Do you want to create a custom archives page in WordPress?
WordPress comes with an archives widget that you can add to any widget-ready area, such as the sidebar. However, many successful websites use a stand-alone archives page to help visitors find what they’re looking for.
In this article, we will show you how you can create a custom archives page in WordPress.
Why Create a Custom Archives Page in WordPress?
WordPress has an archives widget, but showing all of your content in a widget-ready area such as the sidebar can be overwhelming for visitors, especially if you have lots of posts. It can also make your site look messy and complicated, which isn’t a good user experience.
That’s why we use a custom archives page to show all our WPBeginner posts organized into years and months.
By creating a custom archives page in WordPress, you can help visitors find interesting content and encourage them to take a look at your older posts.
You can even add your site’s categories and tags to the custom archive page.
By helping visitors find interesting content, an archives page can increase your pageviews and reduce your bounce rate. In turn, this will send positive signals to the search engines and improve your WordPress SEO.
Most WordPress themes don’t have a custom archives page template. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can create a custom archives page in WordPress, no matter what theme you’re using.
Simply use the quick links below to jump straight to the method you want to use.
Method 1. Creating a Custom Archives Template Using the Block Editor
If you’re using a block theme, then the full site editor makes it easy to design a custom archives page template.
This method doesn’t work with every theme, so if you’re not using a block-based WordPress theme then we recommend using a page builder instead.
To start, simply create a new page or open an existing page that you want to use as your archive. Then, click on the ‘Page’ tab in the right-hand menu and click to expand the ‘Template’ section, if it isn’t already expanded.
WordPress will now show the current page’s template.
To create a custom archive template for this page, simply click on the ‘New’ link.
In the popup, type in a name for the template. The name is just for your reference so you can use anything you want.
Then, go ahead and click on ‘Create’ to launch the template editor.
The template editor works similarly to the standard block editor.
To add blocks to your custom archives page, simply click on the blue ‘+’ button. You can then drag and drop to add blocks to your layout.
Since we’re creating a custom archives page, you’ll typically want to start by adding an ‘Archives’ block. This block allows visitors to explore your posts based on the year, month, week, or day.
For example, the following image shows an ‘Archives’ block where the posts are organized into months.
Clicking on any of these links will take the visitor to a new page showing all the posts published during this period.
To add an archive block, simply find it in the left-hand menu and then drag it onto your layout. After adding any block, it’s a good idea to look at its settings in the right-hand menu.
To start, you may want to change how the posts are organized by opening the ‘Group by’ dropdown and choosing an option from the list.
For example, if you only have a small number of posts then it may make sense to show them by day. However, if you have lots of content then you’ll typically want to choose ‘Month’ or even ‘Year’ so you don’t overwhelm the visitor with a long list.
WordPress shows the archived posts in a bullet point list by default, but you can also present them as a dropdown menu.
This can be useful if you have a very small amount of space and need to create a compact archive. To switch to a dropdown format, simply click on the ‘Display as dropdown’ slider to make it active.
The Archive block can also show the total number of posts next to each heading.
This can help visitors decide which part of the archive they want to look at first.
You may also want to add a list of categories so visitors can explore your posts based on their content and not just the date.
To add this block, simply click on the blue ‘+’ button and type in ‘Categories.’ When the right block appears, add it to your layout using drag and drop.
Once again, you may want to make some changes to the block’s settings.
Similar to the archives block, you can add a post count to the list or show the categories as a dropdown menu rather than a bullet point list.
By default, this block shows all categories and subcategories in exactly the same way.
You may prefer to show the child categories indented beneath their parent.
To make this change, just click to activate the ‘Show hierarchy’ toggle.
Another option is to hide child categories completely by activating the ‘Show only top level categories’ toggle.
You may also want to add a tag cloud, which can help visitors find interesting related content. To do this, simply find ‘Tag Cloud’ in the left-hand menu and then drag it onto your layout.
You can now select the block and configure it using the settings in the right-hand menu.
To start, the tag cloud has two styles: Default and Outline. You can switch between these by clicking on the buttons under ‘Styles.’
You can also use these settings to show the total number of posts next to each tag, and change the number of tags that are included in the cloud.
Despite the name, you can also show categories in the tag cloud. For example, you may prefer the styling of the tag cloud block compared to the categories block.
To show your site’s categories instead, simply open the ‘Taxonomy’ dropdown and then choose ‘Categories.’
Archives are designed to give visitors easy access to all your content.
However, you may also want to highlight your site’s most recent posts by adding a ‘Latest Posts’ block.
By default, this block simply shows each post’s title, but you can add the author, publication date, and featured image.
Simply use the toggles in the right-hand menu to make these changes.
You may also want to show the post excerpt, which can help visitors understand what each post is about.
To add the excerpts, go ahead and click to activate the ‘Post Content’ toggle.
After that, click to select the ‘Excerpt’ button.
By default, WordPress will show a maximum of 55 words in the excerpt. To show more or less words, simply use the ‘Max number of words in excerpt’ settings.
After you’ve done that, scroll to the ‘Sorting and filtering’ section.
Here, you can see that the block organizes posts from newest to oldest. You can change this by opening the ‘Order’ dropdown and choosing a different option, such as ‘A-Z.’
In this section you can also choose to show posts from a particular author or category.
Finally, you can change how many posts WordPress shows in the block, either by typing a new number into the ‘Number of items’ section or by dragging the slider.
You can continue working on your archive page by adding more blocks and then configuring them in the right-hand menu. For example, you may want to add an Image block and show a custom logo or add a search bar so visitors can look for a particular post.
