How to Choose the Right Blog Post Layout For Your WordPress Website – The A2 Posting

A website mockup.

Three things can make or break a blog – writing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and design. Even if you nail the first two, your WordPress blog may not get much traction if it doesn’t have visual appeal, and that includes how its posts are laid out.

Most blogs include a central page where visitors can see all your latest content, laid out in whichever style you choose. An attractive design and clear, easy-to-understand layout help you position your content in the best light possible, and encourage visitors to read more.

In this article, we’re going to talk about why your blog post layout matters. Then we’ll introduce you to three popular styles, why they work, and when you should consider using them. Let’s jump in!

Why Your Blog Post Layout Matters

The A2 Hosting blog.
The way you style your blog posts can affect your site’s performance.

In many cases, people will find your blog thanks to a link from another article or a search engine. If they like your content, chances are they’ll want to check out more of it. To do that, they may end up visiting the main page where all your latest posts are displayed (sometimes called an ‘archives page’ or ‘post library’).

For a lot of blogs, this post library doubles as their homepage. That means it’s twice as important for its layout to be easy to navigate and stylish. Here’s why:

  • Layouts affect readability. Depending on your design, your post titles and blurbs may look too small or might not be responsive, which negatively affects readability.
  • Post design impacts how easy it is to click on each article. Generally speaking, you’ll want to use layouts that make it easy for visitors to enter each post quickly.

Ultimately, a lot of people pick layouts based on which one they like best. That’s a valid approach, of course, but it’s also smart to choose a design that offers the best user experience possible.

3 Blog Post Layouts You Can Use in WordPress

Keep in mind that not all themes support the layout types we’re going to talk about. However, we’ll point you towards some plugin alternatives to implement these styles if necessary. Let’s get started!

1. Lists of Posts

A screenshot from our blog.
List are straightforward and easy to read.

A list-based layout is the most straightforward design you can use for your blog posts. It’s usually a simple vertical succession of blog posts, which includes their titles, featured images, and short excerpts from each. This style may seem basic, but it does offer a fair number of upsides.

A list-based layout is:

  • Easy to read and navigate. A list of posts is simple to understand, and people can scan through items quickly (as long as your titles are clearly visible).
  • A classic style people are accustomed to. Most people are used to vertical navigation, and your posts will be easy to read and navigate through on mobile devices.
  • You can adjust the width of your list. Most modern themes and plugins enable you to change the width of your blog posts, to increase readability across devices.

Many blogs use this format, and there are good reasons why. As far as we’re concerned, simple is often best, which is why we use a list-based layout for our own post layout. Plus, you can always make things look more stylish by playing around with the size of your featured images, the look of your Read more buttons, and the fonts you use.

The good news is that almost every theme enables you to use list layouts for your post library. For example, this is the default style for the Twenty Seventeen theme, as well as its predecessors. Just check out the demo for any theme you’re considering, to see if it includes this layout as well.

2. Grid-Based Layouts

An example of a grid layout.
Grid layouts are modern, and enable you to display a lot of posts on a single page.

Next up, grid-based layouts display posts side by side, and use featured images as the key elements within the grid. Sometimes, these layouts use card-based design, devoting part of each ‘card’ to a post title and excerpt, and the rest to a featured image.

Either way, grid-based post layouts are very popular these days – and with good reason. Let’s talk about their two most significant upsides:

  • You have more room to display posts. The side-by-side approach enables readers to view several rows that include multiple posts.
  • Card designs provide you with plenty of customization options. If your grid uses a card-based design, you can play around with custom background colors, shadows, and more.

It’s important to remember that horizontal blog post layouts can be tricky. You want to include more than one post per row, but not so many that each element is too crowded. If that happens, you’ll have less room to display your posts’ excerpts. Aside from that quirk, however, this style is an excellent choice for blogs with modern designs.

If you’re interested in implementing this type of layout, a lot of popular themes include it, such as Divi. However, you can also add it to any website you want using The Post Grid plugin.

3. Masonry Layouts

An example of a masonry layout.
This type of blog post layout is both unique and stylish.

Masonry layouts are actually a variant on the grid design we discussed above ago. In this case, all the grid boxes are pushed together, and some of them have different sizes.

This type of blog post layout looks quite unique when you see it first-hand. Here are some of the reasons we recommend this style:

  • It enables you to highlight posts. In most cases, you can choose which posts get the ‘biggest’ spots on your grid, so they attract more attention.
  • It’s visually stunning. A lot of post layouts can be very bland to look at, but this style appears compelling if you use high-quality featured images.

The only major downside to this layout is that in most cases, it doesn’t enable you to include post excerpts. It will simply include your featured images and titles, so those elements will need to be strong enough to attract attention.

To achieve this layout, we recommend using the Grid Plus plugin, which also supports regular grids and carousels. You can find a video on how to set up the masonry layout for your blog posts on the plugin’s homepage.


