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Alert/Intro/Notice, Background color, Borders, Color changes, Highlighting, Stickies, Themes

Sticky posts and their appearance

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On your main posts page, recent posts are normally displayed in reverse chronological order (latest at the top). A sticky is a post that overrides this order: no matter what its date, it will show up above the most recent post.

The option is found if you click the “Visibility” tab in the Publish module of the post editor screen (see relevant Support doc). It’s buried there because in the past (when the rather misleading phrase “Stick this post to the front page” was more prominent) many beginners thought their posts wouldn’t show up on the main page unless they ticked that option; so they ticked it for each and every post they published – which completely messes the blog up: the option is meant to be used for one post.

A blog is more user friendly if a visitor —especially a returning visitor— can immediately see what’s new when landing on the main page, without having to scroll down. So a sticky should be used only if and when necessary, and it should be short; it’s best used for a temporary announcement: not for a permanent introduction to the blog (use a static page instead), not for showcasing important posts (use links to them in a text widget instead). Exception: themes with a featured post slider (marked *** below).

Note that a few themes provide another option for publishing an announcement above your posts: “Notice” in iNove, “Welcome message” in Modularity Lite, “Homepage Notice” in Titan, “Alert Box” in Vigilance (all under Appearance > Theme Options), text widget to Header area in Clean Home or text widget to Front Page Intro in Inuit Types (both under Appearance > Widgets). Related feature: “Information” in Monochrome (Appearance > Theme Options; shows up in sidebar, top position).

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Due to its special nature, in most themes a sticky is highlighted in some way:

Background color to post
Adventure Journal colored bg + no date and author
Albeo very light grey bg
Ambiru very light grey bg
Beach cream bg + no date and author
Bold Life grey bg + no date and comment tab
Chaos Theory black bg
Chunk grey bg + no date
Comet light grey bg + no date and author
Coraline light yellow bg (light scheme) dark grey bg (dark scheme) + no date
Dusk lighter bg
Emire lighter bg + “LATEST” in green star before title
Enterprise light grey bg
Fleur de Lys light grey bg
Freshy light grey bg
Green Marinée light grey bg
Greenery very light brown bg
Grid Focus grey bg
iNove light grey bg + grey bg to title
K2-Lite light grey bg
Kubrick light grey bg
Light light grey bg
Misty Look light grey bg
MLB (all three) light grey bg
Monochrome light grey bg + border
Motion darker bg
Neat light grey bg
Ocean Mist light blue bg
Oulipo grey (in “light scheme” only)
Pilcrow darker bg + no date
Pressrow light grey bg
Regulus light grey bg
Rubric light grey bg
Shocking Blue Green light grey bg
Simpla light grey bg
Solipsus lighter bg
Spring Loaded slightly darker bg
Steira light blue bg + “NEW” tab
Strange Little Town lighter bg + no date and author
The Morning After light grey bg + blue title
Triton Lite white bg
Twenty Ten light blue bg
Twenty-eight Thirteen light grey bg + line under metadata
Under the Influence light grey bg + title italics
Unsleepable light grey bg
Vigilance colored bg (see here)
White as Milk light grey bg
WordPress Classic light grey bg
Border around post
Andreas 04 black
Andreas 09 black
Banana Smoothie orange
Benevolence black
Black-Letterhead dashed grey
Fauna black
Greyzed dashed black
Nishita grey, + around title, + no date, categories, comments
Notepad brown, dotted
Reddle + no date and metadata
Retro-fitted border left + faint bg color to post
Sunburn grey
Toni blue
Background color to title and/or other change in title
Almost Spring greyish bg
Blix white title on turquoise bg
Connections black title + black bg to date
Contempt blue bg
Day Dream title bold + light grey bg
DePo Masthead red line under title
Digg 3 Column white title on blue bg
Fjords 04 white title on blue bg
Flower Power grey bg
Fresh Bananas light grey bg
Garland white title on blue bg
Girl in Green lighter bg
Iceburgg white title on blue bg
Jentri white title on redbrown bg
Matala darker bg color, pin image
Mystique [*] title larger size
Neo-Sapien red bg
Ocadia light blue bg
Parament orange bg + no date, category and comment tabs
Pool white title on blue bg
Quentin divider line above and below title
Rounded white title on green bg
Sapphire double line under title
Silver is the New Black white title on brown bg
Supposedly Clean light gey bg
Sweet Blossoms white title on pink bg
Tarski white title on blue bg
The Journalist v1.3 grey bg
The Journalist v1.9 grey bg
Thirteen green bg
Treba title larger size
Vermilion Christmas white title on red bg

[*] If with featured image: no date, title preceded by “Featured” (editable), full-width image, no content on front page, excerpt on hover over.