When you’re happy with how the template looks, click on the ‘Publish’ button and then click on the ‘Save’ button.
The page you created earlier will now be using the new archive template. You can either update or publish the page, and then visit your WordPress website to see the custom archive page live.
Method 2. Creating a Custom Archives Page Using Seedprod (Recommended)
The block-based editor lets you create a simple custom archives page. However, it doesn’t work with every theme and you’re limited to the built-in WordPress blocks and tools.
If you want to create a completely custom archives page that works with any WordPress theme, then we recommend using a page builder instead.
SeedProd is the best drag-and-drop page builder for WordPress. It comes with more than 180 templates and ready-made blocks including a block that shows all of your website’s posts.
First, you need to install and activate SeedProd. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Note: There’s a free version of SeedProd that allows you to create custom pages if you’re on a tight budget and just getting started. However, for this guide we’ll be using SeedProd Pro since it has lots more templates and blocks.
After activating the plugin, SeedProd will ask for your license key.
You can find this information under your account on the SeedProd website. After entering the key, click on the ‘Verify Key’ button.
Once you’ve done that, go to SeedProd » Landing Pages and click on the ‘Add New Landing Page’ button.
You can now choose a template for the custom archives page.
SeedProd’s templates are organized into different campaign types like ‘lead,’ ‘squeeze,’ and ‘coming soon.’ You can click on the tabs at the top of the screen to filter the designs based on campaign type.
To preview any design, simply hover your mouse over that template.
Then, click on the magnifying glass icon that appears.
When you find a design that you like, click on ‘Choose This Template.’ We’re using the ‘Blank Template’ as it lets us start with a clean slate, but you can use any template you want.
Next, go ahead and type in a name for the custom page. SeedProd will automatically create a URL based on the page’s title, but you can change this URL if you want.
When you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, click on the ‘Save and Start Editing the Page’ button.
This will load the SeedProd page builder interface. It is a simple drag-and-drop builder that shows a live preview of your page to the right.
You will also see block settings on the left.
To start, you’ll need to choose a layout, which will you organize your content into columns.
In the ‘Choose your layout’ section, simply click on the layout you want to use. You can choose any layout, but we’re using the full-screen layout in all our images.
After choosing a layout, you can start adding blocks to the archives page.
The left-hand menu shows all the different blocks that you can drag onto your design. Since we’re creating a custom archive page, we’re going to add a Posts block.
In the left-hand menu, start typing ‘Posts’ into the search bar. When the right block appears, drag and drop it onto your layout.
This block will now show the title for all your posts.
It also has a ‘Continue Reading’ link that visitors can click to read each post in full.
By default, this block shows all of your posts, but you can change this to only show posts that have a particular category or tag, or posts published by a specific author.
To make this change, simply click to select the ‘Posts’ bock in your layout and then use the settings in the left-hand menu. For example, in the following image we’re only showing posts from the ‘Marketing’ category.
You can also change how the posts are organized in the block. For example, you might show posts based on when they were published, or how many comments they have.
To change the order of your posts, simply scroll to the ‘Order By’ box and then choose a new option. By default, SeedProd shows posts in ‘ASC’ order, which stands for ascending.
To arrange your posts in descending order instead, simply open the ‘Order’ dropdown and choose ‘DESC.’
After that, you can scroll to the ‘Layout’ section and change how the list of posts is displayed.
For example, you can split the posts into multiple columns by typing a new number into the ‘Columns’ field.
You can also change how many posts are included in the list, add or hide the post excerpts, and change the ‘Continue Reading’ text.
When you’re happy with how the list of posts looks, you can add more blocks to your archives page and then customize those blocks using the settings in the left-hand menu.
For example, you may want to encourage people to follow you on social media by adding a ‘Social Profiles’ block.
When you’re happy with how the page is setup, it’s time to publish it by clicking the dropdown arrow next to ‘Save’ and then selecting ‘Publish.’
Your custom page will now go live on your WordPress blog.
To help visitors find it, you may want to add the archive page to your navigation menu or your website’s footer.
We hope that this article helped you create a custom archives page in WordPress. You can also go through our guide on the best social media plugins for WordPress and how to create email newsletter.
If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.
I have maybe a silly question. Is there any SEO benefit if I have a custom archive page or even archive.php. in the theme folder?
Or is it the same as creating a new page with url mydomain/archive and listing all my posts and pages based on the categories I want. This is what I would prefer.
WPBeginner Support says
Having a custom archive would not give an SEO benefit, it would be personal preference and you can use your second method if you wanted.
Hi–my site is using the Genesis framework an it has a child theme. I tried to implement the page-archive.php, but I skipped the part where I copy the page design from page.php and I’d hope it would work regardless.
So when I tried implementing this, when I go to my Archive place, it gives an Internal error, ie. 505 and cannot find the page itself.
How does this work with Genesis?
WPBeginner Support says
Adding a custom page template would be the same as with any other theme, it seems like there may be a problem with the code you’re using to create the archive page.
Rahul Lakra says
Firstly, Thank you so much. But I can’t see any sidebar in this page. In normal pages it is visible. I will be so happy if you can help me out to display sidebar here too. Thanks In advance!
WPBeginner Support says
For the sidebar, sadly that is theme specific for what needs to be added, if you reach out to your theme’s support they should be able to let you know how they have the sidebars added to the templates.
Vijay Sundaram says
This was a great tutorial. However, the CSS code for the categories does not seem to work. It is shown as a list with categories and subcategories. Where do I embed the code that you have given in the style.css file? What is meant by make it appear inline? It would be great if you could help me resolve this?
John Paul says
Is it possible to filter the archive to just one category of a post?