Post Formats: Aside

Screenshot of Matt Mullenweg's asides

Asides have been around the WordPress community as far back as I can remember. I wrote my first “aside” six years ago using a technique by Matt Mullenweg.

Matt even wrote about asides in 2004. He didn’t create this method of blogging, but he made it popular and possible for the WordPress community.

What are asides?

Asides are generally short posts or notes — the total opposite of a normal blog post. The post formats section of the Codex describes an aside as:

Typically styled without a title. Similar to a Facebook note update.

I think of them as something aside from my regular flow of content, a relaxing break from all the work that goes into producing a quality, full-length article. Some bloggers use the aside as an all-encompassing format that includes aside, link, quote, and status posts.

How to present asides in your theme

Asides are not tricky. I only have one personal rule for them within a theme: do not display the post title on archives or the posts page. Of course, that rule is not written in stone and is just my preference.

However, I should note that most users will probably not write custom excerpts for asides. What’s the point when the post is so short? I’d encourage using the_content() to display aside posts on archives and the posts page.

Without too many rules to go by, it pretty much just leaves you with design. With that in mind, here’s a few links to see how asides are being presented (feel free to link to more-interesting designs in the comments):

Adding the infinity symbol

Aside posts with an infinity link

One popular technique for asides is to add an “∞” character at the end of the post that links to the post permalink. This is especially useful if you decide to design asides so that nothing else is shown but the aside itself.

add_filter( 'the_content', 'my_aside_to_infinity_and_beyond', 9 ); // run before wpautop

function my_aside_to_infinity_and_beyond( $content ) {

	if ( has_post_format( 'aside' ) && !is_singular() )
		$content .= ' <a href="' . get_permalink() . '">&#8734;</a>';

	return $content;

The purest form of blogging

I’d venture to say that asides are the purest form of blogging. They’re short snippets that allow you to delve into the life of the blogger for just a moment, a way to quickly share thoughts with the world, to easily connect readers with interesting content.

Whatever they’re used for, asides are my favorite post format. If you’re a theme author, have fun with them.

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