These days it’s simpler than ever for someone to create a website, no matter their level of experience. With a few simple clicks, one can have a WordPress site up and ready. For some, the hardest part is getting past the “Hello World” stage, to a fully functional and navigable site. Don’t start pulling out the remaining hair on your head just yet. We have the answers you’ve been waiting for. It takes some understanding of the basic structure of a website and how pages, posts and categories work together to enhance the user experience (UX).
Visitors only see what is on the screen in front of them. But we, as web designers, know the real secret.
We use three important tools to manage content: pages, categories and posts. These serve as the basic structure of a website and by using these tools we enhance the UX and guide the visitor seamlessly through the site.
Once you understand the differences in pages, posts and categories, WordPress becomes more comprehensible, and anyone can create content on any topic they desire.
Now you can start building your website and begin to grow that full head of hair again (unless those days have come and gone). We’ll breakdown the difference between pages, posts and categories right here, with an explanation on how to create a simple version of each.
Basic Structure of a Website – Page
Pages are stand alone, they don’t have any specific order and users can find them only if they are placed on the menu.
When creating a page and deciding what pages you need for your site, keep your visitors in mind. Create pages that will help them find what they are looking for, like ‘Home’, ‘Services’, ‘Contact’, and others they would be searching for in your menu bar.
Assigning pages to be accessed through menus, side bars and widgets are a few ways to get your pages easily viewed. When building a website, pages help organize the information that you create, no matter how crazy your content may be.
You can create a ‘Blog-type’ website by displaying posts on a page, calling it ‘Home’ or ‘Blog’ – us web designers haven’t stepped very far out of the creative box when it comes to these page names… maybe you can.
Another type of website is a ‘Non-blog-type’ (here we go again with the creative names) which includes your business website, online-stores and restaurants.
Non-blog sites don’t have to be updated as often as blogs, and you’ll find most of their content on their pages.
After figuring out what pages you’ll need to display your brilliant content, just a few clicks is all that remains to create them.
Step #4: Create content for your page if necessary.
Step #5: Click “Publish”.
Note: WordPress gives more advanced options you can choose from before publishing a page, but these 5 steps will get you started and on your way.
Basic Structure of a Website – Posts
Posts are a bit different than Pages. Like we said earlier-these guys are not ‘stand-alone’.
When creating blog-type websites, posts are where most of the content is held. These guys are created when you have a lot to say and when you need to say it often.
Posts need a little help to be displayed; they have to be displayed on a page. You can display one or many post on a single page at a time – it’s totally in your hands.
You are the “Creator of All” and WordPress is your minion, remember that!
Unlike pages, posts have a date, time and even author automatically attached to them giving a time-orientated feel and a personalization to each.
Remember, posts are generated in a reverse -order, meaning that the newest post is added to the top of the page, making it easily found by visitors, while the older posts fall down the list and get harder to find.
This is where the use of categories comes into play – stay with us for a moment, we will talk about categories a little later.
[custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″]When creating a post in WordPress, remember these 5 basic steps:[/custom_headline]
Step #5: Click ‘Publish’
Note: WordPress gives more advanced options you can choose from before publishing a post, but these 5 steps will get you started and on your way.
Basic Structure of a Website – Categories
It’s time to talk categories. What the **** are they?
Let’s say a website’s niche is world travel. In that case there would be a category list of countries, such as Thailand, India or any country for that matter.
Setting up categories this way helps older posts to be found easier by the visitor.
When categories are created, the posts that are assigned to it will be displayed together on a new page.
WordPress allows you to add more than one post to a category, so don’t go nuts and create a new category every time. This will confuse the visitor, confuse search engines and just make your life harder.
So make sure to group posts when possible. Make it simple and don’t overdo it by creating numerous categories – remember you’re a web designer now not a creative writer… kidding. But seriously, just keep it simple.
We don’t always create categories but when we do it only takes a click and your posts can be grouped into as many categories as you could possibly want (explained in step #7 below).
A category list can be displayed at the top or bottom of your site, in the side bar or the menu. By default, WordPress has category ‘Widgets’ that can easily be added to one of these locations.
If you’re still following along, there is one more amazing thing WordPress has to offer, that you may not know of…‘Sub-Categories’
Let’s stay with our Travel site example. This travel site has been broken down into ‘Country’ categories, right?
This is where you are able, as the ‘Creator of All’ to create ‘City’ sub-categories to further help your audience locate what they’re looking for.
BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT WE DO!!
We will explain how to create these sub-categories below in step #5. So keep paying attention! You’ve got this far, not much further to go to finally understand the basic structure of a website.
[custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″]Creating categories in WordPress through the “Categories” section[/custom_headline]
A ‘Slug’ is something that we haven’t talked about yet. Take a minute, sit right there and soak it in…
It’s all of that junk you sometimes see after your URL. If your site is www.mysite.com and a slug name ‘Thailand’ is added, then URL will end up being www.mysite.com/thailand
We usually want the slug name to be the same as the category title, there may be a time where that’s not necessary; you will need to be the judge of that.
Step #5. Add Parent category
This is the step where you’re creating your sub-category. When creating a sub category, you need to announce to your minion (WordPress) what its ‘Parent category will be.
Like our examples above, if the new category is a ‘City’ let’s say “London”, then its ‘Parent’ category would its country ‘England’.
Step #6. Click ‘Add New Category’
Your category has now been created and is ready to have posts assigned to it.
Note: This is a simple way to create categories. WordPress gives more advanced options you can choose from when creating new categories, but these 7 steps will get you started and on your way.
Now, you have an understanding of the basic structure of a website, what pages, posts and categories are, what they do and how they can help you.
Hopefully you can see tiny sprouts growing upon your head and this won’t be a topic which will cause premature balding anymore.