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Lesson 12 – Part 4 – Add Blog Functionality to the Site

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Site Structure Before Adding Blog Functionality

The next thing we’re going to do then is to add blog functionality to this business/professional services Thesis Theme site. In order for us to do that, we need to come back and review our site architecture that we talked about in Lesson 7 of the series. So far right now, what we have created is this set of pages. We have our home page, our top level pages and those top level pages have subpages under them.

Our Services page has services, our Case Studies page has individual studies and the Testimonials and About don’t have subpages. These are all pages and their only organizational system is their hierarchy that is, this is a subpage of that and this is a sibling of the other two studies. We have this thing down here that we’re planning on getting to which is the use of the blog functionality. So before the blog functionality we just have these pages.

Site Structure with Blog Functionality

With the blog functionality, we are going to have a Blog page which we’re going to call Articles and we’re going to have Categories which will have articles that will be categorized within these categories. We’re not going to use tags in this case because what we’re talking about right now is a simple professional services site and the chances are you don’t really need tags in that context.

If you do need tags, by the time you get to that point you’ll understand how to use them. Right now we’re just going to use Categories as the Taxonomy for organizing our articles and this is the structure that we’re going to implement now.

Creating Posts

We’re going to start that by creating posts. The lecture has ended and now the demonstration begins. Here we are on the site that we’re creating, this is how far we got last week and way back when we created a Posts page, we call that articles and we put it on the Nav Bar. We haven’t created any posts, this Hello World post was created when WordPress was installed and automatically creates this but that’s the only post that exists.

When we’re finished on our Articles page, what we’re going to have is a Featured post, another Featured post and then Teaser posts and you’ll be able to get to these posts from categories. If you click on Category Design Ideas, it takes you to this one post. If we click on a single post, it takes us to the post itself. This is what we’re creating here and we’re going to start off by creating categories.

Creating Categories

We go to our Dashboard, we’re going to come down here to Posts and go to Categories. This Category is automatically created, right? When WordPress is installed it creates the uncategorized category and puts the Hello World post in there.

Now, we’re going to create a new category, Design Ideas, How to Design your Home, Site Design, Working with an Architect, okay. We’re going to create a new category, Design Ideas and for the moment, we’re just going to say, “Add New Category”.

Then we’re going to say, How to Design Your Home. These are categories of Articles that theoretically we’re adding to the site, that’s what’s happening here. I’m going to add that new category and they’re being added over here. I’m going to make a subcategory here and say, Bathrooms and we’re going to make that a child category of Design Ideas.

In fact, here under parent is how we do that. We place it under Design Ideas, choose its parent, come down here and say, “Add New Category”. Now you can see Bathrooms is indented under Design Ideas. The next one is Working with an Architect. It’s not going to have a parent so we save them and we “Add New Category”.

Now we have four categories that we’ve added to this plus uncategorized. Notice there are no posts assigned to these categories because we haven’t actually created any yet and that’s what we’re going to do next. We’re going to come over to Posts and we’re going to say, “Add New”. This is exactly the same, it’s creating pages.

How to Design a Master Bathroom, that’s the first one we’re going to create. We’re going to come here and take a big block of text and remember, we will use the Paste from Word editor for this, paste that in and insert it. Now we’ve got our Blog post, How to Design a Master Bathroom, we’re going to categorize as under Design Ideas, Bathrooms.

It could be How to Design Your Home too but posts should only have a single category. They’re going to have multiple tags but they should always only have a single category. That’s the nature of hierarchical categories, it only end up with every posts generally be categorized once.

Adding a Post Image

Then we pretend we filled that with all the SEO information although we do need to add a post image for this. In order to add this post image, we need to add a bunch of images so we’re just going to come to Media. Click on it and say, Add New, Select Files and documents. I need to see these better so I’m just going to take these images and we’ll pretend that these are the right images.

We’re going to use this image here, come down to our post image and thumbnail, place the post image, put some alt text, we’re going to put it above the headline so we’ll just leave all these alone and hit Publish.

I’m going to copy that, “Add New” and the next one will be Designing Around a Difficult Site. Put that under How to Design Your Home, we’ll get ourselves an image, we’ll pretend we put alt text in there and hit Publish. Copy it again, “Add New”, put the text, Design Ideas, put the post image in, Publish and we’re going to do a fourth one. I want to put at least 4 in here so that you can see what happens when it get grouped, that’s really the point of this. ”Add New Post”, Working with an Architect, post image, and Publish.

Now we have 4 Published posts and we can view the posts so here is a post that’s set up with our post image. If we go look at our Articles page, the post is there, another post is there, we’ve got some Teaser posts with tiny images showing up there and without doing anything special to our settings, we have a Posts page that displays posts, post images and teasers.

Create a Permalink Structure

The last thing we want to do to set up this blog functionality is to look at our permalinks. Right now if we’re looking at our post, you can see that the permalink for this post is 2012/03/09/choose-the-right-architect/. If you recall from lesson 7, that’s a very bad permalink because it doesn’t have any meaning to it. It has got a date in it, so if you’re information is really date specific, this can be a useful kind of permalink but for a small business professional website, the information is not going to be date specific.

Descriptive URL Structure

We’re going to be better having a URL structure that is more descriptive. Recognize that when we’re looking at our pages, it says, finished-projects/west-seattle-view-home and our Services says, services/builder-spec-home-design-services. It makes sense, there’s a logical progression of information here. And if we look at Build a Professional Website Using WordPress and Thesis, we’ve got

If we go over to Lesson 7, it adds to that video-tutorials/thesis-theme/lesson-7-site-organization and when you go to the video, it adds another layer to that video-tutorials/thesis-theme/lesson-7-site-organization/what-we-are-creating/. This whole thing reads like a nice big long English sentence, you get meaning out of the URL. Whereas, out of this out of this URL, you don’t get any meaning except for the post title.

Custom Post Structure

We’re going to change this permalink structure so that it does have meaning and the way we’re going to do that is with our permalinks. If we come over to Settings and Permalinks, we’ve got this structure here. What we’re going to do is pick a Custom Post Structure and in the place of all of these stuff, we’re going to put category, /%category%/%postname%/ and for a Category base, we’re going to say, Articles.

There’s no reason to say, “Category” in this and you will see what I’m talking about. It would say Category in the place of Articles and we’ll see what this looks like here so there is no reason for us to say that. We hit Save Changes and then come back over and refresh this.

You’re going to see the category name here, right? Now, it’s working-with-an-architect/choose-the-right-architect/ and we got our Category in here. We don’t have a Category archive, we don’t have the ability to look at the Category archive page yet and that’ll be coming in a few minutes, but if we look at this Craftsman Front Porch right it says, design-ideas/craftsman-front-porch/.

If we go back and look at our How to Design a Master Bathroom, it’s going to say, design-ideas/bathrooms/how-to-design-a-master-bathroom/ that’s because what we did here was create a permalink structure that uses the category hierarchy in the name of the post which is exactly the same thing as it happens with Pages. We’ve got the parent page and the child page showing up in this.

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