Pages and posts are the essential building blocks of a WordPress site—the tools for creating the content that draws visitors and builds a brand’s online presence. Pages and posts are created in similar ways, but they serve very different purposes, and knowing when and how to use them is the key to developing a WordPress site that reflects its owner’s vision and goals.
Pages and Posts Deliver Content
WordPress was originally designed as blogging software. Although it’s undergone many changes since then to make it a more full-featured site builder, it remains the world’s premier content management system, thanks to its array of tools for adding content of all kinds and purposes to any WordPress site.
Because it was intended to make online publishing available to everyone, WordPress is intuitive and easy to use—a site builder for both new users with no web development experience as well as longtime developers able to work with its free and open source code. For that reason, its Page and Post editors are both simple and feature-rich, with options for working in the WYSIWYG Visual mode, no coding required, or Text, an HTML-only version with options for working with links, shortcodes, and other development features.
Both pages and posts can be created and edited from a site’s WordPress Admin dashboard by selecting either Page or Post and clicking Add New. That opens the content editor, where new text can be typed or pasted from another document. Images, videos, and links can also be inserted right into the content window. When all the content has been added and edited, click Publish to make the piece live on the site. If it doesn’t look right, it can always be edited or completely removed from the site. There’s no limit to the amount of pages or posts you can add to your site.
The general content creation and editing tools that come with any WordPress site can be used to produce both pages and posts. But, along with those tools, both the page and post creators also include other features that are specific to each kind of content. Most themes also allow for different formatting options so you can change the layout of the blog page itself. When uploading a single post or article, you’ll have full freedom to create unique visuals through your settings, featured image, and other admin custom editing tools.
Pages: Timeless, Essential Information
Pages differ from posts both in form and in function. Website pages are generally static. While they can be freely updated as often as necessary, they typically provide a stable framework that allows visitors to access important information about the site at any time. Essential pages on a typical website might include Home, About, Privacy Policies, general site information, and resources. WordPress also allows users to create special page types for specific needs, such as landing pages for online sales or gallery and portfolio pages for showcasing art or other creative work.
Pages follow a hierarchical structure, so that a main, or Parent, page can have any number of subpages that are linked to it. For example, a business site might have a main page that introduces its employees and, along with it, a set of subpages that includes individual pages with information about each of them. In the same way, a company’s About page might include subpages about the company’s history, its founders, or mission statement.
Because pages are the foundation of a site’s content, they need to be consistent in look, style, and function. To make that possible, many WordPress themes include a Page Template feature in the Pages content editor. Page Template allows users to create templates for different sets of pages and apply them as needed when creating a new page. Templates are automatically saved as part of the theme and can be selected from the Page Template drop-down menu.
Posts: Short, Timely Content
WordPress posts are made for blogging or posting other timely content such as announcements, events, or breaking news. The post feature is designed to support regular, frequent publishing of new content and sharing it widely. Unlike pages, posts are designed for social sharing, commenting, and search engine optimization, and they can be syndicated through an RSS feed so that readers are notified of new updates.
Posts appear on the site in reverse chronological order (newest first), and past posts are archived so that they can always be accessed. Posts have no hierarchy, but they can be grouped according to category pages, dates, or tags to help readers find specific topics. There’s no limit to the number of articles or posts you can create on a WordPress site.
To create a post, select Post from the WP Admin dashboard and choose Add New. Type or paste text in the content window and style it with the options available on the toolbar. Images, video, and links can be added to any post and edited on the spot. Click Publish to make the post live and accessible.
Because posts are designed for sharing, users can install a WordPress plugin to add social sharing button options for more than 20 social sites on any post. Other plugin varieties are available to optimize posts for keywords and searchability or to crosspost the content to other sites.
Choosing Pages or Posts
Pages and posts are designed to perform different tasks on your site, so it’s important to make the right choice for the job at hand.
Create a page to add evergreen informational content that visitors can readily access at any time or to add specific functions such as a landing page to the site. Because these kinds of pages form the core content of your site, create templates if your theme allows it in order to standardize the look and style of all your pages at once.
Sites that aren’t geared toward blogging may not need to use posts, or they may need them only sparingly to alert readers on something that’s important or new. Choose Post to create a stream of new, relatively brief content that can educate and inform readers about current events, hot trends, and new information. Share it widely with the many WordPress plugins for social sharing and crossposting, and categorize posts carefully for easy searching. Although posts aren’t as timeless as pages, they can still be accessed at any time via the site’s archive, so that they remain visible in searches and can find readers at any time.
WordPress began life as a content management system, and Pages and Posts are the core components of that system. Together, they provide the tools to keep visitors informed and engaged with your WordPress business or personal site.