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WordPress Pages — The Basics

October 9th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Note: The following is made available under GPL from http://codex.wordpress.org/GPL. It may be edited a little from its original form, but probably not a lot. There is no guarantee this information is accurate…use at your own risk.

WordPress Pages

In WordPress, you can write either posts or pages. When you’re writing a regular blog entry, you write a post. Posts automatically appear in reverse chronological order on your blog’s home page. Pages, on the other hand, are for content such as “About Me,” “Contact Me,” etc. Pages live outside of the normal blog chronology, and are often used to present information about yourself or your site that is somehow timeless — information that is always applicable. You can use Pages to organize and manage any amount of content. Other examples of common pages include Copyright, Legal Information, Reprint Permissions, Company Information, and Accessibility Statement.

In general, Pages are very similar to Posts in that they both have Titles and Content and can use your site’s Presentation Templates to maintain a consistent look throughout your site. Pages, though, have several key distinctions that make them quite different from Posts.
Pages in a Nutshell

  • Pages are for content that is less time-dependent than Posts.
  • Pages can be organized into pages and SubPages.
  • Pages can use different Page Templates which can include Template Files, Template Tags and other PHP code.
  • Pages are not Posts, nor are they excerpted from larger works of fiction. They do not cycle through your blog’s main page. (Note: You can include Posts in Pages by using the Inline Posts Plugin.)
  • Pages cannot be associated with Categories and cannot be assigned Tags. The organizational structure for Pages comes only from their hierarchical interrelationships, and not from Tags or Categories.
  • Pages are not files. They are stored in your database just like Posts are.

Although you can put Template Tags and PHP code into a Page Template, you cannot put these into the content of a Page and expect them to run. (Note: You can achieve this by using a PHP evaluating Plugin such as Exec-PHP or RunPHP.)
Creating Pages
To create a new Page, log in to your WordPress installation with sufficient admin privileges to create new articles. Select the Administration > Pages > Add New option to begin writing a new Page.

Organizing Your Pages
Just as you can have Subcategories within your Categories, you can also have SubPages within your Pages, creating a hierarchy of pages.
For example, suppose you are creating a WordPress site for a travel agent and would like to create an individual Page for each continent and country to which the agency can make travel arrangements. You would begin by creating a Page called “Africa” on which you could describe general information about travel to Africa. Then you would create a series of Pages which would be SubPages to “Africa” and might include “Lesotho”, “Cameroon”, “Togo”, and “Swaziland”. Another individual Page is made for “South America” and would feature SubPages of “Brazil”, “Argentina”, and “Chile”. Your site would then list:

  • Africa
  • Cameroon
  • Lesotho
  • Swaziland
  • Togo
  • South America
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Chile

To begin the process, go to Administration > Write > Write Page panel, in the upper right corner of the panel and click the “Page Parent” drop-down menu. The drop-down menu contains a list of all the Pages already created for your site. To turn your current Page into a SubPage, or “Child” of the “Parent” Page, select the appropriate Page from the drop-down menu. If you specify a Parent other than “Main Page (no parent)” from the list, the Page you are now editing will be made a Child of that selected Page. When your Pages are listed, the Child Page will be nested under the Parent Page. The Permalinks of your Pages will also reflect this Page hierarchy. In the above example, the Permalink for the Cameroon Page would be: http://example.com/africa/cameroon/

WordPress as a CMS
You can use WordPress for basic content management. If you do, you’ll probably create a large number of pages for your content.

Using a Page as the Front Page
You can conveniently set any Page as your Front Page. Go to Settings > Reading in the WordPress Admin interface. Under the Front Page Category, you can choose to set any (published) Page or Posts Page as the Front Page. The default setting shows your blog with the latest blog posts.

See the following Video: http://educhalk.org/blog/create-a-static-homepage-post-page-on-your-wordpress-blog/
The Dynamic Nature of WordPress “Pages”
A web page can be static or dynamic. Static pages, such as a regular HTML page that you might create with Dreamweaver, are those which have been created once and do not have to be regenerated every time a person visits it. In contrast, dynamic pages, such as those you create with WordPress, do need to be regenerated every time they are viewed; code for what to generate has been specified by the author, but not the actual page itself. These use extensive PHP code which is evaluated each time the page is visited, and the content is thus generated on the fly, upon each new visit.
Almost everything in WordPress is generated dynamically, including Pages. Everything you and others write in WordPress (Posts, Pages, Comments, Blogrolls, Categories, etc.) is stored in your MySQL database. When your site is accessed, that database information is then used by your WordPress Templates from your current Theme to generate the web page being requested. Thus, WordPress information is dynamic, including the information contained in your Pages.

An example of a static page might be an HTML document (without any PHP code) you’ve written as an addition to your dynamically generated WordPress pages, perhaps an “About Me” page. The problem with purely static pages is that they are difficult to maintain. Changes you make to your WordPress settings, Themes and Templates will not be propagated to pages coded only in HTML. The Page feature of WordPress was developed, in part, to alleviate this problem. By using Pages, users no longer have to update their static pages every time they change the style of their site. Instead, if written properly, their dynamic Pages will update themselves along with the rest of your blog.
Despite the dynamic nature of Pages, many people refer to them as being static. In the context of web publishing, static and dynamic mean what has been described above. More generally, however, static can mean “characterized by a lack of change”. It is easy to see how this definition influenced the word’s use in describing types of web pages. It is also easy to see why people think of Pages as being static; Posts come and go, but Pages are here to stay since Pages are typically used to display information about your site which is constant (e.g., information about yourself, description of your site).  In other words, a Page contains static information but is generated dynamically. Thus, either “static” or “dynamic” may be validly used to describe the nature of the WordPress Page feature. However, in order to avoid confusion, and because Pages themselves are dynamic while it is only their contents which are in some way static, this document does not refer to Pages as being static.

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