But in fact, in the last years WordPress added some great new features making it a better “overall” CMS. WordPres has also an extremely large community with many (mostly free) plugins that can make WordPress an even better Content Management System.
The first plugin I highly recommend is Advanced Custom Fields. Like the name of the plugin suggests, Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) is a tool that offers advanced fields with a lot of flexible field types (like files, images, text, WYSIWYG, …) to WordPress pages and posts. WordPress supports custom fields “natively” but they are not really user friendly. And that’s an euphemism. ACF uses this “native” technology and adds a user friendly UI layer on top of it.
Advanced Custom Fields is a free WordPress plugin which acts as a GUI layer for custom fields. Custom fields are native to WP and appear on pages, posts and custom post types, however the native custom field interface are not very user friendly.
Another great WP feature is the possibility to add custom “Page Types”. The default WordPress installation allows you to add Posts, Pages, Attachments, … but it’s also possible to add your custom page types without installing any extra plugin. To do so, you need to update the functions.php file of your theme.
There are also plugins available for adding custom Post Types without writing a single line of code, for example: Custom Post Type UI or Types - Custom Fields and Custom Post Types Management.
WordPress is popular and open source, this makes it more vulnerable to damage. For this, I recommend you to use the Better WP security plugin. It adds some great security enhancements like:
- Change wp-content path & admin URLs
- Detect bots and other attempts to search for vulnerabilities
- Strengthen server security
- Create and email database backups on a customizable schedule
- ... a lot more enhancements to read on the Wordpress plugin page.
Some extra security tips
- Choose a strong password for your admin user and give the administrator user another username (avoid the default "admin" username)
- When you install WordPress you can choose a database table prefix. It is recommended to add your custom table prefix (and not the default wp_)
- Automatic database backups (Better WP Security includes that): that can limit the damage when your site is hacked... You can also use a professional back-up solution for WordPress.
- Update your WordPress & plugins: it will fix new security vulnerabilities
- Move the WordPress core files out of the root directory
Enhance Search Engine Optimalisation (SEO)
Like the Better WP security is the must have plugin concerning “security”, the WordPress SEO by Yoast is the reference for Search Engine optimalisation (SEO) for Wordpress. It helps you detect some common content “pitfalls”.
- Page Analysis
- Write meta titles and descriptions
- XML Sitemaps
- RSS Optimization
Building a good Information Architecture
In addition to tags and categories WordPress also support taxonomies. Taxonomies are a very flexible way for structuring your content.
The standard WordPress installation gives you the possibility to add custom forms to your pages and posts, thanks to its built-in custom form builder. It may meet your needs, but for more advanced forms you will need a Form Builder plugin.
- Visual Form Builder: a great and free visual form builder for WordPress
- GravityForms: gravity forms is not free but is a really advanced form builder. View the list of features.
Make your WordPress website load faster
A fast website is primordial. It makes your site more user and search engine friendly! Luckily there are two great free plugins (W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache) that does all the heavy caching work for you.
Make a community website!
WordPress can even help you in making a “social” community website!
BudyPress. Easily create a fully featured social network inside your WordPress site.
bbPress. Simple and elegant forum software from the creators of WordPress.
Get some stats...
Your clients would also love to know how many visitors are browsing their site each day. Therefor WordPress has a special plugin called JetPack. This plugin provide some extra useful features to WordPress.
The main feature JetPack is providing is a tool that shows statistics about your visitors with no additional load on your server. Some of other JetPack features are (see the full list of features on WordPress.com):
- Email subscriptions for your blog's posts and your post's comments
- Social networking enabled comment system
- Integration with and automatic posting to your favorite social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and LinkedIn
- Shorten links