Hi All- I was wondering how many of you are using wordpress as a cms for all or part of your website, and how is it working out for you? we are looking at some of the options and think WP might be the way to go.
Ultimately, Wordpress isn't a CMS, it's a blogging framework that you can inflate into a CMS with the right tools. That's fine for smallish sites, but rarely appropriate for sites as large and complex as the ones we drive in higher ed. That's not to say it can't be done, and done well, but you should make sure that you're using the right tool to address your problems.
If you need a robust CMS that always falls into the open source/free camp, you'd be much happier in the long run with either dotCMS or Drupal.
I use Wordpress for our college news site and it has worked out well for what I wanted it to do. Easy RSS feed integration along with Feedburner e-mail subscription options, thousand of free widgets\plug-ins and so forth.
The CMS works well, but I found you need to lock down the formatting options as end-users will try and place their own formatting in there and it will cause you much grief. For example, one post had some style tags placed in-line to the H1's over-riding the external CSS styles along with other in-line formatting and it messed up formatting on every post along with some widgets and the navigation...Text size and so forth. WTF? I pulled my hair out trying to figure it out why one post would have an effect on all of them. I could see the inline tags causing the problems using Firebug, but I never could find the tags in the posts or the code. It made no sense and I had to hire someone to fix it. I am not a PHP programmer but after that problem occurred, I am digging in and trying to learn it enough to support Wordpress. Wordpress is very different and I cringe every time a new update comes along that needs to be installed, but that is due to my own inexperience with it.
Whatever CMS you decide on, just make sure you or someone on your staff have the skill sets to support it. All of them will require digging into the code at some point. None of them will do exactly what you want it do out of the box. We hired a company to convert our Photoshop PSD file into a working Wordpress theme and went from there, learning on the fly...Still learning.
Chris Hoyer from CSS-Tricks has some good video tutorials on building Wordpress themes and he just came out with a new book "Digging into Wordpress". Give his videos a look and this will help you determine if Wordpress is right for you. If you are a Windows shop, expect to spend some time with your host getting Wordpress support on the servers. Not a huge deal, but there is a learning curve.
The jury is still out on whether Wordpress is a real CMS or if using Wordpress on a larger site is prudent. Some say no, some do it anyway. Sitepoint.com for example serves up thousands of pages per day and it is a pure Wordpress\PHP\Mysql back-end.
I am looking into converting several of our affiliate sites for the college into Wordpress self hosted sites as I see the product evolving and it has a large support community which is important.
Do some digging, install some demos and give them all a try. I am hearing good things about Expression Engine as well. I think it boils down to what people are most familiar with when they give you advice on what CMS you should go with. I believe if you stick with the ones that have a large support community you will be in good hands.
ALso Rick, I'm sure you've already styled your WP theme to fit your school's style, but look into the Theme "Thesis," which is designed in an intelligent way so that when the Theme updates or when WP updates, it will not effect your overall theme... Editing Thesis is exceptionally easy.
We are in the middle of our complete website redesign and I have done a lot of research to chose the proper CMS for our college. Free CMS and commercial CMS. I found that Wordpress was actually built as a blog type framework style. Wordpress has grown over the years and now there are certain tools that can be installed to make it work like a CMS. From my research and our college needs, Wordpress was not a good choice to use it as a complete stand alone CMS for the website. I plan on using Wordpress to supplement our website to allow for student blogger accounts. I plan on using Wordpress MU. But I chose I commercial CMS with a very reasonable price tag that total fits our needs and our small community college budget: Sitefinity. Sitefinity is an ASP.NET based system that has the options of using cutting edge web technologies such as ASP.NET AJAX, Silverlight, WebForms and the new Microsoft MVC (Model View Controller Framework). The IT department loves it because it works very well with Active Directory.