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Lesson 1 – Part 3 – WordPress Site Structure

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Before we take questions and before we close, I want to talk briefly about the site structure. Now as you probably already know, WordPress has four native structural elements. It has pages, posts, categories, and tags.

Create a Membership Website – Pages

A page is a piece of static content. So on my site, for example when I’m not logged in this my homepage, this is a page from my site. So is this subscribe now, this video tutorial page and these are all static pages. So we’ll use these static pages for one part of the site.

Create a Membership Website – Posts

However, we’ll also use blog posts or posts. Now posts are not static. Posts are intended for information that changes routinely and so posts are generally on the blog page and they have renewing content. This is my latest blog post, How to add an Image to Thesis 1.8 and then before that my latest blog post was  WordPress and Thesis as a Complex CMS. So these are blog posts that follow sequentially one after another and when I post new blog post, it comes to the top of the list and everything else shifts down.

The difference between posts and pages is that if I add a new page, nothing happens to this page. This page stays exactly where it is. But when I add a new post, this post is going to move down the page and become less and less important as more posts get added.

Create a Membership Website – Categories

So we’ll be using both posts and pages and then we’ll be using categories and tags. Categories are the way of hierarchically organizing a post. So for example, just to give you an example looks like, if I select this post, you can see that here is my hierarchy. We first had a category: Video Tutorial Series and in the second category within that is: Using Thesis and then we have a post “How to Add a Header Image to Thesis 1.8”. This is a category, and this is a sub-category of that category and you have this hierarchical relationship.

In addition to that one of the reasons why we do that is to generate these URLs. And what we’re trying for is semantic URLs which something that Google really likes, that is, a URL that reads like an English sentence. For example,, video tutorials, how to use Thesis, add a header image to Thesis. By looking at that URL, you can tell what this post is going to be about. And so that’s the rationale for using these categories.

Create a Membership Website – Tags

Tags themselves don’t have any hierarchy. And so you’re not going to use them hierarchically. I use a system of tags called Lesson Subject, to help organize my content all the way across the site. And so my lesson subjects are not hierarchical. They all sit on the same level. So for example, for Header Image, this is one tag. And I could choose for example, instead of that tag, I could use this is one tag SH Slideshow.

And I’ve got one for plugins. This is a list of every video on my site that has something to do with plugins and you can just kind of keep on exploring. For example here’s the Dynamic Content Gallery, so this is a list of every video on the site about the Dynamic Content Gallery. That’s how these tags work. Tags are another organizational way of understanding the content aside from a hierarchical structure. And so we will be using both categories and tags and those will be used to index our blogs.

Create a Membership Website – Page Hierarchy

However, you can’t use categories and tags on pages. In terms of pages, they have their own internal hierarchy or built-in hierarchy. A page can be a sub-page of another page. And ad infinitum a sub-sub-sub pages, each of them nested within another page. You can’t do that with posts. But pages can be nested among themselves and thus be sub-pages. Our top level pages, on this site are going to be, our landing pages or our landing page component that is the homepage or sales pages, the product pages, information pages. Those are all going to be pages not posts.

The same thing is true for course material. The landing page is going to be public, but course material pages are going to be private. We’ll have courses and pages under those. Each of these pages or the page system will have its own page hierarchy.

For example, across our top page level hierarchy, which is essentially what you see here, we’re going to have a homepage which is public. We’ll have a products page which will be public. We’ll have a courses page which will be hidden and we’ll have a member dashboard page which will be hidden.

We’ll have a promotions page which will be for our more traditional landing page or a squeeze page kind of thing. We’ll have that kind of page and that’s going to be entirely invisible. We’ll have an About page and Contact page which will be public. We’ll have a forum page which will be publicly viewable. And we’ll have a blog page which will be public. Those are our top level hierarchy pages, and in fact our top level navigational items.

Our main navigation menu is going to have Home, Products, About, Contact, Forum, and Blog as our pages. And the Homepage is just going to be a static landing page. It’s just going to be our main landing page, like my homepage is.

