What Is A Custom Post Type?
We’re familiar with traditional ‘pages’: Home, About Us, Contact etc. We’re also familiar with news articles, opinion pieces and blogs (commonly known as posts). Custom post types are a separate category of post that fill a unique niche in your website’s page structure.
Custom Posts could be Services, Recipes, Team Members, Case Studies or any other content that deserves its own grouping. Suppose your workshops run into the dozens or you sell variants of the same workout programmes. What about recipes that require specific layouts for ingredients or cooking steps? Custom posts meet this demand and allow you to herd content into separate areas of the WordPress dashboard.
Custom Fields In A Post
Like a blog, custom posts typically have an ‘index’ page that archives all of your material (your Services or Recipes page, for example). What separates these from a news article is the way they are edited. Rather than write 500 words in a big white box, information can be chopped into custom fields. These are tailor-made forms formatted in all the right places when you click publish.
The beauty of custom fields is they’re totally flexible. Whatever you do – be it list cars, provide a plumbing service or showcase your stitching – the right forms can be made. This means no messy coding in the dashboard, and no inconsistency in the separate pages.
Custom Post Type Examples
Take this website, for example. What you’re reading now is a plain and simple blog post. Content runs from top to bottom with no interruption. Notice that the services pages all obey a set structure, as do portfolio pieces. I’ve created custom fields for the type of post I am creating: client descriptions, what I’ve done for them, their websites etc. When I want to add a service or showcase a new client, I merely fill in the boxes and away I go. It beats having to write code within the WordPress editor, which is not really advisable.
Does My Website Need Custom Posts?
Apply that thinking to your business, and see if custom posts are justified. Personally, I’d recommend them for:
- Services: Mine is web design, yours might be house removals or counselling. Whatever it is, if you feel the post needs more specific grouping, consider adding a Services post type to your dashboard.
- Case Studies: These custom posts might include fields for client name, date of project, image gallery. Digital agencies often have Case Studies as a separate section in their websites.
- Tutorial/Guides: Step-by-step instructions and recipes are perfect for repeater fields. Boxes can be made for instructions, image thumbnails, with an option to continuously add steps as you see fit.
It’s easier to explain this in relation to a specific business than to write a catch-all solution via the blog. If in any doubt, just ask! The challenge is not so much creating the posts as making sure they’re suitable for you.