Post or Pages: How do I choose?

New users of WordPress can sometimes get confused by the difference between posts and pages. In all fairness to them, WP hasn’t really done a very good job of creating easily-detectable distinctions between the two terms. And, perhaps we can also blame the English language, in which “post” is both a noun and a verb. (You can post a post, after all… and you can also post a page!) Come to think of it, “page” is a noun and a verb as well (you can page through the pages, or you can even page through the posts), but this digression is already out of hand, and we’re still only in the first paragraph. God help us all.

When you add new text to your website, you can choose whether to make it a Post or a Page. This choice is made in your Dashboard, where you will see a button for each choice. When you create either a post or a page, you will add your own title, your text, and any media (images) you choose. For all intents and purposes, when you hit Publish, they will look the same. So how do you pick one over the other?

The quick and dirty method is this: posts refers to blog posts, and they will appear on whatever page you have assigned in your site to display them. Blog posts are best thought of as journal or diary entries. They can be short or long. They are often time-sensitive, or at least time-relevant. Often, the information they contain has an expiry date. Blog posts are also discoverable by something called RSS readers, which is how people can get notified whenever you’ve published something new. If you intend to build an audience of readers or subscribers, then posts are the way to go. When people subscribe to your website, it’s actually your blog posts they are subscribing to. People usually discover your blog posts by visiting your Blog (or whatever you call it) in your menu and seeing what’s new, or by perusing your archives (which WP creates automatically). If you’ve made proper use of categories and tags, they should also be able to search your site by keyword.

Pages, meanwhile, refers to a piece that you might intend to occupy a more permanent role on your site. We might call this static content. “About Me” is a good example of a page. This information is always going to be true and it’s never going to expire. You can still edit a page whenever you like, of course. Usually, pages are discoverable through your menu. You wouldn’t want to make every single piece of content a page, because your menu would become cluttered and impossible to navigate.

You can also use pages for articles that you want to be readily available at all times to your visitors. On my site, williamkowalski.com, I have put up several articles about writing, which you can access through my menu. I chose to create them as pages because there is nothing time-sensitive about them. I also write blog posts on a semi-regular basis. These tend to be about more timely, topical concerns. People who want to subscribe to me via their RSS readers will get updates about every blog post I write. They will not get updates about new pages that I put up.

If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments! You can also visit this page for more information.

Author: Bill

Novelist, educator, and founder and owner of My Writing Network, the first WordPress multisite network built specifically for writers of all types.

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