WordPress blogging basics, posts vs. pages

The first time I installed WordPress on a website I was so lost. It’s almost impossible to imagine that it’s been six years, several thousand hours, multiple versions, and a few lost sleeps working with WordPress.

It’s also almost impossible to imagine starting over and doing it all again, but for the sake of my consulting clients, I routinely stop developing themes and plugins, and take the time to look at how new users perceive WordPress.

If you panic when you see the dashboard, this article is for you.

What to do after the WordPress install

WordPress Login Form WordPress Blogging Basics, Posts vs. PagesLet’s say that you’ve managed to get through the super easy* WordPress install (*super easy for a guy that’s done it a bagillion times) and now you’re lost.

First, let’s decide that there are two sides to a WordPress blog.

The front end of a WordPress blog is where your visitors will hopefully come and enjoy your content.

The backend, or admin of your WordPress blog is where you and your writers will input content.

To get to the front end of your website, you can go to yourdomain.com, and to reach the backend of your site you can login at yourdomain.com/wp-admin/ (or thanks to some clever devil yourdomain.com/admin/)

So step one, would be to log into your WordPress website using the Username and Password you’ve been assigned.

As of WordPress 3.4 you can also log into your website at yourdomain.com/login/to make it easier for you.

Make sure WordPress is secure

I’ve written a couple articles before on securing WordPress, but if you’ve not already taken the time to do these things, please take a couple minutes and be sure you’ve secured WordPress. In the end installing a couple plugins is a lot easier than explaining to your coworkers why they’re getting penis enlargement advertisements from your blog.

After you log into WordPress

Once you’ve logged into WordPress, you’ll see the Dashboard. It’s a rather terrifying amount of information for users of any level, so just ignore it.

WordPress Dashboard WordPress Blogging Basics, Posts vs. Pages

What you really need to know about is on the left hand side of the Dashboard, it’s the main navigation for the backend of WordPress and gives you access to the most important areas of the administration tool.

Take a few moments now, and configure your WordPress settings and follow the instructions in my article called So you’ve installed WordPress, now what.

What are Pages and Posts?

Within WordPress, you’ll have two types of basic content to add to the system.

The first is a Page, this is best described as typical website content that is likely to rarely (if ever) change. For example, information on how to contact you, an about page, or information about your business hours. Pages are often the children of other Pages, and appear in a hierarchal fashion on your website.

An example of a Page structure for a website could include:

  • About Us
  • – Contact Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Our Locations
  • – North Vancouver
  • – Toronto
  • – Fredericton
  • Shipping and Return Policies

The second is a Post, this is on ongoing, streaming type of content. Posts can be used for different purposed such as news, event listings, job postings, blog entries, etc. They’re items which are assigned to Categories and have Tags.

A small business website could have dozens of Posts, which would be sorted into Categories such as News, Jobs, Events, and Special Offers. Newspaper websites make extensive use of Categories, which allows them to break stories down into Categories such as:

  • Sports
  • – Hockey
  • – — Junior
  • – — Maple Leafs
  • – Baseball
  • – — Blue Jays
  • Business
  • – Bay Street
  • – Small Business

You can define Categories in your admin section, under Posts. Blogs that appear in a Category will also automatically appear in the parent Categories. For example, a Post published to Blue Jays in the example above (I’m from Toronto, forgive me) will also appear automatically in the archives for Baseball and Sports.

Tags are similar to Categories but help define related content in a non linear fashion. Tags are more similar to keywords for an article, so if you think of Categories as the Table of Contents for a book, Tags are the Index of the same book, allowing you to see all occurrences of a similar subject across all areas of the site.

For example, an article about the Blue Jays may contain Tags about players, the location they played, the team they played, weather conditions, final scores etc.

Conclusion

A WordPress website is made up of two basic content types. Pages, which rarely change and Posts which are ongoing content. Posts can be stored in Categories, and Tags help further define the relationship between Posts across a website.

Questions? Comments? Let me know, and I’ll expand on my WordPress Basics next week.

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