy to develop plugins for WordPress that will allow it to act more like a CMS, and that College Crunch will be able to continue without too much frustration until they exist.

Repost This

Categories: WordPress Tips, WordPress Tools

This post was written by . You can visit the for a short bio, more posts, and other information about the author.


Comment with Your Facebook Account

Comments

  1. Jennifer says: 2/2/2009

    I use WordPress as a CMS for a lot of sites I work on. When faced with a project that would have 100 or so pages though, I started to look around to see if there was anything else worthwhile. Specifically Joomla. I’m back with the idea of using WordPress though because I like the the level of control you have with it’s templating structure, and I like (most of) it’s work flow. Page management can really be improved though. I made a post about this here http://www.scriptygoddess.com/archives/2009/01/24/joomla-vs-wordpress/

    Reply

  2. Lahana Kapsülü says: 4/16/2009

    Lahana Kapsülü, Cabbagepow, Lahana Çorbası Kapsülü, Lahana Hapı, Zayıflama Hapı

    Reply

  3. blances says: 4/22/2009

    Thank you

    Reply

  4. Doug says: 5/31/2010

    i used wordpress, its awsome. But i ended up making my own cms that can do colleges and schools etc

    http://www.myindustrycms.com.au/65/77/cms-packages/high-school-cms.php

    Reply

Content


Receive the top stories from BloggingPro and the Splashpress Media network every week, right in your Inbox. Relevant and timely content is yours for FREE!