When your website or blog has been going for a while, you’ll probably need to list posts on an archive page. Maybe you want to list WordPress posts from a specific day, month, year, author, category, tag, or something else. That’s when you need a WordPress archive plugin.
The best WordPress archive plugins provide a quick and easy way for your users to find previous posts or articles on your site.
Keep reading to learn how to use the Posts Table Pro plugin to create various types of archive listing posts on any WordPress website:
- Build a date archive - either listing daily posts, monthly posts or yearly.
- Make an author archive page automatically listing blog posts by a specific user.
- Create a category archive.
- List posts in an archive along with extra post meta data such as featured image, date, excerpt, content and author.
- Create a responsive jQuery WordPress table-based archive with extras such as search box and filters.
- Structure your archive page by adding collapsible accordions or toggles, or list posts under multiple tabs (e.g. with a separate tab for each month).
- Create a WordPress archive for normal blog posts or any custom post type.
- Turn any page on your site into a WordPress archive page, or create a custom archive template.
The problem with WordPress archives
WordPress itself comes with an archive widget listing all the months. Users can click on a month to view the posts from that month. Your theme will also come with a category, tag and author archive template.
The problem with these is that each of these archive pages uses the same layout as your main blog page. That’s not really what archives are for.
I believe that archives are a way for people to easily find older content on your site. For example, they might use an archive page to find posts from a specific date, category or tag. The default blog layout isn’t really suitable for archived posts. This is because there are so many of them and it’s hard to find what you want.
Instead, you need a WordPress archive plugin which lists posts in an easy-to-find format, with extra data about each one. That’s where Posts Table Pro comes in!
Posts Table Pro - the best WordPress archive plugin
Posts Table Pro is a WordPress table plugin ideal for creating any type of website archive. It groups and lists WordPress posts based on day, month, year, category, tag, author and more.
By using Posts Table Pro as your WordPress archive plugin, you can create user-friendly archive pages that quickly direct users to the content they’re looking for. You can add extra post meta data in the table such as the featured image, categories, tags, date, author, and even custom fields and taxonomies.
As well as structuring the archive in an easy-to-navigate way, you can add extra navigation elements to help users to find posts more quickly. For example, they can click on any column to sort the archived posts. They can click on dropdown lists above the table to filter the archive based on data such as category, tag or author. There’s even a handy keyword search above the list of posts.
All of this helps people to navigate the WordPress archive and find what they want more quickly. Once they find posts they’re interested in, the extra data makes them more likely to click through compared to a basic archive which only lists post titles. It’s a great way to improve user engagement and reduce bounce rates.
Ok, so now you know why Posts Table Pro is the best WordPress archive plugin. Next, I’ll tell you how to set it up to create different types of post archive pages.
Case studies - 2 churches who used Posts Table Pro to create date-based newsletter archives
Rim of the World Church and Christendom Media both used Posts Table Pro to create a date-based archive of their past publications. previous newsletter bulletins.
Rim of the World keeps it simple, with a newsletter archive page listing the title and date of each bulletin. Christendom Media list articles from an academic journal, with columns for author as well title and date.
Both archives list WordPress posts in chronological order, with the most recent first. Users can sort by any column and use the keyword search box to find specific posts.
Build a date archive listing daily posts, monthly posts or yearly
- It could be a daily archive listing all posts that were published on a specific date. Single day archives are ideal for news websites that publish many posts or articles per day.
- A WordPress monthly archive lists all posts from a specific month. This is useful for blogs that publish posts regularly but not necessarily every day.
- Alternatively, a WordPress yearly archive is an annual archive listing all posts published in a specific year. Personally, I think that annual archives are over-used on WordPress websites. Unless you publish very rarely, there’s no point listing all posts from a specific year because there will be too many. However, this is an option if it suits your blog.
To create a WordPress date archive listing posts by day, month or year, first get Posts Table Pro and install it on your website.
Next, add the following shortcode to the page or post that you want to use for the date-based archive:
[posts_table day="1" month="1" year="2018"]
The above shortcode will combine the day, month and year options to show you all blog posts added on the 1st day of the 1st month in the year 2018. If you’re creating a daily archive page listing posts from a single day only, delete the month and year sections of the shortcode. If you want to list WordPress posts from a specific month, delete the day and year sections. To list all posts for a whole year, delete the day and month elements from the shortcode.
