Tips For WordPress Custom Taxonomy

WordPress, the widely-used content management system (CMS), offers an array of powerful features for website creation and management. One such feature is custom taxonomy, which allows you to organize your content in a flexible and structured manner. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of custom taxonomies, exploring their definition, applications, and the steps to implement them effectively. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of custom taxonomies and how they can bring value to your WordPress website. Additionally, we have included a section with frequently asked questions to address common queries.

What is a Custom Taxonomy?

In the context of WordPress, a custom taxonomy refers to a unique way of classifying and organizing content. While WordPress provides built-in taxonomies like categories and tags, custom taxonomies offer a more tailored and versatile approach. With custom taxonomies, you can create hierarchical structures that suit your specific needs. For example, imagine you have a website dedicated to books. Using a custom taxonomy, you can organize your book content into categories such as fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books. Further sub-categories like science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction can be created within the fiction category.

How to Create a Custom Taxonomy

Creating a custom taxonomy in WordPress is a straightforward process that involves a few essential steps. Follow this step-by-step guide to create your custom taxonomy effectively:

Step 1: Define Your Custom Taxonomy Begin by determining the purpose and structure of your custom taxonomy. Identify the categories or terms that will best organize your content. For example, if you have a recipe website, you might create a custom taxonomy called “Cuisine” with terms like “Italian,” “Mexican,” and “Asian.”

Step 2: Create a New File In your WordPress theme or plugin folder, create a new file and name it “taxonomy.php”. This file will serve as the template for your custom taxonomy.

Step 3: Add the Custom Taxonomy Code Open the “taxonomy.php” file in a text editor and add the code for your custom taxonomy. The code should include the taxonomy name, labels, and arguments. Here’s an example:

function custom_taxonomy() {
$labels = array(
'name' => __( 'Cuisine', 'text-domain' ),
'singular_name' => __( 'Cuisine', 'text-domain' ),
'search_items' => __( 'Search Cuisine', 'text-domain' ),
'all_items' => __( 'All Cuisine', 'text-domain' ),
'parent_item' => __( 'Parent Cuisine', 'text-domain' ),
'parent_item_colon' => __( 'Parent Cuisine:', 'text-domain' ),
'edit_item' => __( 'Edit Cuisine', 'text-domain' ),
'update_item' => __( 'Update Cuisine', 'text-domain' ),
'add_new_item' => __( 'Add New Cuisine', 'text-domain' ),
'new_item_name' => __( 'New Cuisine Name', 'text-domain' ),
'menu_name' => __( 'Cuisine', 'text-domain' ),
$args = array(
‘hierarchical’ => true,
‘labels’ => $labels,
‘show_ui’ => true,
‘show_admin_column’ => true,
‘query_var’ => true,
‘rewrite’ => array( ‘slug’ => ‘cuisine’ ),
);register_taxonomy( ‘cuisine’, array( ‘post’ ), $args );
add_action( ‘init’, ‘custom_taxonomy’ );

Ensure that you customize the labels, text domain, and any additional arguments according to your taxonomy’s specific needs.

Step 4: Save and Upload the File Save the “taxonomy.php” file and upload it to your theme or plugin folder via FTP or the WordPress dashboard. Make sure it is placed in the correct directory.

Step 5: Register the Taxonomy To activate your custom taxonomy, you need to register it. Open your theme’s “functions.php” file and add the following code:

require_once( get_template_directory() . '/taxonomy.php' );

If you’re using a child theme, make sure to add the code to the child theme’s “functions.php” file.

Step 6: Assign Terms to Content With your custom taxonomy registered, you can now assign terms to your content. When creating or editing a post, page, or custom post type, you’ll find a section where you can select the appropriate taxonomy term(s) from the available options.

Step 7: Customize the Display (Optional) If you want to customize the display of your custom taxonomy terms, you can modify the template file responsible for rendering the taxonomy archive page. Copy the “archive.php” file from your theme’s directory, rename it

Utilizing Custom Taxonomies

Once you have created a custom taxonomy, you can harness its power to organize and enhance your content in several ways:

  1. Assigning Terms: Custom taxonomies allow you to assign terms to different content types, including posts, pages, and even custom post types. This categorization enables better content organization and navigation.
  2. Custom Navigation Menus: By using custom taxonomies, you can create unique navigation menus that showcase the terms within your taxonomy. This facilitates intuitive navigation and helps users discover related content more efficiently.
  3. Custom Archives: Custom taxonomies empower you to build custom archive pages, displaying content associated with specific terms within your taxonomy. This feature is particularly useful for showcasing related posts or content within a specific category.
  4. Custom Widgets: Enhance your website’s sidebar or widget areas by utilizing custom taxonomies to create custom widgets. These widgets can showcase content related to specific taxonomy terms, providing users with valuable recommendations and improving engagement.
Unlocking the Power of WordPress Custom Taxonomies

