Better Blogging at WordPress.com: Pages and Posts

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Strictly speaking a blog is a website but let’s differentiate. The main difference between a blog structure and website structure  is the communication style.  Blogs are post based structures that provide  for and encourage interactive communication.  Websites  are page based structures that operate as a one-way noticeboards.

A WordPress blog can either be structured as a page based website or its conventional post based structure can be retained. That’s why understanding the differences between posts and pages, comprehending the SEO implications of creating a page based structure, and knowing how to use custom menus are key to decision making when selecting a theme, and setting up your WordPress.com blog.

Post based structure or page based structure?

Characteristics of pages

Static Pages sit outside the blog structure. Static pages cannot have Categories and Tags assigned to them. Pages do not appear in our RSS feeds. Most Pages do not have date stamps in their URLs. They have very little “google juice” Other bloggers rarely if ever backlink to static Pages in their published posts. Consequently, Page structured blogs have a very difficult time:
1. securing traffic;
2. securing comments;
3. securing backlinks;
4. achieving authority in their niche;
5. achieving Google PageRank.

Characteristics of posts

Posts can have Categories and Tags assigned to them. They do appear in our RSS feeds when published, edited, updated and when comments to them are approved and posted. Pages do have date stamps in their URLs. They have lots of “Google juice”. Other bloggers do backlink to Posts in their own published posts. Consequently, Post structured blogs have much better opportunities to:
1. secure traffic;
2. secure comments;
3. securing backlinks;
4. achieve authority in their niche;
5. achieve Google PageRank.

Posts are only displayed on one running page and that’s usually the front page of the blog but it can be changes to another static page here > Settings > Reading.

Other bloggers become aware of Posts via search engine results, RSS feeds, and  social media and in social networks updates. They also “pass the news along” that a new posts has been published. When bloggers publish posts on related topics they link to the most relevant and authoritative posts found in the most authoritative blogs in their own niche. This is called backlinking and the number of backlinks a blog earns is one of the factors in the algorithm that determines a blog’s Google PageRank.

You can create as many static Pages and sub-pages as you like but the vast and overwhelming amount of Google juice goes to Posts because that’s the way blogs are designed and how they function. The most Google juice of all goes to the Front page of a blog, because blogs are structured in reverse chronological order, and search engines are programmed to locate fresh dynamic content on the front page.

Static Front Page, Yay or Nay?

Pages and sub-pages can be used very effectively for several purposes on a blog but choosing to create a static front page, rather than having posts displaying  on your front page is  a traffic quenching choice, that has a negative impact on discover-ability and SEO,  as well as, holding reader attention.

Without doubt, having to click through the same blah, blah, blah on a static front page to locate your most recent posts every time they visit is an unnecessary reader annoyance. And, placing your own aesthetic appreciation above the convenience of your readers is a form of arrogance that gives rise to these two questions:

  1. Who do you blog for?
  2. What is the purpose for this blog?

If you blog for your readers and your purpose is not to sell products and/or services, and you will be publishing fresh content on a regular basis, then having your posts display on your front page will vastly improve the blog’s opportunities to attract subscribers and growing community of readers, to earn backlinks, to gain authority in the niche,  and to achieve a PageRank.

On the other hand, if your purpose is  to sell products and/or services that you yourself provide through the blog, then you may wish to create a page structured “website” on your wordpress.com blog. If so, then please stay tuned.  This post contains a brief tutorial on how to use a custom menu to  create a website on a wordpress blog.

Related posts found in this blog:
Working with WordPress Pages

51 thoughts on “Better Blogging at WordPress.com: Pages and Posts

  1. Pingback: articol 2 | blog in culori

  2. Best of both worlds:
    Hi there. I’ve been reading some of your posts in the forums, thank you for all your effort!

    On the subject of pages or posts, I’m thinking about the best way to set up a private blog for many users.
    I came to the conclusion that pages are basically redundant for my purposes, besides 2 or 3 with information. If you use posts and cleverly employ categories, custom menus (in widgets if necessary) provide all the site architecture and navigation you could wish for, non? Categories “collect” posts, menus display categories. Even better, posts can appear in more than one “collection”.

    I’m thinking about this because I would like a structure where all posts of any contributor can be consulted, as well as all posts of a group of contributors within a certain time period.

    haha I think I have my answer :) Your posts helped to provide more clarity.

  3. Pingback: Create a WordPress.com Website | one cool site

  4. Static Pages still confuse me a bit. Can you explain to me the purpose for a static page? Is it a simple page for navigation without showing blog posts or something?

