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Add an Archive Page on Your WordPress Blog for SEO, Site Architecture, and Better Usability

Do you have an Archives Page? Go get one!

[This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog series. Check out the rest here!]

We’re going to start getting into some nitty-gritty things that will help you take your WordPress-powered blog to the next level as we continue to walk through this series, this post dedicated to building an “Archive” page!

Now, why do you really need one? Here are a few reasons why:

  1. An Archive page provides your readers with a grand overview of all the content that you’ve written.
  2. When done well it’ll help give your readers a look at how you’ve architected your site, namely your top-level categories and date-based archives.
  3. It also helps with SEO as it’ll provide search engine bots with more direct links to your content in an organized manner.
  4. It can also provide you a place to quickly find old posts to bring back to light and to the forefront! Some of your best content on your blog has already been written but your newer visitors haven’t read them yet, so your archives can be a place to dredge up that old content!
  5. It can help you balance and focus your blog content areas as it relates to your categories. For example, if you have 8 categories and 3 of them have 90% of your posts then perhaps you need to reconsider those parent categories.
  6. It can help you quickly benchmark how many posts you’re doing on average per month (if you’re showing such things as month-based archives). One month had 100 posts yet another month had 10? Hmm.

Convinced? I am, and here’s one of the most compelling reasons why:

My Archives Page is one of my most heavily trafficked portions of every single blog that I manage. People and search engines crawl that page looking for content like it’s no one’s business and by providing that simple page I increase my number of pageviews and rank in terms of SEO.

I like that (and so should you)!

Create an Archives Page

It’s quite simple to create an archives page for your WordPress blog! There are really three ways of doing it which we’ll walk through, the first being the easiest. Ready?

1. Use a Theme that Has it Built In

The easiest way to have an Archives Page is to simply use a WordPress Theme that has it baked right in. That way you don’t have to do anything!

With Standard Theme (the theme that I use) it has it built right in so all you have to do is simply create a new page, choose the right page template, and then hit Publish.

Done and done:

Add a New Page

Then…

Choose 'Archives' Under Page Template

Then…

Hit Publish! That's it!

That’s it! Doesn’t get any easier than that!

2. Download a Plugin

The second option that you have is to simply download a WordPress Plugin that’ll create it for you if you’re not using a WordPress Theme that has it built right in.

This is a good option and there are a number of good ones to choose from. Here is a list of one’s I’ve used in the past:

This can be a quick win for you if you don’t want to jump into any code, which is the 3rd option below.

3. Create Your Own Page Template

If you’re willing to get your hands dirty and if you’re WordPress Theme doesn’t come with an Archives Page built in then I’d highly recommend you building one yourself simply because I’m not a fan of adding another WordPress plugin to my blogs when you can build it easily yourself.

This keeps the overall weight of your blog low and thus increases load time for your visitors which impact their experience as well as increases your SEO ranking since your site is faster.

So, if you’ve got a few minutes to spare this is how you go about it:

First, create a new archives.php file and upload it via FTP using your favorite app (here are the FTP apps that I use):

I'm adding archives.php to the Twenty Ten Theme

and then you just copy and paste this code into that file:

[code]
<!--?php<br /--> /*
Template Name: Archives Page
*/
get_header(); ?>
<div id="container">
<div id="content">

<!--?php the_post(); ?-->
<h1 class="entry-title"><!--?php the_title(); ?--></h1>
<h2>Archives by Month:</h2>
<ul> <!--?php wp_get_archives('type=monthly'); ?--></ul>
<h2>Archives by Subject:</h2>
<ul> <!--?php wp_list_categories(); ?--></ul>
 

</div>
<!-- #content -->

</div>
<!-- #container -->

<!--?php get_sidebar(); ?-->
<!--?php get_footer(); ?-->
[/code]

It should look like this:

What it ends up looking like is this:

Not bad!

So now you’ve got some date-based archives as well as a list of categories! All you have to do is go back to and add that new page with the template (see example 1) and you’re done!

And you’re on your way! Of course, there’s more that you can do to add some flare to your archives page but don’t go too crazy!

If you’re interested in seeing what I’ve done for my Archives Page here on TentBlogger here are the snippets I’ve customized a bit out of the Standard Theme:

List categories while showing number of posts in each:

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List monthly archives while showing number of posts in each:

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Show every single post I’ve written:

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is_home = false; ?>


  • [/cc]

    Note that on the above I’ve simply asked WordPress to query the last 1,000 blog posts – when I cross the 1,000 blog post line then I’ll increase this to 2,000.

    Good luck and have fun!

    [This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog series. Check out the rest here!]