Most WordPress Themes users are familiar with tags and categories and with how to use them to organize their blog posts. If you use custom post types in WordPress Themes, you might need to organize them like categories and tags. Categories and tags are examples of taxonomies, and WordPress allows you to create as many custom taxonomies as you want. These custom taxonomies operate like categories or tags, but are separate.
In this tutorial, we’ll explain custom taxonomies and how to create them. We’ll also go over which template files in a WordPress themes control the archives of built-in and custom taxonomies, and some advanced techniques for customizing the behavior of taxonomy archives.
Before continuing, let’s get our terminology straight. A taxonomy is a WordPress Themescontent type, used primarily to organize content of any other content type. The two taxonomies everyone is familiar with are built in: categories and tags. We tend to call an individual posting of a tag a “tag,” but to be precise, we should refer to it as a “term” in the “tag” taxonomy. We pretty much always refer to items in a custom taxonomy as “terms.”
Categories and tags represent the two types of taxonomies: hierarchical and non-hierarchical. Like categories, hierarchical taxonomies can have parent-child relationships between terms in the taxonomy. For example, you might have on your blog a “films” category that has several child categories, with names like “foreign” and “domestic.” Custom taxonomies may also be hierarchical, like categories, or non-hierarchical, like tags.
For every category, tag and custom taxonomy, WordPress Themes automatically generates an archive that lists each post associated with that taxonomy, in reverse chronological order. The system works really well if you organize your blog posts with categories and tags. If you have a complex system of organizing custom post types with custom taxonomies, then it might not be ideal. We’ll go over the many ways to modify these archives.
The first step to customizing is to know which files in your theme are used to display the archive. Different WordPress Themes have different template files, but all WordPress Themes have an index.phptemplate. The index.php template is used to display all content, unless a template exists higher up in the hierarchy. WordPress’ template hierarchy is the system that dictates which template file is used to display which content. We’ll briefly go over the template hierarchy for categories, tags and custom taxonomies. If you’d like to learn more, these resources are highly recommended .
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