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Fixed on Pages: Long-Term Content on Your Blog

Most of us consider our posts to be the fundamental elements of our blog’s content. In their never-ending path towards…

Most of us consider our posts to be the fundamental elements of our blog’s content. In their never-ending path towards our growing archive, they receive the vast majority of our energy, and most of our readers’ attention.

If we think of our posts as a renewable, fresh stream of content, pages, on the other hand, are often treated as no more than stagnant puddles of old information. (Not sure about the difference between pages and posts? Here are some pointers.) In today’s post, we invite you to reconsider the role of pages in your blog. Used well and updated regularly, they can enhance and complement your blog’s main content.

Why use pages?

Pages allow us to keep older, important content visible and accessible. Any information that would be missed if it were pushed farther down your blog might be a better fit for a page than for a post, especially if it isn’t time-sensitive. (If you do need to highlight particular content for a limited period, consider using a sticky post, which remains at the top of your homepage for as long as you need.)

Adding a new page is just as simple as writing a post: from the dashboard, go to Pages –> Add New, and you’ll see the ever-familiar editor.

Pages are a great way to give your visitors general information about you and your site, and to help them navigate through your content. Once in place, they require minimal time investment beyond the occasional brief update. What kinds of pages can you add to your blog? The options are limitless, but let’s take a look at some of the most common ones.

About Page

Say a reader lands in one of your posts about pasta-making, likes it, but wonders if she should follow your blog. How can she know if the rest of your blog is also about yummy dough, or if this was just a detour from your usual musings on Japanese anime?

An About Page will answer that question. It’s the space where you introduce yourself and your blog to the world, letting everyone know what your blog’s all about, and what kind of content your audience can expect. It can be as short as a sentence or as elaborate as a photo essay, but the idea is the same: it’s your calling-card-cum-display-window, so make it as engaging and appealing as you can.

Contact Page

For some of us, showing our contact info requires very little blog real estate: drop the Contact Info Widget into your sidebar, and you’re good to go.

For many bloggers, though, having a dedicated space where visitors can easily contact us makes sense. For example, if you’ve disabled comments on your posts, but still want to keep a channel open for interaction with your audience. Or if you use your site for your small business and want to make communication streamlined and easy.

A Contact Page is a great idea for those situations where you want to have all the information in one place, without cluttering your posts. Simply create a new page, and type in whatever contact information you wish to include. You can also click the Add Contact Form button in the editor, to allow readers to write you a message without disclosing your email address or any other personal information.

You might be able to save some time creating specific pages by using pre-made Page Templates. Many themes come with a selection of templates, like the Archive Page or Sitemap templates, which you can activate from the Page Attributes module. Note that different themes offer a different mix of page templates.

Project Page

Suppose you enjoy blogging about your travels, kids, or cooking, but you also use your blog for some other major activity — for example, you’re writing a book, leading tours of haunted houses, or offering your services as a yoga instructor.

Adding a page focusing on that particular niche will let your visitors discover it more quickly and easily, without having to dig for information through a multitude of blog posts. Think of it as a more specific About Page.

You can nest any page you like (or several pages) under the broader umbrella of your About Page, by creating a hierarchy of pages. When adding your new page, go to the Page Attributes module, click on “Parent,” and choose the page with which the new one will be associated.

Archives Page

A great way to make topic-specific content easy to find on your blog is to create an archives page.  Some themes can create an archives page for you just by choosing “Archives” from the template menu in the Page Attribute module.  But there are other options to aggregate content into a page even if your theme doesn’t include an archives page template.

One easy way to build a targeted-content page is creating a Category Page: as long as you’ve been using categories consistently, it will pull out all relevant posts and drop them into a designated page. Another option is to use the Display Posts Shortcode, which allows you to herd all the posts sharing the same tag(s) or cateogries into one page.

Static Front Page

Have you considered switching the order of things, building a static front page to welcome your visitors, instead of directing them to your latest posts? For some of you, especially those who use their WordPress.com site for their business or other professional activities, this might be an attractive option.

