WordPress is a content management system. Instead of thinking of each webpage on your site as distinct, WordPress allows organizing content by type which can then be used dynamically to create various webpages. By entering structured information for each content entry, your website will be easier to edit, maintain, and customize.
Each content entry is a record kept in a database. When a visitor navigates to a webpage on your site, WordPress looks up the according content entry in the database and constructs the webpage.
Pages and Posts
There are two main content types: Pages and Posts.
Pages are for static content that forms the primary structure of the site. Pages are static in the sense that when an update to the content is needed, the existing Page is edited, rather than an entirely new content entry created. For example, on a "Contact Us" page, the posted phone number would be updated instead of creating a new "Contact Us - Fall 2017" page. Pages are organized hierarchically, that is, one page can be the parent of another page. Organizing pages hierarchically makes site management much easier in the long run.
Posts are for content where chronology is relevant. News stories are the best example. It is natural to want to browse news stories chronologically. Posts also work best for content that is relational and does not have an obvious hierarchy. For example, a collection of programs that could be categorized by offering semester or sorted alphabetically.
Both Pages and Posts share certain editable elements:
- Title: every Page or Post must have a title
- Content: the actual content of the page
- Featured Image: an image that identifies the Page or Post; usually displayed as a banner
- Excerpt: a custom summary of the content
- Page Links To: a way to specify that a Page/Post should link redirect to a another URL
Two further elements are determined automatically based on the Title, but editable:
- Slug: a unique alphanumeric identifier; the slug is usually an easier way to refer to a content record than the ID number
- Permalink: the permalink will generally be the Slug, and is the portion of the URL for the webpage that connects to the content record
For Pages, you can also edit:
- Parent: determines the hierarchy of Pages
- Order: determines the order of sibling Pages
- Template: specifies alternative display templates for the content
For Posts, you can also edit:
- Categories: determines the categorical relationships between Posts
- Tags: additional relationship information
- Publish date and time: determines the chronology of Posts
A Directory Profile is a custom content type created specifically for sites on the LAS WP Network. A Directory Profile entry can connect to the ISU Directory to synchronize publicly available contact information. A collection of Directory Profiles can also be easily organized and presented in a variety of ways dynamically.
A single webpage on a WordPress site can display content from multiple Pages and/or Posts. It is possible to display a summary of a few other Pages/Posts within a Page/Post, but it is also possible to dynamically create a webpage from summaries of Pages/Posts. For example, a webpage of search results, recent news Posts, or a category of Posts, e.g, https://news.las.iastate.edu/category/news/research/. This sort of webpage is called an Archive page.
Because an Archive page only displays summaries of Pages/Posts, to edit the content displayed on Archive page, you must edit the elements of the according Pages/Posts.