WordPress: From Blog to CMS Part I
Several years ago, I wrote my website using DreamWeaver. I bought the software and a huge book to teach me how to do it. And then several years later, I started writing a blog using WordPress. And everything has stayed pretty much the same since then.
But the issue of what to do with DreamWeaver has been looming in my mind for some time. I wrote the website years ago, and quite frankly, it could use some freshening up. I thought about buying the upgrade for DreamWeaver, but then we bought a Mac and relegated the PC to my studio where it sits largely unused except for the handful of times in the year that I update my website or need to use CorelDraw (which is sadly not Mac compatible). It’s slow and a pain to use. It definitely takes an extra measure of patience before I go turn it on.
And when I though about upgrading DreamWeaver so I could have a copy on the Mac, it occurred to me that WordPress was more than capable of handling the entire website (and for those that don’t understand geek speak, CMS stands for content management system which means the website). In fact, at the time, WordPress was advertising their 3.0 release that would utilize navigation menus — the last piece of the puzzle to make it a good CMS builder.
I waited and waited and finally 3.0 came out — and I did nothing. Life got in the way — art got in the way. It didn’t get done. Well, I did choose a new theme that would be able to accept navigational menus — not all of them do. Mine is Mystique.
But as the new year rolled around, I realized that quite some time had passed & I hadn’t updated the website with my newest piece because I don’t use the PC and I don’t want to use the PC.
But where to begin? I thought enough time had passed by that I could find a book that could tell me how to do this — but interestingly, most of the WordPress books center around making a blog — I all ready have one of those — and not about building a CMS — and not about building your CMS around your blog & then moving it to the prime domain of your website.
Yes there are articles in the WordPress archives — but they aren’t really in a helpful order. So as I started this process, I thought it might help someone else to share my experience.
The FIRST thing that I did was build my main PAGES — the pages that would represent my menu headings. Posts are blog/journaling entries — Pages are static entries like the pages of a website that don’t change over time. I didn’t publish any of them at first. I wanted to keep everything in test mode and go live later. But I learned that in WordPress, some things aren’t visible until you do other things. For instance, I was trying to change the Front Page in General Settings > Reading — but it doesn’t exist until you publish some pages. I don’t mean it’s grayed out — I mean it isn’t there at all.
I found this helpful page in the Codex that runs you through how to set up your Home page and then your Blog page where all of blog entries will post — Creating a Static Front Page. You create a Home page, publish it — and then create a BLANK Blog page & publish it. Then you go to Administration > Settings > Reading and choose Static Page — and then Home as your Static page — and Blog as your posts page. And then for some reason that still eludes me, you need your Settings > Permalinks to show the page title in the address. I had all ready done that so it wasn’t something I had to change.
Once this is done, the navigational menu now magically shows Home and Blog.
Then I went back to my other pages and published them. Interestingly, they also added to the navigation menu. I had added order #’s to them which kept them where I wanted them relative to each other — and I took the sidebar off the static pages — they only make sense on the blog page — with a handy dropdown box that is even available in QuickEdit mode.
And here I am. I still have to add pages for all of the quilts — and I’m fairly certain that I’ll redo the menu using the Administration > Appearance > Menus rather than the parent/child options in editing Pages.
When you are directed to the blog, it will show you my Home page on the WordPress site, even if you came from my website and chose the Blog menu option. So I have dual sites — one on DreamWeaver and one on WordPress. Messy — but it will have to do until I move things over. I mapped out where I want the quilts to go in the new categories — hopefully it won’t take me too long.
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