Creating a static front page is quick and easy. First, add two new pages. You can name them “Home” and “Blog,” for example, though any name will do. Then, in your dashboard, go to Settings –> Reading, and select “A static page.” Finally, in the drop-menus, pick “Home” as the front page, and “Blog” as your posts page (or whatever name you’ve given these pages), and you’re done.

With a static front page you decide what content your visitors see first, and achieve a more traditional “website” feel. If you’re still interested in maintaining a blog, have no fear: the blog section of your site, where your posts will be shown, as always, in reverse chronological order, would still be easily accessible from the site’s primary menu.

Pages for the People

Looking for other creative page ideas? Depending on your blog’s focus, some of these might be of interest:

  • A “Best of” page: How about choosing your strongest posts and showcasing them in a designated page? This way, new readers can quickly find some of your past standouts, which is especially useful if you’ve been blogging for a while.
  • Awards or press page: Have you won any blogging awards? Do you have any media clippings to show off to the world? Build your own virtual trophy case with a page that displays all your accomplishments.
  • Disclaimer or policy page: Are you a photographer who wishes to explain your copyright policy in detail, or a blogger who writes about sensitive issues and wants to clarify your comments policy? A dedicated policy page can come handy in making things clear to your visitors.

What pages do you have on your blog? How often do you update them, and what goals do they help you achieve? We’d love to hear your input!

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  1. I have an about page and a page with links to my travel and recipe recaps. I update them as I create new posts and often link to them within posts to make it easy for readers to find relevant content. Thanks for giving me a few other page ideas to think about!

  2. I’m so happy to see this – it confirms my decision to add a page for a reading project I hope to launch next week. I was waffling about starting a second blog but thought it might make it easier on myself if I launch it as a page on my current blog instead.

    Some of pages I have on my blog include tables of contents for each year of my blog, a page that explains my blog name (Butterfly Mind) since the about page is my author bio, and a “guest book” page. Thanks for this post!

  3. I am currently planning what other pages I would like. I kind of like the idea of a static front page but I am not sure I am confident enough – will people click through to read the post?

  4. This was incredibly informative and inspiring! Thanks! I now have a “Thought of the Day” page based on the short code idea you mentioned and will be adding another category driven page in the future!

    Thanks so much!

    1. I’m considering adding a “Photos” page. Is there a way to make the page basically a second blog page that I can add posts to and have them displayed in reverse chronological order?

      Thanks!

  5. I just started my blog, so I don’t have too many pages for visitors to look through, but this article was really helpful in assisting me with rewriting my About page to have more quality content, and I also added a contact page and a whole page devoted to a recent series I’ve been doing, so people can read the articles in order. Thanks for helping my make my blog that much better!

  6. I love that you can create and hide pages depending what’s going on. I have a News page – which sometimes i interchange with a Microblog page if i want to share any important new info.

  7. Archive page check, about page check, “disclaimer” page check. The one that I’m on the fence about is a static front page. I don’t know how to go about making a static front page that is different than an about page.

  8. This is a great reminder, Ben, thanks. There are many bloggers who don’t even have an ‘about’ page, which is grave mistake.

    I’ve used them to varying degrees since I started my blog back in late 2006 (typing that now makes it seem like a VERY long time ago!). They don’t have to be permanent – some of mine come and go depending on what I’m working on.

    Thanks for some of the suggestions above, and thanks most of all for this prompt to make a few updates. :)

  9. Hiding a page, means I have a page and it doesn’t show in the tabs at the top…. So I could have a page of definitions that I can link folks to, when necessary, and it would not show up at any other time…. And we can make jump links within our own site on WordPress….

    I’m assuming. I’m hoping….

    Thanks for this wonderful boost!

  10. Thank you for this post! It was very timely. I had just been trying to figure out the difference between pages and posts and how to make both accessible from the menu bar on my blog. I used the convenient URL in this post to jump right to a video that explained everything.

  11. As the writer of a film reviews blog, I’ve used one page at the top of my layout to create a sort of index of all my reviews in order to have a solid list in one place. It’s been really useful and has gathered a whole bunch of views so far! I just update it every time I post a new review and the system works quite well.

