Subscribe to our updates:

A Design, WordPress and Tutorials Blog.

Dedicated to helping you learn the art and science of the web.

10 Steps to a Client Friendly WordPress CMS

What is not to love about WordPress? It is extremely extendable, an open source project, has a selection of thousands of plugins, in addition to the support community being simply massive. WordPress has proved itself as a great blogging platform and content management system.

For us developers and techies the out of the box capabilities is more than we ever need to manage, edit, and add content in any shape or form. However many of us don’t simply build website for ourselves, and we have to think about our clients as well.

While WordPress has a user friendly interface it is still blogging focused, and there are some usability enhancements that could be desired when those who are not technically savvy (which fits the bill for most clients) will be the primary users.

In this situation there are a few steps to improving the interface to make it easier for our clients.

1. Tweak the Admin Panel

The administration panel is with out a doubt focused on blogging, which makes sense since WordPress is a blogging platform. Any time you aim to create more content, “Post” is always listed before “Page” and even the labeling “Write” feels more journalistic than page focused.

While it is not a perfect solution, there is a great plugin out there that greatly enhances the layout of the latest versions of WordPress called Leopard.

With icons and a simple sidebar it will likely be more familiar to non techies or journalists.

If you like the existing interface just fine, you might want to look into the Simple CMS plugin instead. Simple CMS is a quick and easy way to change the focus from Posts to Pages.

If you want to take it a step further, and wish tweak all labeling and names to feel more “CMS” focused, the Admin Menu Management plugin will let you configure a lot of the dashboard elements to be more client friendly.

Finally cleaning up the interface can go a long way. By default WordPress has a lot of irrelevant information on the dashboard. Information that the average client doesn’t need to be bothered with. The dashboard editor plugin lets you remove some of these unnecessary elements.

Hopefully when WordPress 2.7 is finally released we won’t need to install these types of plugins as the interface is greatly improved.

2. Extend Capabilities of Navigation Control

If you are building WordPress CMS sites then chances are you are using the wp_list_pages(); method of creating navigation. This is an excellent way to let clients extend their site and add pages to the site architecture with out any editing of code.

The function does leave much be desired. There are times where you don’t want particular pages to show up in the main navigation, or only include the top level of pages. Normally this requires code tweaking, which is not client friendly. Additionally your client may want several different types of navigation? For example top navigation, utilities, footer navigation, etc... these all might be slightly different.

Again you could do some hard coding, but that makes it difficult for the client to control. So ideally we would like to give some of that control to the client.

The Navigation List plugin gives you complete control over your navigation, including graphics, styling, ordering, etc.. You can create several different navigation blocks and it all done through a great drag and drop interface.

Now clients can have powerful and easy control over their navigational blocks and areas.

3. Create Custom Write Panels

Some web sites only need a homepage and a typical text/image page for content. However many sites do need “custom content” types. Typical examples may be “houses for sale” or “product pages.” Clients could try and craft the pages in the same way for every page, but that is extremely difficult and cumbersome. It would be much easier to take some of the work away from them and simply have them fill out the details (product title, cost, description, and add a picture) rather than trying to do it manually through the write panel.

There are two ways you can create custom write panels to make creating specific types of content easier for clients.

You can do some manual hard coding, like this tutorial

Or take a look into the flutter plugin

Flutter also has some great front end editing capabilities that you could look into as well.

4. Allow More Control Over the Templates

While WordPress does make it easy to have additional templates for different types of content, allowing clients to customize templates as needed is a nice touch. A common need for example, is to allow clients to pick which sidebar to use on any given page that they are creating.

Additionally a major drawback with the format of WordPress style pages is that you can edit / modify a pages main content but there is no easy way to edit any other areas of content. The most typical area would be a sidebar.

Side Content is another plugin that lets you have and define different sets of widgets as “side content” that can be edited on a per page basis.

The PageMash template lets you select and customize sidebars based on widgets as well as providing an easy to use interface. It features a drag and drop ajax interface for ease of client use.

5. Create Great Revision Control

Many clients love the idea of revision control. There is a sense of safety that comes with being able to revert back to a previously flawless page/post. Many clients who are not tech savvy are worried about making a change that breaks the site. Being able to switch back to a working page in a worse case scenario is very reassuring.

There are two great plugins that extend the capability of WordPress revision control.

Revision Control


6. Improve the Easy of Linking

If you have ever had to teach a client how to link to another interior page in WordPress you will know how difficult the linking interface of WordPress can be. It would be much easier to get a list of links to pages that exist for selection, rather than having to type it in manually.

AWS Easy Page Link lets you do just that.

7. Enhance Multimedia Support with Utilities

The web has become a rich multimedia experience, so it is no surprised a lot of websites not only need the ability to have multimedia on the site, but also add multimedia over time.

Two of the most common multimedia needs are the ability to add video, and to work with images. In a perfect world all clients would have the tools and knowledge to open, edit, resize and save images. However rarely is this the case.

So the Scissors plugin is a perfect fit for all your basic image editing and resizing needs, all through the administration panel.

And for those sites that need video the all in one video pack makes working with and posting video extremely easy.

8. Give them Control Over Contact Forms

It is rare to come across a site that doesn’t have at least one contact form. Many sites now have several contact forms. Beyond that, simply working with contact forms can be a pain.

