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Blogging 201: Drive Traffic to Your Archives

Published, but not forgotten: today, you’ll integrate features to draw traffic to your older content, including widgets, related posts, and a “Best of” page.

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The internet is ephemeral — you publish a post, and it sinks to the bottom of your blog before you know it. You’re competing with breaking news and dealing with short attention spans. We all feel pushed to keep pace, writing post after post each day.

Readers and search engines love seeing new content on your homepage (and you’ve got a plan to give it to them for the next 30 days), but you can keep things even fresher by highlighting your archives: your best posts, hidden gems, and timeless content. After all, if a reader just found you, it’s all new to them.

Today’s assignment: integrate features to draw traffic to your older content, including widgets, related posts, and a “Best of” page.

Why do this?

  • Because while readers can use the search feature or click on tags to find your older content, a go-to page compiling your best posts is even simpler — you never know which post will be the one that gets them to click “Follow,” so make the good ones easy to find.
  • Because while your About page does a great job introducing you, a curated selection of posts further illustrates your perspectives and personality.

It’s important to make your archived content available to readers, old and new — especially the posts you’re most proud of. There are a few different ways to do this; one (or more) is bound to work for your blog.

First, when writing new posts, you can simply refer to ideas and discussions you’ve published before with well-placed links, sprinkled naturally throughout your posts. Readers are already engaging in your post, so pointing them to other content draws them deeper into your blog.

Second, you’ve got handy widgets in your dashboard under Appearance → Widgets to promote your older work in your sidebar and footer, including the Top Posts and Page WidgetArchives Widget, and Categories Widget. These types of widgets automatically pull in archival and popular content — they’re quick, simple additions to drive traffic to older work. Each widget has configuration options, so you can control how each appears and how much real estate they take up in your sidebar.

Third, you can activate the Related Posts feature, which analyzes the words in each post, searches your site for similar posts, and displays them in a “Related” section at the bottom of every post:

related

You can activate the “Related Posts” feature in your dashboard under Settings → Reading. You can choose whether you’d like to display a heading as well as whether to show image thumbnails, in keeping with your blog’s look:

related admin

If you want more control over this type of content, you can manually create a “You May Also Like” section at the end of each post, and display a bullet list of relevant posts you’ve written on the topic. You’ll have to decide on the posts you want to include and put the links in yourself, but you get complete say over what appears.

If you’re feeling especially spry, experiment with shortcodes to build you highlights page — give your favorite posts the tag “highlight,” and use a shortcode to automatically pull them onto the page.

Finally, a great way to drive readers to your archives is to compile a “Best of” page of your favorite and most popular work. Call it “Greatest Hits.” Or “Best of [insert your blog name here].” Then, add it as an item to your custom menu, alongside your About and other important pages, so your visitors can easily access it. It’s a fun way to promote your best work, and you can refresh the list whenever you want — it doesn’t have to be static. You can also go for a one-two punch on your About page, and add a section with your best work. About pages tend to be fairly popular, so it’s an easy way to ensure that those links are highly visible.

Incorporate at least one of these features into your blog today — more than one, if it works for you. Ask questions here, and head to The Commons to chat about the dos and don’ts for each option.

Editor’s Note: Using The Commons and feeling overwhelmed by new post notifications? If you’re following the Commons, head to https://wordpress.com/following/edit/ to modify your settings. Find the 101 Commons and click “Edit” — you’ll be able to turn notifications off entirely, or choose to receive them as daily or weekly digests.

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Comments

    1. What is strange on my theme (Expound Theme), is there is no ‘related posts’ section to activate in my Settings-Reading? I simply brought my old posts up to the front again using my ‘slider’. This is also an easy way to bring old posts ‘back to life’.

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      1. My ‘related posts’ setting had already been selected, but it wasn’t working and still isn’t. I did finally remove the “to infinity and beyond’ setting.

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  1. Your post offering the “how to formula to secure readers” as well as bring more people to one’s website is amazing and magnificent. The reasons I found this information to be so helpful is simply — one does not have to leave their own blog to establish connections with others. And above all it is simply all words! Your delightful way of taking the arrogance out of self-promotion is beautifully written; consequently, I know of a big overwhelming White House nearby that really needs your expertise.

    Equally important is how you through the Related Posts Feature, You May Also Like, and/or a “Best of” are the kinds of ways for showing people just how exactly one is all about. Thank you again for something so easy, yet so important.

    J. Paul Schilling

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  2. Thanks for the reminders. I just had an experiment. I reposted a blog I published more than four years ago and introduced a new paragraph why I am reposting it. I love the comments my followers left behind. I do put links from my older posts once in a while.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Very cool! I love the “Related” section and hadn’t thought to include an image. It changes the look of the blog, whose theme I love. I also use the Archives and Categories widgets, and I refer to older posts via hyperlink in newer posts. Thanks for this helpful tip!

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    1. I think the ‘Best Of’ links on your ‘About’ page is a great idea. Most people will click that to learn more about you… and then they will see the links.

      I would click on the ‘About’ page before I clicked on the ‘Best Of’ page. But that’s just a personal opinion. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The newest addition to revive old posts from the crypt (and in a timely fashion) was to use my (new) twitter account (e.g. ‘Frankenstein’ reviews in time for Hallowe’en, as well as tickets going on sale to see the recordings again). Otherwise, I’ve exhausted most of the avenues by now.

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  5. My blog’s a few years old now with enough content built up where I’ll repost something that was popular a long time ago. I’ll do it once or twice a month. The other stuff isn’t only good for the blog, it’s pretty on the sidebar too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Serendipitous as it is, this morning’s post on my blog (buchaillbusan.wordpress.com) links to some of my older posts with relevant themes.

    Overall, this advice is something that I sometimes do but am usually unsure of and so omit linked posts for fear of seeming to self-involved. Great post! Thanks for the help!

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  7. Question: my main picture is showing a pink & white design and i want my photo on there but i don’t know how to do. I’m new to this blog thing. Can you show me how to do it please thank you 🙂 XOXO SA luv your post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for the tips.

    One question: on my post page there is a blue WordPress logo that says my blog has 119 followers, then just below that, it says 132 amazing followers (plus me, so 133). Is this something I caused? Can I can fix it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think this is some random number which appears there to try and help us look better to new readers. 🙂 The only way to see how many followers a blog has is to look at their blog through the WordPress Reader. At least that’s what I’ve found out.

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      1. Thanks. Another tip sent me to the bottom of the stats page, which shows the total number. On the posts page, the total number is listed separately from the number who subscribe the WordPress. Confusing. I like the bigger number though.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi All,
    I love the idea of ‘Greatest Hits’. You have spent a lot of time on all your posts and they should not get lost in the recesses of the blog. I am just a few posts old and I will start that series in sometime, until then I have updated my widget and added ‘Top Rated’. I find it better to highlight the images rather than text as i would imagine that an image will catch the eye more than just plain text. I hope I’m right!
    Feel free to give me feedback on my blog
    http://abitofthisnalotofthat.wordpress.com/
    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel hesitant to do this, because my blog is days new. Among the four posts I’ve had, I suppose it wouldn’t make much sense to already have a ‘best of’ page, but I will keep this mind and put a widget up like this as soon as I can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Certainly appreciate that thought. Only have 11 posts on mine over a little more than a month’s time, but the lessons here have been great in helping keep things organized and set up for future tasks like a “best of” page. Keep at it!

      Like