    1. This is a great idea I can use to organize several diff pages – for ex. Kitchen, poetry, exploring my world. Thanks. Sue
      Womenlivinglifeafter50.com

  12. Sweet little article :). I have used a page format on my blog (naming it ‘Inspire Me Store’) into which I may pore, from time-to-time, inspirational ramblings – either my own or others.

    This ad hoc but fairly regular activity I could not achieve in a post format.

  13. This post solves a problem I encountered just today as I was posting a comment on a blog. The box for listing my website address will take a reader to the most recent post, but I’d rather they see a static page instead. That way I control their first introduction to my blog.
    Thanks for the tips.

  14. Great post, thank you. I’m a huge ‘Page’ fan and set up my bog by pages and only started to add posts after I was ready to launch. I will have to give some thought to a static front page though – hadn’t considered that idea…

  15. I am picturing a large (full screen) front page that looks like a gallery wall and images to click on to enter other pages of my website (I don’t want to have a row of tabs along the top of my page). I don’t mind having a blog page, but I am going to have only one. Everything else I want to be static, gallery style because I don’t like the fact that people can’t see all of my art at once (no one scrolls to the bottom and they NEVER go to older posts on the next page) Is this feasible? I had a friend put my blog together in the first place, so I am a little nervous about making such big changes by myself. Thank you for the tips

  16. This is an excellent article. I really appreciate having the option to set up pages on my blog site. The main focus of my blog is “writing,” however, I have a page for inspirational quotes, one titled~ Sanctuary, where I have created sub pages pertaining to decorating ideas. Recently, I posted a page dedicated to the book I am writing. Thanks, wordpress!
    Best,
    Lynne

  17. Thank you for the insightful post. I have a mixture of a professional as well as a personal blog on being a Somali woman in the Diaspora. I now have an “about page”, resume page and now creating a “memoir” page. I am not sure about how to go about the static page……it sounds too complicated. Is there a step-by-step guide available?

  18. That’s a really nice post, I’m already using quite a few of the pages mentioned above. This article has brought all the pages which one can make into one place. :)

  19. Well frankly I prefer the pages to the posts.
    Maybe it’s just me but since I’m writing a story it’s so much easier to order them by chapter than the posts. Though I have indeed noticed that most people pay a lot more attention to the posts than to the pages on blogs.
    That saddens me a bit as the most part of the content of my blog is on the pages and not on the posts… I try to take advantage of them, like when I publish a new chapter, but I don’t post much more than that.
    I have been thinking about doing some mix up (like putting some of my posts in pages and the other way around, publishing some chapters in the form of posts to reach more people), but before that I have update the about page ! :P
    Anyways, thanks for the advice, it’ll be pretty useful ! :)

  20. Having a static page that visitors see every time they go to the blog sounds much more appealing because it will force visitors to look around instead of skimming the first page they see. People are curious, so spark their curiosity. Great idea!

  21. Adding a blog page sounds like something I should have done. I’m just learning my way around here, though I have used WordPress for businesses, this is my first time to post my own. Thanks for the info.

  22. I just created a page for my posts so they don’t pop up on the welcome page. Instead, home page is an ‘About Me’ and added another for my ‘to do’ list.

  23. I am a bit late to the discussion, but hopefully somebody can answer me. Is it possible to post regular posts on the page. At the moment it seems like pages are static and that’s it. I would like to create different pages for three different mega-categories and post my regular posts accordingly. At the moment I can only post on the home page and provide links on the static pages. I would appreciate if anyone could help me.

    1. Would the automatic category short code work for you? It would automatically add all your posts to a dedicated category page. I added that to my blog after reading this and love it.

    2. Hi Sunshine Intentions, as the commenter above mentioned, the Display Posts shortcode linked to in the post is your best bet — it allows you to aggregate posts on a page by a number of criteria (i.e. category or tag, recency, etc.).

  24. Thank you for your post some of your ideas will help me to clarify the best place to put a visible location for a section where my visitors can let me know the new thematic in specific they would like to read about; that I haven yet addressed; or the one they want to read more; from those that have been written . I will place this in a page that way they will see as soon as they arrive that there is a place were their opinion is important.