Create a 3-Tier Website Structure in WP

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You can create a 3-tier website structure on WordPress just like an HTML site. However, in WordPress, child-page files are not uploaded into nested folders in your hosting account. WordPress has tools built in that allow you to create the parent-child hierarchy.

This article explains how to create a 3-tier structure for pages and posts using WordPress.

What is a 3-Tier Site Structure?

Diagram of 3-tier website structure

Diagram of 3-tier website structure

A 3-tier site consists of a homepage, a handful of tier-2 (T2) pages, and many tier-3 (T3) pages.

  1. Homepage: The homepage orients users to what the site is about and what type of information they can find there. It contains links to the most important T2 pages both on the navigation and within the content.
  2. Tier-2 pages: These pages represent the broad categories of the information on your site. They are linked from the homepage then link out to more specific articles that fit within that category. For example, a T2 page might be called Services.
  3. Tier-3 pages: These pages are the nuts and bolts of your site. They contain the detailed information users are looking for. Continuing with the previous example, the Services (T2) page would link out to detailed pages about each of your services (T3s).

This type of structure also helps create a good user experience because the most important information on you website is within two clicks from the homepage.

It’s also good for SEO because similar articles are linked together and organized in topical groups, or silos. This helps Google figure out what your site is about.

Plan out your tiers on paper to help you visualize the relationships between pages on your site before you start creating them.

Creating Tier-2 Pages

In WordPress, tier-2 pages are called parent pages. Any time you create a new page in WordPress, it is a parent page.

Creating Tier-3 Pages

In WordPress, tier-3 pages are called child pages.

To designate a page as a child page, follow these steps:

  1. If one doesn’t already exist, create and publish a page to act as the parent page.
  2. Go to Pages > Add New to create a new page.
  3. In the editor in the Page Attributes section, under Parent, select the appropriate parent page.
    Selecting a parent page under Page Attributes in WordPress
  4. Click Save Draft or Publish when finished editing.
The URL structure for a child page is
Always create the child-parent relationship before publishing the page because the URL structure changes. If you change an already-published page from parent to child, create a 301 redirect.

Creating Tier-2 Posts

In WordPress, there is no such thing as a parent, or tier-2, post. The second tier is created using post Categories. Think of categories like chapter titles in a book.

To create or edit categories, click Posts > Categories.

Creating Tier-3 Posts

All WordPress posts must have a category assigned and so by default are tier-3. Posts are automatically assigned to the Uncategorized category unless you change it.

To change the category:

  1. Create a new post or edit an existing one.
  2. Under Categories, select the appropriate category.Selecting the post category in WordPress
  3. Click Save Draft or Publish when finished editing.

It’s best to use only one category per post. If you want to select multiple categories, install the Yoast SEO plugin. It allows you to select a primary category so you can control which category slug shows in the post URL.

Selecting the primary post category with WordPress and Yoast SEO plugin


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