One of the very best things about a blog is that it’s alive.
Unlike a static website, a blog is always fresh. It’s current. Blogs allow
readers to see what the writer is working on, or thinking about, right now.
But because a blog is an ever-growing body of work it can
become unwieldy and it can even misrepresent you. If your last two posts were
about your springtime garden, but really you have a knitting blog, will new
readers be able to quickly grasp your main focus? Will a magazine or book
editor who’s looking for relevant content be able to see your knitting
expertise, or are all those detailed stitch tutorials buried so deeply that
they’re too difficult to find?
Right now While She Naps has 1,084 posts. That’s the sum
total of me writing here three to four times a week for over eight years.
That’s a lot of posts. My blog serves many purposes for me. It’s a record of
what I’m making, it’s a place to teach soft toy design, it’s a marketing tool,
it’s a place to highlight the work of artists I admire, it’s a discussion
forum, it’s an opinion column, and it’s a resume. In order for my blog to
simultaneously function as all of these things, I needed to sift through those 1,084
posts and put them into an organizational system that would work for even the
most casual reader.
I’d like for a reader visiting my blog via a Google search
for information about bookkeeping for small businesses to be able to also read
my post about setting up an ad program and my post about using Goodsie to
create an online shop. That reader may not sew or care much about making
softies. For her, the small business advice on my blog is what’s relevant.
On the other hand, someone visiting my blog from a Pinterest
board called “Summer Craft Tutorials” who wants to see how to make felt
strawberries may also be interested in making bubble wands, or felt daffodils.
For him, the free craft tutorials are what’s relevant.
When I asked myself whether my blog was serving all of my readers
well, this issue of being able to create an organizational scheme that catered
content to specific readers stood out to me as the biggest problem. I did have
a rudimentary archiving system that appeared as a category list on my sidebar,
but when I tried to look at my blog through the eyes of a new reader, I could
plainly see that they weren’t able to quickly access the content I wanted them
to see most. They didn’t know what I
I’ve been working to create easy-to-use archive pages. If
you look at the navigation bar now you’ll see three new tabs: Sew With Me,
Business Tips, and Better Blogging. I looked at a lot of successful blogs to
see how they organize their archives and found that a Pinterest-style set-up
with clickable thumbnails appealed to me most. I don’t know HTML and knew I’d
need some help making this happen. I didn’t want to pay someone to do it for me
because I wanted to be able to add to it, change it, and maintain it myself
going forward. Instead, I bought an ebook about blog design. I chose this one
because it has web design instructions specific to Typepad, my blogging
platform. It was well worth the $34 and I think the many, many hours I’ve
already spent working on arranging my archives will be worth my time.
My blog can’t be static. I’ve got to be able to publish new
content all the time. But not every post can be representative of all I’m
capable of and all I’m interested in. Now, you can see at a glance what While
She Naps is all about.
You are my readers. How are you finding the new? Are you noticing
old posts that pique your interest? Are there things changes you think I could
make? I am, as always, an open book.
And let’s chat about archives. Are yours organized? Are there specific blogs you know of that do it especially well?