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Why does anyone really choose to use a Content Management System? There are a lot of reasons, of course. For my clients, they all want the empowerment that comes from updating their site all by themselves. I get that. We all do.

The wise Uncle Ben once said: "With great power, comes great responsibility..." If you develop a fair number of Wordpress sites (or other CMS sites) you've likely come across the following issues:

  • My client keeps calling because they are freaking out over all these updates and what to do about them!
  • My client broke their website by installing an incompatible plugin.
  • My client did something that caused me a head ache and lost time.
  • I could keep going, but I'm not going to, you get the drift. Right?

The problem is finding the right balance is really giving your client enough rope to do what they need and yet not hang themselves. My scenario generally falls within this area: I want to give my clients a little more than what the Editor Role allows, but far less than what the Admin role provides.

Wordpress has great plugins to help manage such situations, but none of them alone seem to do the trick. Here are the plugins I've looked at.

White Label CMS

This is a cool little plugin that lets you brand certain elements of the admin console for your client. It's pretty cool actually. It also lets you modify what menus are visible to users below the Admin level and also create your own custom control panel for them. The problem here is that it doesn't actually add additional functionality to the Editor account and you can't modify what the Admin role sees.

White Label CMS »

Adminimize

I love this plugin! This provides the granular control of enabling/disabling, per menu and function, what your users can do. The problem again is that it doesn't provide more access to editor and whatever you limit for Admin roles also limits what you can do... That's close, but not close enough.

Adminimize »

Members

This is a clean plugin that was introduced to me by Brandon Dove, of Pixel Jar, at the Orange County Wordpress Meetup at Zeek interactive. This plugin is clean and plain awesome. It allows you to create roles beyond the existing roles and also to modify existing roles. For one client I created a "webmaster" role. They could do much more than an editor and far less than the Administrator role. However, there are a couple of key elements that Members leaves out, such as being able to single out editing of widgets and the new WordPress menu system.

Members »

What to do ?

Adminimize + Members = Fine grain control.

Simply create a new role in Members and then go to Adminimize, which will be aware of the new Role you created. From there you can go down the list and select which options and functions are available to that role. My client, in addition to making posts and pages, can now also edit the wordpress menu system and also modify just widgets, not any other element beneath the Appearance menu section. Lovely! (Justin Tadlock is actually taking beta signups for his newest iteration of his Members plugin. Check it out)

This is a fantastic working compromise until WordPress gets more elegant with their user management system.

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Alex Vasquez is a web designer, coder, artist and business owner. When he's not lost in his own to-do lists, he spends time taking a hike, or bike ride with his girlfriend and making snarky comments along the way; he's never too far from his favorite craft beer.

You can find me on Twitter or check out my business site over at DigiSavvy

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