Turns out the recent versions of WP are pretty good for use as a basic CMS and there's a fair number of articles available online offering tutorials on this use. My hosting provider offers Wordpress as an easy and free add-on so I didn't even have to do the install, just click-click, voila! and I had a test site to play with.
Anyway, on to the meat of this article, after setting up a few sites, I found myself installing a core set of plugins on each. These are my basic set of must-haves for setting up a Wordpress-powered CMS site.
- MMForms - Quick and easy setup of forms for contact info, applications, etc. Nice set of options, including confirmation emails to submitter and saving to database and providing an RSS feed for the submitted data. I can forsee creating some app links that pull the form data via RSS into something else for additional processing.
- Ultimate Google Analytics - Makes it easy to add and manage Google analytics links across the site. I like the ability to have it not track requests when users of a given userlevel are logged in and to ignore admin requests.
- All In One SEO Pack - This plugin is great for making various tweaks to how your pages are formed, titles, keywords etc. I'm not all that concerned about SEO at this point in time, but I do like the fine control it gives over the page metadata.
- WP-DBManager - This should really be a part of Wordpress core. It provides options to view, optimize and backup your databases and peform various other DB tasks. Handy stuff to have in the WP admin instead of having to fire up a separate DB admin tool.
- Sociable - This one I haven't used on every site, but for the ones I think warrant it, this plugin makes it super easy to add quick links for readers to share your pages on about ninety gazillion social networking sites.