  5. Hi! I’m hoping you can help me. I’m new to WordPress and building my blog (I’ll be moving from Blogger). I’ve posted 2 questions for the Support section of WordPress regarding setting up a redirect and haven’t received an answer. I noticed that you seem to help a lot of people so thought I’d check with you. Here’s my question. Thank you!

    I am working on moving my blog from Blogger to WordPress. While I’m getting my design set up and learning about how to work in WordPress I’d like to get my registered domain directed away from WordPress and to Blogger. How can I make that happen? Currently prayersandpeekaboo.com is directed to prayersandpeekaboo.wordpress.com but that page isn’t ready to go live yet. I need prayersandpeekaboo.com to go to prayersandpeekaboo.blogspot.com until my WordPress blog is ready.

  6. Thank you so much for providing your outstanding insights and support!

    I’m with a non-profit that’s planning to rebuild from the ground-on-up with WordPress CMS. We currently use a daily e-mail list-serv to push content to members, but want to convert to RSS-based article feed on the home page. Most other content will be updated frequenty, but page-based.

    Any advice / tips / resources to structure these WP elements that will ‘play nice’ with Google and other search engine algorithms?

  7. Hello timethief
    I am so glad I found your website. I have many years experience in the IT profession and also have experience writing (3 books). That being said the learning curve in blogging is surprisingly steep and newcomers (like myself) need all the competent help we can get. And now back to reading your blogs.

    Riley

  8. Though new to blogging (and self-hosting despite your cogent thoughts on why NOT to do so) your site has quickly become my go-to source for reliable advice! And based on this post I’m going to change my site structure – which I had planned to organize around pages accessible by menu dropdowns, to POSTS accessible by menu dropdowns (and obviously also the blog). So thanks for that!

    Homepage is currently a work-in-progress mess but I would love some advice about your point that static home pages (vs. blog posts) are sort of lame. I tend to agree with you. However my site is for parents struggling with kids & sleep so while I would love to someday have lifetime readers, realistically they would pop in during “rough patches” and then possibly disappear forever. So my thought was that a static home page would be helpful to orient readers, where a post (which may relate to an issue unrelated to that specific site visitor – sleep issues are extremely age specific for kids under 3) might not draw them in as effectively.

    Am I being ridiculous and making choices that will forever banish me to the bitter bowel of google?

    Thanks!
    Alexis

    • @Alexia,
      My best advice is found in my articles and I shy away from giving site specific advice. You can choose to have a page structured blog and use a custom menu if you wish. It’s up to you to make the choice. :)

  9. Helpful info. Thanks.

    A correction to one of your sub-titles…

    Post based structure or page based structure?
    Characteristics of posts

    s/b “Characteristics of pages”

  10. Many thanks. I had not thought of sticky posts, but I can see your point re messy editing and filling the dymanic space on the home page.

    I may try the combo for just a couple of the posts, to also include them in a sub menu (perhaps identified by category) so that they remain visible after time and can still be posted to. I need to read more on your site and be very clear about my motives for the blog – i.e. it’s not about my ego, it’s about interest and interaction.

  11. Brilliant post. I have set up a blog as a community blog. My objective is to create a small number of pages of useful information (I hope) and posts on various topics. The main reason for the blog is the posts. My dilemma was which should be posts and which should be pages.

    Your post has put the ghosts to rest, but I have one question left. In order to hold certain posts as ‘permanent’ is it it better to redo those posts as pages or to group certain posts under a navigation button. An example would be emergency tel. numbers for the area. As a post it soon gets relegated down the list but as a page it remains visible in the navigation system. Is it wise or not to have the best of both worlds by grouping certain posts under a navigation heading so that when they disappear off the bottom of the posts list they are accessible from navigation ?

    I also have a question about ad muncher, but this is not the right thread.

    • Are you aware that you can create a sticky post? The sticky post will be “stuck” to the top of the blog’s front page. That may work very well for emergency tel. numbers for the area. More info about Sticky Posts here > http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/post-visibility/

      Note that while it is true that we can create more than one sticky post it’s not advisable to create a raft of them. Doing so defeats the purpose of haveing dynamic content as the primary feature on your front page. Also it can lead to an editing mess when you create multiple sticky posts.

      As far as choosing which content to place in a post or on a page read the characteristics aof bothe Posts and Pages above. Pages are meant to be used for content that rarely, if ever changes. You can have comments on them but you cannot “post to a page” and consequently the most valuable of the two to recieve comments on are Posts.