WordPress custom taxonomies offer a robust framework for organizing and optimizing your content. By leveraging their capabilities, you can create a more structured and user-friendly website experience. Here are some key benefits of custom taxonomies:

  1. Enhanced Organization: Custom taxonomies allow you to create your own logical and hierarchical structure, providing a more intuitive way for users to navigate and explore your content.
  2. Improved User Experience: By employing custom taxonomies, you can enhance the user experience by enabling easy content discovery and reducing information overload.
  3. Tailored Content Presentation: Custom taxonomies enable the creation of customized navigation menus, archives, and widgets. This customization allows you to present related content to your visitors, increasing engagement and fostering a deeper connection with your audience.
  4. SEO Optimization: Properly utilizing custom taxonomies can positively impact your website’s search engine optimization efforts. Custom taxonomies enable you to create targeted URLs, meta tags, and content structures that align with your SEO strategy, improving your website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results.
  5. Flexibility and Scalability: With custom taxonomies, you have the flexibility to adapt and expand your content organization as your website grows. You can easily add new terms, categories, and sub-categories to accommodate evolving content needs.
  6. Streamlined Content Management: Custom taxonomies simplify content management by allowing you to filter and display specific content based on taxonomy terms. This streamlines the process of updating and maintaining your website, making it easier to find and modify relevant content.
  7. Contextual Content Delivery: By leveraging custom taxonomies, you can provide users with more contextual and relevant content recommendations. This personalized approach enhances the user experience, increases engagement, and encourages visitors to spend more time on your website.
Examples of Custom Taxonomy Applications

To illustrate the practical application of custom taxonomies, let’s consider a scenario where you run a travel blog. Here are some examples of how you can use custom taxonomies to organize and enhance your content:

  1. Destination Taxonomy: Create a custom taxonomy called “Destinations” with terms representing different countries or cities. Assign relevant posts to their respective destination terms. This allows users to explore content specific to their desired travel location.
  2. Travel Type Taxonomy: Develop a custom taxonomy called “Travel Types” with terms like “Adventure,” “Luxury,” “Family-Friendly,” and “Budget.” Categorize your travel-related posts based on the type of travel experience they offer. Users can then easily browse content that aligns with their preferred travel style.
  3. Season Taxonomy: Establish a custom taxonomy called “Seasons” with terms such as “Summer,” “Winter,” “Spring,” and “Fall.” Categorize your posts based on the best time to visit specific destinations. This enables users to find content tailored to their desired travel season.


Q: Can I create multiple custom taxonomies for my website?
A: Yes, you can create multiple custom taxonomies in WordPress. Each custom taxonomy can serve a different organizational purpose, allowing you to classify content in various ways.

Q: Can I use custom taxonomies with existing content on my website?
A: Yes, you can assign custom taxonomy terms to existing content on your website. WordPress provides tools to bulk edit and assign terms, making it easier to integrate custom taxonomies into your existing content structure.

Q: Are custom taxonomies only applicable to posts?
A: No, custom taxonomies can be applied to various content types, including posts, pages, and custom post types. This versatility allows you to organize different types of content based on your unique requirements.

Q: Can I use custom taxonomies in conjunction with built-in taxonomies like categories and tags?
A: Absolutely. Custom taxonomies can work alongside built-in taxonomies, providing additional layers of organization and categorization for your content. This gives you the flexibility to utilize a combination of taxonomy types.

Q: Is it possible to customize the display of custom taxonomy terms?
A: Yes, you can customize the display of custom taxonomy terms using WordPress template files and CSS. This allows you to style and present the terms in a way that matches your website’s design and branding.

Q: Can I translate custom taxonomy terms into different languages?
A: Yes, you can translate custom taxonomy terms using translation plugins or by leveraging WordPress’s multilingual functionality. This enables you to cater to a global audience and provide localized content.


WordPress custom taxonomies are a powerful way to organize your content. They allow you to create your own hierarchical structure for organizing content. They also allow you to create custom navigation menus, archives, and widgets. By unlocking the power of custom taxonomies, you can create a more organized and user-friendly website.

If you need help unlocking the power of WordPress custom taxonomies, contact AS6 Digital Agency. Our team of experienced WordPress developers can help you create custom taxonomies and use them to create a more organized and user-friendly website.


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About Amoi Blake-Amaro

Media graduate with a concentration in advertising from Oral Roberts University. Having worked with a diverse range of clients, from entertainment to e-commerce, coaching to health, I've learned the importance of creating custom solutions that reflect each client's unique brand and effectively communicate their message to their target audience.
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