Spoiler Alert : This post will NOT tell you how to actually code archive pages for your blog. That is something that I teach in Blog Design Love 2.0, an ecourse that is available now. The course is $45 and worth every penny if you want to learn design principles (from graphic designer Promise Tangeman) and web coding for bloggers (from me). The course is tailored to Typepad, Blogger and Wordpress.com BUT the archive pages lesson and design sections are applicable to any web platform.
Last week I started coding nine years of archives to make things easier to find. You can see my progress so far right here.
I have had "code archive pages" on my to-do list since August 2012 when I started working with ABM on Blog Design Love (version one). I saw their pages (here is one) and my eyes popped out of my head. "HOW EFFING RAD DO THOSE LOOK?!" I thought. "I NEED TO DO THAT." I thought.
But the tediousness (the code isn't hard, just detailed) and TIME that it would take to put something like that into effect would be intense. Of course, this is pre-baby when all I had was TIME. (Seriously, what on earth was I doing? Were my nails always painted? They must have been.)
I put it off. I put it off. I put it off.
And then, last week, I had a bit of a lull in my schedule. (July MAKE29 was already packed, blog posts were more or less prepared, podcast episodes were recorded and one can only practice their WDS speech so many times a day.) So I started cranking through it. I started with Monday's cold brew post and worked backwards. One. Post. At. A. Time.
WHY? What's the point?
The point is I have an ABSURD amount of content on this blog. Some crap, for sure, but some really good stuff. Like print it out and frame it stuff. Some work that makes me feel exceptionally proud. Blogging can feel temporary. Even though what we write "exists" forever, it can really feel like you're only as good as your last re-pinned DIY. Or your last emotional post that got 50 comments. And that's garbage. While it's easy to feel that way, it's not true.
A blog, if you want it to be, is a body of work. I say this all the time but, THIS IS MY RESUME. It's my portfolio. It's my craft, trade and talent, in photos and words. And creating archive pages is like using a readable font on a resume - it won't make up for lack of content but it's very helpful to explain what you do.
In theory, having organized archives should increase my pageviews, but as discussed last month, since I am not selling adspace, pageviews are not my money maker. People buying my stuff is my money maker. People purchasing through affiliate links is my (less but still relevant) money maker.
Neither of those come from more pageviews. (They come from more visitors and/or more purchasing options.)
But getting things organized IS incentive to give older posts some interest (and pins, and tweets and shares and etc) which IS incentive to get more eyeballs on my products. And excellent and organized resources might help those random people who click through to stick around for longer than a salad recipe.
Getting organized also makes my job 100 times easier. (Less email. Less searching.) And your experience more pleasurable. (Less frustration. Less waiting. Less searching.)
I didn't make an archive button every post. "Just" recipes, tutorials, fun projects, adventures / meaningful personal posts & business / blogging posts. Basically the highlights. The stuff I find myself thinking about or wanting to link to currently. The stuff that feels the most relevant to what I am doing now and where I want my content to continue to head. I will probably end up dividing these pages up a bit more by topic (there are already almost 200 posts to scroll through) but right now it's just about getting them done.
I am only through 2012, which means another 7 years to go. But I have a feeling there will be a lot less "archive button worthy" stuff back there.
When I look at this page I am about as happy as a blogger gets. MY WORK. MY STUFF. IN ORDER. It's like I've lined up these posts for battle. Only the battle is fun...so really, it's like I've lined up these posts for a really fancy organization party. For sure Leslie Knope will be there, just jammin' on her planner.