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Use the Display Posts Shortcode to Effectively Feature Content

Bloggers reveal their expertise around specific topics by publishing original content articles that offer clear value to readers. However, as blog posts are displayed in reverse chronological order when new articles are published the earlier ones migrate off front page of the blog and that means drawing attention to them is a challenge.

In this article you will learn how to rise to that challenge by featuring your older articles of timeless value in ways that make it easy for readers to locate it by using the Display Posts Shortcode to create list posts and index pages and include them as items in a custom menu.

What are pillar posts?

Definition: Pillar posts are not your average blog post. They are usually longer and more content rich. Pillar posts are comprehensive posts that offer great value to readers as the contents are timeless in nature.

What is Evergreen Content?

Definition: Evergreen content is content that is perpetually relevant. The word evergreen is most often used by editors to describe certain kinds of stories, stories that, because of their topic, are always of interest to readers.

Featuring Evergreen Content

Creating index pages and/or list posts provides reader access to posts located deeper in the blog than the front page ie. it’s another way of featuring older content AKA as pillar posts or evergreen content.

If you are a new reader you may want to try  building a post index with the Archives Shortcode. Take a look at my All Posts index page in my Custom Menu.  I used the Archives shortcode to create it. Note that I’ve also included two other index pages, Popular Posts and Basic Blogging in my custom menu. These are important pages because they direct readers to pillar posts (evergreen content).

What is a shortcode?

“A shortcode is a WordPress-specific code that lets you do nifty things with very little effort. Shortcodes can embed files or create objects that would normally require lots of complicated, ugly code in just one line. Shortcode = shortcut.” Shortcodes

“The Display Posts Shortcode was written to allow us to easily display listings of posts category, post format type, etc. without knowing PHP or editing template files. The Arguments provide added options to display something more than just the title.  … This plugin is now available to all users of There’s no installation necessary, just drop the shortcode in your page’s content area.”  Bill Erickson, WordPress Consultant

Display Posts Shortcodes, List Posts and Index Pages

List posts draw lots of traffic both immediately after publication and over the long term. The Display Posts Shortcode can be used to create both list posts and index pages.

In 7 Reasons Why List Posts Will Always Work, Brian Clark points out that “these type of posts and articles are perfect for building your authority and demonstrating a mastery of your area of expertise. If you’re business blogging, that’s key.”

In 10 Steps to the Perfect List Post, Ali Hale says “list posts are definitely a power-keg with the potential to send a traffic explosion to your blog” and offers ways to make your list posts as effective as possible.

Using the Display Posts Shortcode to Feature Content

Using the Display Posts Shortcode in posts and/or pages makes it possible to display not only post titles but also summaries of posts, including thumbnails by categories. There are other display variations too. Here are examples of how you can use the Display Posts Shortcode on a Page or in a Post to:

  • Specify display of a list of posts by author.
  • Specify display of a list of posts by category.
  • Specify display of a list of posts by title, Including the post’s excerpt after the title (and date if provided).
  • Specify display of a list of posts with specific image size for displaying the featured image, if the post has one.
  • Specify the number of  posts to be displayed. (The Display Posts Shortcode has a limit of 100 posts displayed.)
  • Specify whether posts are ordered in descending order (DESC) or ascending order (ASC).

Readers are time constrained and research indicates most skim read rather than reading blog posts. Consequently, it’s not likely most readers will trawl through your archives to locate your evergreen content in individual pillar posts or those published in series.

Creating index pages and/or list posts by using the Display Posts Shortcode  and adding them as items in your custom menu may be just what you need to make sure your best content is found and shared.

48 thoughts on “Use the Display Posts Shortcode to Effectively Feature Content

  1. I haven’t spent enough time with display code yet. But I want to.

    Maybe when I get snowed in later this year…after sucking up sunshine during our sunny autumn right now. :)

    • Ha! ha! Enjoy the weather while you can because In intend to do the same.
      The display posts shortcode has so many possible uses because there are so many variations.

  2. This sounds like a great way to promote older stories. At some point, this very non-technical blogger will give it a try. As always, timethief, thanks for the great advice.

    Now, if you could just tell me how to shut down comments on my Awards page and, possibly, About page. That’s where I find comments that usually wind up in the spam file. I close all other comments on postings after 3 weeks. Thank you.

  3. I had no idea that’s how it got done! I’ve been doing a passable job of it using hyperlinks and photos, but I need to play with this at some point (yes, I do have a mirror blog out there that I use to test out themes and other changes). Thanks!


    • Hi Nancy,
      It’s always great to hear from you. Do let me know what you think about your experiments with the display posts shortcode. David and I have run into a glitch re: one shortcode. However, the others I have tried produced useful results. It would be interesting to know how those in group blogs would use this feature.

  4. My Sitemap has always included a dropdown list of all my posts. But I like your bulleted list much better. Think I’ll change my set-up. Thanks. Always helpful to see an old feature through fresh eyes.

  5. Clicking on the link to “All Posts” in the righjt-hand sidebar leads me to “Oops! That page can’t be found.”
    Best regards from southern Texas,

  6. Every now and again I delete an old article that I thought was quite good and re-post it. Of course that also means deleting the comments and the likes. Yours is a better idea. I’ll look into it. Another worthwhile post, TT.

    • Please don’t do that ever again! Read this post so you know why that’s the worst possible thing you could do from a SEO point of view.

      What you are doing is creating a trail broken links ie. broken URLs of indexed content in the search engine results. You are dumping any backlinks you got to the posts you deleted and that means your blog’s page rank on the blog goes down.

      If and only if you have new information to provide create and publish a new post and link to the existing post in it. Then you will preserve any backlinks, comments and page rank gained from the posts both new and old.

  7. Great information. I had heard of neither term–pillar post or evergreen content. Thanks for clearly defining these and so much more. Hope you’re feeling well this week!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • Hi Kathy,

      Pillar posts, evergreen content and flagship content are synonyms. :)

      I am feeling better but I’m wondering why my latest results weren’t reported to me today. I’ll be calling the specialist’s office tomorrow.


    • Thank you so much for letting me know you appreciate my blog content and especially this post. I’m busy preparing a related article that will include examples of effective use of the display post shortcode that I have touted in this post. So as they say, pleased stay tuned. :)

  8. Thank you for these tips. I like the custom menu and I will try it as soon as I figure out how it works. Annie

    • Hi Annie,
      Creating a cusom menu is not as challenging as it may seem if you use the links to locate the articles I linked to above. I’ve now blogged in 7 different ways to feature older content. Well, make that 8 if you use the display posts shortcode for index pages and/or list posts. I’ll continue expanding this theme as more ideas come to mind.

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