Post: An article published within a blog and displayed in chronological order within multi-post pages such as the front page, category, searches, archives, tags, and other page views.
Page: A pseudo-static web page which holds content on a blog outside of the chronological order. A Page (written properly as capitalized) typically holds timeless, reference content such as information about the blog and blog owner(s), contact information, schedule of events, links to resources and references, table of contents or site maps, copyright and legal policies, and other information a site needs to provide to visitors. A Page is viewed when the link is clicked from the blog. Currently in WordPress, unless otherwise overwritten, a Page is not viewed in search results, categories, archives, or other multi-post page views.
Let’s look at how some beginner bloggers are abusing Pages on their blogs. These examples may sound familiar.
Pages Are For Articles
A year ago, a blogger came to the WordPress Support Forum confused and frustrated. He’d been publishing articles on his blog and no one could find them. He tried to assign them to categories, but he couldn’t figure out how to do it. They were turning up in search engines, but he and others were having trouble with accessing them on his blog through his blog’s feed.
A quick visit to his blog found only four posts on his blog’s font page, and a sidebar listing of Pages that stretched down for 4 screen scrolls, all in alphabetical order.
It turned out that he was using Pages for publishing his blog posts and not posts.
These Pages hold content that removes itself from the chronological listing on a WordPress blog, known as the WordPress Loop, code which collects and displays post data within your blog’s Theme. When you publish a Page, access is only through the list of Pages in your Theme’s sidebar, typically in alphabetical order, possibly grouped by Pages with subPages. They do not appear on the front page of your blog as a post, nor on categories, archives, or other multi-post page views on your blog.
They also do not appear on your blog’s feed as only posts are added to the feed.
The blogger was advised to copy and paste all of the Page content into posts, which then allowed categorization and made them appear on his blog’s feed. It also put them on the front page of his blog, allowed them to be included in the default WordPress blog search.
His readers were thrilled and his readership increased as the normal function of his blog returned, putting the focus back on the posts and off of the Pages.
Pages Are Showcases
Another blogger used the WordPress Pages feature to showcase articles, intent on driving his readers towards the “best” of his article writing. He created a main Page called “Articles” and then added over a dozen of his best articles as subPages. On the main Articles Page, he put a list of links to the Pages in his Page list. In the sidebar of his WordPress Theme, the Articles Page was featured in the Page list, along with the 12 featured articles.
In addition, he regularly published blog posts.
Every few weeks, he would dig into his Pages and copy the content from those 12 Pages and paste them into posts. He’d delete the Pages and create 12 new ones with new “featured” articles. He’d then edit the list in the main Articles Page to point to the Pages. The old 12 Pages were now posts. He played with the timestamp feature of WordPress to back date the posts to the date he published them as Pages, “incorporating” them back into his blog.
This process would take him about two hours or more, though he said he was getting faster each time.
When asked why he did it this way, he said that he wanted to show off his best writing to attract writing jobs and reprint sales. I asked him why he didn’t use a most popular post lists WordPress Plugin instead. He didn’t know such a thing existed.
“These articles are my resume. My portfolio. I want to showcase my best work so everyone can see them and want to hire me as a writer.”
I explained that this method was only working for him, and against him, not for his readers nor new visitors.
From a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, once an article is a Page, it is scanned once by search engines for inclusion in their database. A blog post gets scanned several times, as a single post page view and within categories, tags, archives, and other multi-post page views. While Google warns that duplicate content, called supplemental indexes, is frowned upon, it is natural. What they frown upon is the abusive use of duplicate content within and across blogs by spam blogs (splogs) violating copyrights and just spreading copy and paste content around stuffed with ad links. The natural multiplicity of blog post content increases exposure of your blog posts.
An article sitting on a Page gets one chance to make it into a search engine’s search results.
If your job is to promote your writing skills and attract freelance or contract writing jobs, then let everything you publish on your blog be its best. Let your entire blog’s content be your resume and portfolio.
Besides, I told him, think of how you could better spend those two to four hours playing around with posts and Pages. You could be writing an even better article.
