Learn How to Create Child Pages in WordPress

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To keep a growing website organised and easy to navigate is a daunting prospect for newbie site owners. This tutorial explains how to create a child page in WordPress and how they can help.

Standalone Webpages Vs Hierarchical

We create standalone webpages for single-use purposes. They’re the one-off pages on a site that are unrelated to the wider topical content. Typical examples are Contact Us, Terms of Service (TOS), About Us, Privacy Policy, and so on. Hierarchical posts support a main (parent) page, and related or sub-pages, i.e., child pages.

Having a well-organised hierarchical structure is better for administrators and site visitors. Webmasters can easily find, edit, and organise content on their WordPress blogs or websites. And visitors can find and navigate to the content they want to view much quicker.

Parent page vs child page

A parent page is superior to its child pages. Indeed, the latter cannot exist without the former. The child page carries the parent’s keyword in its URL or web address. The parent page content tends to be broader and more general, while its child page(s) are more topic-specific.

The examples below illustrate the association between parent and child pages.

PARENT PAGE: .com/wines/

Child Page: .com/wines/red-wine
Child Page: .com/wines/white-wine
Child Page: .com/wines/rose-wine

About WordPress posts

WordPress does an excellent job at auto-organising blog posts. The default is reverse chronological order, which means the newest entries show at the top. With every new post, the older entries get pushed further down the list until they’re eventually lost from view. Site administrators use WP categories and tags to make older posts easier for visitors to find.

About WordPress pages

Pages reside outside of the WordPress post chronology. They’re used to present visitors with timeless information. That could be about people, businesses, products, and services, etc.

Commercial sites often use pages instead of posts to publish product or service information. This approach is fine until there are too many pages to manage well. It’s where the parent/child page relationship comes into play. See ‘parent page vs child page’ above for an example.

Child pages can also have child (sub) pages when there’s a need to expand on the topics further.

Pages defined

Both posts and pages contain content, but they’re not the same.

WordPress pages are typically:

  • Content and images that are not time-dependent
  • Allow site owners more control over layout and customisations
  • Organised into main pages (parent) and sub-pages (child)
  • Pages can exploit unique PHP code, templates, and tags

Let’s go over the simple steps for creating a child page in WordPress.

Creating a New WP Child Page

We’ll continue with the wine theme to keep the guide consistent.

Log in to your WordPress Admin Area.

Go to Pages => Add New.

For this exercise, create a new page called ‘A Beginners Guide to Wine.’ (There’s no need to add any content to learn the process). Click Publish once you’ve added the title.

Now click the WordPress icon (top left) to go to the Pages screen.

Click the Pages Add New button (top left).

Create another new page in the WordPress Editor called ‘The Benefits of Red Wine.’

Click Publish once you’ve added the title.

Point to note: Standalone or individual pages are independent. They don’t have any association with other pages. Thus, our new page is neither a Child nor a Parent until we make it so.

From the Page tab (right column), scroll down to the Page Attributes form (see next image).

Click Parent Page to open the dropdown menu.

The menu displays a list of all published pages on the site. We now need to choose one as the new Parent. For our example, we’ll select ‘A Beginners Guide to Wine’ as the Parent.

Click Update (top right) to save the changes.

That’s it. You’ve now created a relevant Parent and Child page association.

Click the WordPress icon (top left) to return to the Pages screen.

Go to Pages => All Pages from the side menu to view the new structure.

The dash prefix next to ‘The Benefits of Red Wine’ tells us it’s a child page of the Parent page above it. There are no limits on how many child pages you can add to a single parent. The important thing is to ensure your page options and hierarchy make logical sense.

Other child pages we could add to our ‘Beginners Guide to Wine’ parent might be:

  • The Benefits of White Wine
  • The Benefits of Rose Wine
  • The Benefits Dessert wine

Remember, child pages carry the parent page’s keyword in the URL.

Here’s how our sample looks.

Adding child pages to WordPress Menus

Child pages should show automatically on your page menus if the parent is already an item. If not, go to Appearance => Menus from your Dashboard and add them manually.

Parent/Child menu displays will vary depending on the WordPress theme and any customisations you may have. Child pages can appear indented under the Parent. Others might slide into view (or some other animation effect) on mouseover.

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