Post formats are one of my favorite WordPress features. As microblogging becomes increasingly popular, it can be easy to fall into the trap of saving your long posts for your WordPress.com blog. With post formats, you can choose what type of post you want to publish, giving you the flexibility to share a link, post a status update, or publish a long essay.
So what is a post format? It’s a way of styling your posts according to the post type. On WordPress.com, we have the follow post formats:
- Standard – Your normal, average, everyday blog post. This is the default styling for your theme.
- Gallery – Usually will show a thumbnail from the blog post, as well as an excerpt of what the gallery is about.
- Aside – These are brief snippets of text that aren’t quite whole blog posts. Useful for quick thoughts and anecdotes
- Image — These posts highlight your images
- Status — Short updates about what you’re doing right now.
- Quote — These posts highlight your blockquoted text in a bolder way than standard posts do
- Video — Just like Image posts these posts highlight your videos
- Audio — Just like Image and Video these posts highlight your Audio attachments
Similar to post formats are featured posts. For themes that offer featured posts, you can feature a post by adding a featured image and marking it as sticky. Featuring a post highlights it for your readers. It’s a great way to promote a specific post that you’re particularly proud of or feel is a good representation of your work. For themes with post sliders, featured posts will appear in the slider at the top of the page — just like the Friday Photo Challenges on the Daily Post home page.
You can select your preferred post format via the Format module on your Add New Post page. As an example of how post formats appear differently, take a look at the Twenty Eleven demo page. The first post on the Twenty Eleven demo page is a featured post. As you scroll down, you can also see the Gallery, Image, and Aside format. (In Twenty Eleven, the post format is noted next to the post title.)
If you’ve seen these options on your own blog when writing up a new post, you may have wondered what the benefit is to using post formats. Post formats offer a customizable portion of your site. Instead of waiting to post your “Standard” long post, you can publish a status update or a quick image post. Similarly, post formats keep your home page visually interesting. Each format has it’s own style, so each post looks different.
If you’d like to find themes that support post formats and sliders, head over to the Themes Showcase and filter your search for “Post formats” and “Post sliders.”
If you’re using a theme with post formats, do you use them? If not, do you use any other services for shorter posts and ideas?