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WordPress 3.9 Crash Course – Part 24 – Understanding WordPress Page Settings

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The next thing we’re going to take a look at in this WordPress 3.9 Crash Course are the Page Settings. We’re going to start on this page and the way we’re going to get to that is from the edit page button here on the top of the admin bar. Just click Edit Page.

Screen Options

This is the page that we’re familiar with where you have the content that you edit, the title, publish, etc. I want to draw your attention to screen options here. Screen options gives you the ability to add other settings to the page edit screen. For example, we’ll select author, slug, comments, discussion, custom fields and revisions. Now when we scroll down you see all those things here.

Changing the Order of Settings on the Page

It’s also quite easy to move these settings around. Let’s say for the sake of conversation that you want your revisions all the way down here at the bottom. You can just scroll down to the bottom and drop them there. And let’s say we want the author over here in the sidebar. All we have to do is drag the author. See those little dashed lines that are popping up there by where I have the author where I’m going to drop it? That tells you that you can drop the box right there.

The Publish Box

So now we’ve added some new settings to the page edit screen that I can use to edit this page. And we’re going to start by taking a look at the most important ones, that is the ones that were already turned on. That starts off with the Publish box.

Preview Changes Button

The first thing in the Publish box is this Preview Changes and it can be useful especially if you aren’t sure what your blog post is going to look like and you want to see what it looks like before you publish it. Just hit Preview Changes.

As a fair warning, sometimes there are things that don’t work the way you expect them to work in preview mode but then work just fine in regular mode. So I wouldn’t get too worried about it if say, menu items aren’t showing up right or if you don’t have widgets on here or something like that that you would’ve had before. This preview is really just to let you preview the text. I never use Preview Changes myself but if you want to see what it looks like you certainly can do that.

Status Options

The next thing we have is Status. For this we have a choice of Published, Pending Review or Draft. Published means it’s published and shows on the site. That’s the way this page is right now.

Pending Review is something that people use on blogs where there are multiple authors and they’ve given some authors the ability to create post but not to actually publish them. Once an author has created a post then it gets marked as Pending Review and then the admin can review it before it gets posted.

The third one is Draft. A lot of newbies start making all of their pages draft because they don’t want anybody to look at them but the problem with setting them as Draft is that they won’t show up on the page you originally placed them on the menu. All of a sudden they drop off the menu and they don’t show up in page lists.

A draft can be fine when you are just starting off and you want to save the post but you shouldn’t routinely set a bunch of pages to draft because your website is not going to look the way you expect it to look.

I see this all the time where somebody says well, this isn’t happening on my site but should be and when we go look those pages were set to draft. That means there’s nothing showing up for them and they’re not displaying what the person expected to see. Draft is okay to use just recognize its limitations.

Visibility Choices

The next thing you have is visibility and in visibility you have 3 choices. You have Public, Password Protected and Private. Now, this is a little bit different on the post edit screen and we’ll go take a look at that in just a moment but public means everybody in the world can see it. Password protected means that you’ve specified a password for that page and anybody who has that password can see it and private means that it’s only visible to administrators.

Private pages can be useful for you to essentially take notes for yourself and for a sandbox page. That’s what I use private pages for but they’re only visible to admins which means they’re never visible to anybody else.

The password protected is great for unusual pages where you want to hide the content from everyone except a couple of people. It doesn’t stand in for a membership site for example. If you want somebody to log in to your site and have access to a bunch of content with one single log in, you’re not going to use this password protected system for that, instead you’ll use a membership plugin.

Sticky Posts

Let’s come over here to the Post Edit screen and look at Hello World! for a moment. The visibility has a slightly different option. Once you choose public it has this “Stick this post to the front page” option. This is essentially what people refer to as making a post sticky or sticky posts.

When you make a post sticky it is taken out of the ordinary sort order of WordPress posts and is placed at the top of your blog posts page. So if you’ve got an important post that you want everybody to see when they first come to your blog posts page then you would check this button.

