How to create a custom WordPress archive page – An easy to follow guide

Whether you’re running a small or large blog, managing posts is important. Without properly organizing your blog posts, your readers might fail to get the desired content and leave before you want them to.

Managing multiple posts is where archive pages come into their own. They help organize your published posts in accessible ways to help increase engagement.

WordPress and many themes come with default archive pages. They get the job done but they are hardly engaging.

That’s where a custom WordPress archive page comes in.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to create a custom WordPress archive page for free. We’ll also show you how to customize an existing archive page using free resources.

“Let’s design a custom archive page from scratch without coding knowledge.”

What is a WordPress archive page and why should you have one?

A WordPress archive page allows you to display all the published posts on your website in an organized way.

You can use the archive page to organize your blog posts under post type, category, date and tag. You can order them chronologically or by subject, whatever fits your purpose.

Here are a few real life examples of archive pages from across the web:


Archive page example

This is the TechRadar archive page. It’s a two column page. The left area displays recent articles and the right column showcases the articles based on years and months.

Mozilla Hacks

Mozilla Hacks archive page

Mozilla Hacks is another good looking archive page that also has a two column page layout.

The right side column displays posts based on the categories whereas the left area shows the recent article with the post metadata like feature images, post title and excerpt.


BBC Archive

The BBC has a well designed archive page. It displays the news based on the categories with images. The grid post layout makes the page more attractive and engaging for readers.

As you can see, archive pages can organize even the busiest website!

Here are some benefits of using an archive page:

  • It helps readers quickly find posts.
  • You can increase the number of page views per article. Users often like to go through the archive list to explore related content. It’s a great opportunity to improve the engagement rate.
  • An archive page helps readers to access older content. This can reduce your bounce rate and create a positive impact on SEO.

In short, having an archive page is a great way to encourage readers to explore your posts for very little effort!

How to build a custom WordPress archive page

If you think an archive page would benefit your readers, here’s how to build one.

You can use the default WordPress block editor or you might consider using a plugin to design the page.

We’ll show you both.

Let’s get started:

Go to Pages > Add New Pages Add New .

Write the Title of the page at the top.

Add page title

We want to display our posts under different post types like date, tags and categories.

First, we would like to show posts based on the published dates.

Click the ‘+’ icon. Find the ‘Archives’ block and add it to the page.

Add Archives block

After adding the block, your posts will be added to the page.

Archives block added

Use the right side block settings to customize the archive content.

If you want to display content in a dropdown list, you can activate the ‘display as dropdown’ option.

You can turn on the ‘show post count’ option to show the post numbers under each year/month/week/day.

You can also set the Group By as year, month, week and day.

Change archive settings

Let’s also display posts based on tags.

Add the Tag Cloud block to your page.

Add Tag Cloud block

The tags are displayed once you’ve added the block.

Tag Cloud block added

Use the right area block setting to customize the Tag Cloud block.

You can show the post count under each tag. Manage the number of tags that you want to display and define the tag smallest and largest size.

Tag settings

If you want to change the taxonomy and set it as categories, you can use the taxonomy dropdown setting.

Change taxonomy

Click the Style > Outline option to set the outline tag design.

Set outline tag design

Let’s add a Categories List block.

Add Categories List block

Once you’ve added the Categories List block, you’ll see the list of your categories.

Categories List added

Let’s show the post counts.

Show post number

You can display the child category under the parent. Switch on the show hierarchy option to use the feature.

Show hierarchy

You’ll also see other customization options like Display as dropdown, Show only top level categories and Show empty categories in the block seating area.

After completing the customization, click the Update button to save the changes.

Let’s have a look at the newly designed archive page.

Archive page demo

It works but the design isn’t going to set the world on fire.

Now we’re going to show you how you can take your archive page to the next level using Spectra.


Spectra is a block based page builder that allows you to create beautiful pages.

After installing the plugin, you’ll get 30 powerful blocks including some exclusive post blocks.

They are:

  • Post Grid
  • Post Carousel
  • Taxonomy List

Let’s use a couple of post blocks and customize the archive page.

Before you work with Spectra make sure that you’ve installed and activated the plugin.

Add and customize the post grid block

Click the ‘+’ icon at the left side top to open the blocks window.

Find the Post Grid block and add it to the page.

Add post grid block

The block will add some posts to the page as default.

Post grid block added

Go to the right side block General settings area to customize the post grid content.

You can set the Text Alignment and Post Types as pages and posts. You can change the Taxonomy from categories to tags as well.

Post grid general setting

If you want to exclude the current post, you can turn on the Exclude Current Post option.

You can define the Posts Per Page, Order By, Order, Columns and other settings from the general area.

Switch on the Equal Height option to set the same content height.

Other post grid general settings

The General > Content area offers more options to control your post content.

