I’ve been researching this topic. As you may have noticed in the past, I used a running list of my most recent 20 posts and an archive drop-down menu on my sidebar which showed my posts by which month they were published. The monthly archive page would provide a “next” post or you could backtrack and see the “previous” post.
Using this approach does not make it easy for someone to browse topics and click on something of interest.
For the user to see a specific post, I would have to reference it with a link on the current post, or they would have to be a regular visitor and remember which month and year it was posted.
This is not very friendly!
In my research, I discovered an article by Derek Halpern, the marketing guy at DIYthemes, and the founder of Social Triggers, an excellent resource for understanding human psychology and marketing on the web. Derek provides a blog tutorial for the DIY theme “Thesis” for WordPress, which is the one I use.
The SEO solution to your blog archives!
Derek’s solution, which makes perfect sense, is to create category pages with lead-in copy above the posts. This makes your blog friendlier to not only the user, but also to search engines. Search engines rank pages by information content, not links, so having a searchable page full of keyword content is key, and then, providing links encourages user traffic by clicking and exploring.
For example, suppose you have a category on lead generation, and there are perhaps 30 posts in that category which give tips on different ways to generate leads. You would create an introductory paragraph on the category page explaining what the user will find in the collection of links found on that page. You would create your introductory paragraph by using strategic keywords for search results.
An introduction paragraph softens the blow of being bombarded by a lot of different links. The titles of the blog posts may be obscure as to the content of the post, and the user will not know which link to click on, let alone not wanting to waste time by trial and error.
With an introductory paragraph explaining what is found in these posts, the visitor will stay to take a look, rather than have an immediate negative reaction to a large list of links.
An introduction category page also creates a great landing page of sorts, where you can link back to this page from other posts. If you are contributing to another site, rather than linking to a single post, you again link back to the category page. You are more likely to get more traffic in doing so because many people will be curious about other related topics and start reading more of what you have written.
Luckily, the Thesis Theme is set up to create these types of pages without using html or knowing how to write code. It’s a front end option in the admin panel.
I have just started categorizing my posts and am pleased with the results so far. Guess what I’ll be working on as the days go by?
Side note from a bad experience…
In setting up my blog to have another navigational bar for my categories, I inadvertently messed things up. Oops! I know how to write html, and css, but know nothing about php. I somehow got an error in the syntax (please excuse the jargon here), and I lost my entire blog site.
I was quite upset as you can imagine!
I went to the DIY Themes forum and found that others had done the same thing, and the suggestions were to upload and replace the bad file with a backed up file at the host company. I went to my host company (HostGator), and looked around for the tools to get this done. Still unsure of what to expect, I was feeling a bit lost, so I submitted a trouble ticket to support, and much to my delighted surprise, they went in and fixed the whole thing! I was elated! And, to top it off, they didn’t just replace the bad file with a backup, they actually fixed the file so my nav bar was on my site!
I have to say, I am totally impressed with HostGator and they deserve kudos!
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