Use WordPress as a CMS to manage your content - WordPress Plugins

WordPress Plugins for Content Management: Blogslot

by Sante J. Achille on July 9, 2007. Updated August 19, 2007 · 47 comments

Wordpress

Late last year there was a great amount of talk about using WordPress as a CMS. Stephan Spencer has always been an advocate of using WordPress as a CMS. I wrote my view on the issue – I was against using WordPress as a CMS because it was just too technical: Too much coding, for the average joe like myself, who doesn’t know much about code and programming.

WordPress is difficult to use as a CMS, even more so if you manage a multilingual blog such as this one. English speaking people (especially in the US) believe English is the language of the world, but it’s not. Writing or blogging multilingual isn’t a matter of translating content, but addressing issues that are of interest to different audiences:

Multilingual Blogging is a matter of culture and markets, not one of translations.

These specific needs were the drivers for the development of Blogslot - a WordPress Plugin to manage your content – let’s take a look at how it works …

Siderbar and Menu Management

The idea behind Blogsot is an easy and accessible management of your feeds and pages. With Blogslot you can organize and group your feeds (or pages) according to your needs – all you need to do is create a slot, anywhere on your page layout:

  • Header
  • Sidebar
  • Anywhere in the page

Screenshot of Blogslot Funcionalitiles Once you have defined your page layout, name each menu. Take a look at my sidebar – you’ll notice how I have arranged my feeds into 2 categories, English and Italian. There are also other elements like NEWS or International. That was all done via Blogslot. This is managed via the Page Slots element you find when you create or edit your pages. Same thing goes for your Feeds, you decide how to group them and leave the rest to Blogslot.

The Page Order functionality remains unaltered: choose a numbering system to arrange the order of appearance within the menu. There is no limit to the number of slots you can create, and you can have a page (or feed) appear in more than one slot as well.

Now to the tricky part – implementing a bit of code – just a little bit … you need to implement it within your template, just a small bit of code that uniquely identifies each and every slot (= menu) you create.

If you cannot code and ignore HTML your webmaster will certainly be of assistance – after all he did create your template, and it will take him literally minutes to do this for you.

Here’s what needs to be done step by step:

  1. Access your blog via FTP
  2. Position yourself in the folder where your active theme is placed – typically in a sub-folder of /wp-content/themes/
  3. Download your template page or elements where you need to position your personalized menus (this can be the sidebar.php page in many WordPress templates)
  4. Backup your files before making any modifications – you never know, especially if you’re not a programmer …
  5. Identify the areas of the sidebar where you wish to position the new menus
  6. Copy and paste the following code (had to put some CRs you can eliminate:)
    <h2>MENU NAME</h2>
    <ul>
    <?php wp_list_pages(‘title_li=&sort_column=menu_order&slot=
    SLOT_NAME
    &depth=2′);?>
    <?php wp_list_categories(‘show_count=1&feed_image=
    /wp-content/themes/images/feed.gif&title_li=&slot=
    SLOT_NAME
    ‘); ?>
    </ul>

    MENU NAME = The name you have chosen for the menu – this is the header for your menu visible to the user on your page
    SLOT_NAME =
    The name you have chosen for your slot. Blogsot adds the slot parameter to the template tags wp_list_pages e wp_list_categories, filtering out elements that are not associated to that particular element (if you are a programmer you’ll be interested in this, otherwise just forget what you just read).

  7. You may have to review paths to your image files
  8. Once finished, upload the files to your server

Now that you have the files on the server, you’ll need the map you created earlier (remember ? I suggested you create a map of you page layout to identify your menus with names).
Keep that map handy so when you add new pages you know where they should be positioned: Use intuitive names for your menus – it helps a lot. an example of blogslot at work: a menu called “pippo”

Now comes the fun part. Create a new page you would like to allocate in a menu called Pippo. From your administration panel do as usual and create a new page. When you are ready to publish don’t forget to add the name of the menu where the page should be positioned. You’re done.

Like I mentioned earlier, Blogslot also allows you to mange your feeds, organizing them into groups: this is very useful if you are a bilingual blogger (like myself) or if you simply wish to break down your feeds into groups, significantly increasing overall usability.

Now some information for the programming community, interested in some programming details … if you’re not interested stop here and proceed to downloading the plugin.

Technical Details for Programmers

Blogslot was created for those who are not programmers with minimum HTML skills. But there are also a lot of power users who might be interested in the technical rational behind the plugin: many times plugins are lacking information that makes them a black box, so when you upgrade to a newer version of WordPress and loose functionalities, the plugin becomes obsolete and useless.

