Website Design, Strategy, Social Networking, SEO, Susan Pomeroy, Ph.D.
WordPress for Beginners 4: Pages and Posts

WordPress site content comes in two main flavors, “Pages” and “Posts.” They’re created and edited exactly the same… but each one “lives” in a different place in your Admin area, and performs a different function on your site. Because Pages and Posts are organized slightly differently by WordPress, they lend themselves to being used for different kinds of content, even though you create and edit both of them exactly the same way.

Pages and Posts, the Basics

Posts originated as simple blog posts. They can be arranged in categories, “tagged” with relevant keywords, and archived by date. (This ability to automatically categorize posts, and to list them by title and date with one click of a button, is one of the huge contributions blogging software made to web site development—can you remember when all this inter-linking had to be done by hand?)

Posts are always tagged by date, whether that date is visible to the reader, or not. They always supersede each other… the most recent one will appear first, the oldest, last. (Unless you’ve designated a particular post as “sticky,” in which case it will “stick” to the top spot, and all the other posts will array themselves in date order below that one.)

And you can always group them into categories, which you create yourself. This means that two kinds of classification—date and subject—are easily available to help manage large collections of separate posts.

Pages, on the other hand, have no assignable categories, can’t be tagged, and are not sorted by date. Think of pages like ordinary “traditional” web pages. They hold the kinds of items that often appear on the navigation menu. Your “about” page, contact page, client lists, services—these are the kinds of less-frequently-changing, or “non-date-related” content that lends itself to pages.

pages  and posts, WordPress admin area

Where to find Posts and Pages in the WordPress Admin area

Posts, for Time-Related or Ephemeral Content

No matter what kind of site you have, you will be using Pages and Posts.

If you have a simple blog site, each day’s blog post automatically displaces yesterday’s—either by sending it further down the list of posts, or by sending it to another web page all together, depending upon your overall site settings.

This works the same for more complex sites. For example, say you’re running a magazine site. The actual articles in a magazine-style site will be Posts, organized into categories germane to the publication—”Style,” “News,” etc.

A magazine-style theme usually displays an excerpt or thumbnail of articles (Posts) on the home page. Only instead of just showing one Post, as in a plain-vanilla blog site, a magazine-style theme will display the most recent article, or perhaps the two or three most recent articles, in every category. As newer articles are published in a given category, they will automatically displace the older ones.

On this kind of site, you’re using the automatic attributes of posts—date and category—to create a complex site with an ever-changing home page that’s automatically updated every time you add a new post.

This principle is the same whether your post are text, photographs, video or audio files, or any combination thereof.

Pages and Posts in WordPress, differences

Important differences between Pages and Posts in WordPress

Pages, Posts and Themes

Many specialty themes take advantage of Pages and Posts in very complex ways to organize large collections of content items.

  • Portfolio themes often organize images as single posts.
  • Retail sales themes often put each item for sale on a separate post.
  • Magazine themes offer special home page display options to highlight posts in a lively grid pattern, rather than a simple list.

And so on. (Tip: some special-purpose themes can become quite complex to set up and manage. If possible, always try before you buy.)

Pages and Posts on Your Web Site

While you’re in the planning stages, think about how your site will use Pages and Posts.

For instance, are you a consultant? You might want a site with many Pages describing your services, background, etc., along with a blog. Great, that’s simple and straightforward: Pages for all content; Posts for the blog.

What if you’re an artist? You might have several Pages describing your bio, background, gallery experience, etc. You might even put your art picture galleries on Pages, because you don’t need to archive them by date of entry. Then, you’ll be free to use Posts for time-related announcements: recent work, upcoming exhibits, etc. (I call this a “faux blog.”)

Of course eventually you will encounter themes, theme frameworks, plugins and special functions that can completely untether the important distinctions between Posts and Pages in order to achieve other goals. But without understanding these few key differences between Pages and Posts first, it’s not possible to understand all that WordPress can do.

WordPress for Beginners 3: An Introduction to Themes

Introduction to WordPress Themes - WordPress for Beginners 3

One of the wonderful things about WordPress is that its users face a staggering array of layouts and designs, ready-made. They can be installed from within WordPress itself, and activated with a single click. Voilà—a totally new design for your website in one minute! These site templates are called “themes” in WordPress lingo. Two excellent themes come […]

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WordPress for Beginners 2: Installing WordPress

WordPress for Beginners 2 Installing WordPress

Do not try to install WordPress on your own computer! Several clients have called me in a panic, saying “Susan, I’ve downloaded WordPress and tried to install it on my computer and it’s just not working!” It doesn’t take long to clear up the understandable confusion. WordPress is not a software package that you install […]

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WordPress for Beginners 1: Why WordPress for Small Business?

WordPress logo

Have you ever owned a website that was out of date? I once worked with a company so embarrassed by their site they didn’t even have their URL on their business card. In almost 18 years of designing websites, I’ve found that the single biggest constant for small business sites is change. Goals, interests, markets and methods […]

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WordPress Theme Frameworks: the Benefits of Genesis

Genesis Framework for WordPress

WordPress premium theme frameworks are a handy way to ensure that you’re working with a WordPress installation that is solid, versatile, and will continue to be reliable as the WordPress core and its associated ecosystem evolve. The best premium frameworks also offer support, thorough documentation, and generous user communities. There’s a certain user-friendliness built-in: while […]

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WordPress: Themes versus Theme Frameworks

WordPress Theme Frameworks

If you’re a WordPress user, you’ve probably run into problems with a theme. Even premium (paid) themes can be super-difficult to customize. They can break when you update WordPress. They go out of visual fashion. Or, your business simply outgrows your theme’s design strictures or functional limitations. When that happens, it’s easy to feel paralyzed […]

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Stalking the Perfect Image: Ten Techniques for Choosing Fabulous Photos and Illustrations Every Time

stalking the wild image - perfect illustrations and photos for your article and blog

Images create magic. They can magnetize attention, evoke emotion, shift consciousness. Now that you know where to find great, legal, low-cost or free images and how to avoid simple mistakes in image selection, how do you choose really those perfect illustrations for your blog or articles? Shift your focus: ten image-selection techniques 1. Literal illustration. When […]

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Choosing Fabulous Images for Your Blog—Avoid these Ten Fatal Errors

Ten photo mistakes

Everybody wants to use images to liven up their site. But OK, once you’ve got great image sources, how do you select fabulous images? I’ll talk more about how to select the very best images for your site or blog soon. First, here are the most egregious errors. Avoid these, and you’re already doing great. […]

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The Best Free and Low-Cost Image Sources for Your Website or Blog

Free and low-cost images for your web site or blog

Images make your site and your blog pop. They enliven any sales page or email. They’re picked up automatically by many social media sharing tools, and those little thumbnails can make your shared links pretty darned attractive. Often, an image can express a concept or a mood, or elicit a smile or laugh, far better […]

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The Easy Way to Keep Random Hackers from Destroying Your WordPress Site

Outwit Wordpress Hackers

Yesterday, I agreed to have a look at a site that was acting strangely. Turns out, it had been hacked. “Why would someone hack such an innocent site?” the owner asked. “I wonder if it’s a sign that I should not be on the Internet.” My heart went out to her, and to everyone who’s struggling […]

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Occupy WordPress!

WordPress logo

In 2003, I tried out a little blogging program called WordPress. It was free, and Open Source. The people who were already using it seemed wildly enthused. But to me, it just didn’t seem ready for web site prime time. By 2008, WordPress had arrived as a truly versatile, professional, and customizable system that made […]

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