WordPress 101 – Part 2:
So — Pages and Posts make up the content of your WordPress website and blog. They are similar in how you create content for them but very different in how WordPress handles them.
WordPress ‘Page’ titles not only title the page but also create the menu heading for the ‘Pages’ menu bar… Posts however are different. Posts are effectively database records and stored under Categories.
A Category is really a subject heading. Posts get organized by Category and Sub Category, so it’s important to structure your Categories. You can create complete hierarchies with Categories going from Parent Categories, Sub Categories, Sub-Sub Categories etc.
Note: Not all themes work the same. The suggestions expressed in these articles assume a well developed theme. Most of our websites are based around the ‘Studiopress’ premium themes; which are professional, very solid and highly customizable.
Let’s assume you’ve read the previous article and your WordPress site now has a set of menus created from Static Pages. The Page’s menu bar displays ‘Home’, ‘Services’, ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ with associated drop down menus from the Child Pages.
Now we want to introduce dynamic content to the mix. Remember, you can title a Post however you want but it will be organized by Category and not the Post title.
So let’s create come Categories.
You can create new Categories from the main Dashboard ‘Posts’ menu or directly while creating a Post. The Posts menu shows, Edit, Add New, Post Tags and Categories. So, choose Categories.
As WordPress began its life as a blogging tool, let’s start by creating a Category called ‘Blogs’.
For Category Name enter: Blogs
For Category Slug enter: author-blogs
(note: the category slug is for creating user friendly URLs. The default for a WordPress URL would be something like www.mydomain.com/?cat=187 but with your Permalinks (more on those later) set to Friendly URLs, your Post’s URL would be www.mydomain.com/author-blogs; which is way more effective to the search engines.
Leave Category Parent as None
WordPress is a multi user system which enables you to assign many contributors to your website/blog. To facilitate these blogs, you can create several users for your WordPress system and assign each one a Sub Category in which to post their Blog. We’ll come back to Sub Categories shortly.
Now let’s create a Category called ‘Articles’… Again we’ll be creating Sub Categories shortly.
Now a Category called ‘Events’…
You can create as many categories as you wish but they will not appear on your website until you assign live Posts to them. So you can effectively create the whole structure and plan your site before you write your first article or blog post.
Remember that WordPress stores Posts as database records; which is important as it means there are no limits to the number of Posts that can be created and organized.
Posts are organized chronologically within Categories. The newest Post is on top and moves down the list as new Posts are created. The Time and Date stamps of Posts can be changed which effectively reorders the Posts within a Category. Posts can also be scheduled to appear at a later date. (More on that later).
Now, if you create a lot of Posts and just put them all in the Blogs Category, they would be ordered by Date but nothing more. Regardless of subject matter, newest would be on top and oldest on the bottom. That’s not what you want, so this is why we create Sub Categories.
Ok, Let’s say we have 3 ‘Authors’ that we want on our blog.
Their names are:
‘John Doe’, ‘Jane Smith’ and ‘Cathy Taylor’.
We can create a Sub Category for each of these.
Back to the Categories menu.
- Create a new Category: John Doe
- Slug: john-doe
- Category Parent: Select Blogs from drop down list.
- Create a category for Jane Smith
- slug: jane-smith
- Parent: Blogs
- Create a category for Cathy Taylor
- slug: cathy-taylor
- Parent: Blogs
By assigning a Category to a Parent Category, it automatically becomes a Sub Category.
Now let’s create a couple of Posts and allocate them to the Categories.
From the Posts Menu, select Add New.
Creating a Post is just like creating a Page. You have the same interface and tools for editing.
Give your Post a Title: ‘Hiking Mt Rainier’. Enter some text…
Once you have entered the content for the Post, you can allocate it to a Category. You’ll see to the right of the Post, there are 3 areas to update, (although the location can be changed under ‘Screen Options’). These are Publish, Post Tags and Categories. If you look at the Categories section, you’ll see the Categories you created earlier. The Sub Categories are indented under the Parent Categories. For this Post check the John Doe check box.
Once the Post is as you want it, click the Publish button.
Now create another Post called ‘Mountain Biking’. Enter some text, allocate to ‘John Doe’ Sub Category and Publish.
Let’s now create another Post called ‘Theater in Seattle’, enter some text then allocate to ‘Cathy Taylor’ and Publish.
One more Post called ‘Cloud Computing’, enter text, allocate to ‘Jane Smith’ and Publish.
When you publish a Post or a Page from WordPress, it goes live onto the Web. Remember, this is ‘cloud computing’. When you create, update and publish, you are doing so live to the web.
So check out the live version of the website. You see that four Posts have been published but they are organized by Category and Sub Category. Two posts appear chronologically in the John Doe Category and one each for Cathy Taylor and Jane Smith.
The same could be done for the ‘Articles’ and ‘Events’ Categories. If you were creating a series of events, each Post could be allocated to the Event Type. For example, you could create Sub Categories for Biznik Events, BNI Events, Meet Up Events and so on. As you post to the Categories, the Posts will appear chronologically within their respective Sub Categories. WordPress makes the organization of these Posts a total breeze.
So to recap. Pages are for static content. Posts are for dynamic content. Both are created in a similar manner but handled and organized differently by WordPress. If you want to create a lot of content which will be constantly updated or added to, do that with Posts.
In WordPress 101 – Part 3, I’ll expand on Pages and Posts and how you can create a dynamically updatable Home Page. I’ll also cover video embedding, Slide Shows, Plugins and Widgets.
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