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key concepts

The First FIVE Components of WordPress to Understand When You’re Just Starting Out

The following article is an excerpt from a presentation I gave on WordPress as LMS that I felt deserved its own Post. Enjoy!~ In WordPress, you only need to understand (a minimum of) 5 KEY CONCEPTS to be able to effectively use the software. They are:
  1. Pages
  2. Posts
  3. Categories
  4. Tags
  5. Media

1. Pages

pages Pages are hierarchical, "stand alone" articles on your site. Though they have publication dates (and can be scheduled for automatic future publication), they do not "flow" as a blog would. Pages are not inherently "related" to each other and they ARE NOT categorized by Categories nor Tags (more later). If you want a Page to have some kind of relation to another Page, you must assign it a "Parent" in the Page Attributes widget in the Page editor (red box). Pages will therefore act like individual menu items (they will be automatically added to your main menu if you don't create one manually) - and "Parent" Pages will act as the top-level dropdown menu containing any "Child" Pages beneath them. Pages may also utilize "templates". These will give your Pages a different output on the front of the website and may look like any of the following:
  1. Home page
  2. Landing page
  3. Contact page
  4. Clients page
  5. About page
  6. Full-Width page
  7. And so on

2. Posts

posts Posts are chronological (non-hierarchical) articles that "flow" along the Blog page, Home page, or Archive pages as they are written and published. Posts are grouped together by Categories (that act like "buckets" or Folders), and Tags (keywords that are used to Search the site). Posts may also utilize "Formats" that style certain Post types differently. For example, you may have different styles for:
  1. Regular (Standard) Posts
  2. Aside Posts (without a title visible on the Blog archive Page)
  3. Image Posts
  4. Video Posts
  5. Quotation Posts
  6. Link Posts
  7. Gallery Posts
  8. Status Update Posts
  9. Audio Posts
  10. Chat Posts

3. Categories

categories On the front-end of a site, Categories may be visible as Folder names for Month or Topic, or in the Breadcrumbs (the "You Are Here" collection of links at the top of a Post), or as individual Menu items. (On the front-end, you won't really be able to SEE the difference between Categories and Pages as they appear in the menu unless you click on the link. If it's a Category, there will be a long list of Posts; if it's a Page, there will be only ONE Page.)
With Categories, I usually assign each of my Classes at school (or topics) to a separate Category. That way, when the students click on the Category name, they are taken directly to an ongoing blog list of ONLY Posts for their class.

4. Tags

tags On the front-end of a site, Tags may be visible in a "Tag Cloud" (a collection of frequently used keywords throughout the site), or in the footer meta (a collection of data at the bottom) of a Post. You can also Search for Tags as these are WordPress's "keywords."
With Tags, I usually add the keywords for a lesson subject - such as a grammar point we're studying or the key concepts to understand.

5. Media

WordPress Media is unique in TWO primary ways:
  1. You can Drag-&-Drop media from your Desktop directly into the Post editor window to upload files. media-dragdrop
  2. You can Copy-Paste URLs from popular websites like YouTube and Twitter to get immediate, automatic embeds of those videos and tweets (among other things). No more copying over embed codes! media-embeds
The WordPress editor also provides you with a view of what your Post will ACTUALLY look like on the front-end even as you type it and before publishing it. This list of FIVE basic components of WordPress does not even begin to scratch the surface of what is possible, but it should give you a clearer understanding of how WordPress works and what kinds of things you can publish with it. In upcoming Posts, I'll delve deeper into both the "PRETTY" and the "POWER" of WordPress with topics on:
  1. Theme Choice
  2. Theme Customizer (pretty)
  3. Top WordPress plugins (power)

Any questions about any of these? Let me know in the Comments below.