WordPress Posts vs. Pages: When To Use Each

Before you jump in and start creating new content for your WordPress website, you need to understand the difference between WordPress Posts and Pages and when to use each.

At first glance, the two content types look nearly identical. When you’re just starting, this can be totally baffling. What’s the deal with WordPress Posts and Pages, and when should you choose one or the other?

This article will explain the similarities and differences. By the time we’re done, you will confidently create new WordPress content, using either Posts or Pages as appropriate to your needs.

What Is A WordPress Post?

When WordPress was new (well over a decade ago!), it was primarily used as a blogging system. A WordPress Post was a single blog entry. With that in mind, the structure and organization of WordPress Posts make a lot more sense.

When a list of Posts is displayed on your site, you’ll see them displayed in descending date order.

Posts can also be organized with categories and tags. Categories and tags are organizational bits of metadata that you create as needed to tie related Posts together. Those categories and tag assignments are collected on an Archive Page.

Depending on how your site is set up, WordPress will automatically create one or more of the following Archive Pages:

  • Category Archive – an archive of Posts in each category.
  • Tag Archive – an archive of Posts in each tag.
  • Date archive – an archive of Posts by date.
  • Author Archive – an archive of Posts for each author.

On each of these Archive Pages, WordPress displays a list of related Posts in date descending order.

WordPress also creates an RSS feed for your Posts — all Posts, in addition to separate feeds for each Archive Page.

One thing to remember about Posts: You create the Posts in the WordPress admin area, then assign it to a category. WordPress takes care of positioning that Posts on your site and managing where it appears in your archives. Those archives are automatically updated as you add new content. WordPress takes care of the tedious work of managing your website.

What Is A WordPress Page?

On the surface, Pages appear to be nearly identical to Posts. But when you dig in and look at how they’re used, it becomes apparent that they’re very different.

Pages are not part of the date-organized stream of Posts that you see on Archive Pages or your blog Page. In other words, any place where you see a list of Posts, you will never see a Page mixed in.

What’s more, Pages cannot be assigned categories or tags. That’s another reason why you’ll never see Pages listed in an archive.

These two facts raise some questions about how Pages are organized and displayed on your WordPress site.

There are a couple of different ways to organize your Pages:

Organize Pages hierarchically

You might have a Page that represents a whole section of your website — “About our Company,” for example. That section could include separate Pages with information about your location, your staff, your company history, and a contact form.

All related Pages can be grouped under a parent Page. The related Pages become sub-Pages and create a logical section of your website. When organized this way, WordPress uses the parent Page as part of the URL for the sub-Pages. So, the Page that includes information about your staff will have a URL that looks like this:

http://yourdomain.com/about/staff/

And the Page that includes your company history would have a URL that looks like this:

http://yourdomain.com/about/history/

This can be a compelling way of organizing traditional web content. It also has some SEO advantages, as Google and other search engines can detect that Pages in a given section are related based on the structure of the Page addresses.

Organize Pages by Menus

Pages can also be organized by placing them on the WordPress custom menus. The menu location is determined by your theme. Most themes include a primary menu that appears near the top of your website. By adding your most essential Pages to the primary menu, you can ensure that your visitors will find what they’re looking for.

Pages of lower importance can be positioned on secondary menus — many themes include footer menus or utility menus. You can even add menus to any sidebar location using a WordPress menu widget.

The point is that menus are a critical way that Pages are organized and presented to your visitors.

These are cornerstone Pages featuring the essential information that seldom changes. This is the information you want your visitors to easily find without a lot of effort.

Other Things That Make Pages Different From Posts

  • Pages are excluded from RSS feeds. So if you want your content to show up in the RSS feed, make sure you publish it as a Post and not a Page.
  • Page Templates are special layouts that can be applied to individual Pages. Templates are part of your theme, and not all themes include Page templates. If yours does, you’ll see available templates listed in the Page Attributes box on the Page Edit screen.
  • Menu Order, also located in the Page Attributes box. Menu Order is a numeric value that WordPress uses to determine the display order of Pages in some circumstances. Occasionally a theme will display a list of Pages automatically. The Menu Order determines how that list is ordered. Menu Order is a holdover from the days before custom menus.

