Add Your First WordPress Post

This lesson continues on from Lesson 5 by exploring Posts rather than Pages and explaining when you should use one rather than the other. This is one of the features of WordPress that you should understand right at the beginning of your web building so that your site behaves and functions consistently.

Hopefully, you have now added one or more Pages to your website and these provide the static, background information to tell the world about you and your website. Now it’s time to start adding content in the form of Posts, which is what will become a more on-going process as you build your website over time.

You will, I hope, be relieved to hear that adding posts is almost the same as adding pages. So I’m not going to repeat all the stuff in Lesson 5. To add a post, just follow the same instructions, substituting the word ‘post’ for the word ‘page’ and you’ll get there.

The Essential Difference Between Posts And Pages

What I’m going to do in this lesson is point out a few of the differences between posts and pages which might help you make up your mind how the two different types of entries can contribute to your website.

Posts are designed to be a more chronological, dynamic way to present content to your visitors. In the olden days, when WordPress was used primarily for blogging, each post would become the latest in the blogger’s stream of news/comments/events. (…’Raining today so no gardening ’…) The latest post would occupy the top position on the front page and earlier posts would scroll down beneath it.

If you want to have a website where you display topical information, or some sort of journal, or news, you’ll want to make use of posts. Typically, a website that uses posts also has some static pages (as above) but the Post content includes a series of entries that you add to on a regular basis and which adds further, timely content to the website.

If you have a static front page then you could have a tab in the menu labelled ‘Blog’ or ‘News’ (or whatever) which would display your latest posts. I explain how to do this in Lesson 10.

Examples of posts might include product special offers, your latest news – maybe with photos, accounts of recent events or advance notice of future events – you get the picture.

Adding A Post To Your Website

From the dashboard, click on ‘Posts’, ‘Add New’ and then follow along with the same instructions as adding a Page in Lesson 5.

Whenever you write a Post it’s important to make the title really descriptive and attention seeking. Titles are often the only piece of the post that the visitor will see when they’re browsing the site and you want to encourage them to click through to read the rest of your post.

Posts don’t get added automatically to the menu like Pages do, but there are a number of very flexible options where you can direct your visitors to navigate around your posts. We’ll come to that when we look at ‘widgets’ in Lesson 8.

One of the real powers of Posts is that they also have handy features called ‘categories’ and ‘tags’ which I will now explain. You’ll see these dialogue boxes down on the right side of the Posts screen.

How To Make Use Of Categories And Tags

Categories are a way of classifying your content into topics so that your visitors can access all the posts you have written on a particular subject. To take my own site as an example, I have written a number of posts on broad categories such as ‘news’, ‘hosting’, ‘wordpress’ and more.

As you write each post, you choose one or more appropriate categories for the subject matter. This will then automatically provide a filter of all the posts in the same category so that your visitors can easily find their way through the site without having to read posts on topics that don’t interest them.

To provide navigation to all the posts in a particular category you can put a widget in a sidebar that lists all your categories and your visitor can click through to see what you’ve written on these topics. This will be covered in Lesson 8.

If you know what categories you are going to use you can set them up in advance. From the dashboard, go to ‘Posts’, ‘Categories’ and add them there. But you can also add categories as you go by adding a new category at the time you add a post.

You’ll see that WordPress has included an ‘Uncategorized’ category that will be used by default if you don’t add a category of your own. It’s a good idea to rename this to something specific that would match your site’s subject matter. You could use ‘General’, ‘Other News’, ‘Miscellaneous’ or something like that.

To do this, from the dashboard click on ‘Posts’, ‘Categories’ and you’ll see a list of the categories you have already set up. Hover your cursor over ‘Uncategorized’ and click ‘Edit’. This lets you change and save the title of a category.

Tags are a looser way of categorizing your material that will help the search engines associate certain keywords with your posts. Every time you add a post you should add two or three tags which contain keywords or phrases to help the search engines classify your site. And one way to use the tags you have coded is to have a ‘tag cloud’ in your sidebar. I’ll show you how to do that in Lesson 8.

Sticky Posts

As I’ve mentioned, if you design your website to behave like a traditional blog then your posts will scroll down the page with the latest post at the top. But if you have a post that you always want to display at the top of the screen then you can make it ‘sticky’.

To do this, look over to the right of the Posts page and click on ‘Visibility’, ‘Public’, ‘Edit’.

Then check ‘Stick this post to the front page’ and click ‘OK’. When you click ‘Publish’ or ‘Update’ your post will always appear as the first post. Newer posts will scroll down beneath it.

Before I leave the subject of posts, let me share another neat feature of WordPress: the ability to pre- and post-date entries.

How To Go Back (Or Forward) In Time

If you simply want your post to be dated at the date and time you published it then just leave it. But if you want to backdate an entry, you can change the date of publication to a prior date.

Just below where it says ‘Publish immediately’, you can change the date and time to whatever you want. Change the date/time and click on ‘OK’. That’s the date/time that will appear on your website when you Update or Publish your post.

And, hey, you can even schedule WordPress to publish a post at some date/time in the future. Just change the date to a date in the future, click ‘OK’ and ‘Schedule’. 

WordPress will hold the post until that date/time occurs and then it will automatically publish it as if you had hit the button yourself. Magic!

Before you leave this lesson, do please experiment by writing a few posts that will form part of your website. Think about categories and tags and how you will organize the subject matter. Don’t worry too much about menus or navigation because we will be coming to that shortly.

In the next lesson I’ll show how to add media (images, documents, videos) to your WordPress pages and posts. This brings your website alive and makes it look unique.

FAQ

My website is going to be about how to design gardens. Should this have posts as well as pages?

I would suggest that you have the main, static part of your website as pages. These would include all your teachings about flower beds, lawns, shrubs, trees and so on that always apply and rarely change. Links to these pages could be arranged on menus in your header and/or sidebars, nested as appropriate. But any seasonal tips could appear as blog posts, with categories such as the seasons, the weather and types of plants, etc. The blog posts could even appear as your front page as this would make your website look up to date and topical.

I’ve added some posts and now I realize that they should really be pages. Can I convert a post into a page (and the other way round)?

Sadly no. The way out of this is to copy the text from the unwanted post/page, add a new post/page and paste the text that you just copied. Then trash the unwanted page/post.

How do I delete a post or page?

See Lesson 4 (Delete The Junk).


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