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The Structure of a WordPress Site

Posted on 03 September 2011 by Moki

The Header
The header area is where the main header image is located, along with the title and tag line of the blog site. It is also where the navigation menu is typically located, if the theme has one. The header can be as simple as the blog title and description, composed of a custom header image, or a combination of both. The header is usually the first element you want to customize to suit your own needs. For instance, you could easily replace the entire header with your own image and/or logo of the same dimensions.

Navigation Menu
The navigation menu is usually part of the header of the site, but is optional. A site without main navigation in the header may include the navigation as part of the sidebar elements.

The Main Body
This is the area where the actual blog entries reside. WordPress refers to this as the “content area.” You can easily customize the content area by changing how many blog entries display on a page or whether you want to cut the entries short with a “read more” option, and many other ways. Beginning with version 2.1 of WordPress, you have the option of having either a static home page as your front page, or your blog entries as the front page. If you choose a static home page, your blog will become another page that you would add to your navigation menu as opposed to the home page. The content area is usually located in the middle of the site, but could also be off to the side or on the top.

The Sidebars
The columns on either side of the content area (or below in some cases) are called “sidebars.” They hold many of the other elements of your site, such as links, categories, search tools, recent blog entries, archived entries, photos, video streams, RSS feeds, widgets, badges, advertisements, etc. Sidebars are also where you implement many of the plugins you add to the site. Typically, sidebars are on either side of the content area. Many themes get more creative with their placement.

The Footer
This is the area of the site where credit is given. Do not remove the credit to WordPress or to the theme designer from the footer of a WordPress site. There are a lot of people who have donated their time to this free, open source project, and it is never good form not to give them due credit. You should place your own copyright statement in the footer as well.

Sidebar Widgets
Sidebar widgets are the different elements or modules you can place on your sidebars. You can have as many of these widgets as you like and can arrange them however you choose. Each widget performs a specific function. WordPress comes with a number of standard widgets that perform functions specific to the functionality of your WordPress site, such as listing blog categories, search features, recent posts, tag clouds, etc. You can create your own custom widgets easily by placing text or HTML/Java code in what is called a “text” widget. This is how you create most of the widgets and badges you accumulate from the Social Web.

Static Pages
Static pages are the pages of a WordPress site that do not contain blog entries. You can link to these pages from the navigation menu. You can have as many pages as you like on your site and it is easy to add and populate them.

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