How to Get More Out of Your Blog Archives

With passage of time, every blog piles up enough content that can be used smartly to get more engaging visits from the new visitors. The more diverse and rich are your blog archives, the more is the possibility of coming up with unique solutions to divert your traffic deep down towards your old but evergreen content. Today, we're going to discuss some common yet extremely effective techniques that can be used to offer more than what is generally visible to a new visitor. The goal is to let visitors know about the goldmine hidden in your archives. Before applying these methodologies, make sure you have enough quality content in your archives.

Resource Pages

This is one of the best ways to open up select and premium content for your visitors. Initially, you may need to invest some time in creating these pages, but the end result is truly rewarding. But, what exactly is a resource page?
A resource page is a collection of quality posts focused around a topic and is packaged in such a way that attracts more clicks from the visitors.
The whole idea of creating multiple resource pages is to group the best content associated with various sub-topics on a single page for easy access and navigation. This way, visitors never have to scan your archives in a reverse chronological fashion. They simply visit the resource page (centered around a topic) and gets easy access to the best content available on your blog. Here's how you can make resource pages for your blog.
  • Choose popular categories getting most traffic - Start with selecting those categories that includes the most popular content of your blog. You can find it easily through your web analytics program.
  • Select the best posts under each category - Once you've identified the categories, find and list all the performing posts in each of the categories. Arrange them in the order of maximum traffic each post is receiving.
  • Create a dedicated page with alluring title - Create a dedicated page for each category and write a persuasive headline for each page. You should keep the resource page title short including the primary keyword related to the category.
  • Arrange selected posts - While including all the selected posts in a page, remove the sidebar and spice up the listing with thumbnail images associated with each post. If possible, use the grid layout for featuring all the premium content related to a category.
Once all the resource pages are completed, create a secondary menu and populate it with links to all the resource pages. Make sure you customize this menu and make it loud enough to grab the attention of the visitors. Place it right above the content for easy access. Create one more resource section the sidebar and populate it with links to all the resource pages. You can also create a banner for each resource page for getting the maximum clicks.

Featured Content

Quite similar to resource pages, you can highlight the best content in different ways. One of such ways is display of select content in the 'Featured content' section both in the sidebar as well as in the content section.

Bloggers often use 'Featured post' section right on top of the content column on the home page. This section generally includes a large image with the post title and a link to the single post page. If your theme allows it, you must take advantage of this feature to showcase the latest and most trending article on your blog. Another simple way to showcase your best content is creating a 'Popular posts' section in the sidebar. You can either manually select the posts for this section or you can use a plugin for the same. I personally prefer the manual approach as you handpick the best posts on your blog without relying on automated selection algorithms.

Related Posts

Almost every blog use this methodology to divert visitors towards the archives. The best place to embed links to related content is the end of the post. Once the reader has finished reading the post, he can get more options for consuming similar content through a related posts section.

Generally, this section is populated dynamically through a plugin, though technically sound bloggers implement their own code to fetch the matching content. The design of this section can be implemented in two different ways. The first one is basic and simply includes general text links with the post titles. The second and the most popular option includes grid-based layout with thumbnail and post title as used just below this post. The latter option grabs the attention of the visitor and is known to perform better.

In-content Cross Linking

If used correctly, cross linking your old posts is one of the best ways to keep your readers glued to your blog. But, you must ensure that you're not bombarding tons of links in each post to unnecessarily create countless links back to your archives. This can backfire instead of giving some positive results.

The first thing that must be kept in mind is that each link pointing to an old post should complement the post from which it has been linked. For example, the link included in this section talks about cross linking technique that completely matches with the heading of this section. You must also ensure that each time you link to your archives, diversify the anchor texts to avoid any negative SEO penalties from Google.

Custom Archives Page

Generally, we rely on default archives pages generated by WordPress. They're available in two popular formats. One format is made up of post titles, while the other one includes post title and post excerpts. Both these archives format are not considered good when it comes to providing easy access to entire blog's archive to the visitors.

The best way to overcome this problem is to design your very own custom archives page. Investing your time in creating this page will eventually payoff in the form of more traffic on your blog. Some premium themes have built-in facility to create custom archives page. If your theme supports it, you must use this option. Once your page is completed, do not forget to link it from different prime locations on your blog.

Search Box

I've seen few blogs devoid of search box with no option to search archives for a specific topic. I've experienced it myself when the old design on this blog did not have any search box. I regularly received emails from several visitors about the same. If you're receiving decent traffic and if you're tracking internal search traffic through your web analytics program, you'll be surprised to see the volume of page views your blog's search box contributes.

Simply including the search box doesn't do the job. The placement and the default text within the box play a big role in diverting traffic towards your archives. The box should be placed at a prime location such that it is easily visible to the visitors. Make sure the default text within the search box is simple and alluring. Do not try to make it fancy and follow the KISS principle while embedding search box on your blog.

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About Rajeev Edmonds

MintBlogger author - Rajeev EdmondsRajeev Edmonds has been blogging since 2006 about digital marketing, social media and of course about problogging. He specializes in WordPress installation and Thesis theme customization. He is the founder and editor of MintBlogger where he blogs about new media strategies.

Since April, 2012, he's making his living entirely from his blogging efforts. He holds a post graduate degree in computer applications and loves to dig in CSS/HTML code. Read more →

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