In many cases, people will pay just as much attention to your blog’s style as they do to its content. If you put effort into making sure both aspects are outstanding, you should be drowning in regular visitors in no time. With that in mind, one of the best ways to stand out from other blogs is to try and find the perfect post layout for your website.

There are plenty of styles you can choose from, but these three offer a solid mix of functionality and style:

  1. Lists of posts: They’re easy to read, and most themes include this option.
  2. Grid-based layouts: This layout offers a solid mix of style with functionality.
  3. Masonry posts layouts: They’re incredibly stylish, but in most cases, you can’t include post excerpts.

Do you have any questions about how to pick the right post layout for your blog? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pixabay.

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Gamifying a Coding Class, while Still Teaching Real-World Code with Web Design

Gamifying a Coding Class, while Still Teaching Real-World Code with Web Design

Gamifying a Coding Class, while Still Teaching Real-World Code with Web Design

November 29, 2017

I come from a family of teachers, including my father, and he taught me the value of entertainment in teaching.

One of the classes he taught was welding, and to engage students, he would set up a welding contest where students would have their welds tested in a hammer test: my father would place the welded piece in a vice, and strike it with a hammer to see if it would hold.

… The welds that withstood the most hammer strikes would win.

This fun little competition would really incentivised students to get their welding right. What might not be obvious, is that even though there was a bit of gamification applied in this lesson, students were also engaged because it was real. They were actually creating real welds … something they would do on actual jobs.

Gamification a Coding Class

With that story in mind, I designed StudioWeb to teach code in a gamified setting, but while STILL teaching real world coding. Students learn to write HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other coding languages, as they score points and unlocked levels and badges, but they are also building production ready websites!

… Once students see that they are doing the real thing, their enthusiasm jumps even higher.

Many ways to engage students

I’ve been creating code course since 2003, wrote a book on web design, and have been working with schools for nearly 7 years, as we refined the StudioWeb app and courses. Over that time, we’ve put into place many strategies that facilitate teaching code:

  • Gamification
  • Spiral teaching method
  • Open ended lesson plans
  • Visual student assignments
  • Software that provides instant feedback

… And so much more.

The results: very engaged students who come away with a practical understanding of coding, and a firm understanding of the concepts that underlie the code.

Thanks for reading,

Stefan Mischook

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Feel Confident Teaching a Web Design Class in 2018

Feel Confident Teaching a Web Design Class in 2018

Feel Confident Teaching a Web Design Class in 2018

November 29, 2017


When it comes to teaching code, web design is a very popular choice for schools. This makes sense because:

  1. Web design is based on the most popular coding languages in the world: HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
  2. Web design is visual, and so very engaging.
  3. Web design can easily be taught on any type of computer using free software.

… Whether your school uses Windows PCs, Chromebooks, Macs, and even Linux machines, you can easily have students building real websites with code, without having to install expensive software or make any special configurations.

Do teachers need to web design experts to teach web design?

Under normal situations, a teacher would require some knowledge about web design. Fortunately, with the StudioWeb software and curriculum, teachers can simply take on the role of a classroom facilitator, as students work through the fun and engaging lessons.

Here are some fun facts about StudioWeb:

  • Students learn at their own pace.
  • Students can never get stuck because of our helpful hinting system.
  • StudioWeb does the grading for you! Grades by course, chapter and lesson.
  • Lessons are video based with supporting code challenges and quizzing … with instant student feedback.

We’ve been working with schools for over 6 yrs now, to provide a set of courses and software specifically for teachers who don’t know web design.

Our experience with over 250,000 students has allowed to refine StudioWeb to make using it a fun process for both teachers and students.


Stefan Mischook

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4 Non-Blogging Niches WordPress Is Perfect For – The A2 Posting

A woman typing on a computer.

WordPress may have started out as a blogging platform, but nowadays it’s a lot more than that. In fact, this Content Management System (CMS) powers almost 30% of the entire web. If you think of WordPress as only for blogging, you’re missing out on a ton of its features.

In our opinion, the best thing about WordPress is how customizable it is. With the right plugins and themes, you can build nearly any type of website you want, including online stores, portfolios, business sites, and more. Once you see what WordPress is really capable of, you’ll probably be a user for life.

For this article, we’re going to talk about four non-blogging niches that are perfect for WordPress. We’ll tell you why the platform is a solid fit for each type of site, and show you some outstanding examples. Let’s take it from the top!

1. Online Stores

An example of an online store.
WordPress can help you create modern online stores.

WordPress has many strong points, but it’s not built for e-commerce out of the box. However, that doesn’t mean the platform can’t work for online stores. In fact, by using the right plugin, such as WooCommerce, you can quickly start selling digital and physical products over the web.

Let’s talk about why you should consider using WordPress over a dedicated e-commerce platform:

  • Ease of use. WordPress is renown for its ease of use, and its top e-commerce plugins can be picked up quickly as well.
  • It’s often cheaper than using a dedicated e-commerce platform. You can set up WordPress on any web host you want, and you’ll often find plans that start at less than $5 per month.
  • It’s a secure platform. WordPress is always under active development, and you can use plenty of tools to improve your store’s security even further.

