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Lesson 12 – Part 2 – Organizing Content in WordPress

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The next thing we’re going to talk about is organizing content in WordPress. Right now, we have a sense of the terminology of the WordPress Content Management System. Now, we’re going to talk about organizing content in WordPress. To start that off, we’re going to talk about the inherent organization in WordPress because if you don’t do anything at all, WordPress has an organizational system that it imposes on the content that you create.

Inherent Page Organization in WordPress

That first kind of organizational system shows up in pages. Pages are inherently hierarchical. Remember when we created pages earlier in the course, we created a parent page then we created child pages, that is the hierarchy. The top level page, the parent page is the top of the hierarchy and let’s take a look at a specific example of this. If we come over to the site that we’ve created, this is our demonstration site

The Projects is a page but as a child of our Projects page is the West Seattle View Home and you can see this up here in our URL. Here’s our URL then it’s finishedprojects which is the Projects page then westseattleviewhome which is the next page. We talked about that earlier. This is the inherent organizational structure of pages that is hierarchy of a parent, child, and grandchild relationship.

What that means is that, no typical WordPress taxonomies apply. That is, there is no organization by date, by author, by category or tag. If you click on an author link, it’ll show you all the posts by a specific author but it won’t show you any pages by that author. If you click on a specific date, it will show you all of the posts that are posted in that date range but it won’t show you any pages that are posted in that date range.

The same thing is true with categories and tags, you can’t assign a category or a tag to pages, you can only do those to posts. The only organizational structure that applies to pages is hierarchical, that top level page, the second level page, the third level page and so on and so forth but none of the regular taxonomies apply to it.

Inherent Post Organization in WordPress

On the other hand, you have posts. Now, if you don’t use any taxonomies the inherent organization is sequential that is, one follows after the other. On Monday, I posted a post, on Tuesday I made a post, on Wednesday, I made a post so each post follows the other with the latest post at the top and that’s its built-in organization, one thing follows the other. That’s a sequential organizational system.

It’s not hierarchical, you can’t have a post that is a child of another post. There is no hierarchy between posts, all posts are on the same level and the only distinction between those posts is that, one post follows the other. However, all of the typical WordPress taxonomies apply to posts. Posts by their sequential nature are automatically organized by date, that’s the thing that makes them sequential.

They’re also organized by author and they’re organized by category or by tag. If you don’t specify a category tag, then of course they aren’t organized by that but it still knows who the author, it still knows the date in which it was posted and those taxonomies are still going to apply to posts. That’s the inherent organization inside WordPress.

Taxonomy Organization in WordPress

The next thing really to talk about is the organization in taxonomies because each of the taxonomies also have their own inherent organization.


The first taxonomy is date and naturally it has a sequential organization. One date follows the other and that date hierarchy is simply in the order in which it was published. Sometimes, you can also access posts in the order in which they’ve been updated but nevertheless, it’s either on the published date or the updated date. Date is still a sequential system where January 1st is after January 2nd in the list because you see January 2nd before you see January 1st.


The next taxonomy is author. Author is not sequential, it’s alphabetical by last name or by username if there’s not a last name but nevertheless, author is organized alphabetically. There is no sequence of authors, there’s not a first author, the second or the third author, there’s just author’s name that starts with a, b and c. It’s also not hierarchical. There is no author and sub author, all authors are on the same level hierarchically so there’s no hierarchical element, no sequential element. Authors are only organized alphabetically.


Then you get to categories. Categories are hierarchical. Just like pages, categories can have sub categories and can have more sub categories and sub subcategories ad infinitum. There’s no limit to the depth of the hierarchical structure for categories and categories are not sequential. There’s no relationship with when the category was created. The only relationship for categories that matters at all is what their parent is and what children they have. Besides that, there is no other organizational element to categories.

Post Tags

Post tags are essentially the opposite of that. Post tags are alphabetical that is, when you look at your list of post tags, you’re going to see a list organized alphabetically. It’s not sequential, it’s not hierarchical, you don’t have a post that follows another post because it was created one day after another and post tags do not have child tags and sub child tags.

Post tags are all on the same hierarchical level. If you think of taxonomies as it relates to content types, categories behave like pages and post tags behave like posts except that categories and post tags only apply to posts, they do not apply to pages.

Custom Taxonomies

You also have custom taxonomies that can either be hierarchical or not hierarchical. Now, if they’re not hierarchical, they’ll be alphabetical and they’re never sequential so the hierarchy never follows a date-like sequence or when one was created or anything like that.

Taxonomies are either hierarchical or not and if they’re not hierarchical, they’re alphabetical. Which really means that custom taxonomies can either be like categories or post tags, either one or the other. I’m going to show you an example of that here on BYOB Website.

Examples of Custom Taxonomies

On BYOB Website, I have two custom taxonomies. I have Lesson Subjects and I have Topics. Lesson Subjects is a hierarchical custom taxonomy and you can see the hierarchy here. The top level of the hierarchy is using Thesis, the next level might be Thesis header and below that there’s a call to action. This is the parent, this is a child, this is a grandchild, you can see this hierarchy that exists here.

You see that under plugins. For example, this is the top level taxonomy term, this is the parent and you’ve come down here to Shopp, this is the child, Customizing Shopp is the grandchild so there’s this hierarchy that exists in these. All of our Lesson Subjects fall into that category, it’s a hierarchical custom taxonomy. Say we click on customizing, it’s going to show us everything on the site that follows that hierarchy.

Look at the hierarchy you can see in the Breadcrumbs. We have the base hierarchy which is Plugins, the next level is Shopp and finally, we have Customizing so this is the grandchild of Plugins. This is an archive page showing you all of the content on the site that has that custom taxonomy applied to it.

Perhaps the other example of that is Topics. Now Topics behave like tags and they are arranged here alphabetically. You can see there are no sub topics here, these are all topics on the site. If we click on the NavXT Plugin topic, there’s one piece of content associated with that topic.

Under Background Images, we have a whole bunch of things that are tagged background image. They’re not tags actually, they are the topic. These are two custom taxonomies, Lesson Subjects and Topics on my site. Lesson Subjects is hierarchical, Topics is not hierarchical.

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