Structuring your WordPress pages may seem like a strange topic to talk about. After all, the process of creating a new page in WordPress is self-explanatory. All you need to do is click on “Add New” within the page menu, add your content and publish your page.
Bloggers publish the majority of their content through blog posts. Most blogs also publish a few pages such as a contact page, about page and advertising page. For many content websites, it makes more sense to publish content using a hierarchical structure, rather than in chronological order. Pages are better for content that are not time-sensitive. With posts, content can be categorised using categories, tags and dates. Whereas with pages, it is better to structure your pages using a directory-style hierarchy.
You can assign a page a parent page under page attributes:
If you only have a few pages, it is usually better to keep all pages on the top level. As you add more pages to your website, it becomes necessary to organise your pages more effectively. The best way to do this is to use the parent option and create a top down structure with pages and sub-pages. For example, WP Hub publishes their plugin review page at blog.wphub.com/plugins/, with individual reviews placed underneath, such as blog.wphub.com/plugins/managewp/. From an administration point of view, this is a much more practical way to organise content; particularly if you have hundreds or thousands of pages.
Organising Your Pages
In the page index, WordPress displays pages underneath their parent page. Sub-pages are denoted by a hyphen (-). It is a simple system that works well for websites with only twenty or thirty pages.
The default layout is not ideal if you have a dozens of pages. Thankfully, there are a number of plugins available that can help you organise your pages. One of the best is Advanced Page Manager. The plugin allows you to display pages in an easy to use tree structure.
A lot can be done through the page tree such as changing the template of a page, moving a page’s position and selecting all sub pages. In my opinion, its best feature is the ability to show and hide sub-pages. This really helps when browsing through your pages as you can hide the pages that are irrelevant.
Page Management is another good option. It lets you hide sub-pages and reorder pages by drag and drop.
CMS Tree Page View is a good option too. Pages can easily be reordered and you can expand and contract groups of pages.
Breadcrumbs show visitors where they are on your website. They are usually placed above your posts and pages. I am sure you have seen them on many websites. The breadcrumbs normally include a link back to the home page. For example, the breadcrumbs for this post may look something like : Home >> Tutorials >> How to Create and Structure WordPress Site Pages.
In addition to helping visitors navigate your website,breadcrumbs help search engines understand your website’s page structure. There are dedicated breadcrumbs plugins available such as Breadcrumb NavXT WPshore Breadcrumbs; however I normally use the breadcrumbs functionality that is built into WordPress SEO.
Whether your website has a lot of published pages or not, I recommend using breadcrumbs to improve navigation for visitors.
WordPress menus are the perfect way for visitors to navigate content. They are frequently used to power the top navigation menu; however WordPress menus can also be easily be inserted into any widget area such as your sidebar or footer.
Menus can be organised using drag and drop. This does work well, though like other parts of the WordPress system, it can be a pain using it if you want to add lots of pages to a menu.
There are plugins available that help you organise your menus better. I am a big fan of Menu Management Enhancer for WordPress by SevenSpark; which retails for $8 from CodeCanyon. It helps you manage menus that have hundreds of menu items by letting you expand and collapse menus and sub-menus. Bars are also displayed at the side that let you quickly jump to any top level menu.
Admin Menu Editor is a free alternative that you may also want to check out. It is not as intuitive as Menu Management Enhancer, however it does help you reorder and hide menus easily.
Another great plugin by SevenSpark is UberMenu. The plugin allows you to create professional looking menus in minutes. It has over 20 style presets, though it is easy to create your own menu using whatever images and colours you want. Due to its support for displaying sub menus in columns, it is one of the best navigation solutions for websites with many pages.
Pages are a great way to structure content websites. WordPress can handle thousands of pages of content easily; however from an administration point of view, you may find that updating your website is unnecessarily time-consuming due to the volume of pages you have.
The first thing you need to do to address this is structure your website intelligently. Try and group related pages together as sub-pages. This helps you and your visitors find your content quicker. Breadcrumbs and an organised menu will help visitors find your content too. This is not a subject to take lightly as content can easily get lost in a large website.