By mixing and matching the options in the shortcode above, you can create many different types of date archive. (If you want to create an archive of a custom post type, instead of normal blog posts, skip ahead to learn how to do this.)
How to create a weekly post archive
Posts Table Pro doesn’t have an option to list posts by week. However, you can create a WordPress weekly archive by combining the day, month and year options to list all 7 days from a specific week.
For example, the example shortcode above will list all posts published in the first week or January 2018.
Make an author archive page
Posts Table Pro also comes with an ‘author’ option. This makes it easy to create a WordPress author archive page. It will automatically listing blog posts published by a specific user.
To create an author archive, install Posts Table Pro and add the following shortcode to the page:
This author archive shortcode will list all posts by the user ‘katie’. Replace my username with the username of the author for whom you’re creating an archive page.
Do this for each of the authors on your site. You can either list multiple authors’ posts in a single archive template by adding a comma between each one (e.g. author="katie,andy"). Or you can add the shortcode multiple times, each one listing posts by a different author.
Create a category archive
By now, you should be getting the hang of this. You can use the ‘category’ option in this WordPress archive plugin to create a category archive listing posts from a specific category.
To list category posts in this way, add the following shortcode anywhere on your website:
Replace ‘articles’ with either the slug or ID for your category (but don’t use the category name). Use multiple shortcodes to create as many WordPress category archives as you like, each listing posts from a different category.
Build a WordPress tag archive
Categories are one way of structuring your blog posts - tags are another. Posts Table Pro makes it equally easy to create tag archives, listing posts with a specific tag in the table layout.
This shortcode will list posts all with the tag ‘food’:
Replace ‘food’ with the slug of the tag that you want to list in the archive.
List posts in an archive along with extra post meta data such as featured image, date, excerpt, content and author
So far, we’ve just listed WordPress posts in an archive using the default column options. These are: post ID, title, content, excerpt, image, date, author, categories, tags, status, or any custom field or taxonomy.
However, the great thing about Posts Table Pro is that you can list whatever data you like on your WordPress post archives. The archive plugin supports various different columns, including standard post meta data such as categories, tags, publish date and author.
There are also lots of extra column options such as post featured image, which adds a nice visual element to the archive. If you’ve used custom fields or taxonomies to store extra data about your posts, you can also include these as archive columns. And if you’ve added multimedia content to your posts such as embedded audio, video players or playlists, you can show these directly on the WordPress archive page too.
Think about which data will best encourage your users to click on a post to read it in full. Use this to decide which columns to add to the archive.
The following shortcode will create an annual archive of all blog posts from the year 2018. It has columns for image, post title, categories, author and date:
[posts_table year="2018" columns="image,title,categories,author,date”]
Use the archive plugin knowledge base to learn which columns are available and how to add them to your WordPress archive page.
Create a responsive jQuery WordPress table-based archive with extras such as search box and filters
Posts Table Pro is built on the popular jQuery DataTables plugin, which creates mobile-responsive HTML tables. It has many of the fantastic features that come with DataTables, such as a keyword search above the table, sortable columns, and filters.
The column sorting and search box will appear in your WordPress archives by default. You can choose whether to add filters for categories, tags, author, or even a custom taxonomy. For example, this Posts Table Pro shortcode will create an archive of all posts. There are filters for categories, tags and author, so users can quickly narrow down the list to find the posts they want:
You can add one or more filters above the post list archive, so add the ones that will be useful for your visitors.
Structure your archive page
To keep things simple, you can list WordPress posts on an archive page containing a single table. To jazz things up a bit, you can add multiple tables to the page - each containing an archive of different posts. (E.g. a separate table of posts by each author, or a table for each month.)
Alternatively, you can create more advanced archive layout by dividing up the archive page using tabs, accordions or toggles.
A tabbed layout adds tabs across the top of the WordPress archive page. For example, you might add a tab for each month or year. Users can click on a tab to view a separate archive listing posts for that specific month/year.
