The idea of an author blog is pretty simple, really. As most authors understand it, they write articles around the same topics that are central to their books, market their blogs to people who are interested in those topics, and slowly build an audience, a readership and, hopefully, their writing career.
All this activity arises from the basic unit of blogging—the blog post.
As you blog, each post is stamped with the date it was published, and takes its place in reverse chronological order in your stack of posts.
Your posts might also be available through category or tag searches, or in response to specific searches typed into a search box.
It Isn’t All About Blog Posts
But this is only half the story. WordPress, the popular free and open source blogging software being used by millions of bloggers, makes it just as easy to create pages as to create posts.
What’s the difference between a blog page and a blog post?
Pages are static locations within the hierarchy of your blog. Your pages can have the same kind of branching hierarchy that a static website has, with parent pages and children pages.
Pages stay where they are, while blog posts reside inside the content managment system—the big database—that holds all your articles.
When requested, they are displayed on a single post page that acts as a container within which the article or blog post is shown.
But when it comes to pages, there are quite a few types that can be useful to an author blogger. Many bloggers don’t realize these pages are not difficult to create, and can help with highlighting your books and other offers you make to readers.
What’s important here is that you don’t have to settle for every page—no matter what its function—looking exactly the same. So take a look at some of these different pages and what they are used for.
11 Kinds of Blog Pages
- Home page—You don’t have to create this, WordPress does it for you. Your home page is special because you can choose whether to have a static page or your most recent articles shown here by making selections within WordPress’s options. And there are many ways to customize your home page with plugins and custom-written code.
- Single-post page—Also generated for you by WordPress to display any one blog post at a time. Like all other automatically-generated pages on your blog, it will have the same header, footer and sidebars you’ve created for the blog.
- General information pages—I’d put all the other normal pages you create, like your About page, pages about services you offer, guidelines for guest bloggers, competitions, regular blog features like blog carnival pages and so on. Each looks just like the other pages on your blog but the content is fixed.
- Category pages—When your blog has hundreds of articles, it can be a real advantage for readers to be able to find your posts by category. This makes it very efficient to find articles because you can use your browser’s search function to scan the headlines. Here’s an example of a category page about Book Design.
- Gallery pages—If you have a lot of paintings, photos, maps or any other graphics to display on your blog, WordPress provides pages that will display them in lots of ways like grids, animated fans, and other formats.
- Forms pages—These pages exist solely to present a form for readers to fill out, and the most common type is the Contact page. But you can use these for lots of reasons, like taking entries in a contest or submissions to a directory.
- Landing page—In a sense every page on your blog is a landing page because browsers can arrive there by following a link. But here I’m talking about pages set up to greet people for a specific purpose. An example would be the content landing pages in the Start Here categories in the left sidebar of the blog or the content landing pages on Copyblogger. These are great for helping newcomers find content that’s relevant to their needs, and they are a powerful way to make your content marketing more effective.
- Squeeze page—Here we come to a special type of blog page, one designed to present an either/or choice to the reader. Squeeze pages typically do away with the sidebars and menu system that’s found on the rest of your blog. Why? To make the binary choice obvious. For instance, I use a squeeze page here to offer my free PDF 10 Things You Need to Know About Self-Publishing in exchange for an email address. You don’t want the reader to have a lot of choices: either put in your email address or click away, that’s the squeeze.
- Sales pages—This is a variety of the landing page and it’s designed to sell something. Like squeeze pages, it’s really most effective to get rid of distractions on this page because you want readers to concentrate on your sales copy and, if they find it useful, to click your “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button. By presenting no distractions, you encourage them to make a choice one way or the other.
- Automatic pages—These are pages used in the completion of an automatic process of some kind, like sign ups for an email list or an event like a webinar. They might include the confirmation page your email provider sends people to so they know to check their email and confirm their subscription. Or it might be a Thank You page buyers are sent to at the completion of a transaction, and might also include a Download page for delivery of a digital product. In all these cases the pages are used by a process and won’t be seen by anyone else. Here’s an example of a confirmation page with a download included.
- Module pages—Created by some specialized WordPress themes—special software that modifies how your blog behaves. These automatically create parent/child relationships and a menu hierarchy so you can deliver online training courses or other material that lends itself to being organized into sections or modules. Many membership sites use these, like the Self-Publishing Roadmap.
This list is undoubtedly incomplete, as you can probably create lots of other kinds of pages in WordPress that I haven’t seen.
But as your experience as a blogger grows, you’re going to find more and more things you want to do with your blog, and these specialized pages will be the way you can get things done.
Do you want to sign people up to an email list, run a contest, ask for feedback, organize your content or some other project or goal you have in mind?
That’s when you’ll want to know about the kinds of pages WordPress can create.
Photo by stuartpilbrow