If you have visited a website, blog, or shopped online in the last 24 hours, chances are you have utilized a site powered by WordPress. In fact, by mid-2018, over 30% of the top 10 million websites have been designed and developed using this content management system (CMS).
Originally developed for blogging, this open-source platform now powers full websites, online stores, mailing lists, forums, and much more. This has been made possible because of its plugin architecture, allowing users to pick and choose among a huge number of options, as they decide how to “curate” and manage their content.
WordPress has a basic architecture, with built-in tools. As stated, it also has an amazing number of plugins, both free and fee-based, that can be added, as users become more familiar with them and as websites, blogs, etc. grow.
Here is a guide to content management via WordPress, beginning with the basics and then exploring more sophisticated options.
Pages Vs. Posts
The first concept to be understood is that there is a difference between a page and a post. A page is a part of your website, and it is what is often referred to as “static,” that is, more permanent. These are such things as “About Us”, “Contact Us,” “Products,” etc. It is not that they will not change over time, but they are more “permanent” than blog posts.
Blog posts can be considered permanent, especially as you separate them from “most current” to “archives.” But, a blog is considered non-static, because the content you create for a blog continually “moves.” Older posts are replaced by newer ones, so a blog changes all the time. There are other features of blog posts that may not exist on website pages – sharing buttons, plugins that allow for commenting and discussion, etc.
So, website pages are sort of like a “Table of Contents,” set up by links on your site. Blog posts are sort of like newspaper articles.
Organizing Your Posts
One of the beautiful functions of WordPress is that you can organize your posts into categories, by using search or tag features. These organizational structures are known as taxonomies. Here’s a simple example. Suppose you have an interior design website, and you have written blog posts on everything from wall art to window treatments, to soft furnishings like bedding.
WordPress allows you to set up categories and tags that will pull up all of the posts on a given sub-topic when a visitor searches. You can use a custom post type generator that will categorize your posts and retrieve those that relate to the relevant sub-topic. The CPT plugins will be important is you have a multitude of posts and you want your visitors to find exactly what they are looking for.
Having the ability to categorize your posts in your archive is powerful. And WordPress has a built in Archive Index, to be searched by keywords, authors, or tags. Once you activate this feature, your visitors will find you blog far more useful.
Steven Mehler and Daniela McVicker have been content writers and editors for the review site, Rated by Students, for several years. They use WordPress for the site blog. According to Mehler, “Once we began to use the organizing and structuring function of WordPress, we saw a pretty dramatic uptick in user access of our blog. When they could search for content categories, their use was much more streamlined, and they could find the information they wanted quickly. This is one function of WordPress that we love.”
Setting Up Your Blog – Static Front Page?
If you have visited blogs, you have probably seen that there is a static “front page” and then non-static elements on that page, such as “most recent posts.” These are default settings within WordPress that are easy to set up. You can choose how many “recent posts” you want to display and how much of the post content you actually want to display before you insert the “read more” link.
You can also set up what is known as “sticky posts.” These are featured posts that you want your visitors to be able to access, no matter what else they may be looking for. Generally, these are posts that are “evergreen,” that is, they have no “shelf life.” They have content that is relevant and important over time. Through WordPress, you can have a “sticky post” stay on your front page for as long as you wish. And you can remove it any time you want.
How Will You Present and Curate Your Content?
WordPress allows almost anything – text, visuals, videos, even augmented and virtual reality. Your options revolve around how you will create, organize, and structure your content. If you are a “newbie,” then you need to take tutorials that are offered by WordPress, to show you how you can do all of this.
You can create resource pages through WordPress – related collections that will be attractive to your followers and have the potential to grow your subscriber lists and spread your brand message. And you can keep track of all of this through your WordPress dashboard with the Edit Flow plugin, a plugin that will also allow you to plan and schedule your postings.
Creating that Content
This, of course, is the key element regarding your content. While WordPress makes it easy to organize and structure your content for maximum benefit, it obviously cannot create it for you.
If you are a skilled and creative writer and know how to use the many tools and plugins available to you, you will have no problem crafting engaging posts for your followers. If not, however, you will need to find help. There are innumerable professional content freelancers and writing agencies, including the following:
- Freelancer: you can find individual freelance writers who have a history of copywriting success.
- Upwork: this is a site that matches people with a variety of needs with freelancers who can meet them, including copywriting.
- Supreme Dissertations: this company was originally launched as an academic writing service. Recently, it has expanded into the field of content marketing and is already developing a reputation for creating pretty amazing marketing content.
- Rewarded Essays: An agency that has a content marketing department fully versed in WordPress and its plugins – one that can create copy that makes full use of WordPress options.
This, of course, should be a goal of any business that is powered by WordPress. How do you create posts that will then be found and indexed by search engines?
There are a number of SEO plugins for WordPress. You might want to begin with Yoast. This is a rather all-encompassing SEO plugin that most WordPress users add to their features. Yoast is “versed” on search engine algorithms and will analyze any blog post based upon its SEO elements – such things as keywords, Meta descriptions, etc. It will also provide suggestions for improving SEO potential so that a writer can make suitable changes. There are plenty of other SEO optimization plugins, much more sophisticated than Yoast, but this is a good start point.
About Those Plugins
There are over 29,000 WordPress plugins that have been created to accomplish any number of things. And it can be a huge challenge to research what they do and which ones will best fit your needs. Fortunately, the WordPress site categorizes these, and you can go through them based on what you are looking for. But do not go headlong into these and start adding large numbers of plugins that may not ultimately be beneficial or useful.
Identify what it is that you want your content to do for you and choose those plugins that will accomplish that. You can always add more as your expertise grows and as you want to add sophistication to your blog. Just move slowly, so you do not stuff your blog with unnecessary features that you will never use.
As you grow into WordPress and its content management potential, you will be able to increase your expertise and your use of the functions and plugins that are available. Start slowly, grow your experience, and you will ultimately be master in using WordPress to grow your business and spread your brand.