For wp_list_pages a new attribute called at_level has been introduced. It allows for filtering of all sub pages related to the current one, just like what happens here on the menus of my blog (the main menu across the top of the page).

This is the code:

<?php wp_list_pages(‘title_li=&sort_column=menu_order&slot=Main Menu&hierarchical=&at_level=1′);?>

As you can see in this code both at_level and slot were used in combination with others. Slot and at_level can be used with all other attributes, there is one limitation: you must remember to set to false the hierarchical attribute with hierarchical=.

Unfortunately this parameter cannot be set automatically with this version of wordpress (blogslot was created with 2.1.3 and successfully migrated to 2.2.1) perhaps it will be in future versions.

As for filtering, WordPress automatically adds the class current_page_item to menu items related to the current page. Blogslot extends this functionality to exploit the new features provided by at_level, automatically adding the class current_page_item to all menu items related to that element.

So here you are – download and enjoy using WordPress as a CMS ! And don’t be stingy … leave a comment and your feedback – I’d like to know how it works out for you. We will be working on this plugin … blog_slot.zip

UPDATES: 26/07/2007 for WordPress 2.2 compatibility

Here is a link to many other WordPress Multilingual plugins.

{ 44 comments }

sonika August 29, 2007 at 21:32

Hello!
Are you planning to support WordPress 2.2.2?
I install this plugin on wp 2.2.2, but the box “Page Slots” is not appear in “Write post” section, only in “Write Page”.

I’d like to use this great plugin for wp_list_categories too.
“BlogSlot” is a very useful plugin for me, it’s a pity “BlogSlot” don’t work with wp_list_categories in wordpress 2.2.2…

Nevertheless thanks for plugin!

Sante J. Achille August 30, 2007 at 08:07

We’ll check it out – it is very strange that you encounter this kind of problem !

BOA Method February 1, 2008 at 06:17

Using wordpress as a CMS for me it is a good CMS tool that i ever use since i start making blogs and site compare to other CMS application on the specifically Joomla and Mambo first I use this kind of CMS in making blogs but sad to say its difficult so when i found wordpress first i found difficult to handle but later on as i continue to use i found that i start already to wordpress. One thing that i appreciate wordpress is the availability of the plugins and support.

Revero
make link say – Make Money With Blogs

SEOContest2008 March 1, 2008 at 04:50

Will this still work for WP 2.3.3?

Sante J. Achille March 1, 2008 at 09:37

Yes it does – it was upgraded just recently fora Clients WordPress Multilingual Blog – you should be fine :)

FMS March 20, 2008 at 22:38

Thanks ;)

waleras March 24, 2008 at 15:34

there are some special themes for WP,so nobody could not recognize, the word press blog

Tony Lindskog March 25, 2008 at 16:23

Writing a multi-language blog is actually a huge undertaking, blogslot makes it a lot easier and I love the RSS handling portion.

Sante J. Achille March 25, 2008 at 16:36

Glad you like it – so far the feedback has been largely positive for blogslot amongst the multilingual blogging community

Edmund May 23, 2008 at 17:32

Hi Sante,

Great tip on FTP for Wordpress. I’m actually looking for youtube and Google Video plugin for my wordpress template. If you know of links or templates with that do let me know.

Thanks
Edmund

The_man May 26, 2008 at 11:04

Nice post, and I really agree that the coding used on Wordpress is just to complicated for an average user, the not-so-techy.

Andri June 11, 2008 at 18:05

Nice Post,I am also agree with you The man about the coding. and thanks for FTP tip…..Thank again….

mrobinson July 21, 2008 at 14:04

I think the main reason that Wordpress will not be seen by the masses as a CMS is because it requires some technical knowledge to really get going. If you consider the likes of Joomla! have arguably more features and are easy to use, I’d come down on this side each time.

FMS GROUP July 28, 2008 at 21:21

Great tip on FTP for Wordpress. I’m actually looking for youtube and Google Video plugin for my wordpress template. If you know of links or templates with that do let me know.

Thanks
Edmund

Algarve Portugal July 30, 2008 at 19:52

Hello!

Very interesting post, thanks for the links to the multilingual plugins. Having a multilingual site or blog is not as easy as it seams, so thanks for these resources.

London Sightseeing Tours August 1, 2008 at 14:06

The multi-lingual plugin is great, and is what will make me pick Wordpress over Joomla for example. It makes it so much easier.