Other
Autofocus full-width image, no date
Blogum no date, replaced by “Featured”
Bouquet no date
Brand New Date no date
Bueno no date
Chateau no date, replaced by “Featured”
Choco no date + title underlined
Clean Home colored bar below post
Dusk to Dawn no date and author, replaced by “Featured”
Elegant Grunge extra greyish bg image below post
Esquire no date
Fresh & Clean [***] “Featured” above title
Fruit Shake no date
Fusion olive bg to post metadata
Imbalance 2 no date, replaced by “Featured”
iTheme2 [***] no date
Manifest no date, replaced by “Featured”
Next Saturday date bullet red instead of yellow
Nuntius [***] Darker bar above and below post
Piano Black no date + title capitalized
Pink Touch 2 no date, replaced by “Featured”
Quintus no date
Rusty Grunge no date & author + beige vertical bar left
Selecta [***] showcased below header (if enabled in Appearance > Theme Options)
Shaan featured image (if you’ve set one) above title
Skeptical no date, replaced by “Featured” – also showcased in footer
Suburbia double width column + no date, replaced by “Featured”
Sundance [***] title in italics, date replaced by “Featured”
Sunspot [***] “Featured” added to post metadata
Twenty Eleven [***] “Featured Post” heading above post
Wu Wei no date
zBench orange title + light grey bg to post + grey border around post
No differentiation *
Andrea
Chaotic Soul
Dark Wood
DePo Square
Duotone
Duster
Fadtastic
Forever [***]
Hemingway
Inuit Types
Koi
Liquorice
Modularity Lite
Neutra
NotesIL
P2
Paperpunch
Prologue
Redoable Lite
Retro MacOS
Sandbox (all four)
Shaan (if you set no featured image to the post)
Spectrum
Splendio [***]
Structure
Titan
Toolbox
Vertigo
Vostok

(* If you’re using one of these themes, and you wish to make a sticky stand out, see my posts on borders, background color, and font color.)

No sticky!
Monotone

[***] Multiple stickies: slider in the header area. In most of these themes the stickies need to have a featured image. In Sundance they need to be in the video post format.

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Discussion

20 thoughts on “Sticky posts and their appearance

  1. I believe that raincoaster provided some additional insight as to why having a permanent sticky post is not a good idea from an SEO perspective. In some themes what happens is the search bots assume there is no new content.

    Posted by timethief | March 28, 2010, 03:43
  2. Ah yes, thanks! I must add this to the post.

    Posted by Panos | March 28, 2010, 03:49
  3. Although it’s a cool idea, I have a hard time seeing benefit in the sticky post. And I’ve never seen one on an actual blog so far!

    Posted by Sandra Lee | March 28, 2010, 09:48
  4. @Sandra Lee: Yes, I think it’s an almost useless gimmick.

    Here’s a couple of good examples:
    http://ronsrants.wordpress.com/
    http://buyathread.wordpress.com/

    And here’s what you’d better not do:
    http://livingmoonastrology.wordpress.com/
    (It would have been a sticky, but the blogger is right in not liking the non-customizable blue title bar you get in Garland, so she has resorted to keeping that post at the top by changing its date all the time.)

    And here’s an example of the alternative option (Titan notice):
    http://wpxpert.wordpress.com/

    Posted by Panos | March 28, 2010, 15:31
  5. Those are excellent examples. Thanks so much.

    Posted by Sandra Lee | March 28, 2010, 23:51
  6. You’re welcome!

    Posted by Panos | March 29, 2010, 05:24
  7. My blog is calendar / schedule based, so each post has a custom field for the event date. Then I use sticky posts to move to the top any post (read event) that is scheduled for that day.

    I am working on the code to query the meta-data for a date match, and if found, to automatically mark the post as sticky.

    Posted by Michael | April 21, 2010, 06:20
  8. @Michael: Yours is a special case, but anyway you’re using stickies the way I consider good: both temporary and short (as I’m mentioning in the post). And your front page looks very elegant.