Why not give the client control over their contact forms? Contact Form 7 makes it easy to create different contact forms and insert them into posts and pages. It features some worthwhile CAPTCHA spam protection.

9. Do Some Branding and Customization

I just wrote an article about branding your administration area. What came out of that were some great suggestions for plugins to brand the login / registration panels and the administration panel.

The Custom Admin Branding plugin
will let you swap out logos in the administration panels for your own, or your clients (depending on how you want to brand WordPress).

WP Admin Theme Extended
will let you easily adjust and tweak the color scheme of the administration panel. Again this will let you either pick your branded colors, or your clients for the administration panel.

10. Ensure Everything is Backed up Regularly

You never know what, when and why something will happen to a website. You can’t count on clients to backup their site themselves, and I doubt you want to be in the business of managing backups for all website you create.

The DB Backup plugin
has auto scheduling with a wide variety of options and methods for backing up your important WordPress database.

Leave a comment on Stylized Web Have some feedback? Leave a comment

232 Comments So Far

  1. Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice whilst you amend your
    web site, how could i subscribe for a blog web site?
    The account helped me a applicable deal. I have been tiny bit acquainted of
    this your broadcast offered vibrant clear concept

  2. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep
    it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site
    to come back in the future. Many thanks

  3. I have an enthusiastic synthetic eyesight intended for
    fine detail and can foresee problems prior to they will happen.

    Also visit my page :: advanced biofuel

  4. Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?

    A design like yours with a few simple adjustements
    would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where
    you got your theme. With thanks

  5. Güzel paylaşım olmuş.

  6. Interactive Entertainment on behalf of you will provide sufficient leverage to the lofty normal permeation
    to its complete variety of services; so, decide on one dedicated to excellence.
    What do you have on under that?

    My blog post :: lowest price

  7. Oո voit de suite que vous maîtrisez bien ce thème

  8. Εxcellent post : comme d’hab

  9. C’est du bonheur dе lire ce site internet

  10. Poste ruսdement attrayant !!

  11. IncroyaƄle post, continue dans cettee voie

  12. Vous ոous concoctez continuellemeոt dees articles attractifs

  13. I had love to write and declare what a great job you does
    on this, as you have set a lot of work into it.

    Regrettably, I’m not sure how to keep a comment….

  14. Hello Dear, are you truly visiting this web page on a regular basis, if so then
    you will without doubt get good experience.

  15. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today, but I never found any fascinating article like yours.
    It is lovely value enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did,
    the net will probably be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  16. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be
    really something which I think I would never understand.

    It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking
    forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the
    hang of it!

  17. Additional solutions have got echoed that sentiment to WWD believing the change is occurring to allow control to position a larger emphasis on Bendel’s branded bags, way extras, fashion jewelry, cosmetics and traveling accessories,
    small fabric and locks goods and home scents.

    My webpage – artisan parfumeur

  18. Hi there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to give it
    a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Wonderful blog and excellent design and style.

    Check out my blog – film bokep

  19. For those who prefer to hide their upper arms tops made with beautiful
    softly draping or sheer fabrics are ideal. In the
    15th Century leggings were worn by men, however the style of them was
    very different to what we know today; they were two separate leg pieces and only came thigh high instead of the one piece waist high leg wear we have today.
    Get rid of: Take a set of two fabric scissers,
    and start clipping where you have created the times more.

    Also visit my blog – Leggings for women

  20. Recently, fashion models are walking the runway wearing leotards.
    A double layer of control fabric around the waist slims, smooths, and creates a flattering silhouette.

    If you want the item to be wide, cut from the top part of a pair
    of leggings.

    Also visit my website :: best Leggings for women

  21. Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you
    downloaad it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would
    really make my blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your theme.

    With thanks

    Also visit my blog – UK companies email database

  22. I do not even knlw the wway I ended up here, but I thought this submit wass once good.
    I do not understand who you are but certainly you aare going
    to a well-known blogger in the event you aren’t
    already. Cheers!

    Here iss my weblog; Mailbanger

  23. Je poste un petit com dans le but de complimenter l’administrateur

  24. Hi! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do
    you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when viewing from my iphone.
    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to
    resolve this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share.

    With thanks!

  25. We stumbled over here coming from a different website and thought I should check
    things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you.
    Look forward to looking over your web page yet again.

  26. Je finirai de voir tout cela plus tard

  27. Everything posted made a great deal of sense. However, what about this?

    what if you wrote a catchier post title? I ain’t suggesting your information isn’t good, but what
    if you added something to maybe grab a person’s
    attention? I mean

  28. (1) Remodeling can be a great way to transform a home from functional to a showcase of personality and
    lifestyle. In addition, if the project will require resources
    from other departments or groups, a representative from each of these divisions should be listed in the Approval section as well.
    We’ll give you a heads up on what you should be looking for in a
    lot location including the natural resources in the area, the path
    of the sun takes over the parcel throughout the year and other intangibles.

  29. After checking out a number of the blog posts on your web site, I honestly appreciate your way of blogging.
    I book-marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future.

    Please check out my web site as well and let me know how you feel.

  30. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading
    it, you’re a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will
    often come back down the road. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue
    your great writing, have a nice evening!

  31. thank you for sharing…really good to see this post…

  32. This article is great and very informative i really like this post. Thanks lot. Electrician

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>