Posts, Pages, and Widgets

Posts, Pages and Widgets are the three basic building blocks of blog creation. Posts and Pages are the two different types of locations in which you can enter content; widgets are tools that add different kinds of functionality to your blog.  This section explains what kind of content you might want to put in a post, what kind of content you might want to put in a page, and a few handy things you can do with widgets.

Posts vs. Pages

WordPress offers two main locations in which users can publish content.  If you look at the left hand column of your blog’s dashboard, you will see a link that says “Posts”, and another link that says “Pages”.  When you want to write a new entry on your qwriting.qc.cuny.edu site, you have the choice of creating either a new Post or a new Page.  Which you want to use will depend on the kind of content you’re publishing, and how you want users to access it.

Posts appear on your site’s home page, and they are chronological and dynamic. In other words, new Posts appear at the very top of your home page, pushing down the older Posts.  Posts can thus be thought of as the “breaking news” section; your most recent post is the first thing users will see when they visit your site.

Because they are dynamic, posts are a good place to publish course announcements, new assignments, discussion questions, reading responses, journal entries – anything that is timely, and that becomes less relevant as the course progresses onto new questions and topics.

Note that some of the WordPress themes stop displaying older posts on the home page after a certain length of time, but these posts don’t disappear – they can still be found in your site’s archives.

For directions on how to write and publish a post, click here.

Pages can contain the same content as posts, and are created in a similar way, but they are non-chronological and static.  Whereas your posts will appear in sequence on the home page of your blog, the titles of all your pages will instead appear as a list of links on your home page, usually in the header or the sidebar of your blog, depending on your theme.  Users will have to click on these links in order to view each page.

If you have content that you’d like to remain static and visible even when new Posts appear, you might consider putting it in a Page. For example, if you are teaching a class and you want to post your syllabus or a course schedule, Pages make sense, because they will be easy to locate from the home page of your blog throughout the semester.

For instructions on how to create and publish a page, click here.

Note that WordPress displays your list of pages on your home page using a Widget (described below).  If you create a page, and a link to that page does not automatically appear on your home page, your blog’s theme may not include the Pages widget, in which case you will need to add it manually.  Instructions on how to add and remove widgets can be found here.

Widgets

A widget is exactly what it sounds like!  It is a small tool that performs a specific function.  WordPress features a number of ready-made widgets that can accomplish a variety of useful tasks, including, but not limited to:

  • A Blogroll, containing links to all the blogs for a given class or section.
  • A compliation of your blog’s most Recent Comments, collected from throughout your site.
  • Search form, that allows users to search your site for specific content.
  • An Archive that allows you to readily access all of your blog’s posts, by date of publication.

Most WordPress themes have a few widgets already installed by default, but you can add and remove widgets as you like, and many of them can be customized.  To see where in the dashboard widgets are located, and how to install and remove them, click here.  Further information on several commonly-used widgets can also be accessed via the help section’s main page.

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