Are you wondering when you need to use a custom post type or taxonomy on your website?
Custom post types and taxonomies help you better organize and group your content. This makes it easier for your visitors to find what they’re looking for and navigate your website.
In this article, we will explain why and when you need to use a custom post type or taxonomy in WordPress.
What Are Custom Post Types in WordPress?
WordPress comes with a few different post types by default:
- Nav Menu
- Block templates (Patterns)
Note: There are several other content types used by WordPress behind the scenes to provide different features, such as custom CSS, customize changeset, template parts, oEmbed cache, and more.
Post types are used to help distinguish between different content types in WordPress. Posts and pages are both post types but are made to serve different purposes.
You can also create your own post types, known as custom post types. These are useful when creating content that has a different format than a standard post or page.
For example, if you run a book review WordPress website, then you will probably want to create a book reviews post type. This post type can even have different custom fields and a unique category structure.
A lot of popular WordPress plugins already use custom post types to store data on your WordPress website:
- WooCommerce – Adds a ‘product’ custom post type to your WordPress site.
- WPForms – Creates a ‘wpforms’ post type to store all your forms.
- MemberPress – Adds a ‘memberpressproduct’ custom post type.
WordPress eCommerce plugins, directory plugins, real estate plugins, recipe plugins, and others also use custom post types and taxonomies for sorting content.
For more details, see our guide on how to create custom post types in WordPress.
What Are Taxonomies in WordPress?
Taxonomies are used as a way to group posts and custom post types.
For example, you can create a custom post type called ‘Books’ and sort it with a custom taxonomy called ‘Genre.’
Then, you can add different genres like Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Self-Help, and more. This lets you and your readers quickly sort books based on the genre they like.
For more details, see our guide on how to create custom taxonomies in WordPress.
How Do You Know When You Need a Custom Post Type or Taxonomy?
You can theoretically add any type of content in WordPress posts and sort them with categories and tags, but sometimes this is not ideal.
Below are some signs that indicate you should probably consider creating a custom post type, custom taxonomy, or maybe both working together:
- Some content you are posting just doesn’t look and feel like a post. For example, our blogging coupons page.
- Your content doesn’t need to be part of a chronological series of entries. For example, our WordPress glossary section.
- Categories and tags won’t help you group and sort that particular content. For example, the specific sections in our coupons area.
- You need additional fields to enter more information with your content. For instance, our WordPress Solution Center has different sections with custom fields.
- It cannot be part of your pages. For example, our Blueprint page is simply a page with several subpages.
- You need to display that particular content differently than posts or pages.
Now, let’s look at a real-life example. Suppose you run a movie review website where you publish movie reviews and other kinds of movie-related content.
However, your movie reviews have been very popular with your audience. You can improve your movie reviews by adding star ratings and making them searchable by actor names, genre, and more.
In this case, you will need to create a custom post type for movie reviews and then add a custom taxonomy for sorting between actors and genres.
This makes it easy for your visitors to browse through your movie reviews instead of every post on your WordPress blog.
If you simply share your work in a blog post, it’s easy to get lost in the rest of your content. By creating a separate portfolio custom post type, your visitors can easily browse through all of your work.
If you have various categories of work in your portfolio, then you can also create a custom taxonomy for each type of portfolio project.
We hope this article helped you learn when to use custom post types or taxonomies in WordPress. You may also want to see our beginner’s guide on how to move from HTTP to HTTPS, and our expert picks for the best domain name registrars.