How to Design a Single Post Template (With and Without Coding)

Single post templates are usually defined by your WordPress theme. This means that you can get one or several post templates depending on your theme choice.

In most cases, it is enough to build a decent blog or portfolio website. Nevertheless, sometimes you need to create a custom single post template. Maybe you want your blog post to stand out, or maybe you have various types of content published under one post type.

Whatever your reasons are, there are two ways how to design a single post template for you. We will look into both of them.

A generic WordPress way which allows you to quickly add a template to your site. The downside is that you will need to have some coding skills to do that. Probably, one of the reasons why people avoid doing that.

And the second way, where you don't need to know anything about coding. An easy way for everyone to design a single post template with the help of the drag and drop website builder.

Let's proceed.

Creating a Custom Single Post Template in WordPress

Creating a custom single post template in WordPress is really easy. All you need to do is create a blank .php file in your text or code editor. Notepad should be just fine, although you can use advanced code editors like Sublime or PHPStorm.

Name your file my-post-template.php and save it. Now, it's time to add some content.

A simple code will create a template named 'Portfolio Template' that will be available for your posts and pages:

<?php
/*
 * Template Name: Portfolio Template
 * Template Post Type: post, page
 */
  
 get_header();  ?>

Great! You have created a basic post template. Don't forget to save the file.

Next, you will need to upload the new template to your web server. You can use FTP client to do that. The file must be uploaded to your current theme folder.

By the way, it is recommended to use WordPress Child Theme. If you don't know what it is, check out this quick tutorial on WordPress Child theme.

After upload, it's time to check out your WordPress site to see if the template really works. Open your WordPress Admin Dashboard, navigate to posts, and create a new post.

In the post window, look for 'Template' drop-down in Post Attributes. The new template 'Portfolio Template' should be listed there.

WordPress Post Attributes with post templates listed

As you select the template, you will see it is empty. Simply because it doesn't have anything to display.

To fix it, we can use an existing template as a basis. Open the single.php file and copy everything after get_header() line. Paste this code in my-post-template.php and upload it to your server.

As you select the template, you will see it is similar to your single post template. To modify it, you will need to change the code in your my-post-template.php file. Add your own custom CSS, remove unnecessary parts, like sidebar, and so on.

As mentioned below, the problem is that at this point you will need to have coding skills. And this is not an option for everyone.

Now, it's time to check how you can design a single post template without coding.

Creating a Custom Single Post Template Without Coding

Have you ever wanted to create a template you can use anywhere on your site? With Visual Composer Website Builder, you can do just that.

In our example, we will create a set of templates for header, footer, content, and apply them to the layout. Although you can create a sidebar template, we will skip that to ease the tutorial.

Before we begin, all you need to do is to have Visual Composer Website Builder Premium version activated to access advanced features.

Let's start with creating a new post. You can do that by navigating to Posts section in your WordPress Admin Dashboard and selecting 'Add New With Visual Composer'.

Add new post in WordPress

You will see a blank page where you can set your post title and select the layout. Visual Composer offers several predefined layouts and theme default layout. For our custom post, we will choose Visual Composer layout with header, content, and footer.

Visual Composer blank page layout options

After adding an element, you will see a simple post. It's about time to add some colors to it.

Further, we will need to create your header and footer templates. The best part is that you will be able to use those templates anywhere on your site.

Open your WordPress Admin Dashboard and go to Visual Composer. Navigate to Headers and create a new header.

Create a header in Visual Composer

Now, you can use content elements to create your custom header or access Visual Composer Hub to download some of the ready headers to modify it to your liking. Handy, right? Don't forget to save the header.

Header, Footer, Sidebar template download from the Visual Composer Hub

With your header ready, it's time to create a footer template. The process is just the same. Navigate to Footers and create your custom footer design. Again, you can use Visual Composer Hub to download template.

Once you have your header and footer ready, navigate back to your post. Don't forget to open it with Visual Composer.

In the editor, open Visual Composer On-Page Settings from the navigation bar. You will see header and footer drop-downs with your new templates listed. Select them and voila - your post now has a header and footer.

Select/change page layout with Visual Composer Website Builder

Great! All you have to do is use Visual Composer elements or templates to design the content of your post. My recommendation would be designing the layout while leaving a blank spot for your post-to-post content.

Once you have your content template ready, open the Template window from the navigation bar and save your content part as a template. You will need this template to re-use it.

Add template created by user to your WordPress page

From this part, the main job is done. Now, you can finish this specific post by adding the actual content and publish it.

Further, whenever you create a new post, make sure to select the layout with header, content, and footer. Apply your custom headers and footers. Add the content template you created before and fill it with content.

Summary

We've looked into two different ways on how to design a single post template. The native WordPress way which requires coding. And an alternative way, where you can use Visual Composer Website Builder.

Both of the ways have their own benefits and drawbacks. While I can't speak about WordPress and their future vision. I can tell you that Visual Composer has their minds set on delivering a new and faster way.

Use any of the methods mentioned above? Share your thoughts in the comments.