An active, content-rich blog can be a valuable marketing asset for your business’ website, and making it look and function at its best is a key to its success. WordPress was built for blogging, and its default content editor includes a basic blog post template for quick and efficient content publishing. But you can create custom post templates yourself for added control over the appearance and visibility of your business blog, with options for both new users and those with extensive WordPress experience.
Why Create Your Own Post Templates?
When you’re just starting to populate your new blog with content, the default WordPress post template that came with your current theme may be the only one you need. With tools for creating and styling text and adding other content like images, the basic post editor allows users to designate categories for different kinds of content or post types. With custom post templates it’s also possible to create a WordPress blog post template for content created by individual authors or to add a distinctive appearance to selected posts for higher visibility.
But with custom theme templates for single blog posts and post types, you can customize the layout and content of these different kinds of posts. This allows you to quickly and consistently add all the elements for a particular kind of post and make those different post types easier for readers to recognize and read. For example, a health and wellness website might want to have separate post types for categories like “recipes” and “workouts”—or to alert readers to featured content. Creating different templates for these different purposes can make it easier to add the appropriate content without re-creating the format every time.
The prospect of creating your own custom blog post templates can be daunting if you don’t have experience working with WordPress files and the code that creates them. Now, though, a number of plugins and page builders are available alongside the “traditional” method of modifying or adding code in the WordPress theme files. Those tools make it possible for new users to create a custom post and page templates with drag-and-drop ease. Here’s a rundown of these three methods for designing your own post templates to help you create a successful WordPress blog.
Create Templates With Code
If you know your way around your site’s core WordPress files, you can design single custom post templates for all kinds of post types from scratch or by making edits to your site’s existing post template in a child theme created from your main WordPress theme files.
Creating an entirely new template from scratch simply requires opening a text editor on your computer and setting the PHP code that will define the appearance and content of your template. Once the template file is completed, it can be uploaded via FTP or the File Manager on the site’s cPanel.
New post templates can also be created by modifying the existing template in your site’s theme folder. To create custom posts in this way, make sure you’re working with a child theme created from your site’s main WordPress theme. Open a new file and give it a name, such as “new template” with a PHP extension, as in: “new-template.php.”
Then, in your child theme’s folders, navigate to the file named “single.php.” Copy all the contents of this file that appear below get_header(); ?>. Then make the appropriate styling and functional changes to the copied contents of the theme’s original post template and upload it back to the child theme’s folder.
Once your new coded files are uploaded to your site’s theme files, the new post type will appear in the post content editor under “Post Attributes.” Under the dropdown, you’ll now see options for “New Template” alongside the “Default Template.” Select “New Template” and the new custom post type loads in the content editor, ready to use.
Create Templates With Plugins
For WordPress users who prefer not to work with code at all, a number of free and premium plugins offer easy ways to create post templates that can be saved and reused multiple times. The WordPress Plugin Directory from WordPress.org includes free options, such as the WP Custom Post plugin and Simple Content Templates for setting up and saving templates that can be accessed through the Post Attributes dropdown on the post content editor. Other template plugins can be purchased or downloaded from third-party WordPress developers from all over the world.
Although plugins may not offer the full customizing potential of templates made from scratch, they allow users to create, store and reuse unlimited templates for a variety of different purposes, and premium versions allow for even more options.
Create Templates With Page Builders
Page builders allow users to create custom pages without code using drag and drop elements that can be arranged in a variety of ways for a unique look to each site—and also to posts and pages within it. Added to an existing WordPress site, these tools can also be used to create and save custom templates for posts and pages.
Elementor is a WordPress page builder that can be installed as a free plugin from the WordPress theme directory and extended with a Pro option that includes a theme builder and a gallery of templates. With Elementor, users can create a template page with elements including text boxes, image galleries and more, and save it to “My Templates” for later use as needed. Likewise, premium themes designed on a page builder model such as Divi allow users to combine available elements to create multiple templates for a variety of content types and purposes.
WordPress themes of all kinds include some customization options for page and post templates, and these may be all a user needs. But for active business blogs with varied content, post templates can save time and effort—and make your content easy to find and use. With multiple options ranging from full coding to WYSIWYG simplicity, anyone can create post templates for a WordPress site.