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How to set up a WordPress blog 2: adding pages to make it into a website

16 Jan

Following on from my posts about how important it is to have a website for your business and on setting up your WordPress blog (which you need to read before reading this if you’re a novice), in this article, I’m going to show you how to add pages to your WordPress blog to make it into a website.

This is what I did when I created this website that you’re reading this blog post on right now. I’m going to use my special test WordPress blog to show you what to do, and also the inside workings of this blog for the more complex aspects. Read on to find out how to set up web pages on your blog, and first of all, why you would do that.

What’s a WordPress page and why do I need them?

A page is a static, unchanging screenful of information, for example what you see when you go to my About page on this blog, or my page about my Business e-book on my writing blog. Where a blog post is written, published, moves down the blog page and is superseded by new blog posts, like a diary, a web page is fixed, stays the same and is visible whenever you visit its home. Where a blog is like a diary, a web page is like a passport photo or a lawn sign.

Why do you need one? Well, when someone reads your blog, they’re going to be bound to want to know something about you – that’s why pretty well all blogs have an About or Home page. And if you run a company, it’s advisable to put together a page, or a set of pages organised into some kind of structure, that tell readers about what you do, how you do it, what it costs, etc.

Website readers have a low attention span. They want to read a bit of stuff then move on. Many of them don’t even like scrolling down to see what’s lower down on the page. So a) they’re not going to want to search or scroll through your blog to look for information, and b) they don’t want everything on one web page. My website is quite wordy; imagine what it would be like if all that information you can access along the top menu bar was all on one page.

So, you’re convinced that you need at least an About page. You understand the difference between pages and posts (pages = static; posts = constantly updated diary type affair). Let’s find out how to set up a page on WordPress.

How do I set up a Page on WordPress?

You access Pages from the Dashboard (click on your blog name or the little house icon next to your blog name on your Stats page to reach it). Once in the Dashboard, go down to Pages, click, and choose All Pages. This allows you to see what pages are already there – and once you have some, you can edit them from here.

1 pages

Why have I gone here first rather than hitting the New Page option? Because every new WordPress blog has an About page set up already, to get you started.

In the All Pages view, you can see all of the pages that you have set up, and hovering over the page title with your cursor allows you to Edit, Quick Edit, Trash or View them. Here, we’re going to Edit

2 about

When you click Edit, you’ll arrive at a screen which looks very like the one that you use to create a new blog post. However, it has Edit Page at the top, and some Page Attributes to the side.

You can see that you have a title area (which includes the word “About” and a text area, which also contains some text at the moment.This can all be edited and customised just how you want it.

You can also see here that the Status is showing as Published. That  means it’s live on the Internet for all to see …

3 about

Want to see what this page looks like? Click on the View Page button just under the title …

4 about

This is likely to open in a new window – if it doesn’t, hit the back button on your browser to get back, or the Edit button at the bottom (or top, depending on your theme).

If you want to edit the text, which I do in this case, just delete the text that’s there and add some new. When you’ve edited it as you wish, hit the Update button to save. Then use the View Page button to have a look at the changes. Note: I’ve added hyperlinks here – here’s an article explaining how to do that

5 about

When you look at the page on the blog, there is all your new text, including the hyperlinks:

6 about

How do I set a web page to be my landing page / front page?

In some circumstances, you might want a static page to be the home page / landing page / front page that a visitor to your URL will always see. I do that with this website – whenever you go to www.libroediting.com, you will see my Home page. However, visit www.librofulltime.wordpress.com and you’ll see the latest blog post I’ve published, and you’ll need to click on the top menu to see a static page about you. It’s all about what you choose to do.

I’d recommend that if you are primarily blogging, with just one or two pages about you and your background, leave the landing page as the blog. If you’re promoting a company, product or service, and your blog is supporting that and driving visitors who you want to buy from you, choose to display a static web page when a visitor arrives.

Here’s how you tell WordPress to show visitors a page, not your latest blog post.

Go to the Dashboard, choose Settings, and then Reading. Right at the top of the page, you have a section entitled Front page displays. You have the choice of Your latest posts (i.e. your blog) or A static page. If you click on that radio button, you will be asked to choose a page to display.