  12. A very interesting article about posts and pages. It will be helpful for us to plan our blog better. Looking forward to learning more from you. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Not really. You could create a Sandbox skin with a CSS upgrade. WordPress.com is a WP-MU multiuser blogging platform. The themes here were all originally coded to run on free standing wordpress.org software installs and they were “adapted”. All derived from shared templates so only Staff can access the template files and edit them.

      We cannot add themes. We are limited to the themes found in the dashboard under Appearance > Themes. If you have CSS editing experience, you can get the paid custom CSS upgrade and renew it annually. It will allow you to stylize the appearance of themes you find here > Appearance > Themes, but it does not allow you to change the functionality, by editing the underlying template. Also note that CSS is theme specific, so you cannot use the CSS stylesheets from other themes with the themes here at wordpress.COM.

      Since there is no official Staff support for the CSS upgrade, and precious little Volunteer support, I recommend that you don’t buy the upgrade unless you have at least moderate understanding of HTML and CSS because you must be prepared to do the work on your own.

      If you are considering purchasing the upgrade, you can go to Appearance > Edit CSS. There wordpress has provided a preview function where you can try before you buy.

      http://en.support.wordpress.com/custom-css/

      http://en.support.wordpress.com/editing-css/

  14. Time, your blog is great! Thanks!

    Question: is there any way to change the way Categories menu pages appear?

    In dzogchen.ca (hosted on wordpress.com), I have set the menu by Category. When I hit the menu option for a specific category (e.g., “Yoga”), it lists the posts with titles only, not the full posts. Is there any way to have it list all the posts in one category, using the same format as the Home page would?

    Keep up the great stuff!
    Deepak

    • PS – I see from fiddling with alternate themes that other themes would list the whole post in the Categories view, but they often lack other features I like about Vigilance. Can I change this somehow in the CSS or elsewhere without ditching Vigilance completely?

    • I’ll say a few words about the Display in Categories and in Archives so you understand that WordPress.com themes are derived from very creative open source web developers. They are not cookie cutter themes. In most themes, posts on Categories and Archives pages display the same way as they do as they do on the front page or your blog or the static page you assign to display posts on. That means in some themes only the very beginnings of posts are displayed, and in some you only get titles or thumbnails.

      Here’s a listing for you of themes where the whole post is displayed or not that Panos has prepared > http://wpbtips.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/full-posts-in-archive-pages/

  15. Thanks alot. I just viewed Kirk’s tutorial on pages and posts as well. Now I know I will continue to post on my blog’s home page, but I may collect posts into “chapters” – which I think are better than archives – and use pages and sub-pages to present the collected posts.
    Since my “theme” is to gradually compile a body of work, and since so far my topics consist of three posts per topic, I think I’ll use a page to house a given large subject, with a sub-page for each collection of 3 related posts. I’ll just copy the post text onto that sub-page, but in the correct reading order, not the reverse chronology of the main posting page.
    Your explanation has helped to cement this idea. This is on

    http://YourSystemNotGuiltyAsCharged.wordpress.com

    Joel

    • @Joel
      I don’t know who Kirk is or where his tutorial can be found. However, if you feel my post helped you then you’re welcome.

  16. Thank you, thank you for your response. I edit and update my past posts all the time, as I always see something in my writing that can be improved. The original date of publication never changes. I wouldn’t want it to change, so that is not an issue. Even the imported posts from blogger retained their original publication dates, despite having been updated to adjust photo widths to the new WordPress column width.

    But this is a problem that a draft, once published, retains the date of when I began the draft, not the publication date.

    Thank you for the email. You are very sweet to take the extra time to respond.

    Kathleen

    • @Kathleen
      If this weirdness happens again contact Staff because that isn’t normal at all. You’re welcome and best wishes for problem free blogging. :)

  17. @bookbear5
    I’m not going to answer your questions here in any depth because I will be preparing a post on this subject.

    Short answers
    The answer to can we post to pages question is “no”. We can publish static pages, we can edit and update them manually. They can not be posted to in the sense of being automatically updated with new content.

    There is no such thing as a sticky page. They are in fixed position. The dates they are created and updated on are not relevant.

    “… have multiple post pages each with their own sticky post at the top? Or is that a contradiction somehow?”

    Sticky POST not sticky PAGE

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/post-visibility/#sticky-posts

    Pages are static. About, Copyright, Disclaimer, Contact, Commenting, Sitemap … etc. They are e used for content that rarely if ever changes. They are used for content that search spiders don’t care much for, content that will not help the blog achieve authority in the niche, backlinks and PageRank.

