WordPress Pages vs. Posts: Understanding Which One to Use

wp-logoWordPress is a really popular web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. It’s the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used by millions of people every day to create millions of sites, of all topics and interests. But before you can create that new site you’ve envisioning, there are fundamental rules that you need to know before you start. Understanding WordPress pages vs. posts is one of those fundamental rules that will help steer your site construction in the right direction. Due to default programming rules on WordPress, it is important that you know where you should deliver your content to maximize the functionality of the software.

Learn how to use WordPress to build a website in this comprehensive introductory course taught by Kathleen Farley, self-proclaimed computer geek and teacher. In the introductory transcript below, she begins with one of the most foundational principles of WordPress: the difference between pages and posts in WordPress and when the appropriate time to use each one is. After this section, you will move on to more advanced topics such as site administration, formatting content, adding multimedia, understanding widgets and more. By the end of this comprehensive course, you should be able to publish a personalized site and be able to maintain it with ease.

Lecture Transcript:

What’s the difference between posts and pages on the WordPress site? This is a really, really important concept to understand when you’re working with WordPress sites. I’m going to start by demonstrating a few things. WordPress allows you to publish two basic types of contents on your site. You’re going to put lots of other things on here too but by default, you’ll get two basic types of content. You get what’s called, “Posts,” and that’s things like little messages to the world like, “Hello world!” And there it will also say “Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post.” In short, posts are like blog posts, news items, that sort of thing.

WordPress also allows you to publish what’s called, “Pages.” I want to click on a sample page right here to show you. The nice thing is that the default sample pages and sample posts actually do pretty decent jobs in explaining what it is. But here we go, this is a sample page. It says, “Here’s an example page.” It’s different from a blog posts, stays in one place, it shows up in your site navigation, etc.

What it really boils down to is that posts are usually used for time-based material, and pages are organized as static elements. Okay, these are used for static content and they’re usually presented as individual elements.

Let’s take a step back, and make sure that we understand this, okay? WordPress actually started off as a blogging engine. Matt Mullenweg designed this software as a blogging engine. It was primarily made to allow people to post blog posts. Over time, it evolved into a really great robust content management system which allows us to build fully featured websites, and that’s awesome. But the added score is this idea of the posts. Originally, it was for blog posts but now you can use posts for any sort of time-based material. What do I mean by time-based material? I’m talking about information that’s relevant at a certain point in time. Let’s pretend that we’re building a band website, okay? Maybe you’ve got some news that you want to share with your fans. And it’s relevant right now, maybe you’ve hired a new guitarist.  It’s relevant right now so you’d post this as some sort of a blog post or news item or a press release. It’s relevant right now, but two years from now, it’s not going to be that relevant to your fans. It’s not going to be the most important news you want to give out to your fans, right? And so, it’ll still be accessible on your website but it’s not going to be the very first thing you see when you go to your website.

Posts are generally listed and published to your friend page in reverse chronological order. I’m going to show you how you can change that if you want to but generally speaking, that’s how they’re published.

Pages, on the other hand, are used to present static content. Now, what do I mean by static content?

Static content would be things like, going back to our band website idea, a band biography. That information is not specifically time relevant, it’s just general information about the band. Now, what’s important to remember, when I say static content, I don’t mean content that doesn’t change. I’m talking about content that should just really stay in one place on your site. Now, we can build this navigation, and we can change it as well. Let’s go to our sample page again. Here’s an example of static content. It’s currently linked from this appear but it could just this easily be linked, maybe a footer, maybe there’s a footer at the base here like a privacy post. It would be an example static content. The content itself, let’s say this is a biography page. Maybe you want to update it by saying, “You’ve got a new band member!” You could update the information but the page itself stays published in the same place. Whereas your posts, generally speaking, you wouldn’t go back and edit that. You would just post new update.

I’m going to give you a couple of examples, and I want you to think about whether you think this should be published as a page or as a post in WordPress, okay? Let’s start with something really simple. We’re building a band webpage, what if we wanted to have a bio page. Would that be a page or a post? Yeah, that would probably be a page because that’s static content. Now,we might want to, from time to time, edit that content but it’s not a new sight in, per se. That’s just a generic kind of reference material that we want to have available to site visitors.

All right, how about something like a press release, do you think that that would be a page or a post? Well, that would probably be a post, right? Because a press release is usually time sensitive. Although you might have a page that maybe list all of your press releases but there’s actually better ways of doing that. Typically speaking, you would publish a press release as a post, and that would always ensure that your latest press releases are always brought up to the front. They are always presented in reverse chronological order so your most recent and most relevant press release would show up at the top of any list, and that’s the way you want it to be.

What if you wanted to have just a privacy post? Let’s say your lawyer said you need a privacy post for your band website. What would that be? A page or a post? That would be a page. I did mention that that would be considered static content. You might, from time to time, update the contents of your privacy post. See, but that’s really just going to be some reference material for people.

How about something like a tour diary entry? So your band’s on tour and you want to post an update about your awesome concert in Winnipeg last night. What would you publish that as? You would publish that as a post because that is time sensitive, right? The information stays on your site. It’s just that as time goes on, it’s probably not going to be listed on the front page. It just get archived somewhere, and then you know, can show up in a search or something but it’s really considered time sensitive chronological material.

Okay, let’s keep going. I got a couple more for you. How about contact information? Say you know, “Email us here.” What would you publish that information as? Would you publish that content as a page or as a post? Yeah you should publish that as a page. You don’t want to publish that as a post. This is really reference material so we want to get that as a page.

How about your biography or your band’s biography? This should be a page. A biography page would be something static information. You might change the content from time to time but that’s generally still static. Most band websites I go to would have the bio as one of the tabs.

How about a concert notice or a concert listing? I would probably choose a post because I would want to organize the content so that every concert list had its own post. It’s not going to be as relevant after the concert pass. After the concert day passes, you don’t want that because it’s not prime news anymore. You want to maybe have an archive that that happened but it’s not static material.

Finally, one last one and then we’ll call it a day. How about a site map for your entire website? You’ve probably seen this before, right? You go to websites and there are site maps where you can click on any single page or post on your website. Yeah, that site map, with that static content, you don’t have a content that change from time to time. That is a piece of static reference material content, and so I would publish that as a page.

Okay! Just so you know, to create posts and pages, when you’re logged in to the dashboard here on the back end of WordPress, posts are right here, pages right here, and there you can create posts and pages and add all that cool content to your website. So stick around, all right? In the mean time, thank you very, very much for watching and I’ll see you next time.

Want to learn more? Learn how to use WordPress to build a website in this comprehensive introductory course today!