The web has been around long enough to where people have certain expectations of what to find on a web site and where to find it. Failing to meet these expectations can frustrate your visitors and possibly keep them from coming back.
A perfectly good example is when I was browsing around yesterday trying to find a few good camping blogs to read. I found one that looked great, and wanted to do a search. I looked at the top and in the top part of the sidebar, no search. I thought “Wow, no way to search?” I looked again and still didn’t find it. Looking one more time at the whole site, I found a small search field at the very bottom of the site. Not where I expected, and frankly I almost left the site because I got frustrated.
One of these expectations I mentioned is around base pages. I’ve written about this before, but wanted to touch on it again as part of the Start a Money Making Blog series. Every website should have at a bare minimum the following pages:
- About page to tell the reader what the site is about and to share information about you as the owner/writer.
- Contact page to allow your readers or advertisers to contact you.
Pages vs Posts
This is a good time to touch on a common confusion point with WordPress, and that’s pages vs posts. The difference is a bit subtle, let me start off with posts.
If you visit the average blog, the first thing you’ll see are articles generally in date order, with the latest article being at the very top, followed by older articles. These are posts. Articles on blogs placed in date order are called posts. Posts have a specific publish time and posts make up what people generally consider “the blog”. Pages look like posts, but don’t show up by default in the blog section. They are also not date ordered or even generally associated with a date/time. They are mostly static things and linked to from a menu or in the sidebar.
For example, if I want to to highlight all of your most popular articles, I would make a page to do that and link it from the main menu of my site. If I want to share some cool new blogging tip with you I would publish that as an article so it shows up in my blog.
Make sense? Pages vs. Posts is a bit confusing, but as you learn WordPress a little more, you’ll pick up on the difference.
The about page should tell the reader about your site and about you. You should really spent a great deal of time writing this page, organizing and making it beneficial and attractive. You’ll find that for a blog, this will be one of your most viewed pages.
You can read more about what to include your about page by reading my article: Two pages your blog must have.
Another critical page for your blog is a contact page. Visitors often like to reach out to the site’s owner to ask questions or get more information. Other bloggers and advertisers will utilize your contact page as well.C
Your contact page should contain a form that allows the visitor to submit a message to you. On the back-end, the form will forward the message via email. There are WordPress Plugins to handle this for you.
Creating new pages
Creating new pages in WordPress is easy, here’s how:
- Login to your WordPress admin console
- Select the down arrow next to Pages in the horizontal menu on the left
- Click on Add New under Pages.
You’ll then be presented with a screen that is almost identical to the Post edit page. Enter your page title, add the content for your page and press Publish.
Your page is now live on you site, but users can’t access it because you have no links. So let’s add a link to your new page on your main navigation menu. How this is done varies with the type of theme you’re using. Thesis is my theme of choice, so the steps below are specific to Thesis:
- Login to your WordPress admin console (if you aren’t already there)
- Select the down arrow next to Thesis in the horizontal menu on the left
- Select Site Options under the Thesis menu
- Locate the Navigation Menu section and click on the + sign next to Pages
- Click on the check box next to your About and Contact pages
- Click on the green Save button.
That’s it, your About and Contact pages will now be shown on your blogs main menu.
Photo by: Jo Naylor