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A Rundown on Post Types and Taxonomies in WordPress

Last Updated on 

March 17, 2024

 by 

Ryan T. M. Reiffenberger
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One of the most important things to establish from the very beginning of your WordPress journey is what you’re going to use the features for. This guide is meant to give you an overview as to what the key differences are so that you can understand WHERE your content is supposed to go when building your website.

What are the options?

To understand where to put your content, we must first understand the different options available. WordPress has default Post Types that are used to help organize content, and Taxonomies that are used to group and categorize that content. By default, these are Pages and Posts, and posts have the taxonomies Categories and Tags. Once you’ve created your Taxonomies, WordPress will additionally generate an Archive for that taxonomy, allowing you to view a filtered list of the associated posts on the front-end or back-end.

Post Types included by Default

  • Pages are used as the primary building blocks for your website. Pages of your website would be the primary navigation components that people would use to view content on your website. Pages are typically individually designed, meaning that each page is hand-designed instead of being generated by a template. Pages are unique in that they cannot be organized by taxonomy, but do have the ability to be nested. Examples of common pages would be ‘About Us’ or ‘Our Services’. An example of a nested page would be something like ‘Services > Mental Health Counseling’.
  • Posts are used as the building blocks for your website blog. You can think of a ‘post’ as a long-form article in which you can share information with your visitors. Posts have more flexibility with how they are organized and will typically have different styling applied than pages. These come in the form of templated designs to ensure that every post is formatted the same way on the front end for visitors to read. Posts have the ability to be grouped by taxonomies

Taxonomies included by Default

  • Categories (Hierarchical) are typically used to categorize information into a ‘folder-esque’ layout. This is a great way to segment your blog or custom post types into several sub-folders within your archive. Multiple categories can be selected for one post, however you will need to select a ‘primary’ category.
  • Tags (Non-Hierarchical) are typically used to categorize information by concept or topic. This is a great way to link multiple articles across your blog that may discuss similar topics. Multiple tags can be selected for one post.

Archives included by Default

  • Posts Archive – This archive includes all posts on the website. This archive is generated automatically by WordPress.
  • Category Archives – These archives list all associates posts that have the specified category linked. These archives are automatically generated by WordPress.
  • Tag Archives – These archives list all associated posts that have the specified tag linked. These archives are automatically generated by WordPress.
  • Author Archives – These archives list all associated posts that have the specified user listed as their author. These archives are automatically generated by WordPress.
  • Date Archives – These archives list all associated posts within a specific timeframe. These archives are automatically generated by WordPress.

How can I organize my data in other ways?

Custom post types and taxonomies give you the ability to expand WordPress’s native functionality by allowing you additional ways to store your information. Certain websites require extra scalability and custom post types and taxonomies provide a way to do just that. A good example of why you might need a custom post type is to keep a list of your portfolio projects on your website, but keep the information separate from your pages and posts. This allows you to scale up or down your portfolio list very quickly if you design your front end to auto populate that post type.

If you want to learn more about how to do this, we’ve written a guide that you can find here: [[How to Create Custom Post Types and Taxonomies in WordPress]].

Glossary

  • Post Type – A way to store information about an item in WordPress. By default, used for Pages and Post Types.
  • Taxonomy – An organizational unit in WordPress that allows you to group post types (excluding Pages).
  • Page (Post Type) – A post type in WordPress that is responsible for storing information about a website page.
  • Post (Post Type) – A post type in WordPress that is responsible for storing information about a blog article.
  • Archive – A list of all of the post types by taxonomy, author, or date.

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