As I wrote briefly last month, the website for Claremont Insurance Services has now just launched. It looks well, and I’m pleased with it (as are they it seems). They’ve a ton of content – almost 400 PDF downloads – and a whole bunch of functionality included (logging in to a 3rd party website, custom admin functions, etc.) and the whole thing looks well – take a look.
The part for geeks wanting to know a little bit about how it works is below the screenshot …
Custom WordPress Development
… so, this is probably the most complete project I’ve undertaken when using WordPress as a full Content Management System. Primarily, I’ve used WordPress in the past for adding blogs to websites … rather than developing the whole site in WordPress (although ticktockdesign.com is also entirely in WordPress). But the site for Claremont is built solely on WordPress.
This presents a challenge when you have a lot of custom content – which this site does. Take, for example, this page. In traditional, blog like, deployments of WordPress you would be given one text box to enter content in and you’d be able to then assign that content to a category which would determine where that content would display on the website.
However, that wouldn’t cut it for this site. I needed to get stuck into Custom Post Types and Custom Taxonomies.
Easy Custom Post Types
A custom post type allows you to configure a ‘post’ in wordpress with multiple options. So rather than just one text box, you can have multiple – in this case, I have one box for the introduction text, one for the ‘Overview’ tab, another for the ‘New Groups’ tab. All in the one post type. I can then link these posts to any number of custom taxonomies. A taxonomy is a means of organising content – and in this case, the content is linked to a number of taxonomies. Clicking on the ‘Benefit Summaries’ or ‘Forms’ tab displays a list of downloadable PDF files. (Each of those files is stored in another custom post type actually – containing the download, and some associated text). The PDF’s are split into a number of taxonomies which then link the downloadable file to the original post.
Confused? Well, yes, it can be a bit confusing – but the gist is this: using custom post types and custom taxonomies you can create complex websites and content management systems. It’s great. Plus – and more of this in a future post – there are great plug-ins that help you with it. The most complete is the Easy Custom Post Type plugin from Pippin Williamson which enables you to easily create and deploy custom post types.
If you’ve a need to develop a customised WordPress website I can heartily recommend the ECPT plugin – it provides a robust framework for moving WordPress out of purely a blogging engine.