In my quest to develop a start page menu for this blog, I have been struggling with the differences in “site” pages and posts — and with the issue of widgets. This posts discusses the differences and what this means for creating a menu system for a standard blog theme.
A Page is Not A Post
Site pages are different from blog posts in many key aspects. Crawlers deal with them differently, in their relentless algorithmic hunt for the “meaning” of our blogs. Site pages are meant to be somewhat “static” and unchanging. They are meant to reside in menus and other widgets, to bring in additional information such as the “about this blog” description, the author’s biography, and so forth.
Blog posts, on the other hand, are placed in the main body of the blog itself in reverse chronological order. (Note: A full description of the differences between pages and posts is found here, in the WordPress support site. )
But what they DON’T TELL you in the SUPPORT pages, Gah!
How Pages are Different in Editing and Linking Them
We can’t really save a draft of a page. You HAVE to publish it in order to save it.
This means that pages are a real pain in the neck to work on over time. You have to create them, edit and publish them in one go. Or create, edit them, and publish them, safe in the knowledge that the system doesn’t link them anywhere until you do so manually–which is a pain in the neck.
We cannot link any of our “pages” into our “posts” using the usual “link” system.
If we want to link a post to another post, that’s easy. We type some text, highlight the text, and click the link button. Then, we get a whole searchable list of our posts to help us find the post we want to link to. That list does not include “pages.”
To link to one of the pages I created, I had to go to the page, publish or update it, then take the opportunity to visit the page to get the right URL. I had to copy the URL–then go back to the post where I wanted to link it (in this case, the new “start page”) and put the link in — as if it were from some other person’s site. Annoying, to say the least, but now you know what I know: linking to pages requires some extra work.
Pages are usually created as part of creating a menu system, so “adding a page” manually (using the “Site Page: Add” menu) creates unlinked pages–and those pages are a bit tricky to link into the menu system–unless you create them THROUGH the theme’s menu creation system.
Pages that we make using the “Site Pages: Add menu” aren’t really linked anywhere–until we manually make the link. I made the mistake of creating a start here page using the Site Pages: Add method–and had difficulty linking it to the main menu–which expected me to add pages only when I customize the theme menu system.
Reconfiguring the Menu System
Now that I’ve reconfigured the categories of my blog to a nice clean “three main categories” structure, I was ready to create that fourth entry into a menu system: the “start here” page.
We begin with customizing the theme, and choosing the MENU option.
After choosing the Menus er, um, menu item, we get these options. We’ll next select Primary.
And so we get this screen. This is the FINISHED menu I created. It was a bit of a rough go, getting there, though. If you want to delete a menu item, just click on the red X’s.
The support pages are quite a bit helpful but the map is not the terrain. The minute and a half video on the topic walks us through the main points, quickly.
Reordering was sometimes a bit stubborn. Things I wanted to go “up” didn’t always go where I wanted them to go, the first time, so if you find you struggle with it, you’re in good company.
And the menu system did NOT seem to have any way to easily link in the Start-Here page I created using the Site Pages: Add method. Any page that is to be linked to the menu needs to be added through using the Add Page option within the menu system itself.
This menu here — on the same page as the Primary menu above, did not seem to know about the start page I’d created. I had to select the +Add option here to add a new page. I ended up with a “Start-Page-2” — a second, blank start page that I had to edit. Sigh.
THAT done, I had to select the new categories that I’d created to add to the menu.
You choose the Categories option for menus and I don’t know about you, but I got much more than the top level categories I’d created. I also got a bunch of sub-categories. I think these were some of the most-populated sub-categories that were just thrown in there, to give me lots of options for what I wanted to put into the menu.
So now, the finished product:
It’s not exactly what I want, not yet. 🙂 But it’s certainly on the way. Now I need to figure what to put ON the start page. >,<
More soon ~ Lola.