How to Create a Compelling WordPress Post Table for Your Blog
If you run a successful WordPress blog – or are planning on building one – chances are you post a lot of content. While dedicated readers may check out every new article as soon as it’s live, you’ll want a way to draw everyone else’s attention to the posts you most want them to see.
A WordPress post table is the perfect way to do just that. It enables you to show off some or all of your blog posts in an attractive, organized tabular grid format. You can provide key information about each article to encourage clicks. You can make it easy for readers to search and filter the table for specific content.
In this guide, we’ll explain exactly what a WordPress posts table is and what you can do with it. Then we’ll show you how to set one up easily, using the Posts Table Pro plugin. Let’s get right to it!
What a WordPress post table is (and why it’s so useful)
Most blogs rely on search fields and sidebar menus to help readers find the posts they’re looking for. These features are a good start, of course. However, they often require visitors to sort through pages of search results or complex archives. This isn’t a good way for readers to find information about a particular topic.
A WordPress post table plugin provides a better way to organize and display your blog posts:
As you can see, this is an organized list of blog posts presented in a table format. A post table provides a lot of key benefits. For instance, you can:
- Display all your posts, one or more specific categories, or a carefully curated collection.
- Choose exactly what information will appear in the table, so you can peak visitors’ interest effectively.
- Enable readers to search through, sort and filter the table at will, in order to find what they want quickly.
What’s more, a WordPress post table plugin offers an attractive way to show off your content. It doesn’t even need to take the place of any other part your blog, since you can add it to any page. Instead, you can use it as an additional way to navigate your blog, like a WordPress post index.
Let’s look at how to create a table of blog posts for your own WordPress site.
Case study – WordPress post table for Journey with Omraam blog
The inspiration for our Posts Table Pro plugin originally came from one of our web design clients, Journey with Omraam. They wanted a WordPress post table to use as an index for their growing blog.
The solution was a table layout allowing users to search and sort all their blog posts. The post table includes various information to encourage users to click through to read each post. There are columns for post title, content, publish date, author and a filterable list of categories. The search box above the table lets users search for blog posts with any keyword.
As you can see, adding a post table made Journey with Omraam’s blog much more user-friendly. Next, I’ll share how you can make your own blog easier to navigate too.
How to create a compelling WordPress posts table for your blog (in 3 steps)
WordPress is a powerful platform, which enables even complete beginners do many things easily. Unfortunately, creating a fully-featured table of any sort is not one of them. While you could put together a table by hand using code or a manual entry table plugin, the result is likely to be underwhelming. It would also take you a lot of time, as you’d have to add each blog post to the table by hand.
Instead, let me introduce you to the Posts Table Pro plugin:
This dynamic table plugin helps you build an attractive and feature-rich WordPress post table in minutes. Your blog posts are automatically displayed in a searchable table layout with filters – no manual data entry. Plus, you can customize your posts table to look and work just the way you want.
In the following walkthrough, I’ll show you how to use this WordPress plugin, and offer some tips for creating the perfect posts table.
Step 1: Install and activate Posts Table Pro
The very first thing you’ll need to do (if you haven’t already) is purchase the Posts Table Pro plugin.
When you do this, you’ll be provided with a few things. The most important will be a zipped folder containing the plugin itself, and a license key for activating it. Make sure you save both somewhere safe.
Then, log into your WordPress blog. In the admin dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Add New, and click on the Upload Plugin button at the top of the screen:
Select Choose File, and find the zipped Posts Table Pro folder on your computer. Select it, and then hit Install Now. Give WordPress a few moments to work. Then, on the next screen, click on the Activate Plugin button:
This will set up the plugin on your site. To fully activate it, you only need to do one more thing. This time, go to Settings > Posts Table Pro:
The very first field here is License Key. Paste in the key you were provided with at the time of purchase (it should be in your confirmation email). Then click on Save Changes at the bottom of the page, or simply hit Enter. Your WordPress post table plugin is now up and running!
Step 2: Configure your WordPress post table settings
Technically, you could skip this step and jump straight to adding a WordPress posts table to your site. This would generate a table using the plugin’s default settings. However, you’ll probably want to customize your post table at least a little, to better match your vision.
Everything you need can be found under Settings > Posts Table Pro. The various options here enable you to configure nearly every element of your posts table. We won’t go through all the choices – instead, we’ll focus on a few of the most important. You can read up on the rest in the plugin’s thorough documentation.
The first thing you’ll notice is likely the Post type option near the top of the page:
This exists because you can also use Posts Table Pro to create a table of all your WordPress pages (or another custom post type). For now, however, you’ll want to make sure this is set to post (so it will display your blog entries).
After that, you can check out the Columns field:
This is a vital setting, since it’s what lets you customize which information appears in your post table. You can enter a list of the columns you want, separated by commas, and they’ll appear in your table in the exact order indicated.
You’ll find a list of all the column options in the Posts Table Pro documentation. At the least, we’d suggest displaying each post’s title, categories, date, and featured image. You may also want to include the name of the author, as well as either the content or excerpt column (although using both might be confusing to readers).
Below, there are a few options for customizing your featured images. You can change their size, and have them displayed in a lightbox when clicked on:
If you’re including either an excerpt or part of each post’s content in your post table, you’ll probably want to configure how much text will be displayed. This can be done using the Content length and Excerpt length settings:
The Table loading section lets you determine how many posts appear per page, and how much content shows up in the table itself. Plus, you can enable caching and lazy loading to improve speed:
The Sorting section gives you a few options for how your WordPress post tables are organized. Finally, the Table controls section is helpful for configuring how readers can interact with the table:
Here you can enable search filters, which will let readers sort the table by specific attributes in order to find the posts they want. You can also hone the look of your WordPress posts table, by deciding where all its various buttons and fields will be placed (for example, above or below the table).
Once you’ve configured whichever settings catch your interest, don’t forget to hit the Save Changes button. Don’t worry – you can always come back here and make more changes once you see the post table in action.
Step 3: Add your WordPress post table to a page
It’s finally time to add a WordPress post table to your website. Technically, you can place it on any page, post, or custom post type. However, we recommend using a brand new page, so your table will be front and center. Alternately, you may want to embed it on your home page.
Either way, open up the page you want to use. Click on the Toggle Toolbar icon in the WordPress editor. In the second row of icons that appears, select Insert Posts Table:
This adds a simple shortcode to your page. If the page contains other content, you can move the shortcode around, and the table will appear wherever it’s placed. Save your page, and then preview it to see the results:
You’ll see your WordPress posts table, configured using all the settings you chose in the previous step. If there’s anything you want to modify, you can go back to the settings page and do so. Any changes you save will automatically be applied to your table via the shortcode, so you won’t have to recreate it.
That’s it! Your WordPress post table is fully functional and ready to go. Now, all you have to do is make sure it’s prominently placed and/or linked to on your blog, so readers can start benefiting from it right away.
Once you have a lot of content on your blog, you’ll probably start wondering if there are better ways to organize and display it. A WordPress post table is one of the best ways to make a blog easier to navigate. It’s simple to set up, yet robust when it comes to functionality.
As we’ve shown, the Posts Table Pro plugin makes showing off your content this way easy. All you have to do is:
- Install and activate Posts Table Pro.
- Configure your WordPress post table settings.
- Add your WordPress posts table to a page.
Do you have any questions about how to configure your WordPress post table? Ask us anything in the comments section below!
Image credit: pxhere.