This article introduces experienced and novice web designers to WordPress. WordPress has its own way of structuring data and it is much easier to adjust yourself to the natural structure of WordPress than it is to twist WordPress to your way of thinking. Adjusting yourself will make WordPress a surprisingly effective and efficient means of fulfilling your needs.
WordPress has extensive documentation that covers all aspects of creating, populating, and maintaining your blog or website. Please do view that documentation as it is always the most complete and current.
Don’t start your design with presentation, start with the structure and come back to the presentation later. First, make certain that everything you wish to do can be done by WordPress. WordPress is an advanced blogging system but it is not a Content Management System. A CMS offers far more flexibility to build the structure but it pays with added complexity.
Posts are the basic building block of a WordPress site. A post is the individual article or story that an author creates, saves, and then publishes to the site. Posts may belong to many categories and may be given many tags.
By default, posts are organized by date posted. They are usually displayed in date order with the most recent posts displaying first. Archives are listings of the posts filtered by date (monthly or yearly archive). The front page of a blog may feature a calendar of dates linked to daily archives. Archives can also be based on categories featuring all the articles related to a specific category.
Categories and Tags
Categories and tags provide additional means to view, and importantly, navigate your posts. Categories provide the hierarchical structure and means of viewing and navigating posts. The category structure of your site should be a thoughtful and considered part of your design
Tags provide a longitudinal method of relating and navigating posts. Tag creation and usage is much more ad hoc and creative. Sometimes tags relate to a few key words in a post or to some of the post’s central ideas. Tags are very good at pulling seemingly unrelated information together.
Regardless of how you use them, please do use both categories and tags for every post you create.
Pages are another content type available in WordPress. They differ from posts in that they are neither categorized or tagged. Generally, use a page for static content such as:
- About us
- Contact us
- Office locations
Pages should be used with restraint.
Once you have familiarized yourself with the way WordPress prefers to structure information by creating posts, pages, categories, and tags; then you may begin to change the presentation of the site. Presentation here refers to the look and feel of the site as well as the types of naviagation that are available.
Up until now, you should have been sticking with the default installed theme. This theme is an excellent starting point for you to create your own uniquely branded site. It shows the basics of WordPress structure and covers all of the presentation points. There are many freely distributed themes available for WordPress. Try some of these on by visiting Theme Viewer.
Now you are ready to consolidate the framework of WordPress with your ideas on presentation. Sit down and think about it a little then start putting pencil to paper. The basics of this is well covered in this document.