    Posted by Panos | April 21, 2010, 14:11
  9. Hi, I am Paola from livingmoonastrology. You are right i don’t like the blue banner on Garland when I make my logo into a sticky post, and there is no editable banner in Garland. But i like Garland for many other reasons.
    Do you have a better suggestion? Do you think I should use a Front Page? I don’t like them because the newer contents aren’t obvious to me.
    Is the way I’m doing it (changing dates on my banner every time I post something new) detrimental to my net exposure? I am new to blogging. I know little, willing to learn. Thanks for your help, Paola Emma

    Posted by livingmoonastrology | June 30, 2010, 03:14
  10. Hi Paola. Obviously I like Garland too, mainly because of the color customizing and the left and right sidebars.

    Changing the date of posts in general would be terrible for your traffic, but changing the date of that one only is no big deal. Setting your blog front to display a static page would be worse (search engines like renewed content on the front page).

    Unfortunately I don’t have a better suggestion. In theory I could create a whitish mask to hide the sticky title and date, but in practice it wouldn’t be perfect. (If you care about the technicalities, that’s because the white bg around the title and date area isn’t exactly white, it’s a gradient from light grey to white, and because a mask positioned in front of that area won’t show up at exactly the same height in all browsers, so the mask itself would be slightly visible).

    No better suggestion, that is, unless you’re willing to spend money: you can easily delete the blue stripe if you buy the CSS upgrade. But I don’t think it’s worth buying it just for that.

    By the way, I had sent a ticket to WP staff telling them that since Garland is color customizable, that stripe should be color customizable too. Reply was rather disappointing: first they asked me to explain what I meant, as they weren’t aware of anything special for sticky posts in Garland (!), and when I did they told me they would consider it for future upgrades…

    Posted by Panos | June 30, 2010, 04:43
  11. Thank you for this interesting post. Would you know how to change the background color which is by default blue it seems for the stickies in the new wp theme that has come out ? It is blue and I want it to be white. I realize this post was about the fact that sticky posts are not advised generally but I am curious if there is a way to change the color of it! Thanks. Deb

    Posted by Miracle 2 | October 28, 2010, 14:40
  12. @Deb: I need to know the URL of your wp.com blog, and I need to know what theme you’re referring to: the latest additions, Elegant Grunge and zBench, don’t have a blue bg to stickies. Also, do you have the CSS upgrade?

    Posted by Panos | October 28, 2010, 15:03
  13. Elegant Grunge does, in fact, slightly differentiate: a sticky post has a distinctive ornament beneath it, see http://elegantgrungedemo.wordpress.com/.

    Posted by perttuk | October 21, 2011, 16:35
  14. You mean that grey thing below the post. I guess I hadn’t noticed it when I examined the theme, or maybe I considered it too insignificant. In either case my classification is wrong – I’ll have to move EG to “Other”. Thanks!

    Posted by Panos | October 21, 2011, 20:57
  15. Hi – I’m afraid I would like to use a sticky post in Comet, but I’m finding that although it’s published as a sticky, it doesn’t stay at the top, nor does it have the format & lack of author that stickies apparently should have in Comet. Any ideas what might be causing that?

    Posted by socsecsue | November 22, 2011, 20:38
  16. Sounds like it has not been made sticky. But I can’t tell without a link to the blog in question.

    Posted by Panos | November 22, 2011, 22:26
  17. Oh dear, I was hoping you wouldn’t say that – it’s a right mess, but here you go; it’s http://www.rmclubnational2012.info. I’ve used a custom menu, showing categories, & the one with the sticky is the first Accommodation one. I published one post, called Accommodation (& made that a sticky), then two others called updates.
    Thanks

    Posted by socsecsue | November 22, 2011, 23:07
  18. How could I possibly not say that? I cannot make a diagnosis with seeing the patient!

    So: as the very first phrase of my posts says, stickies work on your main posts page, not on category pages. Main posts page is usually the blog front. When you’ve set your front to display a static page instead, you can create another (blank) page and set it as your posts page (in Settings > Reading): that’s the page where stickies will show up as expected.

    Posted by Panos | November 23, 2011, 00:51
  19. OK – thank you Dr Panos! Unfortunately, I had hoped to use stickies on more than one category page as an introduction to the posts on that page, so that’s that idea gone. I’ll re-read your advice in your first post about intro notices and experiment tomorrow.
    Thanks again for your help

    Posted by socsecsue | November 23, 2011, 01:11
  20. You’re welcome.
    The intro notices some themes support are also for the blog front only. What you can do is turn your static front page into a more detailed guide to your site: add your introductions to the content of the page. Or add them in a text widget at the top of your sidebar.

    Posted by Panos | November 23, 2011, 03:47

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author's avatar panos (justpi)

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