Category Archives: WordPress

WordPress plugins for functioning CMSs, redux


WordPress as a CMS, easy as pie

It’s been a bit since the last time I posted about turning WordPress into a CMS. I’ve learned a bit more about WordPress, and some really great  plugins have come to my attention. WordPress has evolved a bit, and so have the types of sites I work on here in Benin.

The following plugins have a lot in common. For the most part they are:

  • Activate and forget. We configure everything, and the client never even needs to know the plugin’s there.
  • Simple to use. In many cases, we’ve sacrificed extensive features for ease of use. Clients don’t need a million different things to worry about—they just want their websites to work.
  • Internationalized. Seriously, folks, it’s not that hard. Not all the plugins listed provide translations, but they are all translatable.

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Solving the bandwidth problem when updating WordPress sites

wordpress_logo We use WordPress for many of our client sites because it’s dead simple to use and has a fantastic plugin system. The only problem? WordPress is stinkin’ huge. And basic functionality depends on JavaScript. No big deal on fast American and European connections, but it’s a huge impediment here in Benin, where connections are unreliable at best, and more typically, just unusable.

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Excellent membership management plugin

One of our clients wants to build a membership-based site, with several different membership levels and options. And of course, both Joomla and WordPress options for fine control of who-sees-what are relatively limited.

Both systems have very basic authentication protocols, where you can hide posts from users who aren’t logged in, but neither have any sort of system allowing several levels of privileges (WordPress’s role system is geared towards posting rights, not reading rights).

Enter the Role Scoper plugin, by Kevin Behrens. It’s still in development, but it offers the level of control my client is looking for. And, after spending an afternoon playing, it’s relatively easy to set-up.

How to set WordPress categories to different members only groups

  1. Create your categories and populate them with articles (even if they’re filed with nothing but random characters). This is helpful. Really.
  2. Go to the “Groups” tab, and create your groups (e.g. a group for each class or membership level). Don’t worry about populating the groups with members just yet.
  3. Go to the “Roles” tab, then the “Exclusive Sections” sub-tab. For each category where you want to limit who can read, check the box next to “Post Reader”. When you’re done, scroll back up to the top of the page, and make sure “ignored – equivalent section/object role required” is selected in the drop-down list. Click “Update.”
  4. Go to back to the “Groups” tab, and click the “Section Roles” sub-tab. Check off one group in the “eligible groups” box (Membership level 1, for example). Now scroll down to the appropriate category, and check the box next to “Private Post Reader”. Scroll back up to the top and click “Update.” Do the same thing for each group.
  5. Go back to the “Groups” tab and add/manage your members!

While there are other plugins out there that do similar things, Role Scoper offers the most granular control over who can see what on a WordPress site.

I’ll be even more excited when I get the French translation done.