As soon as you set up your new WordPress website, you’ll want to start adding content. This is a crucial first step, whether you’re building a one-page profile or a multi-author blog. However, if you’re new to the platform you may not be sure where to start.
Fortunately, WordPress makes creating and customizing original content for your site a breeze using pages and posts. The former are static pages perfect for contact information and author bios, while the latter are dated blog entries that can be organized and archived.
In this article, we’ll explain the key differences between pages and posts, and discuss when and why you might want to use them. Then we’ll show you how to create and organize your content. Let’s start with some definitions!
The Difference Between WordPress Posts and Pages
WordPress offers two main solutions for filling your site with content: pages and posts. While both enable you to add text and media to your site, there are some key differences in the way they present and organize that content.
First, let’s talk about pages, which are static sections of your website. They’re usually linked to from a main menu, and contain information that isn’t likely to change often. Examples of this type of content include a home page or landing page, a contact page, and an author biography.
Freelancers or businesses may also have pages that display your services and testimonials. Alternately, a photographer or artist might use one or more pages to display their best works. Every site will be different, but ultimately, pages are ideal for information and media that is meant to be relatively permanent. You’ll usually want to decide what your main pages will be early on, before your site even goes live.
On the other hand, posts are a more dynamic format that get their name from their most common use – blog posts. They’re dated and categorized, and are usually listed in chronological order on a dedicated archive page. For this reason, posts are the best format for new and timely information.
If you’re running a blog, this is what you’ll use to provide your readers with a constant stream of content. However, posts can also be ideal for news stories, company updates, and anything else you want to post without changing your static pages. It’s a smart idea to decide early on if you want to use posts, and if so where you want them displayed – usually either on your site’s front page or on a separate page listed in your main menu.
Now you know how to tell the difference between pages and posts, let’s discuss how to create and organize them. We’ll start with pages!
How to Create Your First WordPress Page
To create a new page, navigate to Pages > Add New on your WordPress dashboard:
You can enter your page’s title in the first field, and its content into the larger section underneath. Simply type in the box to add text, or select Add Media to insert an image, video, or other media file. If you’re comfortable with HTML, you can also use the Text tab to switch to a code-based editor:
On the right-hand side, you’ll see a few more buttons. Click on Save Draft to save all changes to your page without publishing it, or use Preview to see what your page will look like to visitors before it goes live. While you’re creating a page, no one except you (or anyone else with access to the back end) can see it. To make the page visible to users, select the Publish button. Don’t worry, though: you’re still able to make changes to your page after it’s been published.
Finally, the Featured Image box enables you to upload a main image for your page. It will usually appear at the top of the page or in the header, depending on your theme.
Organizing Your WordPress Pages
Creating your pages is a piece of cake, but organizing them takes a little more thought. Ultimately, you want to make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
To create a hierarchy for your pages, check out the Page Attributes meta box on the left-hand side of the page edit screen. Here, the Parent drop-down enables you to ‘nest’ pages to organize them into a hierarchy. You can also use the Order field to determine what order your pages will appear on your menu. For more on this, click the Help tab in the top right-hand corner of the edit screen.
Finally, WordPress sets your site’s homepage as a list of recent posts by default. However, you can direct visitors to a static page when you set your WordPress homepage instead if you wish.
How to Create Your First WordPress Post
Now that we’ve covered pages, it’s time to talk about posts. Head to the Posts tab in your site’s back end, and select Add New:
The layout and options here are similar to the page edit screen. However, rather than a Page Attributes screen, you’ll see the Format meta box. This section can be a useful way to set different appearances for various kinds of posts, although for the purposes of this tutorial, we recommend sticking with Standard.
You’ll also notice that there are two more new meta boxes – Categories and Tags. These are essential for keeping your posts organized.
Categorizing and Tagging Your WordPress Posts
If you’re planning to create a lot of posts, you’ll want to make it easy for readers to navigate between them. Fortunately, WordPress offers categories and tags to help. Simply put, categories are high-level descriptors that you can use to organize your posts – similar to chapter headings in a book. On the other hand, tags are words or phrases that are attached to each post and describe it in more detail (just like an index at the back of a book).
Using categories and tags to organize your posts keeps your site less cluttered, and also helps search engines understand your content and index it properly. Here are a few key suggestions for using these tools:
- Keep the names and phrases you use clear, simple, and easy to understand.
- Limit the number of categories, and keep them broad and general.
- Use tags to list words and phrases that describe the specific subjects of each post in a category.
- Stick to one category per post, and around 3 to 5 tags.
Using categories and tags effectively can take some practice, but you’ll soon become comfortable with them. In addition, there’s plenty of additional reading available on the web if you’re looking to organize your posts more effectively.
Building a website and filling it with content can seem intimidating, but with the right platform it doesn’t need to be difficult. WordPress keeps your job simple by providing two formats – posts and pages – that can handle almost anything you’ll want to create.
It’s a breeze to add your first pages and posts to WordPress, then fill them with text, images, and other media. It’s also crucial to keep your content organized and easy to browse by assigning hierarchies to your pages and creating menus, as well as by categorizing and tagging your posts.
Do you have any questions about how to create pages and posts in WordPress? Ask away in the comments section below!