Once you make a post sticky all the other posts show up below it in their ordinary order but this allows you to take a post out of order and bring it to the top of your blog posts page.

You can make any number of posts sticky. So if you’ve got 3 really important posts that you want at the top you can make all 3 sticky. It doesn’t matter how many you make sticky except that the purpose for it is to highlight important content and have them at the top of the blog posts page. Pages don’t have that ability because pages don’t work that way.

Revisions

The next section is Revisions. This is something that’s brand new in WordPress and it’s actually quite clever. When you click on that what you have is the most current version which is what this is here. This is the most current version of the page and the previous saved version of the page and this pink is showing us where we made changes. The green is showing us the same thing and then it is showing the changes that we made in the dark green. We added all these things in the HTML after this post had been saved.

Comparing Revisions

You can compare any two revisions, just check this box here. Then you can use this little slider here to compare the autosave which was just done. The autosave is not the current used one, it’s one that’s been saved automatically or this is the current revision and you can take it back another revision. In fact, this may stretch back a bit if there are a bunch of revisions.

You can see here when we originally created it a week ago there was no content in it. The next saved revision had this content in it and then the final saved revision is the one that we’re using which has this content edited like that.

You can also use this process to restore a revision if you’d like. It’s a great feature if you accidentally messed something up because you can go back and look at what it used to be and then fix it.

Published

Let’s return to the Post Editor. Finally, we have our Published On. Now, this automatically gets set for the date that it was actually published but you can change it. We could say that it was published on May 8th so let’s change that 08. This is a page we are editing so it won’t change the display order but posts are displayed such that the latest post is at the top of the blog posts page and the oldest post is at the bottom. So you can manipulate a post’s position by changing the date if there’s some reason for you to do that.

Also if you make a major update to a post or page, it may make sense for you to change the date here and indicate that you’ve got a brand new revision. Anyway, you can make this date anything you want it to be just bearing in mind that in many cases it gets displayed. Generally speaking, you’re not going to edit this.

Page Attributes

The next thing to look at is page attributes and the first aspect of the page attribute is the parent.

Parent-Child Relationship and URLs

Pages are hierarchical which means that you can make one page a child of another page and the benefit of doing that it helps you structure your URL. So what happens when you do this is that the slug of the parent page gets placed in front of the slug of the child page.

You’re not going to do that on your home page of course but let’s say we go to “Adding Text from Google Docs to the Text Editor”. Hit edit and then we make say “Optimizing Your Content with Formatting” as the parent page. When we update that you’ll note now that the URL has changed. It has “Optimizing Your Content with Formatting” and then “Adding Text from Google Docs to the Text Editor”.

If we view the page you see now we’ve got this nice easily readable URL. This is the way Google wants you to structure your content. Let’s look at another example. Let’s say you have a Services page where you describe your services in general and then you’ve got another page that goes in the detail about one of your services. Well the Services page would be the main page and then the full service description would be a child page.

I’ll show you an example of that here sbywhfinal. This is the site that I use in teaching the Genesis Professional website class. Here’s the Projects page, this is a parent page right and it says Finished Projects. Then if we go to one of the houses, it’s finished-projects/west-seattle-view-home/. So this west-seattle-view-home page is actually a child page of the Finished Projects page.

Finished Projects is more general and West Seattle View Home is more specific and this makes a very easily readable URL. This is Rick Anderson Architects finished-projects/west-seattle-view-home/. This URL tells you exactly what it is you’re looking at. So that’s what the parent-child relationship is for.

Parent-Child Relationship Display on Admin Side

There’s something else that happens when you have the parent-child relationship. Let’s go back to this Optimizing Your Content example. When we come over to pages, now you’ll see that the page “Adding Text from Google Docs to the Text Editor” is placed under Optimizing Your Content with Formatting.

