Using WordPress Pages like a Pro

You know the drill.

We’ve all read countless WordPress articles that define the different areas and features — Posts, Pages, Tags, Categories, and the like — but rarely do these articles offer practical examples about how the novice to intermediate WordPress user can best utilize these features.

wordpress-pages-pro

In this article, we’ll be walking through some not-so-obvious uses of Pages in WordPress to accomplish tasks on your site. One of the biggest differentiators between Posts and Pages in WordPress is that Posts are typically used to display content in chronological order, whereas content on Pages remains relatively static.

Let’s examine five great uses of Pages:


About, Services, and Contact Pages: The Usual Suspects

A "No Sidebars" Page Template in WordPress

A "No Sidebars" Page Template in WordPress

Sounds familiar, right? These are the standard uses of Pages in WordPress. Heck, this is even the formula I stuck to with my site! A few characteristics of most static WordPress Pages are as follows:

  • Comments are typically disabled
  • A “No sidebars” page layout
  • Comprehensive or specific information included

Why should you care?
While there’s nothing wrong with using Pages in this way, you will want to consider thinking more deeply about the needs of your audience at some point. The examples below show how the pros are using Pages for marketing, sales, promotion, and information-sharing in smart and unique ways.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. (source)

Chris Pearson: Web Hosting
Thesis Theme creator Chris Pearson is using a page on his site to promote his web hosting provider, VPS.net, and AN Hosting. Chris uses the art of storytelling and very clear calls to action on this page.

Aaron Brazell: The WordPress Bible
Aaron Brazell is the author of the WordPress Bible and has a short, informational page on his site that announces the book to visitors and lets them know how they can purchase it. Note the Tweetmeme button that gives readers the opportunity to easily share the page on Twitter if they’re so inclined.

Cornerstone content

To rank well in search engines (and to make life easier for human visitors to your site), you might want to consider creating your cornerstone or flagship content and provide first-time visitors with links to these articles. Cornerstone content is high-quality and gives the reader an idea of the topic or topics about which your site can be more easily categorized.

Brian Clark: Copywriting 101
Brian Clark of Copyblogger practically wrote the book on cornerstone content. He was able to dominate an extremely competitive set of search results in less than a year using this smart and well-crafted approach.

Derek Halpern: Online Sales 101

There should be a clear call to action leading visitors to your Cornerstone Content Page(s)

There should be a clear call to action leading visitors to your Cornerstone Content Page(s)

Derek Halpern might not be the most well-known internet marketer, but he’s certainly among the most successful.

Derek’s 5-Part Online Sales Article Series is a case study in effective marketing copy and utilizing a page to accomplish a specific task. In this case, it’s linking to his article series and encouraging visitors to join his mailing list.

Information resources

An effective way of building valuable content for your blog’s readers is to put together comprehensive information resources. These can be as simple as linked lists or elaborate as professionally edited video and content. Users will bookmark this content and continually have a reason to return to your site. An added benefit is that depending on the content and your site’s niche, you could very well become an authority in your space.

Nick Reese: Blog Hosting 101
Right here on Art of Blog, Nick Reese has put together a page on web hosting that’s intended to offer visitors a comprehensive look at the three most popular hosting options. The page features a high-quality and informative video on the topic which makes it even more valuable to newcomers.

Pages should be included in your navigation

Pages should be included in your navigation and linked to often

Paul Stamatiou: Stuff I Use
Paul Stamatiou is a web developer with a popular blog on all things tech-related. Paul has a page on his site detailing the laundry list of services, software, and electronics that he uses to manage his blog and startup. The page links to reviews of many of the services that he’s written about, and paints a very clear picture of what’s in use by a full-time web developer. The page features a cleanly laid-out list with sections that make the list scannable.

Selling a product

Once you’ve been blogging for a while, you will probably have created enough information to use in an ebook or physical book at some point. You would be wise to consider using your blog as a marketing medium when this happens, as you will (hopefully) have built trust and relationships to the point that your readers leap at the chance to buy from you.

What better way to sell a book than to promote it on your popular blog?

What better way to sell a book than to promote it on your popular blog?

Pamela Slim: Escape from Cubicle Nation
Pamela Slim is a seasoned coach and writer who helps frustrated employees in corporate jobs break out and start their own business. She is the author of Escape From Cubicle Nation (the book and the blog).

This page is a great example of how graphics can be used to funnel users along a particular path and make it more likely that they’ll complete a task.

Pam has a page on her blog that gives readers a chance to purchase the book from several different retailers. The page features custom graphics, a book synopsis, and a couple book reviews.

Neil Patel: Quicksprout Pro
Neil Patel is an Internet Marketing legend and advisor to many startups. Neil has created an eight-module information product that helps startup founders lead their business to profitability. This page is devoid of sidebars and distractions, which guides a reader down to the Add to Cart call to action.

Selling a service

Similar to selling a product, offering your service as a page on your blog can be a very effective way to identify prospective clients. Making a case for your service on a page allows you to tell your story, build credibility, and guide users along a path that encourages them to make a decision.

Outspoken Media: Internet Marketing Services
Outspoken Media is a small Internet Marketing Services provider that obviously knows how to create a compelling sales page. The page clearly outlines their services and links to other Pages internal to their website (a smart SEO move). Two great touches on this page are the testimonial in the right column and the unobtrusive but highly-visible call to action on the right side.