When To Use A Post

Posts are best used for things like blogs, news stories, event announcements, and anything time-sensitive.

You need to use a Post if you want your content to appear as a new item for the readers who follow your updates by RSS.

Posts are also suitable for any content that has lots of individual entries that need to be organized around a common theme — using categories and tags. For example, you may Post a music review that you wish to organize by genre. Create a category for each genre and then assign each of your reviews (Posts) to an appropriate category.

When To Use A Page

Pages work best for content that needs to be regularly accessed. Your most important Pages will be linked from the primary menu on your site. This is usually content that doesn’t change often — Pages like “About Us” and “Contact” are relatively constant.

If you are building a more traditional business website as opposed to a blog, you will use Pages for most of your business content.

Additionally, you should use Pages for any content that is organized hierarchically. For example, you might have Pages for each department in your company. Those Pages can be grouped under the main Page by selecting the Main Page as the “Parent,” under Page Attributes, for each of the departmental Pages.

Also, if your theme includes custom Page templates, use Pages whenever your content requires the special layout provided by the template.

What’s On Your Home Page?

Now that we’re clear on the differences between Posts and Pages, you’re probably wondering about the most important Page on your website. The Home Page. Should your home Page be a Post, a Page, or something else entirely?

The answer depends on what type of website you have. And also, which theme you’re using.

Most blogs display a list of Recent Posts on the Home Page. Nearly any WordPress theme is capable of displaying blog Posts on the Front Page.

However, a good business website will have more than a list of Blog Posts on the Home Page. You should include some information about your company, your mission, your products and services, and a call to action.

There a couple of different ways to change your Home Page from a simple list of blog Posts to something more appropriate for a business website.

The first is to use a theme that has a special home Page template. Most business-oriented themes include special templates and settings Pages that allow for a highly customized home Page.

If your theme doesn’t include a layout for the Home Page, WordPress lets you promote any Page to be your Home Page. These options are available on the Reading Settings Page.

In your WordPress admin area, go to Settings -> Reading. The first setting on this Page is “Front Page Displays.”

You have two options for your home Page: A list of Blog Posts or a static Page. To change from a list of Blog Posts to a Page, click the radio button next to “A static Page” and then select the desired Page from the drop-down box. Note, the Page needs to be created first. Also, you will only see published Pages. So any Pages set to Draft won’t appear on the list.

Of course, once you set your front Page to a static Page, you need a place to put your blog Posts. WordPress allows you to do that with the next drop-down box. Select any Page to be your “Posts Page” a WordPress will automatically use that Page to list all of your latest Posts. You’ll want to create a blank Page named Blog before adjusting this setting.

You can also use the Theme Customizer to change these settings. The advantage of doing so is that you’ll see a preview of your changes in real-time, and you can create your new blank “Blog” Page right from the theme customizer.

Putting The Pieces Together

Now that you understand the difference between Posts and Pages, take some time to think about your website and the information you’re publishing.

Use the content type that’s most appropriate for each piece of content you plan to publish. Keep your site visitors in mind as you organize that content. After all, your website is there to serve your visitors. If they can’t easily find what they’re looking for, what’s the point?

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25 thoughts on “WordPress Posts vs. Pages: When To Use Each”

  1. Thank you for this VERY useful information because I was going to go mad if I didn’t find this out, wordpress is a very complicated, simple thing… =D

  2. I’m using WordPress for the first time on a couple of upcoming projects.

    This video is a great start, and has confirmed that I have made the right choice by choosing WordPress.

    Looking forward to the next ones on the list.

