Pages vs Posts

From d12 Web Design Manuals

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How to use WordPress
WordPress is an easy to use content management system that lets you add, delete, or edit content on your website as easy as writing an email.


The WordPress CMS that we uses allows you to create two types of web pages: pages and posts.

Pages and posts have different purposes and functions, which confuse many new users. It is not a matter of selecting to build your website using either pages or posts, but rather, the proper combination of the two will lead a successful website that is easy to navigate and makes it easy for your readers to find what they are looking for.

Where Do Pages and Posts Appear?

Pages are typically linked to from a main menu across the top of every web page. They can also be linked to from the {sidebar}, and a secondary menu is also available.

Posts typically appear as excerpts in your front page, either as static excerpts or in a slider. By default, they are displayed in reverse chronological order, to highlight your latest posts.

Purpose

Pages and posts serve different purposes on a website. Understanding their purposes will help you use them more effectively.

Pages

Pages are meant to display static information that doesn't change very often, if at all. They are typically used to display information such as:

  • "About Us"
  • Contact information
  • Mission statements
  • Services performed
  • Brands carried

Posts

Posts are meant to display rapidly changing information, or information which has a limited time span. They are typically used to display information such as:

  • Special events
  • Sales
  • Special promotions
  • Contests

Organizing

WordPress provides a number of ways to organize posts and pages. In order to best make use of these features, you need to understand what their intended use is.

Adding Tags to Posts

You can add tags to posts. These are keywords that describe a specific portion of the content of your post. You can add multiple tags to each post.

Let's look at some examples to better understand how to use tags:

  • If your posts are recipes, then suitable tags might include ingredients, equipment, or specific cooking methods used in the recipe.
  • If your posts report events, then suitable tags might include the people present, specific smaller events that occurred during the day, or items that were accomplished.
  • If your posts describe sales or promotions, then suitable tags might include the specific products or services that you are promoting.

Adding Posts to Categories

Posts can be included in categories. Categories describe the overall content of your post. You can include posts in multiple categories, and categories can have subcategories (which WordPress calls "parent categories" and "child categories").

Let's look at the same examples as above to understand how to use categories:

  • If your posts are recipes, then they could be grouped into categories that describe what types of recipe they are, what kind of meal they are for (breakfast, lunch, dinner), or what region of the world they are from
  • If your posts report events, then they could be group into categories based on where they occur, when they occur, or what type of event they are.
  • If your posts describes sales or promotions, then suitable categories might include when the promotion is occurring or what type of promotion it is.

Using Tags and Categories Effectively

It is possible to use any number of tags or categories with each post, and some people do this, believing that it boosts their SEO. However, that is not the case. (In fact, there is some evidence that certain search engines penalize sites for including multiple tags that are attached to only a single post.)

It is important to remember that the purpose of using tags and categories is to make your website easier for users to navigate—which does have a postive impact on your SEO. Use only the number of tags and categories that make sense. If you find that you need to add dozens of tags to a post, or that a post needs to be included in more than a handful of categories, you probably need to either:

  • Rewrite the post to focus more on a single topic, or
  • Break the post into multiple posts.

Parent Pages and Child Pages

Pages do not make use of tags and categories, but they can act as a parent and child pages. For example, your website might include a parent page called "About Us" that includes some basic information about your company or organization. That page may then include a number of child pages that are about specific members of your team.

This is a powerful concept, as it forces you to think logically about the organization and layout of your website. The more logically you organize your website, the easier it will be for visitors to navigate it, and the more likely they will be to return to it.