When you first install WordPress you’ll see two important items on your dashboard: Posts and Pages.
Click on Add New for a post or page, and the window that comes up looks pretty similar. As a reader, you don’t look at an article on a website and immediately think “that’s a post” or “that’s a page.”
There are some important differences between them, and it’s important to understand those differences before you start adding content.
What’s in a Page?
Pages are where you put your evergreen or pillar content — timeless information. Your About page is a Page, not a post, because it’s not going to change much over time.
That’s not to say you’ll never go back and edit or make changes on a page. Of course you can, and you will. But changes will be infrequent.
Pages are hierarchical. That means you can arrange sub-pages under pages. Google likes structure and hierarchy, so creating pages and sub-pages will please the search engine gods as well.
What’s in a Post?
Unlike pages, posts are designed to encourage social interaction and sharing. You don’t care if readers share your About page, but you definitely want them to share your article on the latest whiz-bang development in your industry.
You can’t create a hierarchy with posts, but you can make them searchable using tags and categories.
Posts go into a blog feed. If you have a blog on your site, the most recent post is at the top. Pages don’t go there. If you set up an RSS feed so your readers get an email when you add something new to your site, they only get emails for posts, not pages.
Page vs Post — Some Examples
Here are a few examples of pages and posts.
An Example from Copyblogger
The first is from Copyblogger a highly respected and popular blog about writing effective copy for the web.
Which is the page and which is the post?
This one’s almost too easy, because Copyblogger has kindly presented the page in one format and the post in another. But let’s look for a moment just at what each article is about because that tells us even without the other clues.
Copywriting 101 is an introduction to the subject of copywriting. It talks about some copywriting basics, and provides links to lots of other articles, and a couple of programs you can register for. It definitely qualifies as pillar content.
It’s also presented on a page without visual distractions. There’s no sidebar, and the social media icons float to the side, relatively unobtrusively. The only actions to take on the page are to click the links to the tutorial articles, or to sign up for their stuff. There’s nothing unrelated.
There’s no date on it and the author’s name isn’t displayed.
Now let’s click on over to Don’t Read This or the Kitty Gets It.
The tone of this article is less serious, even playful. Yes, there’s valuable information here — it’s all about what to do to get people to actually read what you’ve written. But it’s presented in a fun, conversational way.
There’s a date on the article, and an author’s name.
There are social sharing buttons across the top and bottom.
There’s a sidebar.
There’s a comments section.
It’s obvious that Copywriting 101 is the page and The Kitty Gets It is the post.
Examples from This Site
Now let’s take a look at a couple of articles right here. This is a bit tougher, because I don’t give you all those same visual cues that scream out “page!” or “post!” You can still figure it out by the content, though.
How to Make Your WordPress Site Do Something Magical is the first contender here. In the other corner we have What Are the Basic WordPress Building Blocks?.
The first article is a brief discussion of what WordPress plugins do, with several examples. While accurate and up-to-date when written, it could change. The developers could change the plugins, pull them off the market or something else could happen to them.
There are social share buttons and comments on the article.
What Are the Basic WordPress Building Blocks? covers the fundamentals of building a WordPress website, with links to a variety of how-to articles designed to help you get started with WordPress.
There are no social media links or comments.
The plugins article is a post and the WordPress Basics article is a page.
Did you get all those?
Now, here’s the $64,000 question — is this article a post or a page? Why?