I saw an interesting question today while browsing the queries for which this site has been returned in the search results: What is the difference between WordPress pages, WordPress posts and WordPress categories?
Being able to use these three elements in the way they are intended can make a big difference to how your site will fare in the search results, so here’s a description:
Pages in WordPress are defined as being ‘static’. This means that they do not appear in the blog roll and, therefore, their position does not change in relation to other pages (as the position of posts does).
Pages appear in the navigation menu and are not organised into categories.
Pages on Blogs
If you’re using WordPress as a blog, you would use pages for information that does not change often.
You would have these pages in your main menu so they are presented to all visitors everywhere on your site. This enables them to reach those pages easily from wherever they are.
Pages on business websites
If you’re using WordPress as the platform for your company or business website, then Pages would be the main way you present your company’s information.
Individual pages would be used to contain information such as ‘Our team’, ‘Terms and conditions’, ‘Office locations’, ‘Products and services’ and so on, and these would all appear in the navigation menu.
If you are operating a shop on your site then you would place the shortcode for the shop plugin on a page, which would then also appear in the menu as ‘Shop’ (or whatever you chose).
These would all appear in the navigation menu so site visitors could easily find their way around the site from wherever they are.
Posts are defined as dynamic. This is because as you write each new post it is listed at the top of the post listing, pushing all the other posts down by a position each time a new one is added.
Posts are organised into categories and tags (see below) whereas pages are not.
Posts on blogs
If you’re using WordPress as a blog then your content will mostly be created in posts.
Posts stem from the original concept of a blog: a weblog, which was basically a diary online.
Many active blog sites publish new posts each day, covering issues of the day, or other contemporary information. Some posts are short – in fact they can be little more than a thought – while others can be long, detailed articles.
You can write a post on any subject and many blogs have hundreds, if not thousands, of posts on a range of different subjects or interests.
Clearly, it would not be possible to link to all these from the navigation menu!
Therefore, posts are (or should be!) arranged or organised into a number of different categories in order to group related ones together.
Posts on business websites
If you’re using WordPress as the platform for a business or company website then, as I said earlier, most of the content will be presented as pages that appear in the navigation menu.
However, one of those pages could, for example, be called ‘Latest news’, or ‘Blog’. This would be a page that you had assigned (in WordPress settings) to contain your posts.
That page would appear in the navigation menu, giving a link to the latest news items or updates from the business.
These items would be using the WordPress blog functionality and you would be publishing press releases or other items of news related to the business, as posts.
As each new press release (post) was published it would appear at the top of the list of items, ensuring that it’s the first one that’s seen by visitors, pushing the older ones down a position.
Using WordPress’ blog functionality like this is a great way to have a company blog (or latest news items) seamlessly incorporated into your company website.
Posts can be organised and arranged into categories so as to group related items together.
Categories are WordPress’ filing system.
They only affect posts and they are a way of grouping related articles together.
So, for example, you could have a food website on which you’re writing posts on a regular basis. Typically, people who read articles on curry dishes would like to be able to read other articles on curry dishes.
So you would have a category called ‘Curries’, and you would assign all posts you write on curries to this category, making it easier for your site visitors.
You could have another category called ‘Vegan dishes’, to which you would assign all articles written for vegans.
On this website, the categories I’ve used are listed under ‘See Articles On’ in the sidebar to the right (or below this article if you’re reading this on a small screen).
Clicking one of those categories will take you to all the related articles I’ve assigned to it.
So, to sum up:
Pages are static. They appear in the menu, contain information that does not change often and are not organised into categories.
Posts are dynamic. They do not appear in the menu, are organised into categories and the latest post is always at the top.
Categories are WordPress’ filing system and organise posts, but not pages, into groups on related subjects.
For more information on categories read this explanation.
Leave me a comment below if I need to clarify anything.