When rolling out a News Section on a WordPress website, would it be better to use a Custom Post Type?
Some of the clients I’ve worked with have asked for a News Section on their website. Seems simple enough but how would you do this on a WordPress website? The question appears trivial but the more I conceptualized the different situations that could possibly arise it became apparent that there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution. Or maybe I’m just being pedantic.
The question is really one of implementation: should I use WordPress Posts or WordPress Custom Post Types?
News items as WordPress Posts
The easiest way to go about implementing a News Section: create each News item as a WordPress Post and categorize them as News. Bada-bing, you’re done. Heck, this is what I’ve done for several Brunei websites.
But now News items will be listed alongside regular blog posts. If you’re OK with that, or if you’re not using WordPress as a blog, you’re good to go. However, if there’s ever a time when you want to exclude the News items from the blog archive you’re going to need a plugin or some PHP code.
Conceptually though, a News Section is different from the blog and therefore it makes no sense for news items & blog posts to appear together. But maybe I’m just being pedantic.
- Easy to set up
- Uses WordPress in-built functionality.
- Does not require any additional plugin or code to work.
- News items will by default appear alongside other blog posts. This may not be desired.
News items as WordPress Custom Post Types
Custom Post Types is one of my favourite features in WordPress. In a nutshell, it allows you to define new data structures for use on your website. So if you can’t sleep at night knowing that your website is delivering News items as WordPress posts, this might be the way for you.
It is at this stage that I would look for a ready-made plugin but surprisingly as of 17th December 2013 the the WordPress Plugin Directory only lists 2 plugins tagged as News Manger. The plugin aptly title News Manager seems to be the most visible on search engine rankings but I have to wonder if there really is no demand for this functionality.
- Logically separating News items from blog posts avoids the problem of excluding News items.
- This just feels right, dammit!
- Lack of third-party plugins.
- Requires a bit more work than using WordPress Posts.
Pick your poison according to the specifications of the job and the resources you have available. A small website that won’t have a blog and needs to be rolled out ASAP? Stick with WordPress Posts. A larger website that needs explicit separation of News items from blog posts? Use Custom Post Types.