Dive Deeper: A Guide to Custom Taxonomies in WordPress

In the vast landscape of WordPress customization, the use of custom taxonomies adds another layer of sophistication to your content organization. This guide will walk you through what custom taxonomies are, why they’re valuable, and how to integrate them seamlessly into your WordPress site.

Understanding Custom Taxonomies:

In WordPress, a taxonomy is a way to classify and organize content. While categories and tags are the default taxonomies, custom taxonomies allow you to create personalized systems for specific types of content. This is particularly useful when dealing with diverse and specialized information on your website.

Key Components:

  1. Custom Taxonomy Name: This is the name given to your custom classification system, like “Genres” or “Topics.”
  2. Taxonomy Slug: A unique identifier used in the URL structure, ensuring a clear and readable address.
  3. Associated Post Types: Specify which post types your custom taxonomy applies to, linking it to relevant content.

Why Custom Taxonomies Matter:

1. Precise Content Organization:

  • Tailor your content classification to match the specifics of your website.
  • Enhance the precision of content grouping beyond the limitations of default categories and tags.

2. Improved User Experience:

  • Provide users with more intuitive navigation, making it easier for them to find relevant content.
  • Custom taxonomies contribute to a more user-friendly and organized site.

3. Enhanced SEO:

  • Structured and specific taxonomies can positively impact SEO.
  • Search engines recognize and index content more effectively when it’s well-organized.

4. Consistent Data Entry:

  • Ensure uniformity in categorizing content with predefined taxonomies.
  • This minimizes the risk of inconsistent data entry by content creators.

Creating Custom Taxonomies:

Using a Plugin (Custom Post Type UI):

  1. Install and Activate the Plugin:
  • In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Plugins” > “Add New” and search for “Custom Post Type UI.”
  • Install and activate the plugin.
  1. Create a New Custom Taxonomy:
  • Navigate to “CPT UI” in your admin menu.
  • Choose “Add/Edit Taxonomies” and fill in the required details:
    • Taxonomy Slug: Unique identifier for URLs.
    • Taxonomy Name: Descriptive label for the taxonomy.
    • Post Types: Select the relevant post types.
  • Click “Add Taxonomy” to create your custom taxonomy.

Manual Approach (Functions.php):

For those comfortable with coding, you can register custom taxonomies directly in your theme’s functions.php file.

function custom_taxonomy() {
    array('post'), // Associate with the 'post' post type
      'label' => __('Custom Taxonomy'),
      'rewrite' => array('slug' => 'custom-taxonomy'),
      'hierarchical' => true,
add_action('init', 'custom_taxonomy');

Managing Custom Taxonomies:

1. Assigning Taxonomies to Posts:

  • When creating or editing a post, you can assign custom taxonomies just like default categories and tags.

2. Consistent Use of Taxonomies:

  • Maintain consistency in using your custom taxonomies across your content.
  • This ensures a standardized approach to content classification.

3. Widget and Menu Integration:

  • Integrate custom taxonomies into your site’s navigation through widgets or menus.
  • Allow users to explore content based on your personalized taxonomy structure.

Best Practices:

1. Clear and Descriptive Labels:

  • Choose names and labels that clearly convey the purpose of each custom taxonomy.
  • This enhances user understanding and navigation.

2. Limit the Number of Taxonomies:

  • Avoid creating an excessive number of custom taxonomies.
  • Keep them focused on the specific needs of your content.

3. Backup Your Site:

  • Before making significant changes or adding custom taxonomies, back up your WordPress site.
  • This ensures the ability to revert to a previous state if needed.

4. User Training:

  • If multiple users manage content, provide training on working with custom taxonomies.
  • Ensure a shared understanding of taxonomy usage guidelines.


Custom taxonomies in WordPress offer a powerful tool to refine and organize your content in a way that aligns precisely with your website’s focus. Whether you’re categorizing articles by topics, products by features, or any other specialized information, custom taxonomies enhance the clarity and efficiency of content classification. By incorporating them strategically and following best practices, you enrich the user experience and maximize the potential of your WordPress site.