WP-admin Lesson 3: Pages

In WordPress, you can write either Posts or Pages. In Lesson 2 we looked at Writing Your first Post now we will look at Pages.  Pages are for content outside of the normal blog chronology;  content such as About Us, Contact Us, etc.  whereas Blog Posts are articles or time sensitive material.  You can use WordPress to develop your website and not have blog at all.  WordPress is a powerful content management system. This tutorial to using the WordPress administration backend will guide you through how to add a new page to your blog.

To create a new Page, log in to your WordPress administration area and in the left column select » Pages » Add New (1. & 2. in the screenshot below)


Like Posts, Pages have a title, permalink,  content and can have an excerpt. If you have alread familiarized yourself with these and with how to use the WordPress visual editor by reading Lesson 2 , you may find much of this repetitive.

3. Give your page a Title: Such as About Us, Contact Us, etc…

4. Permalink or URL: In the first wp-admin tutorial you set your permalink structure in settings,  if you haven’t already done this you will see a change permalink button,  click it and change your structure now.  With the new permalink structure you selected the URL is automatically generated from your title.  Something like http://www.yoursite.com/?page_id=65 will become http://www.yoursite.com/about-us . In previous versions of WordPress, this was referred to as the “page-slug.” Commas, quotes, apostrophes, and other non-HTML favourable characters are changed and a dash is put between each word. Click Edit to customize the permalink for this page.  In future as you create new pages always check that permalink is short and descriptive.

PAGE EDITING AREA: The blank box where you enter your writing, links, links to images, and any information you want to display on your site. You can use either the Visual or the HTML view to compose your page content.  These screenshots will show you how to use the WordPress visual editor.

At the top of this area next to the words Upload/Insert you can click to add images and other media to your page.  Browse your computer to find the image, click upload, decide how you want the image to appear (centered, left, right) and then insert the image into your page.
adding an image to your blog post


If you click the last icon Show/Hide Kitchen Sink you can open more editing features.

IMPORTANT! Do not paste text into your site directly from MS Word or any other Word Processing progam!!  You will bring in a mess of code that can cause problems.  Open the Kitchen Sink and click on the icon that is a clipboard with a T and paste as plain text.


You can expand the editing area by clicking on the bottom corner of the editor and dragging it down.


EXCERPT: WordPress says “Excerpts are optional hand-crafted summaries of your content“.  While you probaby aren’t using this field within your theme to summarize a page the way you would summarize a post, Search Engines will use this field as the content for your  Meta Description tag so make sure that it describes accurately what the page is about.


A Quick Lesson in Custom Fields

WordPress has the ability to allow you to assign custom fields to a page.  This can be useful if you want each page to have unique content.  For instance you may want a testimonial in the sidebar for each page but you don’t want to use the testimonial plugin that randomly selects which testimonial is displayed, you want a specific testimonial for a specific page.  Here are the three steps to follow to create this new custom field and get it to work in your theme.

  1. add a new custom field and call it testimonial
  2. on  the right under value you would put the text that you want to appear such as “<h3>Testimonial</h3> <p id=”testimonial”>testimonial text goes here.</p>”
  3. In your themes sidebar.php file you will need to add this code where you want the testimonial to appear

<?php
// start Testimonial
$values = get_post_custom_values("testimonial");
if (isset($values[0])) {
?>
<?php
$values = get_post_custom_values("testimonial"); echo $values[0]; ?>
<?php } ?>


PUBLISH PANEL (top right hand column):

Save Draft – yes it does just what it says… saves your page in draft form without publishing it.
Preview – Allows you to view the page in your browser before officially publishing it.
Publish – will publish your page to the status, visibility and schedule you have set

STATUS:

  • A Published status means the page has been published on your website for all to see.
  • Pending Review status means the draft is waiting for review by an editor prior to publication.
  • Draft status means the page has not been published and remains a draft for you.

VISIBILITY:

  • Public pages will be visible by all website visitors once published.
  • Password Protected pages are published to all, but visitors must know the password to view the page content.
  • Private pages are visible only to you (and to other editors or admins within your site)

Move to Trash – This will move your page to the trash where it will stay for 30 days, you can also click delete permanently or restore.


Organizing your Pages: Pages aren’t organized by tags and categories the way that posts are.  In the right hand column you can set attributes that affect the hierarchy of pages.

Think of a navigation structure with a drop down menu.

Home  |    About Us      |    Contact Us
> Mission Statement
> Staff
> Affiliations

In this example, About Us is the parent page and Mission Statement, Staff, Affiliations are three sub pages. There are no limits to how deeply nested you can make pages.

Parent
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.

Template
WordPress can be configured to use different Page Templates for different Pages.  Your theme would have to be designed or customized to provide different page layout options.

Order
You can set the order so that your pages will be listed in the navigation structure according to the order you set here.  The default order is alphabetical.


Exclude Pages Plugin: This plugin adds a checkbox, “include this page in menus”, which is checked by default. If you uncheck it, the page will not appear in any listings of pages. Pages which are children of excluded pages also do not show up in menu listings.  This is valuable if you have pages such a sitemap that you want to link to in the theme footer but not include in the main site navigation.

We will learn about plugins in our next WordPress lesson …

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