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WordPress as a CMS

by Tom Johnson on Apr 18, 2007
categories: technical-writing

Is WordPress a Web Content Management System?

Yes, WordPress is a content management system. It contains many of the features that common content management systems have (see this Wikipedia entry for a description of content management systems).

Collaborative authoring. Multiple users can publish information to the same site. Users can own specific pages that they have editing rights to. Users can log into the site from any Internet browser and edit the content.

Capabilities based on roles. Users can be assigned one of five roles: Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor, and Subscriber. describes the roles as follows: Each role has different capabilities. Subscribers can do little except comment, update profiles, and read posts. Contributors can author posts but not publish them. Authors can publish posts and edit their own content. Editors can author, publish, and edit their own posts as well as other users' posts. Administrators can do everything, including activating plugins, switching themes, and configuring site options. For more info, see this Codex page on roles.

Workflow. WordPress doesn't have a strong workflow, but if you set some users as contributors and they create posts, the posts are stored in a drafts section. Only authors, editors, and administrators can publish the posts.

Content repository. All the posts, pages, themes, and plugin files are accessible from a central repository within the administrative dashboard within WordPress. You can sort the posts or pages by author, date, or other fields.

Templates. You can create page templates for your content. When you write a page, it can be based on the specific layout of a particular template. So if you want some pages to not show the sidebar, or if some pages need a particular header or footer, you can design a custom page template and then select it for your specific pages.

Separation of content from format. Content is stored in a MySQL database, and the format is separate. You can change themes in WordPress in a snap, and the content remains the same. This is particularly useful when making global changes to your site.

Easily editable content. You can edit your content by navigating to the page or post you want to edit and clicking the Edit This link. The page or post then appears in the admin view, allowing you to edit it.

Enterprise search and retrieval. A built-in search engine allows you to search for content across all your pages and posts. You do not need to integrate Google or other external search features into the system.

Expandable features. You can add plugins to extend the functionality of the system. Plugins abound and the potential to manipulate your blog CMS are nearly infinite.

Note: Although WordPress can be used as a CMS, if you're only looking for a CMS, other tools may be better. See this article, "5 Reasons Not to Use WordPress as a CMS" and compare it with "5 Reasons to Use WordPress as a CMS."

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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