A WordPress blog comes with two main content options, post and pages. One of the first questions I get from beginner bloggers is: what is the difference between blog posts and blog pages in WordPress. It is a good question and in this WordPress tutorial, I am going to clarify it.
First we’ll take a look at blog pages, then we’ll look at blog posts and finally, I’ll summarize the key difference between blog posts and blog pages.
1. Blog Pages In WordPress
The pages are not dated and there is no author assigned to them. Since they are not dated, by default, they are not included in an RSS feed which provides the reader with newly published information.
As well, usually bloggers remove comments from pages as they are not meant to be socially interactive. You really want your page to be uncluttered and have a clean look.
Some bloggers allow comments on About page and I can see that, especially when you want to connect with your visitors and share your story with them.
The functionality of blog pages is also differs from that of blog posts. Blog pages do not have categories or tags. They are able to be arranged hierarchically, in a nested fashion within the WordPress editor dashboard.
You can create sub-pages within your main blog pages, much like you can create sub-categeries for your posts. For example, if you have an organization separated into 3 branches, your organization would represent the main page and the three branches would represent a sub-page, each.
Most themes allow you to use ready made custom templates (or if you are very techie you can create your own custom template). For example, my theme has 11 different page templates. My blog home page is an example of one. There, all my posts are automatically arranged into a magazine style showing. My blog also has a template that allows me to create a page without sidebars, without a header and without a navigation bar. Each custom template can be used for a very specific function of the page.
For example, a “naked” page template, could be used when you are creating an opt-in page or a sales page, where you do not want the clutter of widgets, header and a navigation bar to distract from the message you are trying to convey.
Another wonderful feature of blog pages is the capability to order the pages in an archival order. The feature is called Order and it allows you to assign a specific order to your pages by assigning them a number (1, 2, 3, for example). The ordered pages will appear in this specified order.
The different options are shown in the WordPress editor dashboard on the right hand side. This is different from what you would see in the editor dashboard of a post.
Image 1. Page Options In WordPress Editor
2. Blog Posts
Blog posts are meant to represent dynamic content. In other words, a content that is continuously changing as you are writing more and more blog posts. This content is posted on your blog in chronological order, from newest to the oldest. This chronology shows on all data collecting pages (Home Page, Categories, Archives, etc).
As the posts get older they become archived based on the date they were published. Eventually the older ones would become so deeply buried within the guts of your WordPress blog, that no one would be able to find them. Neither your readers, nor the search engines!
To prevent the loss of all the wonderful material you publish, you can turn to Categories and Tags. You can create categories and categorize your blog posts, in keeping with your overall structure and topic of your blog. You can also tag your posts (actually you should) and that will create yet another order of your posts, according to the keywords you used as tags.
Although Categories, in particular, are a wonderful and a simple way to organize your posts, there is a drawback with them in certain circumstances. This is because of the fact that the posts are published in a chronological order from last to first.
Let me give you an example where this is an issue. Lets say you create a series of ordered articles. For example, “Article Title – Part 1″, Article Title – Part 2” and “Article Title – Part 3”. Naturally, you would write “Article Title – Part 1” first, followed by Part 2 and Part 3. On the Categories Page (and on your Home Page as well), they will appear in reverse order. Part 3 would be in front of Part 1. Obviously, in this case it does not make sense.
Unfortunately, unlike blog pages, blog posts cannot be ordered easily. If you are not a techie coder, the only way to overcome this obstacle is to manually change the date of publishing (you can backdate the publication of a new article in the WordPress editor) either before you publish the posts or after the blog posts are published.
By default, blog posts are published with a stamp of date. Even if you are able to block the date from showing (many bloggers do that), the date is there, invisible, in the background. Because of this feature posts can be syndicated through RSS feeds and the readers who have subscribed to your feeds will be notified when you publish a new article. (Most themes have a default RSS button somewhere near the header of a blog, for easy access).
A blog post is a social entity. Commenting options, social sharing buttons, RSS are a common feature of posts. As a matter of fact social sharing is encouraged as search engines, like Google, love to see sharing go on. It makes a blog more interesting for them. (This is good for ranking your blog).
Another great option for blog posts, is the option to display Featured images. This is a great asset because RSS feeds and Facebook will “capture” Featured images and feature them in the content. As well, the featured image will show on your Home Page, if you set up your Reading Settings to do so.
The options for blog posts are accessed on the right hand side of the WordPress editor dashboard.
Image 2. Blog Post Options In WordPress Editor*
Image 3. Example is of the demo blog “ditahelp.me”, which I use for the WordPress tutorial series.
3. Key Differences Between Blog Posts And Blog Pages
Let me summarize the key differences between blog posts and blog pages
► Can be categorized
► Can be tagged
► Cannot be nested
► Cannot be ordered
► Can be syndicated in RSS
► Display Featured image
► Can be shown in chronological order on Home Page automatically
► Cannot be categorized
► Cannot be tagged
► Can be nested
► Can be ordered
► Cannot be syndicated in RSS
► Do not display Featured image
► Cannot be shown in chronological order on Home Page automatically
In summary, although it may not seem significant, the difference between blog posts and blog pages in WordPress is real. The difference is significant for you, the blogger, as it allows you to format your blog effectively to keep both, the readers and the search engines engaged.
The difference between blog posts and blog pages is also important for the readers, because your new posts are organized for an easy access and navigation. It is also essential for search engines who, not only like to see fresh content churning up, but who also like easy navigation throughout your blog. Categorizing and tagging your blog posts makes it possible.
Next Tutorial: WordPress Editor Overview