Create a Membership Website – Pages Available Based on Logged In State

Once a person is a member of your site, your homepage is no longer important to them. It’s no longer necessary to display. The products page is essentially going to be your course catalog, which is very much like my video tutorials page here. It’s going to show each of your courses with links off to individual product pages. And then those individual product pages would describe the course, what’s in the course and all the rest that kind of stuff.

Then the next kind of page you’re going to have is the courses page. And the courses page is essentially like a products page except that the courses page is only going to be available to a member when they are logged in. And it will essentially replace the products page. That is, the courses page will still have the ability for a logged in member to purchase courses but they’ll also be able to purchase renewals from that.

If they purchased it, they will then have access to individual course pages. For example Start Building Your Website Here, this is similar to what we will be constructing which is a course page and under that course page, there will be lesson pages. So you can see here again this page hierarchy. I have a page called Video Tutorials, which you saw at the very beginning and is essentially my courses page. I have Start Building Your Website Here page, which is one of the many courses that I have. And then Lesson 1 is this lesson 1 page and that’s exactly the same system we will have here. You’ll have your main courses page, your individual course pages and all the individual lessons for that course. And that will replace the General Products page that the public sees.

And then, the next thing you’ll have is this member dashboard. You can see that, for example, the member dashboard is not visible here because I’m not logged in. The member dashboard is something that is seen only if you’re logged in. Here in Chrome, I am logged in. So in Chrome, my affiliate shows up and My Dashboard shows up but I don’t have a homepage link and I don’t have a testimonials link because those are all sales related. And so I have a different menu bar for my logged in condition. One of those is going to be this dashboard page and that dashboard page will all have that profile stuff that I said before.

And then we’re going to have an About page. My About page is also not visible once you’re logged in. But the About page will be about you, about why it makes sense for someone to listen to you, why you may have something that is valuable to say. That’s the kind of page it will be.

Then we’re going to have a promotions page. Actually I do have a promotions page here. Let’ see if I can find it. My promotions page is sort of hidden because I only use them for advertising purposes. Let’s just go look at pages. Your promotions page will be hidden as well. I think I have it down at the bottom of this. Here we go. So this is essentially a landing page and if we view it, it looks like my homepage, right? Except it’s just one of these landing sales pages that’s specifically directed at selling to a specific kind of client. This is for Thesis in particular. Somebody’s looking for Thesis specifically and then for my advertising then I refer them to this page. Anyway, we’ll create those kinds of pages on this site.

And we’ll also create a contact page, which I actually don’t have here. My contact page really just comes from here. I’ve got a contact form. I’ve got Skype information, and that sort of thing. This is what serves as my contact form or my contact page.

And then finally we’ll have the forum. You must be logged in in order to post in the forum but you will be able to see posts even if you are not a member. If you compare this forum to the forum when you’re logged in, you will notice that there are some parts of this that aren’t available to people who are not logged in. For example the forum for this specific course is not available for the general public and they won’t even see it here. There are some parts of my forum that are only available to members when they’re logged in and that’s what we’ll be doing.

Create a Membership Website – Use of the Blog

We will only be using blog posts for the blog. If you’ve been around me very much this year, you’ll have seen that I spend all my time talking about custom posts, custom post types, and custom taxonomies. We’ve done all manner of things with those non-default WordPress elements. But here we’re not going to do that. We’re only going to use pages and posts and we will focus on using blog posts only as posts. So the categories and tags, they will only index blog posts whereas on this site, my tags index custom post types, pages, and everything else.

Create a Membership Website – Homework

So your homework for today is shown at the bottom of the lecture notes. And what I want you to do in the intervening week is to make sure you have a website setup with WordPress and Thesis. If you don’t have Thesis, here’s a link to download it. Same is true with WP eStore and WP eMember. These are all premium things, so you’ll have to pay to have access to those. But WP eStore’s got a deal where you can buy eStore, eMember, and I believe WP Affiliate for a substantially discounted price. So don’t buy them individually, just buy them together as a group.

And then I also want you to install Change WP eMail From Details and there’s a download link here for that. I’m also going to add download links on this Create a Membership Website page for you over here so that they’re relatively easily accessible. All of those links are here as well under the Principal tools, except for that Change WP eMail Details. You’re going to have to get that from that link that I gave you or the link that’s at the sidebar you’ll see later on today.

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