WordPress newbies often misunderstand the differences between pages and posts. If you use WordPress solely as a website platform, without a blog, then the confusion might be heightened, and for good reason! Let’s compare pages and posts, so you can see how they differ.
These are the regular, static pages of your website. The content doesn’t change, unless you edit the page. Typical pages are: ABOUT, CONTACT, SERVICES, RESOURCES, etc.
Individual pages can be added to the navigation menu. There is a parent-child relationship with the pages not only in the navigation, but also in the way they display in the dashboard. If you need a sub-menu, it is easy to establish a hierarchy in which certain pages are “parents” (main navigation) and others are “children” (sub-navigation). Some themes come equipped with a primary and secondary menu, which is very useful if you have a lot of pages and/or different sections of the website.
Posts are most commonly the written entries that appear in a blog. Think of them as articles or journal entries: the word “blog” is an abbreviation of the term Web log. The entries are displayed as a chronological list on the blog page. When the user clicks on an entry title, they are taken to a page that shows the entire post. The blog page list can be configured in a variety of ways. Maybe you want a 4-line excerpt of each post, or maybe you prefer the entire article to be displayed on the blog page. It’s up to you. Posts also appear in the blog’s RSS feed, which users can subscribe to.
In addition to the written entries, there are other types of posts, depending on the theme and the plug-ins installed. Calendars generate event posts, portfolios can have gallery posts, and real estate plug-ins create custom posts for the listings. You can create a custom post for just about anything.
Categories and tags can be used on posts. Single or multiple categories and tags can be applied. These are enormously powerful organizing tools that help users find what they are looking for.
Page vs. Post Comparison
When you create a new page or post, the screens look nearly the same. Both have fields for the Title and Content, a Publish button, Layout Settings, and plug-in settings. In the 2 screen grabs below, I’ve highlighted the areas that are unique.
Parent – This setting only affects how your pages will be viewed in the Pages area when logged into WordPress. If left at the default setting (no parent), the page will display as a Parent item in your Pages listing (top level). Click on (no parent) to reveal the dropdown menu of other options; if you select any of these options, the page will become a Child of another page (sub-page).
The parent-child relationship is also used when building the navigation menus. The menu settings are found under Appearance > Menus. See my post How to Create a Nav Menu in WordPress.
Template – You generally want to leave this at the default setting. The other options, depending on the theme, could include:
- Archive – displays a list of all pages, posts, categories, and authors
- Blog – displays the blog post list
- Landing – displays the content in a landing page style that often excludes the navigation
- Portfolio – usually displays the content in a grid
Order – Like the Parent setting, this affects only how your pages will be viewed in the Pages area when logged into WordPress. When left at its default (0), the pages will be listed in alphabetical order. That works for me! If you want to re-order the list, go for it.
Categories and Tags – Only Found on Posts
Using an architectural analogy, the blog is the house, the categories are the rooms, and the tags are the furniture, books, magazines, art, appliances, and kitchenware. Categories are the main sections of your blog. Try to use only a few key ones. You can get more specific with the tags, which can be one word or phrases. Both categories and tags help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Excerpts – Only Found on Posts
WordPress will create an excerpt from the first few lines of a blog post. If you want to craft your own custom summary, write it inside the Excerpt field. HTML is allowable in this field, but short-codes (including image captions) are not.
Create a Nav Menu in WordPress
Logging into WordPress and Viewing the Back End
Adding Images to WordPress Pages and Posts
How to Create and Edit WordPress Galleries
How to Resize an Image in WordPress