Chris Brogan: Marketing and Speaking
Chris Brogan is one of the most well-known (and well-liked) social media experts around. Although he’s often dealing with electronics and books, his “business is helping companies learn to build human scale back into their business communications.”

Chris’s “Work with me” page starts with a short description of what he does and then goes into more detail about the way his company can help yours. He provides his contact information several times on the page, and summarizes what he does outside of his company (professional speaking) in the section below that.

Summary

There’s no limit to what can be accomplished using Pages in WordPress. We’ve touched on some smart, effective ways to utilize them in this post but what matters most is that you’re serving the needs of your readers effectively. How are you using Pages on your site?

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Written by Willie Jackson

Willie Jackson is a Marketer and Website Performance Engineer with a strong sense of self and a tenuous relationship with the impossible. You can connect with him through Twitter, Facebook, or his personal website.

Comments

  • Mary Jaksch says:

    This is a really informative article. I’m going to recommend it to our blogging students!
    –Mary

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      I’ve now read the article more closely and have some reservation which I’ve voiced in a comment that’s currently in moderation….

    • Excellent! I’m glad you found it valuable, Mary. It looks like Nick addressed the point you made about the Page vs. Post discrepancy.

      Regarding your second point: there’s actually nothing that prevents posts from being styled individually like pages. It’s very easy to apply and target unique post IDs, giving you the ability to create a unique look for each one (not unlike Dustin Curtis’s Blogazine). This Smashing Magazine post on the topic offers some wonderful examples as well.

  • Mary Jaksch says:

    On closer inspection, there are some things I’m doubtful about in this post:

    1. You don’t make clear the difference between using a post or a page in WP
    For example, I think that a cornerstone article should actually be published as a post, and not as a page. In fact, the article you put forward, i.e. http://www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/ is actually a post and not a page. So, what’s it doing here in this article?

    2. I think the main thing that pages can do – in contrast to posts – is that the layout can be changed. For example, a page can be styled to have no sidebars and even no navigation bar. Most of your examples don’t do that – except Neil Patel: Quicksprout Pro who has removed both sidebars and nav bar for his splash page.

    • Nick Reese says:

      Mary,

      Thanks for the comment.

      • The Copywriting 101 link is actually a page. It doesn’t include the trackback information needed to make it a post. View the source and you will see the difference between pages and posts in Thesis.
      • Pages natively don’t accept trackbacks, posts do.

      • While changing the style is a great use for pages, I personally think Willie hit the nail on the head with this line. To me this is the difference between pages and posts.

        One of the biggest differentiators between Posts and Pages in WordPress is that Posts are typically used to display content in chronological order, whereas content on Pages remains relatively static.

      • Brian Clark says:

        Copywriting 101, and all our multipart tutorials for which we are targeting a specific keyword phrase, are indeed built on WP pages. Creating a landing page that references a series of related posts in one easily linked and bookmarked place is a fundamental aspect of creating cornerstone content.

        In the future, we’ll likely even change the style of each page to reflect the series brand and remove the typical Copyblogger header and sidebars. But I’ve got lots of other stuff to do in the meantime. ;)

  • Link dump for May 30th | The Queue Blog says:

    [...] Using WordPress Pages like a Pro – how to use Pages in WordPress for marketing, sales, promotion, and information-sharing in smart and unique ways. [...]

  • [...] Using WordPress Pages like a Pro 8 [...]

  • Unless I am missing something, there’s another difference between pages and posts. A pretty big one too.

    Categories!

    You can’t assign categories to pages. And categories can be useful =)

    • Right you are, Jordan. From the WordPress Codex:

      Pages cannot be associated with Categories and cannot be assigned Tags. The organizational structure for Pages comes only from their hierarchical interrelationships, and not from Tags or Categories.

  • I would also recommend to use WP Super Cache plugin to create a static WordPress pages for non logged-in visitors to speed up page load time.

  • Dev Duff says:

    I’m researching on how to get an ending slash (/) at the end of Pages URLs. Although my search continues, but really appreciate the time you’ve taken out to write such a nice article. I have always thought that WordPress posts rule out WordPress pages but after reading this article, I’m enlightened. So far, I have very little success with “pages” and have fully concentrated on “posts”. Hope I use some of this information in my upcoming blogs. Thanks once again.
    Regards,
    Dev.

  • Alexis says:

    I really appreciate this article! I’ve been struggling with the whole when to use pages vs. posts things (and in all fairness an extremely new to WP). But frankly this article doesn’t make it clear to me why cornerstone content would be best served in a page (instead of a post). If posts have the advantage of categories and tags, can have customized layouts, and can be accessed chronologically OR from direct links off the menu, why not simply put cornerstone content in a post?

    I’m not trying to be argumentative, am really seeking clarity. Advice is welcome – thanks!
    Alexis

    • Joel says:

      I was wondering if this question ever got answered? It’s the one I , and many other newbies, have :)

  • Great article. I’m fairly new to this the affiliate marketing game, but it is already starting to pay dividends. Like so many other strategies, it takes time. I’ve also found that giving people a good reason to buy NOW is often the key to success.

  • Ankit Singh says:

    Hi,
    I was reading your article and I would like to appreciate you for making it very simple and understandable. This article gives me a basic idea of wordpress article. Thanks for sharing with us. Its really helpful for beginner as well as developer.

  • Brett Beck says:

    Also hand-and-hand with “selling a service” there’s “showcasing your services” by a gallery of images or videos that highlight the services you ofter.