Posts

Working with WordPress Pages

In the previous post, “Post or Pages”, I outlined a bit about the differences between pages and posts in WordPress. Pages specifically are how you can present core information to your visitors. You can find WordPress’ explanation of pages here. Many of the same ways to navigate, create and edit the WordPress Pages are also applicable to Posts.

Page Attributes

It would be a good idea to at least familiarize yourself with the various page properties that you may run across as you work. Here is a list of a few that you may not be savvy on when you first jump into it.

Slug: If you’re like me you’re thinking of a slimy snail with no shell. However, in this case the slug is actually the word(s) used to create a user friendly URL. For example, if the slug for my page was “snail”, the URL that I would send my visitors to would be http://www.yourdomain.com/snail.

Date: I am taking a shot in the dark and guessing that you have a good idea what the date is for. I make mention of it, because it’s good to note that you can change the date and that if you set the date for a future day and time that it will remain unpublished until that time is reached. I know… it’s cool.

Parent: Grouping pages can be extremely useful. Using the Parent attribute is how it’s done. Let’s say that you want to group pages based on department contacts for your company. We would first create the page, “Contacts”. Then we would create a page for “Billing”, “Sales” and “Slackers” with the Parent attribute set to “Contacts”.

Order: Some navigation, or page lists, will reference this property and order the pages accordingly by number.

Template: This can be a tricky item for some. The template is what determines the layout for a given page. The templates themselves will vary dependent on the theme (I know we haven’t covered themes, but chances are for the basics you’re okay wrangling that one later). Typically, you’ll be able to select between a default template and a full screen template.

Allow Comments: If for some reason you want to allow the fine folks that pay homage to your site to comment on the page then make sure this option is checked.

Status: This is an important property. Your visitors basically won’t see your page until its been published or the status has been set to publish. This is nice if you need to work on a page for a few days. Simply make sure that the status is set to Draft or Pending Review and your creation will be kept from public eye until you’re ready.

Current Pages

Typically you will be able to direct yourself to the Pages list by using the Pages section in the main navigation menu on the left. You may shortcut to this list from the Dashboard as well. Once in the Pages view you will see a list of the existing pages.

 

Pages List View

You can of course click on a page name and you will be taken directly to the Edit Page view. Or, you can have some fun with a little WordPress dazzle. Move your mouse over the name of one of the pages and, Voila! You now have some convenient options that you can execute on the page- without having to leave the current view. You should notice the following option appear: Edit, Quick Edit, Trash and View.

Edit

The Edit link will take you straight to full Page Editor view where you can change all aspects of your Page.

Quick Edit

The Quick Edit link will keep you on the same view and will allow you to change the primary attributes of your Page. The Quick Edit is handy if you just have a few small things to change such as the Title or Status of the Page. The following are available: Title, Slug, Date, Password, Parent, Order, Template, Allow Comments and Status.

Trash

Clicking this fine link will remove the page from your list but will not permanently delete it. If needed, you can retrieve an item that has been trashed by clicking the trash link that will be seen above the Page list after items have been placed in the Trash.

View

The View link will direct you to the page on the website itself. This allows you to check out your masterpiece and make sure it looks as nice you had hoped.

Creating and Editing Pages

Add New Page

You can add a new page by clicking the “Add New” link under the Pages section in the main navigational menu, or by clicking the “Add New” button at the top of the Pages page. Once you’re there, the view is almost identical to “Editing the Page”. The difference being that the fields are blank and the button in the Publish section says “Publish” instead of “Update”.

Welcome to the Add/Edit Page

Once you are in the Add/Edit Page view there can be a lot going on. Again, since you’re just getting your feet wet we’re only going to cover the essentials for now. I’m also not going to cover images in this section, but will address it in a later post in the series.

The Title

The first area is for the Title of your Page, and it conveniently says “Enter Title Here” inside the input field. Don’t overlook the importance of this one field. It needs to be short and sweet. Not only does it give your visitors some intuitive insight to what this page is about, but is also looked at by the search engines. Keep it relevant.

