WordPress was originally blog software but it has come a long way from its origins and is now used as a content management system (CMS) for blogs and for websites. You can learn how to use WordPress as a CMS on our WordPress Training Course.
These days, with the rise of social media, most websites will have at least one blog section on them. WordPress enables you to create multiple blog-type sections of Posts as well as 'static' Pages. Most websites contain content which is suited to being either a Page or a Post and will usually have a mixture of the two.
How are WordPress Posts & Pages Different?
Pages are 'static'. Like all WordPress content they are generated from a database but they are static in the sense that they are a single page with specific content, e.g. an "About" or Contact page. They originally provided background information about a blog and evolved as WordPress developed towards being used for complete sites rather than just blogs.
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Posts initially appear on one page called a Category Page, e.g. News or Events. They appear in either summary form (a short excerpt which you can click on to read more) or as full articles. By default they appear on the Home Page in reverse date order. It is possible to switch the default posts page to another page, e.g. news, in Settings > Reading. This is most useful on smaller sites which only have one section suited to blog-type articles. Bigger sites will contain multiple blog-type sections or Category Pages.
Posts are not just useful for blog-type articles. Each Post in a single Category Page has the same format, e.g. an image with a Post Summary next to it. You can use Posts for any content with a repetitive format. For example, it would be far more efficient to use a Category of Posts to create a staff page, with a picture of each staff member and a few lines of text describing them, than using a Page. To update the staff page you would simply create a new Post in that Category.
Unlike Pages, Posts always contain a date. In most Themes, you can make a Post Sticky which means it will always stay at the top of a Category Page.
Check out the differences between personal and business blogs here.
You can add Tags to Posts but not Pages. These are used to group posts with similar content together. Tags appear under each post as links: clicking on a Tag link brings up a Tag archive page which displays the Posts sharing that tag. You can use a Tag widget in the sidebar to display Tags in a tag cloud.
WordPress Tags and SEO
Beware of adding too many Tags for SEO purposes. Matt Cutts from Google has recently mentioned this. Read more about it and watch a video of Matt Cutts.
Custom Post Types
WordPress 3.0 and upwards now has the functionality to build Custom Post Types. These are not just for blog Posts but for any content which you need to edit and display in a non-standard way. Extra fields are added into the admin screen into which the client can type content. For example, an estate agent's website could have extra fields for the price and viewing times for each property they were selling.