You can show and hide the post title and manage title tags.

You can also show and hide the post author, date, comment, taxonomy, meta icon, and excerpt.

Post grid content setting

Navigate to the Styles area and use the settings to change the design of the post grid.

Post grid style options

There’s a lot you can do to customize your archive page exactly how you want. Have a play around and see what you can create!

Add and customize the post carousel block

Let’s use a post carousel to show off posts in a more engaging way.

Add the Post Carousel block to the page.

Add post carousel block

You’ll see the default post carousel added to your page. Now let’s customize it a little.

Post carousel added

Visit the right side General > Carousel settings area.

You can manage the essential carouse settings like autoplay, infinity loop, transition speed, arrows and dot types and more.

Carousel settings

Experiment a little with the settings until your archive page is perfect.

Add and customize the taxonomy list block

Spectra offers a Taxonomy List block that lets you add blogs based on different post types.

Let’s add the block and see how it works.

Click the ‘+’ icon and search for the block using the search bar and add it to the page.

Add taxonomy list block

Use the General setting to set the Query.

You can define post type, taxonomy, show empty taxonomy and post count under the query area.

Taxonomy list query settings

You can also change the design layout.

Manage the heading tags, layouts like grid and list. You can then set the columns and text alignment.

Taxonomy list layout settings

After customizing the page, click the Update button.

Now time to show off your new archive page.

Best archive page plugins for WordPress

Spectra helps you create a custom archive page, but if you’re looking for dedicated plugins then check this section out.

Here are what we consider the best 5 archive page plugins for WordPress.

1. Content Aware Sidebars

Lightweight Widget Area plugin

Content Aware Sidebars is a popular sidebar plugin for WordPress. It comes with many advanced display conditions which let you create a post sidebar, a page sidebar, a tag sidebar, a category sidebar and any custom sidebar without coding skills.

Key features

  • Offer different display conditions and custom post types
  • Can modify the CSS classes of widget areas
  • Insert widget areas using shortcodes
  • Create WooCommerce sidebars

It also offers a premium version. You can get more advanced features like a duplicate widget, container widget area, advanced display conditions, and more.

2. Annual Archive

Annual Archive

Annual Archive is a handy WordPress archive page plugin. It comes with advanced features that you can use to improve your default archive page. It’s very easy to use. You can add the archive list in place of your website using shortcodes.

Key features

  • Support shortcode
  • Advanced filter option
  • Free community support
  • Translation ready

You can also display posts by group and filter them using the different post types.

3. Simple Yearly Archive

Simple Yearly Archive

Simple Yearly Archive will be a good choice for you if you want to show your archives based on year. It offers different features like changing the date format, showing the post count per year, and comment count for each post for making the archive page more engaging.

You can change the post title and change the post author listing. It also allows you to separate posts by year of publication.

Key features

  • Add archive using shortcodes
  • Change query parameters
  • Modify the post links
  • Display child categories under the parent category

It also supports different languages such as German, Italian, Russian, French and others.

4. Collapsing Archives

Collapsing Archives

Collapsing Archives is best for designing collapsing archive pages. It uses modern JavaScript to enable collapsing features which can be very space efficient. You can display archive links in your website sidebar based on year and month.

Key features

  • Supports custom post types
  • Compatible with popular WordPress themes
  • Add custom CSS IDs and classes
  • Premade styling options

You can add your CSS ID and classes to implement the custom design which is ideal if you know how to use them.

5. Archive Control

Archive Control

Archive Control is a very powerful plugin that comes with many advanced features to make your archive page stand out. You can create a custom archive page following different post types.

You can modify archive titles order, pagination, and do a lot with this plugin.

Key features

  • Add custom featured image
  • Change the sort order direction
  • Offers archive pagination
  • Change the order of an archive page

It allows you to edit the content directly before and after the archive list.

Wrapping up

An archive page is very useful and serves many purposes. Readers can easily navigate new and old posts on your website and spend a lot longer perusing your content.

Having an archive page also makes a positive impact on website SEO and improves the engagement rate, which is even more beneficial.

We’ve shown you how to create a basic archive page and used the free Spectra post blocks to create a much better looking page.

Now it’s time to create your own archive page!

Do you have an archive page? Plan to build one? Planning to use this guide to help? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may receive a small commission. Read disclosure. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we have personally used and believe will add value to our readers. Thanks for your support!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Build Ultra High Performance
Websites, Without Coding

Whether you are a beginner, marketer, or professional, Spectra has the tools and resources you can rely on to succeed

Get Notified When Available

Note - You can purchase the Essential Toolkit now and easily upgrade to the Business Toolkit once it becomes available.

Download is Just A Click Away!

Enter your email address and be the first to learn about updates and new features.

Get your hands on Spectra Pro

Enter your name and email address to get access to Spectra Pro.