A Post Format allows WordPress theme developers to customize how a post is presented to users and to determine how the content in a particular post type will behave and display to your site visitors, without having to modify the content type itself.
What this means, is that, depending on your WordPress theme, choosing a certain post format might display your content in the sidebar, for example, or be styled in a specific way.
Although posts may appear differently depending on their assigned post format, they are still posts, and will display on your WordPress RSS Feed regardless of the post formats you’ve assigned to each individual post on your site.
It’s important to understand that not all themes support certain Post Formats and some themes support only some of the standard post formats that WordPress makes available.
How To Use WordPress Post Formats
The simplest way to grasp what Post Formats do and how they work, is to think of it this way:
- A WordPress Theme Developer decides how a particular post type should behave and present to site visitors, and then customizes the style and function of that post type (e.g. videos, or quotes) for their theme.
- You upload the theme to your site.
- Whenever you create a new post, if you choose to assign a different post format to that particular post (i.e. something different than the default format), your post will behave and display as specified by the theme developer when they first created the theme.
- If you want your theme to present your post differently for a particular post format, then you will need to customize the theme templates and modify the code that instructs the theme how to display post formats, or ask a web designer to customize the theme for you.
(WordPress Post Formats allow you to easily style your post content!)
Themes that support Post Formats allow you to change how each post is presented by choosing a Format from a radio-button list when creating or editing posts …
(WordPress Post Format options)
Brief Description Of WordPress Post Formats
The following Post Formats are available on WordPress themes that support this feature:
- Standard – This is the default format for WordPress posts.
- Aside – Use this format to make posts similar to a Facebook note update.
- Gallery – Use this format to display a gallery of images. Your post will likely contain a gallery shortcode and have image attachments.
- Link – Use this format to display a link to another site.
- Image – Use this format to display a single image.
- Quote – Use this format to display a quotation. Can be used to display the quote as the content of the post, and the source or author as the title.
- Status – Use this format for posting a short status update similar to a Twitter status update.
- Video – Use this format to display a single video.
- Audio – Use this format to post an audio file (e.g. a podcast).
- Chat – Use this format to post a chat transcript.
Using WordPress Post Formats
To assign a format to a post, do the following:
1 – Create a new post or edit an existing one,
2 – Select the Post Format from the ‘Format’ section on your post editor sidebar …
(Select a Post Format)
3 – Remember to click Publish or Update when finished to save your changes.
By default, the Standard Post Format is assigned to all new posts in the WordPress Writing Settings section.
Learn how to configure your WordPress Writing settings in this tutorial:
Post Formats vs Custom Post Types
WordPress Post Formats are different than WordPress Custom Post Types. With a Post Format, regardless of the type of format you assign to a post, they are all still regular posts, just presented differently.
A Custom Post Type, on the other hand, is used when you want to create content that will not be grouped with your regular posts.
The difference, then, is in how your content is going to be used.
- If you’re simply creating a regular post, then choose a Post Format, (most posts use the default Standard Post Format).
- If you want to store content that isn’t supposed to be read or viewed by users as posts (e.g. testimonials, forms, directory listings, portfolios, e-commerce orders, products, etc.), then choose to use a Custom Post Type.
Using Post Formats standardizes the presentation of your posts while allowing a little room for variations. So, for example, if you want to present videos on your site using a standard format for presenting posts where the only content in the post is a video, then choose the video post format. This will allow you to display all video posts in a specific format, instead of having to style each video post individually …
(Video Post Format)
We cover WordPress custom post types in other tutorials.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of what WordPress Post Formats are, what they are used for, and how to assign specific Post formats to your posts.
"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)