How to publish your content to get the most out of SEO and organising your content for your readers – Pages and Posts.
Think of pages and posts as a shopping experience for your customers. Pages are the aisles in the supermarket, categories are the shelves, posts and products are the items on the shelves (categories), which are always in the same aisle (Page). A Page is a fixed place to put stuff in your shop which does not change or move much, where people expect to go to get a certain product, subject or category.
When we set out to build our website or blog, we innocently blunder in hoping our content will get posted somewhere on our site in some kind of logical order and be easily found. It is always a surprise when we realise that although website automation has come a long way – content is still arriving where we don’t expect it to go and people can’t find it. The art of structuring our blog evolves and we learn that we have to make decisions and tell our website what to do and where to put stuff. We need our content to be in the right place in the right order – so to save you making the same stupid mistakes I did – it’s a good idea to grasp some fundamentals and learn the essential difference between a page and a post. This will future-proof your site, and save you a lot of grief later. Trying to undo pages which should be posts and posts that should pages is very boring, believe me, I am still doing just that!
Pages should be used as static generic content – typically your ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ are pages, this is because, we want them to stay in the same place on the website. The way to decide is – if you want that
page to be a clear navigational link off the main top tabs of your menu,or within you home page permanently -then a page is usually the best option – it will stay there and remain static (but you don’t want too many of them – it will confuse your readers).
A page can act as a directory that holds information, the information coming in, is a post.
You cannot use categories or tags in a page – look at your page settings, you
will see there are no options to categorise your page.
The only way to define where a page exists in your website structure is by putting it somewhere on your site where it can be clicked on.
The confusion starts when people want to publish research articles, tutorials and white papers. Traditionally, it feels like they should be a more substantial page. But if you looks at how the page and post is displayed – they can look identical. So why not use a post for this content, then you can add it to a category which can be later found on a dedicated category page. Example – you write articles about music events, and food events – you want a dedicated page about a food and a dedicated page about music. In these dedicate pages you have the posts that relate to these categories. If you get the right Posts plugin (I use Posts Tables for WordPress – and I am not promoting them in anyway, there are probably a few out there) , they will automatically be published to these pages.
But why wouldn’t I want to create this important content as a page instead of post? Because, my dear friend, – every time you create a page, you then have to go put that page and manually put it somewhere on your site – do you want to do this everytime you write content – no. What if you forget to manually put it under a menu?- it will just sit there like mine used to do, in my WordPress directory not seen by the public – until I remember to go add it to a menu. This just creates an extra work task which also leaves you at risk of forgetting to make it available on your website for the public – all that work for nothing. All I’m saying is, if you create a page – make sure you then put it somewhere on your site under the navigation bar – it won’t automatically arrive where you want it to when you press ‘Publish’ – a page does not automatically go into a category, and even if you give it a Parent category – it still won’t be seen until it goes somewhere under your menu’s. I hope I have drummed this in – it took me a while to get this. (I had to go back and put all the content I had in pages into posts so people could see it in my posts widget on my home page – that was a boring task).
Consider how messy your site could get if you keep adding alot of pages – if these pages have to exist off the navigation or within links on main pages, then there’s going to be very long menus or lists in pages that need to be manually updated every time you add a page. If you don’t add a link somewhere for a page, no-one will ever see it. A post gets put somewhere on your site automatically.
A page or post can automatically be published to your social sites like Facebook if you use Jetpack or other social plugins- in fact it’s easier getting content to be seen on your Facebook page when you click publish than on your actual website – your website take more organising of where you want it to go.
This is more dynamic content, it can still be beautifully displayed like a page, and look just as permanent as a page, but in addition you can add categories and tags, so eventually you can create tables of posts depending on their
categories and tags, which are automatically updated each time you add a post – this saves you alot of time.
At first you might not think this is very important – but when you start taking your website seriously, and when you realise just how much posting up some content will attract people to your website – then you will realise that you need to get these posts and categories right, and published quickly in places where they will be automatically found on your site.
To organise my posts – I use Posts Tables Pro but you can get a simpler version at Barn 2 Media’s Posts Table with Search and Sort, See an example of this on my Tutorials Page. Later I bought the pro version for my music site as this enables me to add products in tables as well. It relies on setting up pages which become your directories of content – for example, I have created a ton of posts which are under the category – Prince 2, and some posts which are under the category wordpress. I create a landing page which specialises in Prince 2 – the I paste in a code (Posts Tables provides the code for different types of lists) This then lays out all my posts or products into a list which is hyperlinked to the relevant posts. If I have selected the category Prince 2 in my new post, it will arrive in my Prince 2 page.
Posts come in chronological order. Depending on how you have set up your website or blog, these posts can come straight into a posts page, or the home page – some theme styles dedicated their front page to posts, or you can change what the home page looks like by creating a static page of content, with posts being added to your sidebar.
To add posts sidebar in WordPress go to Appearance in the main left WordPress dashboard and down to Widgets.
You can create sticky posts, which stay stuck to a page or area on your website, and stay at the top.
If you are using WordPress, the you can dictate where posts go under your Settings – Reading. Also create Custom Menus where posts go by going to Appearance – Menus.
Remember, people have no time – just seconds on your site to find what they want and go. They like familiarity – like shopping in the supermarket – you want to know what’s where, go there, get it, and go. Sometimes you like browsing, but that’s where you can offer a browsing area.
Pages are the aisles in the supermarket, posts and products are the items in the aisles. People like to know your aisles/ main top menu bar is the same each time, the content might grow, but the places to find it stay the same.
I hope this makes sense, but just leave a comment below if you’re stuck and I will try to make it more sense!