Some people might think that e-commerce plugins are only a good fit for small sites. However, a lot of popular online services rely on them to make sales. For example, OptinMonster provides lead generation services to over 300,000 websites, and uses Easy Digital Downloads to power its subscriptions:

The OptinMonster homepage.

This example highlights the fact that WordPress isn’t just a blogging platform. With the right customizations, you can handle any type of online sales you want, and scale your business as much as possible.

2. Business Websites

An example of a business website.
Even massive businesses such as Toyota use WordPress now and then.

Every business needs a website. It provides you with an excellent way to reach new customers, build trust with existing ones, and even keep people updated about what’s going on in the industry. Plus, it’s an important tool when it comes to Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

What’s more, WordPress packs a lot of features that can help you create modern business websites. For example:

  • WordPress websites are easy to maintain. The way the platform is built makes it easy to handle complex tasks in minutes. For example, you can schedule backups and content from your dashboard.
  • It’s easy to find WordPress professionals. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. That means it’s easy to find professional help if you run into a problem.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). WordPress makes it easy to stay on top of SEO tasks, thanks to plugins such as Yoast SEO. It simplifies the process of attracting brand-new visitors to your site, which can lead to more business.

One excellent example of a business that uses WordPress is The Walt Disney Company:

The Walt Disney Company homepage.

This is a straightforward website, which focuses mostly on news, information about the company, and career opportunities. However, the fact such a famous company uses WordPress effectively says a lot about the platform’s adaptability and potential.

3. Social Networks

An example of a social network.
WordPress social networks enable your users to create profiles, send messages, and much more.

When people think about social networks, they don’t often think about WordPress. To be fair, the platform doesn’t power any social media juggernauts like Facebook or Instagram. However, it can be the perfect solution for modest online communities, thanks to plugins such as BuddyPress.

You may not know this, but there are several services that enable you to create custom social networks. With that in mind, let’s talk about why WordPress is a worthy option:

  • It’s much cheaper than specialized social networking software. This type of software is very niche, so it comes at a premium (unlike WordPress, which can be set up for a few dollars in hosting).
  • You’re using open-source software. With WordPress, you can customize any aspect of your social network. Specialized software, on the other hand, tends to be a black box you can’t tamper with.

As we mentioned earlier, WordPress makes an excellent fit for small online communities (think a few hundred users). Take Little Sketchers, for example:

The Little Sketchers homepage.

This social network was built using BuddyPress, and it looks fantastic. With plugins like this one, you can enable users to create profiles, publish updates, and more, which is all you need for a basic social network.

4. Portfolio Websites

An example of a portfolio website.
WordPress is an excellent platform for creating professional portfolios.

So far, we’ve talked about online stores, business sites, and social networks. Now, let’s focus on something a little less complicated – portfolios. This type of site might not be as technically advanced as an online store, but a professional-looking portfolio is crucial if you’re a freelancer or simply exploring career options.

Let’s go over a few reasons why it makes sense to power your portfolio using WordPress:

  • It enables you to create any type of gallery you want. There are dozens of gallery plugins that offer just about any style you’re looking for, to display your work in all its glory.
  • You can add contact forms to your website. Just as with galleries, you can have your pick of contact form plugins. This feature is useful for engaging prospective clients.
  • It supports client testimonials. This is an essential element to build trust with your clients, and there are several tools that make adding them simple.

Portfolio sites can be very subjective. However, we’re a fan of designs that mix style with outstanding functionality, such as DaInk:

The DaInk homepage.

This gorgeous portfolio site isn’t all style. It has a very clear navigational scheme, and it includes all the information clients need, including past projects, contact forms, and more. These are all things you can do easily with WordPress.


If you’re not sure which platform to use for your next project, you should consider WordPress. It’s easy to pick up, versatile and customizable, and can do a lot more than just power simple blogs. All you have to do is find the right plugins and theme for the job you have in mind, and you’ll be able to design nearly any kind of website.

For example, these four non-blogging niches do a great job of showcasing how versatile WordPress can be, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg:

  1. Online stores: WordPress offers dozens of easy-to-use e-commerce plugins.
  2. Business websites: With WordPress, you can build scalable and secure business websites.
  3. Social networks: WordPress is an excellent option for small online communities on a budget.
  4. Portfolio websites: The platform offers dozens of features that make building online portfolios easier.

Have you ever used WordPress for a website that wasn’t a blog? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pixabay.

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Coding Courses that Teach Real Code!

Coding Courses that Teach Real Code!

Coding Courses that Teach Real Code!

November 17, 2017

Writing snippets of JavaScript to move a character 2 steps to the left, doesn’t teach kids anything about programming … at best, it’s a cheap replacement for an xbox controller.

… One teacher called me up recently, telling me how after the initial excitement student’s had moving characters around with code snippets, students fell into a pattern of typing in commands blindly to move the character, and quickly got bored.

In the end, students ended up not learning much of anything.

Read more

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