When I first started my teaching blog, I remember thinking, ‘mmmmm, blog roll sounds delicious!’ Obviously, back in 2012, I had no idea what I was doing. I definitely didn’t know a blog post from a blog roll. But now, I’ve been a freelance web developer for 6+ years, so I know a whole lot more about how WordPress and websites work. I know that a blog post is one single article on your blog (like this one you’re currently reading, on How to Make a Blog Roll Page), and a blog roll is a page that shows the titles and excerpts of all your blog posts, like this page.
First, it’s important to understand the difference between a PAGE and a POST on WordPress.
Pages are the more permanent content on your site. It’s things like the about page and contact page and even the explanations of your services and pricing. These pages typically take longer to build and have more design and animations added to them. For most WordPress sites, pages are the ones you find in the menu at the top.
On the other hand, posts are for your more timely or specific content. Here on my site, my blog posts are all about how to set up a DIY website or how to be a freelance web developer. They have more detailed content and images and less overall design. In WordPress, posts can be classified by date, author, category, and tag, so it’s easier to sort and search through information.
Okay, so what’s a blog roll, then?
A blog roll is actually not a blog post. It’s a PAGE that has links to all of your blog POSTS (I know). A blog roll is the page where you might have a little more design to show off your blog posts. You can choose to show all of your posts or just the ones in a certain category. Then, WordPress will display the title, featured image, an excerpt, and a ‘read more’ link that goes to the full blog post. So the blog roll page is just a collection of little excerpts of your blog posts that your readers can use to find scroll through your posts and find the one(s) they want to read.
How to make a blog roll:
WordPress does this automatically for you, actually. If you don’t want to do anything, you don’t have to! However, if you’re using the Divi theme, you can pretty quickly build a more stylish blog roll page than the default one WordPress makes for you.
1. In your WordPress admin dashboard, go to Pages > Add New.
2. Give your page the title ‘blog.’ and click ‘use Divi builder.’
3. Here, you have 3 options: You can build from scratch, choose a premade Divi layout, or clone another page.
The rest of the directions here will be building from scratch. You can also chooose a premade layout and just make whatever changes you’d like in the visual builder (the rest of the instructions here will probably help). If you already have pages built on your site, I recommend cloning the one that has the same header/ footer that you want for your blog roll page. (I usually use the about page to clone.) Just clone that page and then delete out the middle content (it won’t delete on the page you cloned, just this new page.)
4. If you’re building from scratch, give yourself a header at the top of the page.
I usually use an image in the background of the section, and then add text on top of it. If you can’t read the text easily, add in a semi-transparent background to the text and that should help. If you’ve cloned or used a layout, you can skip this step.
5. Add in a new section for your blog roll.
I always like to use a darker background for this section, so that my posts stand out. But it’s your website, do what you like! I also like to round the edges by changing the border radius. If you want to be fancy, you can add a border. If you have a lighter background, one trick I love is to add a box shadow to the blog posts. There are a few different box shadow options. Most of them make it look like the blog posts are three dimensional or even floating on top of the background. One thing to avoid here is using a pattern or image in the background that’s too busy. That will make it hard for your blog posts to stand out. We want to make it as easy as possible for our readers to skim through and find the posts that interest them.
6. Add in a Divi blog module.
This is where the magic happens. The blog module does all of that work that you see happening on my blog roll. It pulls all the blog posts, the titles, the excerpts, the featured images, and adds the ‘read more’ button. It has lots of settings, so you can customize the fonts, colors, borders, etc. You can even change what content is pulled, so you can just have the titles and no excerpts, or if you want to add in the author or publish date, etc. It’s entirely up to you!
How to make a blog roll page with one post featured:
On some blogs, I like to make a larger section at the top that highlights the newest blog post. Then, all the rest of the blog posts are shown farther down the page, the way they are on my blog page. But wait, does that mean you have to go and rebuild the page every single time you add a blog post?! NO!! Of course not. The magic of WordPress does all of that for you.
Here’s the trick to having only your newest post be shown in a separate section. You’ll need two blog post modules on the same page. In the big one at the top, set the post count to ‘1.’ That way, that module will show only your newest post.
But you probably don’t want that same post to show up in the rest of the blog roll, right? So the trick to that is to set the second blog roll to have an offset. You can still set the blog module to show 100 (or however many) posts. But, the trick is to offset those posts by ONE. So it won’t show the very newest post (because that’s up above already), but it will show all the others. Just set the ‘post offset number’ to one, and you’re all set.
That’s it! It’s really that simple to create a blog roll page. That one Divi blog module does all the heavy lifting. You just add in a header, footer, create the section, and then customize it however you want.