If your organization uses WordPress on your website, you are familiar with two types of content that have made the software the most popular website platform in the world: Pages and Posts. With Pages, you can create new pages on the fly and move them around the navigation with ease. Posts empower news items, a.k.a., blog posts, to be created and organized by date, topic, category, tag — whatever serves your need. A third type of content, Custom Post Types, truly unlocks the power of WordPress as a sortable database to present in almost any way imaginable.
The Downstream Project uses custom post types in most websites. Some are based on “plugins” created by WordPress developers, which are customized by the Downstream creative team. The Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley’s staff page is an example. This page displays a photo, job title, an excerpt of the staffer’s bio. When you click on a person’s name, a page opens to display bio and contact links. The links can contain whatever information you choose: email, website, LinkedIn or Twitter page — you get the picture.
Custom post types like this empower staff and volunteers to quickly update personnel profiles, and to add new staff and directors. That’s because in WordPress, for website managers the visual interface is basically the same, whether editing a page, adding a news post, or updating team information.
Another popular use of custom post types are testimonials. Experience-Learning uses testimonials in a sidebar to display quotes from parents and young campers. These quotes reinforce the credibility of the organization. Cacapon Institute uses a straightforward testimonial box on their homepage — scroll down to check it out. The testimonials are designed to cycle through in sequence. You can imagine lots of ways to use testimonials, including profiles of donors who tell your site’s visitors why they donate to your great organization!
The post types described above require a little customization by Downstream. And, of course, they need to placed within the overall design of your site. Some plugins are free to install; others require purchase or annual fee.
Truly customized posts
Sometimes, a partner needs present a virtual catalogue of information that shows the breadth and depth of their mission. Downstream created an archive of every project Chesapeake Legal Alliance has undertaken in its history. You can search their portfolio by the types of services CLA provides or issue areas. That is because WordPress is at its core a searchable database that can present a catalogue of information in ways that are visually stunning. Check out the “listing” of nature preserves managed by Potomac Valley Audubon Society. When a viewer clicks on each of the nature preserves, they see pages organized in a Downstream-designed template.
It’s in the page presentation where the magic appears. WordPress gathers information in defined categories, then assembles them on the page. In essence, if you can organize information in a spreadsheet, Downstream can figure out how to present it in a custom post type. Then every page of that particular type will align with the template.
Like all WordPress content, the web manager doesn’t have to think about this. They just go to the appropriate screen and start adding content!
Like to know more? Contact The Downstream Project.