It’s indented under that because this is the parent page and it has been moved to that. You can set the parent page from inside of Quick Edit as well. Let’s click on Quick Edit and then select the parent and Optimizing Your Content with Formatting and hit update. Once we refresh this you’ll see here’s the parent page and here are the two child page. So that is the parent page.

Order

The next thing you have is Order. Way back when the menus were automatically created they were difficult to edit and maintain a menu unlike the nice drag and drop system we have now. So the way people would put pages on menus would be to say add them automatically but when that happened you would have no way of setting what order the pages sat in.

Then along came this order and this is called menu order and if you put number 1 and number 2 and number 3 in then the number 1 would be the leftmost page, the number 2 would be the second and the number 3 would be the third on the menu. Well, the menu has changed dramatically since then and people have started using this order for other things besides just menu placement.

Organize Order of Pages

It still exists even though it’s not useful in the menu and what you can do is use this to organize the order of pages as a display in the pages menu.

For example, if we come over here right now “Adding Text from Google Docs” is the first one to display and “Adding Text from Word” is the second one but if we do a little quick edit here and we add 1 to this one, hit update and leave this one at 0, you’ll see the change. First, let’s refresh our page and notice that “Adding Text from Google Docs” goes down in order.

I use this extensively myself on BYOBWebsite because I’m in a situation where I have hundreds and hundreds of pages and so I use page order to organize them. The automatic page order that’s set for them isn’t useful in that kind of a situation. I use page order to have the ones that get changed a lot or that I’m working on at the top with a higher page or a number. Then I put the ones that I never really need to edit much down at the bottom.

It’s just a system that I use for organizing the dashboard when there are hundreds of pages. Again, I put the most important ones that I need to get at regularly at the top and the least important ones at the bottom using that page or a number. There are lots of other things you can do with it so it’s fairly useful on a large site with lots of pages.

Posts and Page Order and Hierarchy

You’ll notice that if we come over to Post it doesn’t have that. That’s because posts don’t have attributes so you can’t set a post order. Post order is automatically ordered by date. There is no section here on posts for identifying post order or post parent.

Posts are not hierarchical and so you can’t have a parent post and a child post. Posts get their hierarchy from their categories but pages get their hierarchy from their parent-child relationships.

Pages and Post Templates

Let’s go back and edit this page. There’s one other thing that shows up here depending upon the theme you have and that’s templates. We are using the Twenty Thirteen theme and there aren’t any special templates so the dialog doesn’t show here so we’re going to change themes.

Let’s change it to Twenty Twelve and activate it and then edit this page. Now you see we’ve got this template choice. There is the Default Template, the Front Page Template or the Full Width Template. Use of these templates are a little different. You can choose the template also from this page attribute section.

Again, posts do not have the ability for you to choose templates out of the box. Well, Thesis does give you Custom Post Templates so that you can change up templates on posts but generally speaking, in most themes you don’t have the option for changing templates on your posts, it’s not a typical thing for posts.

Slug of the Page

Next you have Slugs. This allows you to change the slug here but I never use that because you can always change the slug of your page up here below the title.

The slug of your page is essentially a URL optimized version of your title. For example, I can edit the slug here and instead of optimizing-your-content-with-formatting let’s take out “yours “. Then it reads optimizing-content-with-formatting. And now we’ve just changed the URL, we’ve changed the slug.

Because it is so easy to edit the slug below the title, I’m going to uncheck slug from my screen options because I don’t really need it, I don’t use it.

Discussion

Discussion allows you to override your general settings. So if you’ve set your site not to allow discussion, not to allow comments, you can always allow comments with this. If you’ve set it to allow comments, you can always uncheck this and disallow comments so that’s what you can do with this.

Comments

Comments just shows the number of comments that you have. Custom fields is an advanced feature that we’re not going to talk about here but you may find useful sometime in the future. Revisions are just a list of the revisions that are available for you to take a look at, the list of revisions that have been stored for this particular page. And that’s it for the page settings.

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