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I've been doing some searching on this topic but so far nothing I've found really answers my question. I know there are a few ways to go about this, but I'm looking for the method that's going to be the cleanest and most stable.

What I'd like to do is have three different sets of posts displaying on my homepage. Each group of posts will be displaying a different category with a different number of the latest posts displayed. Two of them will be occupying the same space in the "main" content area, with "tab" links allowing users to choose between which to display at any given moment. The third will be displayed in a sidebar to the right. None of the post groups need to be paginated, because after the latest X number of posts is displayed I'm just going to have a link to "read more" which will take the user to that specific categories archive page.

There's two possible solutions that I've come across but I don't know which would be best, or if either is a good option.

  1. Set a static front page and create a custom page template for it which I can configure with the three different loops required.

  2. Set the front page to "latest posts" and modify the default loop that's displayed.

So far I've easily got the "Sidebar" group of posts sets up. It's just the two main groups of posts that I'm having trouble with.

Any direction with this would be greatly appreciated. I've done some reading about the topic of multiple loops, but nothing quite applies to my situation enough to give me a clear idea of what I should do.

Thanks in advance.

4

There's a third option, creating a front-page.php template file. It's similar to your option #1, except option #1 includes you creating a Page within the admin, and in your case it doesn't sound like you need to do so. Option #1 is more appropriate when you also want to manage some of the front page's content in a regular Editor, rather than in the theme.

If you don't already have a child theme, start by creating one. Then copy front-page.php if the theme has one - if not, you may need to poke through the hierarchy to see which file actually controls your theme's homepage. Copy that into your child theme and then adjust as needed. Since you already have one loop taken care of in the sidebar, you can use the main/default loop for the 2nd set and add a wp_query for the 3rd set.

So for example, where your current theme file has the Loop -

if ( have_posts() ) :
    while ( have_posts() ) : the_post();
        // This inner part of the Loop varies by theme
        the_content();
    endwhile;
endif;

Replace that part with your own code - your markup will vary but hopefully this illustrates how you can set up your HTML for the tabs and then place the two Loops inside:

<div class="row container">
    <div class="left column">
        <?php
        // Your standard Loop goes here
        if ( have_posts() ) :
            while ( have_posts() ) : the_post();
                // Format as desired
                the_content();
            endwhile;
        endif;
        ?>
    </div>
    <div class="right column">
        <?php
        // This is where you create an additional Loop
        $args = array(
            'post_type' => 'post',
            'category_name' => 'your-category', // change to your category
            'posts_per_page' => 5 // change to the total you want to display
        );
        // run the query
        $thirdLoop = new WP_Query($args);
        // Now this looks mostly like a normal Loop:
        if($thirdLoop->have_posts()):
            while ( have_posts() ) : the_post();
                // Format as desired
                the_content();
            endwhile;
        endif;
    </div>
</div>

From here, you'll want to do a few things: customize your third loop's category and # of posts you want to display; customize both loops' HTML output and output more info like the_title() and the_permalink() to actually link to each post and not just show their content; you may also want to customize the main query, but that's a topic all of its own. Look for a WPSE post on pre_get_posts to customize the main query on the homepage and you'll be able to restrict that to whichever category you want to show in that Loop, as well as limit total number of posts.

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  • Thank you so much, this is exactly what I was looking for! Is there a downside to removing the standard loop completely and just using WP_query for both loops? It seems like, in my case, that would be simpler than modifying the standard loop, since I don't want pagination or anything. – JLW Feb 21 '18 at 23:31
  • 1
    Providing you use a different variable to build each new WP_Query() you won't overwrite the original query. However, it is very important that, after the closing endwhile; for each loop you add wp_reset_query();. See here: codex.wordpress.org/wp_reset_query – Peter HvD Feb 22 '18 at 13:12
  • The downside to just removing the standard Loop is that technically WP will still run that query. Depending on your server, that might not make much difference, but it's technically slowing down your site and running more queries than necessary. In my opinion it's worth learning how to use pre_get_posts to change your main query when you need to - even if you don't end up using it for this purpose it will probably come in handy down the road. – WebElaine Feb 22 '18 at 14:22
  • Is it possible to have two custom WP_query like the third loop example or is it too messy/inefficient? I want to have two columns, with each column outputting their own posts category, is that ok to do? – Krys Jun 5 at 5:38
  • Yes, you can have as many custom queries as you want. The goal is to minimize the number of queries, so making sure the initial loop is actually used is useful. You can use plugins that help monitor query performance and suggest improvements. – WebElaine Jun 7 at 0:00

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