Are You Abusing Pages?
Think about it. How do new people find your content? Searches and referring links. They land on a web page on your site and are thrilled. They’ve found the answer.
Do they know it’s a Page or a post? No.
Do they care? No.
How do your regular readers find your content? Through feeds and a visit to your front page, or to a specific category of posts or category feed of posts. Pages are not included in your feeds nor categories, nor on the front page of your blog. Why bother?
Stop thinking print and start thinking blog.
How to Showcase Your Blog Posts and Articles
If you have a need to promote, honor, and showcase specific articles, published as posts, on your blog, here are some tips:
- Let a Post’s Traffic Speak For Itself: Using a WordPress Plugin that features your most popular posts showcases the posts that get the most traffic on your blog in a list in your sidebar. If the reader’s like it, it must be good, right?
- What Have You Been Doing Recently? When a visitor arrives on a web page of your blog, and they like what they see, they want to know what else you’ve been up to. Using a recent posts WordPress Plugin calls attention to what you’ve been doing recently, no matter which page they land on within your blog.
- Have You Done Anything Else Like This? A related posts WordPress Plugin is usually generated at the bottom of a blog post, but can also be found in the WordPress Theme sidebar. It lists posts related to this one, which helps the visitor find relevant content to learn more about the subject, or find the answer if this post doesn’t quite have the answer.
- Featured Posts: There are several ways to feature one or more blog posts, if you want to call attention to them on your blog’s front page. Using a WordPress Plugin that calls out posts from your archives, or from a specific date, or allows you to specify which posts to showcase, you can create a “featured posts” section on the front page and category pages of your blog, directing your readers to what you want them to notice. These techniques, however, do not add the posts to your blog’s feed. They are only visible to those visiting your blog.
- Create an Article Portfolio: If you really want to showcase and promote your writing, why not create a portfolio within your blog on a Page. List your “favorite” articles with links to the posts, and maybe even include a short excerpt and a thumbnail screenshot of the post to give it some flair. You can easily update or change the posts within this list any time, changing only one Page, not a bunch of Pages, and only manipulating titles and a little content, not full articles. Let this serve as your resume of your writing and your entire blog speak for all your best work.
- Link to Old Posts Within Your New Posts: If you want to bring attention to your old posts, link to them from within your new posts. Use them as references. Create manual lists of references and resources to other posts you’ve written on the subject. Find ways of including links to one or more past posts in every blog post and you increase the web “links” and navigation to deeper content within your blog.
- Create a Good Site Map: It used to be that a website wasn’t ready until its site map was in place, a directory and road map for visitors to use to help them find important references and resources within the site. Few blogs today offer a decent site map, and I think we need to go back to the good old days and put more energy into creating a good site map and table of contents for our blogs. A good site map features blog posts by category, grouping like content together to help the visitor find the information they need. It’s a great way to feature articles you’ve done on a subject, and showcase your body of work, rather than just a list of 5 or 10 posts.
We need to stop thinking “print” and starting thinking “blog” and the power of content management within a blog. Our content gets maximum exposure when it is published as a post, not a Page.
- Who The Hell Are You?
- How People Search the Web and How They Can Find Your Blog
- Judging Blogs by their Post Content Styles
- The Problems With Tags and Tagging
- Do-It-Yourself Search Engine Optimization Guide
- Understanding and Fixing WordPress Search
- Housekeeping: Cleaning Out Post Drafts
- When was the last time you read your own blog?
- When is the Best Time and Day to Post on Your Blog?
- You Got To Earn Your Reputation
- Tags and Tagging in WordPress
- Writing With Post Excerpts and Feed Excerpts in Mind
- What Do I Do With My New WordPress.com Blog
- Writing Effective, Attention-Getting Headlines and Titles on Your Blog
- Working Ahead – Future Posts with WordPress
- WordPress Pages: Exploring the Pseudo-Static Pages of WordPress
- The Art of a Good Site Map
- Your Blog is Your Unedited Version of Yourself
- The Agony of Link Hunting
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.