Throughout January we will be running our 31 Day Blog Challenge: 31 days to clean up, grow and improve your blog. What better time than the start of a new year to get things sorted and ready to go for a brand new year of blogging?
We'll be sharing 31 tips, ideas, and strategies for you to get things in order and make blogging easier. This is Day 24.
One of the things we've stressed over and over again during this series is making it easy for your readers to find what they're looking for on your site. Nothing is more frustrating than finding a site with content you love but... you can't find that review you read three of months ago of the new BBQ joint you want to check out or, that recipe for pecan pie.
Time to create a recipe or review index... OR time to clean up and update the one you already have!
Different Types of Indexes
Whether you review restaurants or write recipes doesn't matter - the principals behind creating an index are the same.You are basically creating an index for your readers just like you would if they were reading a travel guide or a cookbook.
Image Based by Category or Tag
Kim at Cravings of Lunatic has a beautiful one - most people when deciding what to cook like to see the finished recipe first. Kim's starts out at the category level and when you click on each category, you get a visual index of all the recipes.
The Food Gays also have a visual one that's based on a category as well - this is an easy one to do with WordPress as it's a default setting - the reviews are listed chronological, newest to oldest, with a thumbnail image and and excerpt and it updates automatically. You should be able to use Blogger's label system to create something similar.
A fantastic one we've also seen is Naomi at Bakers Royale - hers is based on category but, she also uses her WordPress tags to create an index based on ingredient - that requires some dedication on your part to keep your tags organized but it's a fantastic way to make WordPress work hard for you. Clicking through takes you to a visual index
You can have a simple link based alphabetical one like Stella at Food Junkie Chronicles - this works really well for restaurant reviews where readers are likely to know the name of the restaurant they want to check out.
Margaret at Kitchen Frau also uses a text based link index with all her categories listed at the top - when you click on one it drops you to that part of the page so you don't need to scroll. She uses a WordPress plug-in like Post Category Index Generator to have them automatically update whenver she posts a new recipe.
The duo at Braised and Confused has done their review index by neighbourhood. You could also do one based on price - meals under $10, $10-2o, etc. or types of cuisine. Or all three!
As you can see, there are lots of options. Some, like the manually updated lists, and the default WordPress category archives are easy to create on your own with virtually no HTML, CSS or PHP knowledge. It's just a matter of staying organized, categorizing or labeling your posts properly and being able to update your navigation/menus.
If you want a more visual or alphabetical index, you may need to enlist the help of a designer or a developer to fine tune it for you.
Whichever way you go, an index is something your readers will thank you for making it easy for them to get around - and they might just browse a little more too!