The Content

Under the title you’ll see a text editor. This is for the meat of your page and where all that great content you’ve had rolling around in your head is waiting to be placed. Granted, the interface is simple, but did you want something complex? There are a few buttons that are overlooked on the toolbar.

linkunlink Link and  Unlink: These are handy tools for easily adding links to your text and images. Just highlight the text where you would like your link, and press the “Link” icon.

toolbartoggle The Kitchen Sink: Oh ya… the kitchen sink is included. Basically, this expands the toolbar to reveal some other options for editing the text.

fullscreen Full Screen: This crafty little button will expand your text editing screen to full screen. Very useful when you have a lot of editing to take care of and want more than a 2 inch space to work in. To exit full screen, simply click the icon again.

pastetext Paste From Word: I don’t recommend that you use Microsoft Word to draft your content. It gets messy trying to get the special characters that MS Word uses cleared out without butchering formatting, etc. If you must, use this tool as it usually does a pretty good job of cleaning things up. And yes… you will have to reapply any formatting changes.

The other icons in the text editor toolbar should be pretty self-explanatory.

Saving and Publishing

We’ve covered the attributes of the page earlier. The Publish and Page Attributes sections will be to your right. Just remember that your page is not “live” or visible to your visitors until you publish. It’s about this point that you should have some confidence in moving forward and creating pages of great worth (well, pages with words on them anyway).

Moving on from Wordpress Pages

Now that you know how to create WordPress pages, it’s time to look at the other side of the coin. You already know that posts exist as a part of wordpress, but what are they for? Let’s move on and take a look at them.

What is the difference between WordPress Posts and Pages?

I often hear the question “What is the difference between Posts and Pages in WordPress?”. The intent of this post is to explain the difference, and assist in understanding when to post it or page it. You can see a more technical explanation from WordPress here.

The Difference between Posts and Pages

Really when it comes down to it, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between posts and pages in WordPress. The process for creating and editing is practically identical. The short of it is- it depends on how the content is used and not so much what the content is.

A good example of a page would be the About Us page that is pretty typical throughout the webbing world. Chances are that the information on that page is important, you will always want your visitors to find it easily, but not really make any comments on it. You may also want the About Us page to be part of your main navigation. So in the end it’s a no-brainer. For the provided reasons it qualifies as a Page.

On the other hand a blog post may not have critical information that needs to be easily accessible from the main navigation of the site. It will be information that is dated, or educational, something that you would like to generate conversation on. Often blog posts are displayed to web visitors in a series or reverse chronological order. When working with a blog post you will also have elements such as categories and tags to worry about. At the end of the day, posts are what help you share your expertise, experience and news with the world to incite feedback from your visitors.

So, Why Blog?

By now it is likely that you have heard of blogging and even have an idea of blogging. It is not uncommon though, that individuals really don’t grasp the reasons for blogging. Many people still think that it’s basically for the web nerds that want to share what they had for breakfast. On the contrary, blogging opens the windows to provide real reasons for people to get to know you, and in many cases do business with your company. The reality is, that actively blogging can bring a host of benefits.

  1. It’s a chance to show people that you know what you are talking about
  2. The search engines love that content
  3. It gives people a chance to interact with you
  4. Provides you with content to post on Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter
  5. Creates more entry points into your site

Do I Have to Blog?

With all that being said, you may still not be ready for the blogging arena. It takes some regular time and effort. It needs to be a priority in order to make it happen. Blogging isn’t going to bring instant traffic and clients banging on your door the next day. The process will take some time to cultivate and bear fruit. So, rather than start a blog section on your site with one or two posts that sit helplessly alone for the next few years, worry about the content on your Pages. Take the time to make sure that they are well thought through and convey the message that you want. It’s better to have a finished website than an unattended blog.

Moving on from Posts and Pages

Now that you know the difference between posts and pages, it’s time to look at how to make them. Continue on, brave reader, and start brainstorming and let people know about what it is your business is all about!

Working with Posts