Starting a Website: Creating Content

Creating Content in WordPress

The fourth part in my series on starting a WordPress site covers creating content. If you haven’t already, please check out parts 1 (Free or Self-Hosted WordPress?), 2 (Choosing Your Hosting Service), and 3 (WordPress Site Design). I will be discussing the different types of content that you can create, the differences between pages and posts, and how to use the media library.

Pages Vs. Posts

If you’ve already been exploring the WordPress dashboard, you’ve probably already noticed two different content types: Pages and Posts. The design screens for both are very similar, but they serve very different functions.

In the simplest of terms, pages contain static content. If you have content that never or rarely changes on your home page, this will be a page. Other examples of content that you would create as a page would be a contact form or an about me page. Pages are not social. There is no place to leave a comment or to share a page on social media.

Posts on the other hand are your articles, photo galleries, and container of any other type of dated content that you create. On pages that display listings of posts, they will display in reverse chronological order, so the most recent posts will always be first. Posts are social. They have the options to setup commenting and sharing to social media. Also, with the Jetpack plugin, posts can be setup to publicize to social media when they are published.

It is important to utilize pages and posts properly.

Creating Pages in WordPress

To create a page in WordPress, login to your dashboard and hover over Pages on the main menu. Two options will appear. You can go to either All Pages or Add New. Clicking the Pages menu option itself will take you to All Pages, so lets go there first.

When you go to All Pages for the first time, you will see some pages already exist. Whenever I start a fresh WordPress install, I always delete any pre-loaded pages and posts. When you hover over a page title, different options appear. You can use these options to send each of these default pages to the Trash one at a time. Or, you can click the checkbox next to each page title and use the Bulk Actions drop down to delete them all at once.

All of your pages will be listed on the All Pages screen

After you delete these pages, there are two pages that you will want to setup. We will create the blog posts page first. On the Pages screen, click the Add New button. This opens the page editor for a new page. In the title at the top of the screen, type “Blog Posts” and click publish. You have now just published a blank page called “Blog Posts.” If you view the page right now, it will have a title and no other content. That is fine, because we will use this page later to host our post pages.

Now, go back to the Pages menu option and click Add New. This brings us back to a new page editor screen. Give this page a title, such as “Welcome to my Blog!” Go ahead and type a few sentences welcoming visitors to your blog. Click Publish when you are done. Now you can view this home page. However, this is not the landing page for your website yet.

To set up your homepage, we need to go to Appearance > Customize from the dashboard. Find the option called Customizing Front Page Content. Set Front page displays to A static page. Now, you have options for Front page and Posts page. Set the Front page to the homepage that you created. Then set the Posts page to the page we named “Blog Posts.” Then save and exit out of the customizer.

Creating Posts in WordPress

Posts in WordPress are created the same way pages are. However, since posts are typically going to be the meat of a blog’s content, there are a lot more options with posts. When you view the Posts menu item, you will see there are also Categories and Tags. These can help you organize your Posts. You can actually create all of your tags and categories within the Post editor.

First, let’s wipe out that default post so that we have a clean slate. Like you did with pages, go to All Posts and delete any existing posts. Now click Add New. The post editor looks very much like the page editor. Go ahead and create a title and some content for your blog post.

Now, in the right sidebar, there is a widget called Categories. Use the + Add New Category option to name a new category. Once you’ve created a category, be sure it is selected so that your post will be added to that category.

Below the Categories widget is the Tags widget. You can enter multiple words or phrases separated by commas to give the post multiple tags. After you do this, go ahead and click Publish.

Sample post in the Post Editor

You should now have two live pages and one live post. Go ahead and check out your homepage. At this point, you should be looking at a view of the homepage that you created. If your menu options were already set to automatically add new pages to the site menu, then you should see a Home link and a Blog Posts link on the menu.

Go ahead and click the Blog Posts. When the Blog Posts page loads, depending on the theme, it will either list excerpts or full text of all of your blog posts. Since you only have one right now, that will be the only one that loads. When you create a second post, the newest post will appear at the top of the page, with the next most recent below that and so on.

Building Your Media Library

You have probably noticed the item between Posts and Pages on the main menu. Media Library is where you will store all of your additional media files, including audio, video, and image files.

Welcome to the Media Library

It is simple to add files to the Media Library. You can just drag and drop them in from any Windows Explorer window. Once a file is in your Media Library, you can embed it into any post or page. In fact, with the Add Media button in the post and page editors, you can actually upload files directly to your Media Library from the editors.

Class Dismissed

We’ve now covered all of the basics to setting up a brand new WordPress site. You can explore plenty more advanced features, such as setting up widgets and advanced setup for different plugins and themes. Let me know if you’d like me to cover these topics in the future.

Teaser: Join me next week when I’ll be discussing scars that we all live with.

Wayne Cochran

Database Administrator, writer, social media evangelist, and occasional traveler, Wayne writes whatever comes into his head or touches his heart. His interests vary from IT to matters of the heart to the dream of a future beach life.

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