WordPress as a Small Business Content Management System

National Gallery and Gift Shop using WP as a CMS 
National Gallery and Gift Shop using WP as a CMS

I’ve been telling everyone for a while that WordPress is a Content Management System – now I’m ready to prove it.  I’ve set up a small site for The National Gallery and Gift Shop in Sutton, MA using WordPress and I’m thrilled with the way it’s turned out.  

Before I mention the features of what has been setup, you need to know one thing – I was able to train them how to enter content, manage their calendar and add products to their product gallery all in two short sessions, about 3 hours of training total.  They have created most of the content you see on their site. 

Here are the general features I’ve provided:

  • Completely editable content by non-technical personnel
  • An online events calendar they can easily manage
  • A full product gallery which is both simple to use, and can handle tons of products and product lines (more on that in a minute)
  • Online newsletter capability (that’s a blog to the rest of us)
  • Contact form that pays attention to Akismet for anti-spam
  • Google maps directions
Product Category Listings for Dept. 56 Collectibles
Product Category Listings for Dept. 56 Collectibles

WordPress Product Gallery

That’s right, a product gallery for WordPress.  It uses the WordPress Photo Gallery feature, which means you can upload 10 products at a time, manage both product title and caption, plus add a full description.  It’s dirt simple to use.  

Even better, because of the way WordPress works, we could easily add a Paypal B Buy Now button, or use Google to  to the system and have an online catalog.  It’s the type of feature that lots of people ask about, but generally go running for the hills when they realize how much work is traditionally involved.  I think in this case, we’ve got a very simple solution that could be setup with modicum of work.

Events Calendar

Online Events Calendar
Online Events Calendar

I hate Events Calendars, or at least I used to.  Everyone wanted one and they were generally a pain to get setup properly.  Once I got it setup, i’d generally find the customer gave up using it almost right away because the data entry pages were too hard to use.  

In this system, I’ve opted for a very resilient plugin I found for WordPress and it’s integrated almost out of the box.  National Gallery runs a lot of art classes in Central Massachusetts, including Tole Painting, Quilting, etc, and they were able to get the full month of events online in about an hour.

5 Replies to “WordPress as a Small Business Content Management System”

  1. Hi Mark,

    I agree that WordPress makes a fantastic content management system – we use it on our own site. Do you find that WordPress has any negative impact on Search Engine Optimization?

  2. As a rule, I can get better SEO results without WordPress, since I can keep the code to an absolute minimum and craft every single page to meet the SEO goals. Hence I’m able to achieve a higher keyword density using custom code.

    When weighed with the benefits of WordPress, I think that you can get good enough results. For most blogs I like to use All in One SEO pack as a plugin to help me get results. I’ve actually just rewritten it for use on a major site so that we’ve got exactly the feature we need, although those are specific enough to that site that I don’t plan to release the plugin for general use.

  3. I’m wondering if you would share which plug-ins you used. Was this all straigt out of the box other than the theme? I’m considering using WordPress for setting up an online sheetmusic store, I would also need to find a way to implement audio previews of all the music as part of the shop.

    1. I use a pretty standard group of plugins. Mostly I rely on use of categories and custom fields to achieve what I need. For your specific use, I’d look at Viper’s Video QuickTags which I use to embed video. There is probably a plugin that does exactly what you want in the WordPress.org repository as well. Let me know if you need help finding one!

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