I was recently migrating a Joomla site and everything I saw could have been better utilized as a WordPress site. By customizing a theme, the front-end would have changed as little as possible while the back-end would have been able to enjoy the beautiful, simple and straight-forward admin dashboard of WordPress. To capture some of the functionality that the site had pre-migration, I used a few plugins to make it all happen quite simply.
Editing the theme and placing scripts for various services is easy enough but Header & Footer makes it a lot more approachable for the average user.
The WordPress Download Monitor plugin is very helpful for sites where you might offer various downloads and you would like analytics feedback on how many times individual files are downloaded. This is great for various files like PDFs or MP3s. The plugin includes a convenient reporting widget right on your dashboard and a host of other features that make it quite complete.
Dynamic Widgets allows you to apply conditional logic to your widgets. Depending on your theme, widgets can play a huge role in your site’s usability. For many themes, the content in “the loop” is the only thing that changes while the header, footer, and sidebar are always static. Dynamic widgets allows you more granular control over what shows up where. If you want an ad to show up only on individual article pages but not the homepage, you can set that and there are tons of other scenarios where this plugin is handy to have.
WordPress, I would say, is very post-centric while most sites are page-centric. Having a lot of pages that are updated frequently, regardless of date published, can make the WordPress page navigation a bit of a chore. CMS Tree Page View helps in that respect by allowing you to navigate pages like an Explorer tree structure. It also allows you to drag-and-drop for reorganizing and changing hierarchy. It too has a dashboard widget so you can quickly and easily see your site’s structure.
Trying to add some more splash to the site, this plugin provides you with a widget that pulls from the WP Menu system and reflects the hierarchy and structure that you want with collapsing and expanding animation thanks to JQuery. It has a lot of options for colors and animation properties so you’ll certainly be able to configure it to match your site and work how you envision it.