Create Your Own Bespoke CMS for Clients With WordPress and WPMU DEV Plugins
WordPress has long since stopped being “just” a blogging platform and is now more commonly used as a content management system. And for developers and power users, just how far you can bend WordPress to your will is only limited by your imagination.
Features such as custom post types, taxonomies, and fields, as well as the customizer, have made it easier than ever to create sites that even non-technical users can add content to and customize.
But if you’re creating a site for clients and want to let them add content as quickly and easily as possible without being distracted by some of the WordPress “clutter,” you can install a range of our plugins to create your own custom CMS. This simplifies the content creation process for users and gives you the opportunity to brand your site and add options that may even generate income.
The exact plugins that will work for you depend on the needs of your site and your users, but here are some great ones we’ve created that will help you create a bespoke site built on WordPress.
It is custom post types, taxonomies and fields that take WordPress from a blogging platform to a CMS, and with CustomPress you can create all three.
Use it to create custom content and make your site more powerful and flexible, as well as letting your clients and users add content of all kinds.
The plugin gives you an easy to use interface to create new custom content types without coding.
Use it to create taxonomies, custom post types, custom fields or maybe all three. Your users can then add new content using these post types and display it in their site.
Read our detailed guide to using CustomPress to create custom post types, taxonomies and fields and make your site more flexible and powerful.
If you’re running a multi-author site or creating a Multisite network that users will be signing into to edit and manage their site, you can enhance user experience and project a more professional image by adding your own branding to the WordPress admin.
Our Ultimate Branding plugin lets you completely rebrand the admin screens, adding and removing functionality as needed and letting you upload images and icons as well as using CSS to restyle the admin screens.
Create additional content such as footer messages and a login message to make life easier for your users, and and add extra features such as a custom login logo, help content, footer content and more. You can also switch off admin features you don’t want.
Completely remove the WordPress branding and logos and add your own logo to the login screen – your users needn’t even know your site or network is built on WordPress!
Read more about how you can white label your site with Ultimate Branding in White Label Your Site With Latest Release of Ultimate Branding.
Your professional Multisite network with its custom content and rebranded design is a great tool to earn you money, and Pro Sites is designed to help you do that.
As well as letting you specify levels site owners sign up for or paid upgrades, it lets you specify which admin features are available to users at which levels.
Create as many levels as you need to to meet the needs of your users, and set pricing structures for each of them. You can specify which features and admin screens are available to which levels.
Create pricing tables to display the options to your users and let them see what they get at each level.
Use the admin interface and your own CSS to edit the tables and display them in exactly the way you want to.
The Support System plugin takes things a step further, letting you manage not only your content and branding, but also the way you interact with your site’s users or with site administrators on your network.
Add support pages to your users’ admin screens to let them raise tickets, see the answers to frequently asked questions and communicate with you without having to send emails.
You can even manage tickets from the front end of your site and let your users raise tickets and view FAQs there too. No more excuses for not providing great service via your WordPress installation!
Learn how to install, configure and get the most from the plugin in our complete guide to Support System.
People using your custom WordPress installation with CMS features like custom content types will need some help understanding how the content types work and how to add and edit them, and this won’t be covered by the default WordPress help screens.
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With the Admin Help Content plugin you can add one or more extra screens to the admin help tab with custom content.
Use the Admin Help Content screen in the Settings menu to add your own help text. You can create as many help pages as you need: maybe one for each custom content type you’ve created in your site.
If you want to provide your users with a pared down experience when they first open the WordPress dashboard, then it’s helpful to remove the WordPress dashboard news widgets. Then you can either leave the dashboard cleaner or add your own custom widgets using Ultimate Branding or one of the other plugins mentioned here.
Our Clean Up the Dashboard plugin makes it really easy. Just install and activate the plugin, and the WordPress news and feed dashboard widgets will disappear.
No tweaking, customization or settings needed… Simple!
One of the great features of Ultimate Branding is the ability to customize the WordPress admin bar, but what if you just want to customize the admin bar without the extra features that Ultimate Branding gives you?
Our simple Custom Admin Bar plugin gives you just that. Use it to add your own custom items and links – really useful if you want to give your users an easy way to reach the support system screens in the admin if you’ve got the Support System plugin installed, for example.
Or if you want to keep things really simple, you can just use it to remove admin bar items, as I’ve done in the settings screen on the left. You’ll find its settings screen in the WordPress Settings menu.
If you’re running a Multisite network or a multi-author site with a blog supporting it, this plugin is a great way to let your users see what you’ve been publishing, right from their dashboard.
Access its settings screen in the WordPress Settings menu to add as many feeds as you want: here I’m adding a feed from the BBC News website.
Your feeds will then be displayed in the main dashboard screen when users log in. A great way to share your content with your users or to share relevant internal or external content if you’re running a professional network or an company intranet.
Would you like to welcome your users when they log in with a friendly message? Or maybe alert them to important news or messages relating to your site?
The Login Message plugin adds a couple of fields to the General Settings tab in the WordPress admin for you to add a message that your users will see when they log in to your site.
If you want you can update it on a regular basis, maybe alerting your users to change to the site, new features you’ve added sort news about your organisation.
WordPress is already a powerful, flexible platform you can harness to create a user-friendly site, but with these plugins you can give your users the experience of a more bespoke CMS, adding custom content, providing help and support, using branding to make your admin screens more professional, and displaying important message for your users.
Chances are you won’t be using all of these plugins on one site (you certainly shouldn’t as if you’re using Ultimate Branding some of the other ones will replicate some of its features), but with the addition of just one or two of these you can give your users a customized experience that enhances your brand.
Which of our plugins have you used to customize WordPress? We would love to see your project. Please share them in the comments below.