  3. I am new to word press. This video cleared a lot of questions, that I had about post and pages

  4. Hi I started using pages for a wordpress site I help run. I haven’t used posts before but I’m coming round to the idea that it might be best to create 301 redirects for article pages linking them to posts instead.

    In part this is due to being able to do more with posts… do you think this is a good idea – are there any benefits to having posts instead of pages?

    thanks

    1. It really depends on the nature of your content and what you’re trying to accomplish. Pages are typically used for static content that doesn’t change much, including pages that are prominently featured on site-wide navigation (contact, about, support, etc.). If you’re using WordPress as a CMS system for a regular website as opposed to a blog, then chances are most of your content will be pages.

      If, on the other hand, your content is more blog-like — you need the most current article displayed first, or you want to organize by categories and tags — then posts are the way to go.

  5. Thank you for this video, I found it very useful and in particular I learned that Pages don’t show on your RSS feed. I still have to learn how RSS feeds operate but I am a way from there yet. Does that mean that if I want a page to show up in my RSS feed I should create a post using a link to point to the article/page?

    Do pages have less SEO value than posts? I didn’t think so but now I am wondering…

    thanks again!

    1. Gayle,

      It’s important to keep in mind that Posts and Pages are designed to meet very different needs. Posts are timely updates, Pages are perennial content. If you’re running a blog, then most of your content will be published as Posts and you’ll have just a few Pages. If you’re using WordPress as a CMS, then the entire structure of your site will be defined in Pages (and child pages) and Posts will be reserved for news updates and blog posts.

      With this in mind, it makes sense that Pages wouldn’t be included in an RSS feed. Since Pages usually serve as perennial content, they would quickly vanish from the feed as new Posts were published.

      Having said this, you should know that there are plugins that will allow you to add Pages to your RSS feed — but, before you consider using one of those, it’s likely best that you think a bit about what you’re trying to achieve and use the most appropriate content type for the information you’re publishing.

  6. Very informative video and clearly presented information, thank you.

    Cleared up some confusion for me particularly that pages can be used in a hierarchical fashion and tend to be more static whereas posts are date and time sensitive and are organized by categories and tags.

    Rob

  7. thank you for this information! I’m new at this whole wordpress thing and your video was VERY helpful.

  8. Very efficient video and great tips! Just started using wordpress, figuring out best how to use posts vs pages and this helped!

  9. Great video… I also wasn’t sure of the difference between posts & pages, but this video explains it perfectly. I had to pause the video multiple times so that I’d have time to write down notes. Appreciated that you also mentioned how each type (post or page) is used… posts for blog posts and pages for traditional web content/static pages. Thanks!

  10. Very nice – cleared up confusion for me.

    However, can you please suggest how to do this:

    I’d like various kinds of pages, eg.: products, services, rants & raves.
    Then, I’d like to write posts in each page (and each page would have its own categories; for example, products page would have categories such as home, health, finance, etc. and services page might have categories such as insurance, debt, etc.)

    Right now, I just have a blog page. I’d like to be able to target blogs to go into these pages instead. So, I wouldn’t like a reader who came to my “products” blog to click on the calendar and see my blog post on maid service.

    Is it even possible to do this? Or do I have to just create different WP installs into each subfolder on my site (like root/products/blog, root/services/blog)? If the latter, then it is going to be terrible because then I have to recreate all my plug in settings and services, right? (eg., my onlywire plugin has around 50 services!)

    Please advice.

    Thanks,

    Gary

    1. @Gary Without knowing more about your site or your content, I suggest that you consider using Categories and child Categories for your posts. Using your example, your Home category would have child categories of Health and Finance. Posts from all three categories (the parent category and two child categories) will be displayed on the parent category’s archive page. If you want more control over formatting you can create custom templates for each parent category.

  11. Hi Kirk.
    I’m still just beginning to understand the difference with these two. What I’m wondering is whether it is common practice to use pages like a category and then have posts for that page exist only on that page?

