Make your website work for you with custom post types

We’ve said it before (and even wrote a blog post about it) – websites are for people. Websites are tools that should work for you and your visitors to empower the pursuit of excellence. Website structure – how content is organized on both the back end and on the front end – is a crucial element for a great management experience and user experience (UX). Custom post types can support both of these by helping organize and display content.

On the back end, custom post types can help website managers edit content quickly and ensure contributors are putting in the right information. On the front end, custom post types can make content easier to find, and generate consistent, helpful URLs which are good for both UX and search engine optimization (SEO).

Let’s dive deeper into custom post types:

  1. What are custom post types?
  2. Where can I find custom post types?
  3. When to use a custom post type

What is a custom post type?

A custom post type helps you organize content that’s unique to your website. (A side note: While custom post types are specific to WordPress websites, other platforms usually have a similar concept.) A custom post type is a useful way to group types of content, such as

  • Team member bios
  • Job postings
  • Office locations
  • Portfolio pieces

Custom post types can have unique meta or custom fields associated with them. Grouping the content this way makes it easier to create a page that aggregates, sorts, and paginates all the content automatically, like an Our Team page.

Where can I find custom post types?

WordPress comes with a few different built-in post types to choose from. But if you have a large website with a lot of diverse content, you may need to create your own custom post type. A custom post type usually shows up in the WordPress admin sidebar. You can assign all kinds of different properties to a custom post type to make it unique, such as: a name, certain custom fields, a particular template.

When to use a custom post type

Let’s say you want to create a job posting on your website. You could create the content as a “page” (a built-in post type), but this tends to create a very flat structure and treats the job posting just like your homepage. Why isn’t this ideal? A job posting needs to be able to have categories or tags, a date, a location, etc. Your home page does not.

Custom post types also help with automating content population across your site. For example, you create a single job posting that gets pulled into the Job Listings page, the Home page, and anywhere else you find relevant. Instead of adding content to three different places manually, this can all happen on its own!

Custom post types are best used when:

  • You need to group similar types of content on your site
  • You need to automate content to appear in multiple places on your site
  • You need to aggregate content outside of your blog
  • You need to make adding meta data easier

Does it sound like your WordPress website could benefit from a custom post type? We’re here to help make it happen.

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