Fresh web content August 2, 2008 at 01:36

I started building websites with FrontPage, moved on to DreamWeaver followed byXSite Pro and finally Word Press. With the range of free plugins it is my favourite content management system now.

Add URL August 5, 2008 at 22:49

Frontpage cannot compare to WordPress. I’m glad to see that Microsoft will be dropping the frontpage extensions.

Frontpage was a poor choice that lowered the bar too low.

Walera August 15, 2008 at 11:43

I create my bilingual Wordpress – based blog using various 2 mysql bases.

Sante J. Achille August 15, 2008 at 14:13

That’s very interesting Walera,
woudl you like to illustrate what you do in a guest post here on my blog ? I’d be more than happy to offer hospitality !

Internet Marketing Blog September 7, 2008 at 05:46

I’m a HUGE Wordpress fan, especially once you really dive down into all the functions and the plugins available. When I first started I was somewhat intimidated, but after having time to play I find it an exceptional CMS.

Mike Johnston September 13, 2008 at 02:50

Thanks for the article!

JamesBondd September 15, 2008 at 13:02

It’s quite possible.

Bill September 20, 2008 at 23:15

This is an interesting hack, but will it work for WP 2.6?

Sante J. Achille September 21, 2008 at 11:52

Yes it works with 2.6 download and try if you are having problems I can send you an update

datatrond September 21, 2008 at 15:04

Great tutorial Sante!
I will test it with the newest update next week :-)

Chris Hutcherson October 3, 2008 at 19:59

Great article. I never realized how much work really goes into a multilingual site, until I started working on one. Blogslot has been great. Thanks again!!

Cheers.

Vector October 17, 2008 at 13:11

Thank you Sante ,very informative , though a little complicated , will certainly give it a go , after I have set up a new blog( I am sure to mess it up!)
I am sure to be returnig frequently!
Vec

Joseph Murray October 23, 2008 at 23:04

Great multi-lingual plugins! Also enjoyed the tips for FTP for Wordpress, Thanks! :)

Rami November 2, 2008 at 15:32

Great article. However, Some time is a lot simple and easier to manage 2 or 3 site. each site for each language then to handle the multy lingual system.

Sante J. Achille November 2, 2008 at 15:51

I disagree with this approach – IMO it’s a lot better to have one big site rather than 3 smaller ones – this is my experience. Then there is the issue that managing 3 sites is a lot of extra work, and extra work is always to be avoided whenever possible ;-)

JCL December 22, 2008 at 20:37

Blogging is a very unique medium. Personally, I’m glad there are many different languages and cultures around the world and I feel that if you go to another country you should at the very least make an attempt at learning and speaking their language. Blogging however has no borders – so let me ask you a question – do you find that if you blog only in Italian it limits your readership? Are we heading towards no language barriers with the increased abundance of online translators (on the fly even)? I think the bi-lingual blogging idea is a great one, what do you do if you want to reach – say – Japanese speaking readers?

Sante J. Achille December 22, 2008 at 20:40

I have seen many readers use online translators in an attempt to understand what I am writing – it would be nice to be able to speak a number of languages wouldn’t it !! :)

chris December 30, 2008 at 19:34

A good post… I understand exactly what you’re saying more than I understand some of the wordpress coding! ;)

Jon February 4, 2009 at 19:35

Trying to run one language of WordPress is hard enough I can’t imagine trying to run multiple languages.

canada fly in March 4, 2009 at 21:18

Thank god I switched from frontpage to wordpres!

Matt March 16, 2009 at 06:21

Sante,

Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I’ve been toying with looking at Drupal since so many people swear by it, but I’d rather use Wordpress as my CMS if it can do what I want. Thanks for the tips on blogslot. – Matt

Tim April 3, 2009 at 11:45

Wordpress is fairly easy to convert / use into a small CMS but I never bother anymore as its faster to template and more scalable with Joomla.

Garnet April 6, 2009 at 01:45

Great post,I also want to know if it works under WP 2.7,thanks!

Sante J. Achille April 11, 2009 at 15:04

yes it shold work under 2.7 too try it out and let me know how it works for you

jhons "directorio cusco" Criss September 3, 2009 at 02:03

this post is very useful to me just what I needed
buscar

dota March 15, 2010 at 21:24

thank very good post

Prime Travel March 29, 2010 at 20:01

Your technical details are rather difficult to follow. But after a thorough study, it does prove illuminating.

orcha123 April 17, 2010 at 06:09

Your post reads like a tutorial, but a precise and insightful tutorial, for the WP plug in

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