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How to Create Page Templates in WordPress

What do you do when your blog covers more than one topic (let’s say, wordpress hosting and guides on how to install Ubuntu), while your audiences all hang around on different social media sites? Seeing a Sphinn logo in the top left of your content isn’t exactly appropriate when you’re targeting Digg, right? To solve that problem, you could use multiple page templates to help improve your Diggs or Sphinns.

As part of a series of articles on advanced WordPress SEO, I’m going to show you how to create multiple page templates that feature different social media buttons in your top left hand corner. Take a look at these two different page types to get an idea of what I’m upto.

A note on conditional tagging vs creating new page templates

Before you read on: if you’re just looking to create a new page template in WordPress, read on. If you’re looking to use conditional tagging to display certain social media bottons based on a blog post category, you’ll need to go here: Only display the Sphinnit button on an SEO post. Right, let’s continue, shall we?

We’re going to create a new page template specifically to display the Sphinnit button, and repeat the process to create a page template for the Digg this button.

How to create a new page template in WordPress

We’re going to copy your page.php file, rename it, and use a little bit of PHP to tell wordpress there’s an extra page template available, which will display in the “Page Template” drop down in the page editor. Here’s what it looks like:

1) FTP to your WordPress host and navigate as follows:

public_html>wp-content>themes>your-theme

2) Copy page.php and stick it on your desktop.

3) Open the file in your favourite editor.

There’s a clever little bit of php you need to insert at the very top of the file, which can be used to name the template you’re creating. Without a name, WordPress assumes that the new file you’ve created is a default template which is not great for your pages or WordPress!

In this example, I’ve given my page template the rather imaginative title of “SEO-Content-page”. The code looks like this:

 

<?php
/*
Template Name: SEO-Content-page
*/
?>

Insert it before the <?php get_header(); ?> tag.

4) Let’s finish the SEO content page. Remember the Sphinnit button? the code you need to insert into your new SEO-page.php file is as follows:

 

<?php show_sphinnit(); ?>

Place this code directly before the_content tag, so it looks like this:

 

<?php show_sphinnit(); ?><?php the_content(); ?>

When you’ve inserted your code, save the page.php file with a new filename, say, SEO-page.php and copy it back into your theme directory via FTP. don’t forget that your Sphinnit logo will display wherever you have set it to via the plugin settings in your wp-admin.

You now have two versions of a page template. One for SEO content and the original, untouched page.

If it’s useful, I’ve uploaded the code for my SEO-page.php which you can download here. Note I’ve created a table which has stumbleupon, reddit, mixx and digg this buttons.

When you’re ready to create a new page specifically for Digg, repeat the steps above. When you’re ready to insert your code, including the top left alignment, the Digg this button code looks like this:

 

<div style="float: left; margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 2px;">
<script src="http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
</div>

Here’s the full page code for my Digg page. Hope you find it useful! :-)

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