    I’m guessing that if I wanted to do that i would need to use categories as page tabs then posts for that category would be displayed on that page tab which is actually a category archive?

    Does that make sense? Is there a better way?

    Basically i want to create a blog for a team of people to use for communicating and collaborating on a project which involves a new website. So I want discussions to be split into the categories of “website ID (including layout/logo/name of site)” with another category for “marketing” and another for general discussion. I thought it would be possible to create pages for these categories then each page would have a blog that is specific to that page. I’m finding this a little tricky to say the least.

    Can you suggest anything that would help me get something close to what I’ve described?

    Cheers,
    Danny.

  12. Hi Danny,
    What you’re describing is a category archive page. WordPress creates those automatically for each category.

    You can add categories to your site menu (take a look at the lesson on custom menus). I’m pretty sure that will accomplish what you’re trying to achieve.

  13. Hi Kirk. What I am trying to do is open a small homemade jewelry site. It would only be selling say up to 10 pieces of jewelry at a time. I would like a “Home” page to tell a little about me, then a “My Jewelry” page, which would have under “My Jewelry” a sub-page called “Necklaces” and also a sub-page called “Earrings”. On the Necklaces page, I would have what would look like a photo gallery that you could click on each necklace with a description, price and Paypal button. Same with the Earrings page, a photo gallery with description, price and Paypal button. Any idea how to accomplish this with the core WP 3.5.2? I really don’t need a big fancy ecommerce plugin just want to keep it simple. Thanks… Judy

    1. Hi Helen,

      The page structure you’ve described will work, but you’re in for a lot of manual coding if you don’t use some sort of ecommerce plugin to manage your products and generate the checkout links. Each of those products needs to be created somehow. If you add them all to a single page, you’ll need to manually add the HTML and CSS to get the layout just right. I think you’ll have a much more satisfying experience if you use a theme that’s designed for ecommerce. Ideally one that will let you enter each product as a unique item. Even with a small number of products manual coding is no fun.

  14. Kirk, a quick question: are the posts you showed in your examples found in the Blog tab in your menu? Wasn’t clear on only that one small point.

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Yes, one of the lists of posts is on the Blog page listed on the top menu. I moved posts to that page using the Reading Settings (more information in the Reading Settings lesson). I also show a list of posts on an archive page. WordPress creates those archive pages automatically for every category and tag you create.

  15. Hi,

    I am planning on converting a static html site (with over 750 pages. The main topic is HIstory and Wars) to WordPress. I found plug-ins that can let me convert my post/pages names to .htm and.html endings to exactly mimic the current URLs of my old site (for backlinks, SEO, etc. I do not want new names for all of my pages), but I wonder if I should make each new page into a Post or into a Page in WP.

    I like the idea of Categories and Tags to connect all of my content (for example, individual categories on American Wars, British Wars, etc.), so I at first thought of just making posts for my content and then using plugins to give them the URLs I want, but then I found a plugin that will let me put WP Pages into categories and tags. So the basic question is: Is there any inherent disadvantage for putting my content into Post format, or Page format? Another thing I like about Posts is the Ping updates when posting, and the rss feed for publicizing my content.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!

  16. Hi Roger,

    For 750 pages I would definitely use Posts. They’re much easier to manage and organize than page. Remember, pages are organized in relation to themselves (child pages), while posts use categories and tags. In practice, that makes posts much easier to manage in large quantities.

    You can add “.html” to the end of your permalink settings to get the desired results without using a plugin. Use the custom permalink setting like so: “/%category%/%postname%.html” (this appends .html to the
    generated permalink)

    I would also use the Redirection plugin with logging enabled: http://wordpress.org/plugins/redirection/
    You don’t want to redirect all of your pages, but with logging enabled you’ll be able to quickly identify 404 errors generated from inbound links. Then you can either fix the broken link by adjusting your page slug or creating a custom redirect for any problem posts or pages.

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