7 set page as front page

I have chosen not to do that for this test website/blog, mainly so that I can change it if I’m training people face-to-face, but here’s how this Libroediting site is set up. I have chosen Libroediting as the front page, and Blog as the posts page. That means that any visitor will, as you’ve seen if you clicked the link above, see my Home page on their initial landing on the site.

8 set page as front page

How do I add a new Page to my WordPress website/blog?

If you want to add a brand new page, revisit the Dashboard and choose Pages – Add New. Note, you can Copy a Page, too. This will give you an exact copy of a page you already have – more useful for posts, but if you have special formatting that you’ve set up, or you’re splitting the text on a page over several new pages, it’s worth doing that. Click on Add New

9 add new

… and you will find yourself in a completely blank editing page. Note that now the Status reads Draft, and you also have an option to Save Draft. Please press this very, very regularly, so you don’t lose your draft posts. When you’ve finished adding the text for your new page, hit the Publish button to make it live (or you can leave it in Draft form if you want to work on it further; just do remember to Save Draft).

10 add new

How do I view and edit my pages?

You can view all of your pages by going to the Dashboard and choosing Pages – All Pages. Here is part of my page list for this website. If you hover over any page title with the cursor, you’ll get the Edit / Quick Edit / Trash / View options to allow you to make any changes you want to. If you have any pages in Draft form, not yet published, you’ll see Draft next to All / Published / Trash and you can click to see all of your draft as opposed to published pages.

11 pages

Useful pages that I would recommend including on your business website are:

  • About me (with a photo)
  • Services
  • Prices
  • Testimonials / references
  • Contact me (with a contact form)
  • Blog
  • Links (links to colleagues and recommended websites – always kind to do)

How do I change the order in which my pages appear? How do I create sub-pages?

It’s good to be able to control what order that top menu and any side menus appear in. As you get more pages published, you might find there are too many for the menu to display, and it starts to look a bit messy. You might want to arrange pages in sub-categories, under other main pages.

The place to do this is in the Edit screen for your page (click on Edit when viewing the page or select Dashboard – Pages – All Pages and click on Edit for the particular page). You will notice a section called Page Attributes. Here, we’re looking at my Student pricing 2014 page, which is a sub-page of my Pricing page. Note that I’ve chosen a Parent page from the drop-down menu of all of my pages. When you’ve completed all changes, press Update to save them. You can also choose the order … see below …

12 sub pages

It’s nice to have your landing page on the left and your About me quite prominent, with other pages such as Links down the order a little. That same Page Attributes area allows you to choose a number to define the order the pages appear in on your menus. Here, I’m giving my Links page number 6. I press Update and view the page …

13 page order

Looking at the page itself, you can see that the page name is number six in the list of pages along the top!

14 page order

Note: not all designs of WordPress blog have the menus automatically along the top. But they should appear at the top or down the side. Play with the choice of design if it’s not where you want it to be, or add a menu to the side bar, which we will learn about another day.

How do I do a quick edit?

If you just want to change the title, page order or other attributes for a particular page, view All Pages, hover over the page title and choose Quick Edit.

15 quick edit

You will get a limited number of options, but this can be a quick way to do an update. Click Update to save.

16 quick edit

In this article, we’ve learned how to add web pages to a WordPress blog to make it into a website, using WordPress.com hosted by WordPress itself. These basic ideas should be the same on self-hosted WordPress sites.

I hope you have found this article useful. Please share using the share buttons below, or post a comment, and do please let me know if you use this article to help you to set up your own blog, and post a link below!

Related posts on this blog:

WordPress 1 – the basics – joining and setting up a blog

WordPress 3 – adding images to your post or page

WordPress 4 – adding slideshows and galleries of images

WordPress 5 – linking your blog to your social media

WordPress 6 – sharing buttons

WordPress 7 – adding an avatar picture

Is it worth having a website for my business? – the big question (and the answer’s Yes!)

Adding links to blog posts – how to do it on the major blogging platforms (and email)

 
 

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