WordPress Custom Post Types and Custom Taxonomies - dummies

WordPress Custom Post Types and Custom Taxonomies

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

WordPress custom post types and custom taxonomies have expanded the content management system (CMS) capabilities of WordPress and are likely to be a big part of plugin and theme features as more developers become familiar with their use.

Custom post types allow developers to create new content types separate from posts and pages, such as movie reviews or recipes. Custom taxonomies allow developers to create new types of content groupings separate from categories and tags, such as genres for movie reviews or seasons for recipes (for example, fall, spring, or winter recipes).

Posts and pages are nice, generic containers of content. A page is timeless content that has a hierarchal structure because a page can have a parent (forming a nested, or hierarchal, structure of pages). A post is content listed in linear (not hierarchal) order based on when it was published and can be organized into categories and tags.

What happens when you want a hybrid of these features? What if you want content that doesn’t appear in the post listings, doesn’t have either categories or tags, but displays the posting date? Custom post types satisfy this desire to customize content types.

By default, WordPress already has different post types built in to the software, ready for you to use. These default post types include

  • Blog posts

  • Pages

  • Menus

  • Attachments

  • Revisions

Custom post types let you create new and useful types of content on your website, including a smart and easy way to publish those content types to your site.

The possibilities for using custom post types are endless, but here are a few ideas that may help kick-start your imagination; these are also some of the more popular and useful ideas that others have implemented on sites:

  • Photo galleries

  • Podcasts or videos

  • Book reviews

  • Coupons and special offers

  • Events calendars