In contrast, a toggle or accordion adds an expandable and collapsible content box. If you add multiple toggles or accordions, then they are listed vertically on top of each other. Again, users can click on one to view the list of posts within.
Tabs and accordions are neat ways to break up long archive pages. If you want to use them, the first step is to look at your theme to see if it comes pre-build with a tab or accordion feature. If not, then I recommend using the free Shortcodes Ultimate plugin to add your tabs and accordions. (That’s what I used to create the above screenshot.)
Create a WordPress archive for blog posts or any custom post type
So far, I’ve assumed that you’re creating an archive listing normal WordPress blog posts. By this, I mean the posts which are listed in the ‘Posts’ section of the WordPress Dashboard.
If you want to create a WordPress archive to list other types of content, that’s fine too! Posts Table Pro supports any custom post type. This means that you can create an archive of portfolio posts, events, case studies, products, articles, and much more.
Use Posts Table Pro with this example shortcode to create a custom post type archive called ‘articles’:
Replace ‘articles’ with the correct slug for the custom post type that you need to list in the archive. You can easily find this by clicking on the custom post type in the left of the WordPress admin. Once you’ve viewing the list of custom posts, look for the custom post type slug within the URL in your browser address bar.
For example, when I click on the Portfolio post type for the Barn2 Media website, the URL is: https://barn2.com/wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=portfolio. This tells me that the custom post type slug is ‘portfolio’, so I need to use this in the Posts Table Pro archive shortcode.
Turn any page on your site into a WordPress archive page, or create a custom archive template
You can use the instructions I’ve provided so far to add table-based WordPress archives to any page or post on your site. It works on normal WordPress pages and posts, and also in the text element of any page builder plugin such as Visual Composer, Divi Builder, Beaver Builder or Elementor. If you like, you can also add the Posts Table Pro shortcode to a Text widget (although I’m not sure why you’d want to do this!).
But what if you want to automatically use the table layout for your default archive template, such as the built-in WordPress author archive, category archive or tag archive pages?
This is possible, but it’s slightly more technical because you have to modify the archive templates build into your theme. The WordPress archive plugin knowledge base includes instructions on how to do this.
Note: These instructions will replace all your category and archive page layouts with the tabular Posts Table Pro layout. If you just want to use the post table layout on certain parts of your site then you’ll need to do some extra customisation. This is a developer-level task and if you don’t know how to do it, then we recommend posting a job on Codeable. This is a good place to find a tried and tested WordPress expert with the right skills.
Does it work with the WordPress archive widget?
WordPress itself comes with a built-in archive widget which you can add to a sidebar anywhere on your site. This lists all the months when you have published posts. Users can click on this to view a monthly archive listing all posts from that month.
When someone clicks on a month in the WordPress archive widget, this will load the category archive template built into your theme. To show the tabular archive layout on this page, you need to add the Posts Table Pro shortcode directly to a custom archive template. Use the instructions above to do this.
Adding the table archive layout directly to a custom archive template is a good way to save time. For example, if you create monthly date archives by adding shortcodes directly to a page then you need to edit the page each month to add a shortcode for the latest month. By adding this directly to your template files, it will happen automatically.
Other archive plugin options
In this tutorial, I’ve explained the most important features for using Posts Table Pro as a WordPress archive plugin. It also has dozens of other features that I haven’t mentioned. For example:
- By default, your archive templates are sorted by date in reverse chronological order. You can change the sort order to anything you like. (E.g. order by title, author, custom field, reverse the sort order, etc.)
- You can embed audio and video directly in the archive page table, for example to create a WordPress audio archive library or video post archive.
- 4 styles of pagination buttons to break up long post archives into multiple tables. Users can click the page numbers or previous/next buttons to navigate through the archive.
- Lazy load option to speed up larger post archives
Using the WordPress archive plugin on your own site
As you can see, Posts Table Pro is easily the most flexible WordPress archive plugin out there. I hope this tutorial has given you everything you need to create archive pages for your own blog. If you think I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments below.
Get the plugin today and start creating archives of your blog posts or other content types. Whether you need to create a WordPress date archive, author archive, category archive, tag archive or something else, it only takes a few minutes to set up. The end result will be professional WordPress archive pages that make it much easier for your users to find and engage with your posts.