WordPress Custom Templating for Powerful Content  Management

WordPress is well known as a blogging platform, but it can easily be turned into an incredibly powerful CMS if used right. Here’s a sneak peak of the tips and tricks I routinely use when setting up a WordPress (CMS) powered website.

Choosing a Custom Template
Choosing a Custom Template

In my experience the most useful feature is custom contemplating. Custom Templates are wonderful because they allow us to:

  • Make specific areas of a site unique. WordPress’ Custom Templating feature makes it easy to make specific sections of your site look completely different from others. I’ve seen small application set up inside of WordPress custom templates without any issues.
  • Don’t feel like your constrained by WordPress, break free from the WYSIWYG! Let’s be honest, not all content needs to be managed. If you want you can use custom templates to create highly customized layouts that are unmanagable by a WYSIWYG. You will then get the SEO benefits of WordPress. This is very handy if your agency has an in-house marketing team that needs access to metadata.
  • Choose what aspects of a page can be edited by clients. This allows for more control over custom elements. If parts of those custom elements need to be managed, then I’ll turn to using Custom Fields.
  • Create rapid, dynamic landing pages and cascade changes throughout them all. Let’s say you wanted 50 landing pages for a national business, one for each state. Much of the content on each page would be the same, but some if it would be different. You could create a custom template including the content that will remain static, and allow a small portion of the page to be managed by the WYSIWYG. If you want the state names scattered throughout the static content you can use Custom Fields again to inject those state names where appropriate.
Creating Custom Fields
Creating Custom Fields

Next in line for usefulness are Custom Fields, as mentioned above. These little guys allow you to manage smaller bits of text; otherwise known as string. This can be anything from the name of state, the current year or your current mood. Think of it as a variable, ever changing piece of text that can be updated easily from within the WordPress control panel.

Like most things WordPress, these features are very well documented in the Codex. If people are interesting in this I would be happy to do a follow up tutorial showing some real world examples.

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Meet the Author

Kevin Leary, WordPress Consultant

I'm a custom WordPress web developer and analytics consultant in Boston, MA with 16 years of experience building websites and applications. View a portfolio of my work or request an estimate for your next project.