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Lesson 12 – Part 2 – Organizing Content in WordPress

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WordPress has some inherent organization. There’s organization that is automatically built in to WordPress that is going to be there no matter what you do. And you see that in the first place with pages.

Pages are Organized Hierarchically

Pages are automatically hierarchical and no typical WordPress taxonomies apply. That means pages are not organized by date. Pages aren’t organized by author. Pages aren’t organized by category or tag.

So pages never show up in a date archive or in author archive or a category or a tag archive. Well, pages don’t show up in an archive. No typical WordPress taxonomies apply to them and the only organizational element of them is that they’re hierarchical.

Posts are Organized Sequentially

Now in contrast, posts are inherently sequential. That is they are organized in the order in which they were posted which means that essentially, they are organized by date. But more to the point, they’re organized in the sequence in which they are posted where the the latest post that was posted is generally at the top. And the first post that was posted or the post that was posted the longest ago is at the bottom of the list.

They are not hierarchical. That is, there can be no parent child relationship between posts. There is no post as a parent and then a sub post or a sub sub post like there are with pages.

Pages are Organized by Taxonomy

And with posts, all typical WordPress taxonomies apply. That is they are organized by date. They are organized by author. They are organized by category or tag and this is automatic. There isn’t anything you have to do about it. In fact, if you don’t give a post a category, it automatically gets a category uncategorized.

The author is automatically created by whoever is the person who posts it is and the date is automatically set when you post the post. So in the absence of doing anything, this is sort of the automatic way in which posts get organized.

Taxonomy Organization

Now, in addition to this inherent organization in WordPress, you also have taxonomy organization. And there are a number of taxonomies that we’ve already talked about but now, we’re going to talk about them a little bit more in depth.

Date

And the first taxonomy is date and date’s fairly obvious, right? It’s sequential, that is, something I posted today is going to show up after something I posted yesterday. That’s the sequence. And if you organize something by date, it is organized in the order of published date.

Now it’s possible for you to create posts and not publish them. You can either save them as drafts or you can save them as private. And as such, those posts don’t show up in the date sequence. And so the only way for posts to show up in a date sequence is when they are published. So it’s in the order in which they are published.

Author

The second one is author. Now the author taxonomy is organized alphabetically. So it’s not sequential. That is if Rick posts first and Bob posts second, that is irrelevant. It’s organized alphabetically so in the list, Bob is always going to come before Rick regardless of when Bob and Rick post something or regardless of when Bob and Rick became authors or anything like that.

The author is organized alphabetically, not sequentially. And it’s also not hierarchically. Rick can’t have a sub author. Every author is on the same level thus it’s not hierarchical.

Categories

Next, we have categories and categories are hierarchical. That is, you can have a category and a sub category and a sub sub category and a sub sub category and onward. And as such it’s perfect for the kind of organization that has topics that are related to each other in some kind of a hierarchy.

You see this all the time on my site where we have this lesson and then the lesson has parts. And each part has a video and so on and so forth. That’s similar to the category hierarchy.

Categories are not sequential. That is, it doesn’t really matter when you created the category. You never organize categories by date. You never organize categories by sequence. The only type of organization for categories that matters is the hierarchy: which is the parent, which is the child, which is the grandchild.

Tags

Again, by contrast, post tags are alphabetical. That is post tags just show up in their alphabetical order. They are not sequential and they are not hierarchical. That is, the first post tag you create does not show up after the last post tag you created. And post tags cannot have sub post tags. So you can’t have a tag and a sub tag and a sub sub tag because it’s not hierarchical. The post tag is only alphabetical.

Custom Taxonomies

And then you have custom taxonomies which can be either hierarchical or not. If they’re not hierarchical then they will be alphabetical but they can never be sequential. So the sequential hierarchy or the sequential organization is handled by date.

And so at that point, it’s either hierarchical or not hierarchical. And if it’s not hierarchical then it’s alphabetical. So essentially, custom taxonomies can be either like categories or post tags. And they can even oddly share some characteristics of both so custom taxonomies are very powerful.

And on my site, on BYOB Website, I have a good example of custom taxonomies. And those custom taxonomies are lesson subjects and topics. Lesson subject is a hierarchical custom taxonomy. And so the highest level of the hierarchy is using Thesis 2 and then inside of using Thesis 2, the sub lesson subject is byob boxes. And then the sub sub lesson subject is the multilevel drop down responsive menu.

You see that hierarchy working through there. Again, using Thesis 2, the Skin Editor CSS, the columns package or the horizontal drop down menu package. This is the hierarchy of the custom taxonomy Lesson Subject.

On the other hand, the custom taxonomy topics are just alphabetical. There is no hierarchy. Here’s my topic index and it’s just organized alphabetically. And generally speaking, all content on my site can be assigned a lesson subject and topics.

My custom taxonomy lesson subject actually applies to posts, pages and all of my custom post types just like my topics does. So on my site, categories and tags still only apply to posts but lesson subject and topics as custom taxonomies applies to every kind of content I have on my site.

So those are the methods of organizing content in WordPress.

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