WordPress as a content management system (CMS)

Kingsley Junior Football Club home page

Whilst at CeBIT there was plenty of discussion about content management systems and in a session I sat in there was a discussion about the difficulty of getting them to work appropriately. Indeed I spoke with someone prior to the session who was about to implement their 3rd tilt at content management in 4 years…. clearly this is a challenging area to get right.

The presenter was pretty strong on all of the challenges and problems with implementing CMS – and even though many of those issues exist organisations have really very little choice – they must implement a content management system to meet various record keeping requirements and retain sanity. Our Perth team at Ross has assisted 5 organisations in Perth implement CMS successfully and in two cases the pages being managed is north of 8000. Without a CMS you are history.

But what about the lower end of the market? Whilst there are plenty of open source systems (I don’t have any personal experience with them other than WordPress), the big challenge is getting the software out of the way of the communication.

So, when my son’s junior football club (the Kingsley Junior Football Club) asked me to help them with a website (more correctly, my wife who is on the committee told them I would do it!!) here is what I did:

  1. Created a new in stance of WordPress at Mediatemple (which is where I host this blog) and setup the MySQL database. Fortunately the WordPress instructions are very good (get the detailed instructions, not the overview). Fair bit of mucking around here, but would be much, much quicker second time around.
    There is a load of hosting providers for WordPress. Mediatemple does have a one click install of WordPress – but it is an old version. With the various warnings in the market at the moment about the risk of not keeping WordPress current, you need to log in manually and follow instructions to update the appropriate files by FTP
  2. I found some WordPress designs that had elements of what I wanted in the design
  3. I then sketched up (yes, using old fashioned but very efficient technology – a pencil on graph paper) exactly what I wanted and where
  4. Reach for your favourite web designers (in my case, the guys at Bam Creative) and I provided them with a formal brief of what I needed. I also provided them with the log in details so they could upload and test the template. After some tweaking we were all set. This was set up with left hand and right hand WordPress widgets
  5. Add Flickr widget – create a new WordPress widget and paste the widget code you get from the Flickr site. Fiddle with the size settings until you get what you want.
  6. And ditto with the right hand side.
  7. Once all done, put in your Google Analytics code and you are away at your test domain.
  8. Migrate your domain (this is currently sitting with a different registrar but will be moved -big tip, make sure that the domain details haven’t been lost, it is a real pain to migrate the domain)

So, all up the site we were trying to emulate in the WA Football League would have cost circa $20k to $30k. We got this one away for under a few thousand dollars and around 50 hours of my time. The Club is now managing and adding the content, and I think it looks pretty good. The latest edition of WordPress is easier to use, and well worth considering….