    Hope this helps for now. :)

  18. Hullo Time,
    I have been reading through a lot of q/a’s on wordpress, and you show up with good advice all the time, and here you are with exactly my concerns all written up!
    I do wish to promote my services, and at the same time, I really want to have a place for women to interact, share their experiences, and ask questions of myself and each other. Yet I want to provide solid sets of information on the topics in question.
    I am wondering if it’s possible to post on pages? I have seen that you can ‘stick’ a post to the main post page, but can you have multiple post pages each with their own sticky post at the top? Or is that a contradiction somehow?
    I will keep reading through all your advice, I am just getting all excited by this whole bloggy web page possibility that I may well be jumping the gun!
    Thanks so much
    Dinah

  19. tt,

    My apologies for a double post — I could not stand seeing my new post buried in the archives, so I copied and pasted the whole thing into a new post. This seemed the only way to get a finished draft published with a current date. If you have another solution, I am still interested in hearing it.

    Great thanks for all your useful information. I recently imported my blog from Blogger to WordPress. While WordPress has many more useful features, it also has a steeper learning curve. I don’t know what I would do without all your past posts, which I am still reading, to help me blog like I actually know what I am doing, or at least stumble through it so it appears like I know what I am doing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Kathleen

    • @Kathleen
      What you describe is not normal behavior. Dates are automatically supplied by the software. The date stamp could have been changed by editing the post, changing it, and of course clicking “Update”. I emailed you about this. :)

  20. tt,

    This is another question not directly related to this post. (I used your blog’s search function, and could not find an answer.) When I have a question that does not directly relate to one of your posts, please tell me where I should ask it so that I don’t derail the subject of your current post.

    My question: I have been working on a draft for about 3 weeks. Today I finally finished and published it. But to my dismay, it did not appear as my most recent post. It appeared in chronological order, dated April 26 when I started the draft. I guess I can work with a draft, and then paste and copy everything into a new post to be able to publish it as my most recent post, but this seems an awkward solution when we have draft options.

    Thank you,
    Kathleen

  21. @Timethief
    While I would like to think of myself as a quick study, and I aspire to become a blogger, I would in no way want to cripple my blog for all the reasons you mentioned. With that being said, I look to your authority, and draw from your knowledge, in my aspiration. To do THAT is a no brainer!
    And in answer to your question, consider it? I can’t even conceive of it! :)

    • Right and that’s how a blogger would reply. However, these days many business people and professionals are creating page structured mock websites and they do so for aesthetic reasons. I answer many questions on the forum and I feel compelled to do more than just provide instructions to them so they can achieve that website look.

      As most of these business people and professionals are newbies they need to decide whether or not they really want a one way notice board or they want to encourage interactive communication. And in order to make a fully informed decision they need to clearly understand the implications of creating a page based structure when it comes to backlinks, authority and PageRank.

      You’d be amazed at how many I witness in social networks and forums who have created mock websites and are now complaining their “non-blogs” are not earning backlinks, authority and PageRank. It’s as if they all have been brainwashed into thinking they must have mock websites but no one informed them of the consequences of doing so.

  22. I find for myself, on both of my blogs posts are the most advantageous way to make information easily accessible for my readers. And as I’m looking for Google juice the choice is a no brainer! Thank you for such an insightful article.

    • @Joer223
      You are a quick study and you are a blogger. For you crippling your blog so it looks like a website, operates like a notice board, gets little traffic, fails to gain authority, backlinks, and a PageRank is a no brainer. You wouldn’t even consider it, right?
      You’re welcome. :)

  23. Useful article. I had assumed that PAGES would be at least searchable / indexed by Google but at a “lower” level than POSTS.

    • @Jean
      Yes you are correct Pages are searchable at a lower level than posts are. Most don’t have dates in the URL so there’s a retrievable bit that doesn’t exist. They can’t have tags and categories assigned so there are two more retrievable bits that don’t exist. Most of all, they so not appear in RSS feeds.

  24. I’ve been receiving RSS feeds from you for a while and appreciate your posts very much. Recently, your RSS feeds have changed from providing the entire post’s contents to providing only a teaser excerpt. Why the change? (By the way, I found the change disappointing.)

    • @Mike Gantt
      I’m sorry. There was/is a bug that’s afftecting some RSS feeds on blogs that are being domain mapped. I set the feed to summary for a day and then set it back to full. Mine was among the “feed bugged” blogs but hopefully that has now been sorted out. Please let me know if you are still not receiving full posts from here on out by posting a comment to any post.

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