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Summary. One of the challenges with traditional blogs is that they present information as a somewhat chaotic and disorganized stream of consciousness in chronological order. Although that’s the way ideas often come forth, it’s usually not the best way to deliver them.

The Problem. Most people coming to a website don’t necessarily want to know what the latest thing was that an individual (or group) was thinking. For example, a visitor to Wikipedia is likely looking for information on a specific topic. However, the default with WordPress (and most blogs) is to offer the equivalent of a What’s New page (the RSS feed of recent documents) as the main welcome page (the Home page).

The Solution. The following instructions offer a partial solution to this problem.

  1. Home. Your website needs a “Home” page (similar to an About page) that presents the site mission and content in a brief cohesive manner. This welcoming startup landing page should be simple and concise with one or two news items if pertinent. Think about Google.com and Apple.com as examples.
  2. Documents. Create a new blank page called Documents. The permalink setting for this page should be changed to docs (instead of documents) to shorten your URL links to the posts.
  3. Front Page and Posts Page. Go to WordPress Settings, under Reading options, and for the “front page displays” option, choose “A Static Page” and select for the Home page, the page called Home that you created above. For the Posts page, select the page called Documents.
  4. Permalinks. Under Settings, Permalinks, for the Common Settings, choose Custom Structure and provide the syntax format: /docs/item%post_id%    This will place all of your documents in the docs folder and give them a URL name of item1234 (where the number is a unique number for each post/page/entry). For Category base enter docs/topic. For Tag Base, enter docs/tag. This allows for all of your documents and articles to have a unified naming location and permalink structure.
  5. Page Navigation Management. One problem will remain. The navigation buttons for your site will list the home page twice. One of the Home page buttons is simply a virtual link to whatever is defined as the home page. By default, it would show the current feed of documents from the site. Since you changed it to show the Home page (in step #3 above), clicking on Home, will show the Home page (which is also in the navigation area). To fix this, you need to use the Page Link Manager Plugin for WordPress by Garrett Murphey. Once installed, this plugin will let you have pages in your site that don’t show up in the navigation. This is very useful because sometimes you want the name of a page to be longer than what would easily fit in the navigation area. It’s also common to have more pages on a site than you would want in the main navigation.
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