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I'm developing a company website which has to accomodate easy changes by non technical people. I've been asked to use Wordpress as the CMS, but the website I've created is not in a blog format.

This is what it looks like:

Website frontpage

I just don't see how it's possible for somebody to edit all of the text on this page using that single WYSIWYG editor on the edit posts page. Here we have a banner with text and images, 3 content boxes laid out horizontally, and some text in the lower part of the page.

What's the solution to using WP for these layouts?

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If I come across the same kind of layout I normally set it up like follows:

  • The banner is a slider, maybe supported by Custom Post Meta
  • The three blocks in the middle are perfect for Widgets
  • The content at the bottom can be the normal post content

A customer can learn to use widgets and it really isn't that difficult.
My experience is that 99% of the average user can learn it in one lesson.

Try to keep the structure as simple as it can be, no HTML in Widgets and not to much Shortcodes.

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It is simple, each unique content block should be a post (or page or a CPT, whatever works better for the specific requirements). Being a post each content can be edited independently from the others. The a little less simple part is to develop the interface to let your client manage which post appears where. There are many themes in the repository which implement a "magazine look", you should check their code to see how they work.

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While many use cases of WP remain blog-centric, magazine layouts are extremely well explored concept in WordPress themes.

Sans third party themes, even current default Twenty Twelve theme provides front page template (twentytwelve/page-templates/front-page.php), that uses combination of page content, thumbnail and dedicated sidebars to manage it.

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It depends a lot on the information architecture / content structure. For example most of the time those three content boxes will be pulled in from a particular post type (blog entries or news or whatever).

I build non-blog-style sites all the time in Wordpress. The key is custom post types and custom taxonomies (so you can abstract the content out into as many different discrete types as you want, i.e. News, Blogs, Press, Testimonials, whatever) and then pull those into the page. Anything that needs to be directly editable can be accomplished by adding custom fields and tying them to that page template or post type. Combine that with as many different page templates as needed.

My two favorite plugins that make working with custom post types, taxonomies and fields are Advanced Custom Fields and Types. It's a lot faster and more convenient than manually coding them in your functions.php, especially when working with many post types and fields. You can add additional WYSIWYG fields, etc to accommodate as much content per template or post type as you need.

Widgets are the other common way to accomplish this sort of thing, but I usually avoid that and try to keep things centered around content type and page template unless there is a real need to implement something as a widget.

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Don't forget about things like the ability to add meta boxes to pages or the theme customizer they can also help give you the control you want to pass on to your users.

For example you could utilize the ability to add meta boxes to create custom area on each page to add the content for the 3 boxes in the middle and the banner at the top.

It is just like @Ennui said though that the content structure will heavily affect how you approach this.

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