One of the wonderful things that WordPress does is organize things with the ‘Archive’ function. It’s kind of magical in a way.
When I hear the word “Archive” I tend to think of hiding or putting something away.
Archiving emails makes them disappear from your inbox. Linkedin has an “archive” box and I’m not sure where they go either – I’ve never used it. It appears that it doesn’t delete it (as in Trash) but instead files them away somewhere for later. Oh well.
It’s different with WordPress
When it comes to WordPress, “Archive” doesn’t hide or put things away. Instead, think of it as building something.
WordPress Archive Pages start with a little coding that creates the “Archive” template. Don’t worry, most every WordPress theme has this built in.
Archive Pages can contain most anything from the all the posts, to a certain Category, to Tags, to Authors. If WordPress allows you to designate something you can show it in an “Archive Page”. When the page is built you can have it show the full posts, or just the first x amount of words, or even just the excerpt. You could show the featured image next to or above or not at all.
That’s really cool but why would you want to?
Good question! Let’s start with examples and remember as you look at these that all this happens “AUTOMATICALLY.
The BLOG Archive Page:
Generally when you see that on a WordPress site menu bar it means that it’ll take you to the entire group of posts. Some WordPress sites may have a few Calls to Action on their HOME page and the only way to read the posts is to click on that “BLOG” button. In my case the HOME page has a bunch of post teasers and clicking on the BLOG brings you to an Archive Page of those posts. Because I tend to write long posts I purposely show just the Featured Image and the first x words. This way I can get more variety on a single page and make it easier for you to find what you want. Click here to see my BLOG in action (it’ll open in a new window).
HOW TO USE THIS:
If you are going to write posts, think about what version you’ll want to use (the long version or the snippet style). You can change anytime you like.
The Category Archive Page:
If you have created a good Category system to begin with you’ll be able to offer your readers posts that are specific to that topic all on one page. I tend to write most about WordPress so I can offer my readers a stream of posts just on that topic https://areweconnected.com/wordpress/. Similarly I also can offer a stream of posts on Facebook Pages or Facebook Profiles.
This is why it’s so important to have a strong Category plan in mind. I wrote about that a few times. As a matter of fact if you use the search function on the sidebar you’ll be brought to a Search Archive Page for that!
The Search doesn’t confine itself to just the posts. It’ll grab everything (my first item there is a FAQ) How cools is that?
HOW TO USE THIS: Keep your Categories to a minimum. For the real estate agent you could use Categories for each of your towns or neighborhoods. You could have a Category for Market Data Reports, Current Events and Community.
The Tag Archive Page:
Tags are all the rage. Hashtags that is. I’ve written about hashtags before. The Tags we’re talking about here are technically not Hashtags but work the same. Sites may display them differently but you’ll generally see the tags listed at the top or bottom of the post. You’ll also notice that they are links. Click on a tag (link) and it’ll build a page of all the posts tagged with that particular tag.
HOW TO USE THIS: I generally recommend writing the post, proofread for errors and when done, toss a few of the most relevant keywords in the tag box. There’s no SEO value in stuffing your keywords in every post here. Think of your reader. What tags might they want to click on and follow?
The Author Archive Page:
We’ve all gotten to the end of a post and thought, “I really like what she said. I wonder what else she has written?” This is especially good for multi author blogs. That link might be in the footer or Bio box or even on the sidebar. As an example, Ken Montville has 6 posts here. So does Joe Salcedo. Want to see all of Ken’s Posts? How about Joe’s? Remember it’s not me that built this – it’s a WordPress thing. That link is at the bottom of every post.
HOW TO USE THIS: If you have multiple Authors make sure you also have an Author Box. Savvy types might know that the byline name is also a link to this Archive Page but it’s nice to have a short bio at the bottom as well.
NOTE: years ago I broke my personal Author link in the database (I switched my username) and haven’t yet gone back in and fixed it.
THINK ABOUT THIS:
I’m in the early stages of building a site for my wife and her genealogy projects and it’s going to be centered around ALL Archive Pages. Essentially she’s going to start with her Father and write posts about each of her family members up the tree. Each level will be ‘breadcrumbed’ so at any level you’ll be able to click on a generation and see EVERY post for people on that level. She has traced 3 different lines of McDowells all the way back in 1705. Even though the Archive thing is automatic, before we did anything, we started by thinking about how to best use this feature.
How can you use Archive Pages?