Does it take you ages to format your WordPress blog posts so that they look consistent and on-brand? Are you worried that cutting and pasting your templates could wreck things in your blog's back end?
In this guide, I'll show you how to set up your own custom blog post templates in WordPress for free without using any plugins or coding. It's easy, it's free and it will save you heaps of time.
- What is a blog post template and how do they work?
- How to create a custom blog post template in WordPress
- How to use your new blog post template
- Ninja Tricks for creating blog post templates
- How to get the most out of this tip
First time here?
Every tip, trick, technique and tool that you find here on Ninja Tricks is part of a bigger strategy that is designed to help you grow your YouTube channel, your blog and your Pinterest presence.
The experience I have gained over the last 11 years of digital marketing and social media wrangling has shown me that success on these platforms requires both momentum and consistency. It's about more than just having the tools. It's about using those tools strategically to build momentum and about consistently engaging with your audience.
That's why I show you:
- How to set your blog up for success, right from the start
- How to promote your posts using a strategy that's perfect for new and small blogs
- How to consistently engage and grow your audience
This strategy is suitable for any niche and even for the newest of blogs. It's also the exact same strategy that I'm using to grow the Ninja Tricks blog and YouTube channel.
If you'd like to know more, it's all explained in my free 3-day Blogging Fast Start program.
What is a blog post template and how do they work?
As well as their basic content, most blog posts contain a whole heap of extra elements such as special formatting, calls to action, buttons, links and signatures that are essentially the same on every post.
Even if you cut and paste, formatting all of these elements and making sure that they're working as they're supposed to can take a lot of time.
Using a blog post template speeds up the process of creating new posts because the basic structure and formatting is already established and you don't need to build your structure from scratch every time.
Basically, every minute you spend creating a custom template once is a minute you're going to save on writing EVERY blog post from now on.
In the olden days, you needed to install a plugin or use a fancy site builder to generate a template for your WordPress site – these days you can do everything for free and without needing any plugins by using the Gutenberg blocks that come as standard with your blog.
How to create a custom blog post template in WordPress
Here are the steps to create your own custom blog post template:
Create a new draft post
The first step in creating your blog post template is to create a new draft post to work in. On your WordPress dashboard go to ‘Posts > Add New‘.
Add a new Group block
Once you have your new post ready to go (I called mine ‘Post Template' to help identify it), the next step is to click the plus button in the content area and add a ‘Group' block from the block library.
If the block isn't showing in your recently used blocks, you can either search for it or check in your ‘Layout Elements' area.
Check the alignment of your ‘Group' block and make sure that it's the right size by clicking the ‘alignment' icon at the top of the group – I prefer to use ‘wide' width, which lines the content up with the blog title, but every blog is different.
Customize your group block
Click on the ‘plus' button to customize your group by adding blocks. Because it can be difficult to see where things are sitting, I usually push the return key a few times at the start, just so I can be sure I'm adding blocks to the right spot inside the group block.
Add all the elements that you want in your blog post template to your group block, including any special introductory text, table of contents, headings, signatures and calls to action for your readers. The more blocks and detail you can add to your template, the more work it's going to save you later on.
You'll notice that I've already saved some reusable blocks (like the NT Rainbow Button), which saves me even more time while I'm making my blog post template. If you haven't got any reusable blocks yet, just customize each element as you go.
Keep adding blocks and content until you've got the basic structure of your blog post template.
If you're looking for some inspiration, here's an example one that's loosely based on the Ninja Tricks layout:
Save your template as a reusable block
When your blog post template is done, click the white space just above your top line to select the group block. Scroll down and do a quick visual check that everything you want in your blog post template is actually sitting inside your group block.
Then, click the 3 dots at the top of your Group Block and select ‘Add to Reusable Blocks' from the drop down menu.
Give the Reusable Group Block an obvious title (like Post Template) and click the save button.
How to use your new blog post template
Now that you have saved your template, it's time to put it to good use!
Create a New Post
On your WordPress dashboard go to ‘Posts > Add New‘.
Insert your ‘Post Template' Reusable Block
Click on the ‘plus' button to add a new block, search for the name you gave your reusable block and select it from the options that come up.
Convert your Reusable Block to a Regular Block
This final step is super-important!!
Now that you've inserted your template block into your new post, you DO NOT want to edit it as a re-usable block, because that will muck up your template!
Click the three dots on the block menu and choose ‘Convert to Regular Block'
Now, you're able to edit all of the template elements of your post however you would like.
Just save your post as usual.
Ninja Tricks for creating blog post templates
So those are the basics, but here are some extra ninja tricks for when you're making your templates:
- Add as much detail as you possibly can to your template! Every minute you spend getting the template right is a minute you're going to save on EVERY blog post you publish from now on. That's a huge time saving multiplier!
- I use a free plugin called Qubely as well as the standard WordPress blocks to make my site look amazing. It's a plugin that adds extra blocks to your block selection menu. In the demos, the Qubely blocks are the ones with the blue icons.
- Any block in the WordPress Gutenberg editor can be turned into a reusable block, so consider turning any page element that you use consistently into one. It saves SO much time in editing settings. As an example, I've got various forms of calls to action, buttons, boxes and paragraphs saved as reusable blocks. If I want to switch them out in a post, I can do it in a few clicks. Just remember to convert your reusable blocks back to regular blocks once you've inserted them in their new spot!
- Every time you're writing a new style of blog post or page, get in the habit of creating a group block first and then creating your post within that group block. That way, you can save the whole thing as a reusable block when you're done and use it as a template next time you write that style of post.
How to get the most out of this tip
So you've just read about how to create custom blog post templates in WordPress, but at this point, they're not going to make any difference to your blog.
Remember, just reading about ways to save time blogging won't make you more productive – you need to take action and implement these tips to actually benefit from the results.
If you don't have time to do them all right now, make sure you save this post for later by pinning the image below to your ‘WordPress' board on Pinterest.
Will blog post templates save your friends time too?
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Invest time and effort into your blogging and you'll see success with your blog growth. To learn more about blog marketing, how it works and the best ways to grow your blog, make sure you grab my free 3-day Blogging Fast Start program.
P.S. If you followed these steps to make your own blog post templates in WordPress would you please let me know? I'd love to find out how it went and see if there's anything that needs to be updated in this guide. Feel free to leave a comment below or connect with me on social… or both!