Maintenance does not stop with updating the content management system. As your website grows you also need to evaluate strategies for improving the way that your content displays and which content links should display and where to improve a readers experience on your website.
This is called content management and it varies – of course – according to what type of applications and content your website specializes in.
To Start With…
You make a few posts and it seems redundant to even put a recent posts widget in the sidebar as the links here show the same 5 posts that are showing in the feed on your front page.
You tag with anything that comes to mind and have a few categories.
A Year Later…
You have written one post a week ( surely the bare minimum for bloggers) which is 48 posts.
25% of these are now obsolete, only worth being available to read – if even that – as archived articles in archive folders. For these you could add the archive widget and display as a drop down, so it has a minimal footprint. To stop them cluttering up topic feeds, remove all tags and categories from them. If they are now wrong, have dead links etc – consider trashing them.
75% of your posts are poorly categorized and badly tagged. All but the last months are hidden with no direct navigation to them and you don’t have time to write specific link menus for more than a few really good posts, which you have already done.
Meanwhile you have maps or picture galleries hidden away on pages, and advertising and social network applications that extend down your sidebar like a long winter scarf.
I use a year only as an example. This mess can easily be created in a month and you need to address some issues and set in place a better organization system for your website, that will automatically manage your content as your post it.
Managing & Organizing Your WordPress Content!
This is a return in many respects to the issues of navigation and to the layout of your theme.
But this time we are working with a fully furnished house, not just bare walls.
You need to go back to the website plans and mark off the available widget areas that your theme allows you. Then decide if there is enough. If not – you may need to replace or alter your theme. If so you need to start utilizing these areas more carefully.
Sorting with Categories and Tags
Before you do that, look and assess your categories and tags. These are what you have to sort your content with. When you are looking for automatic menu options the plugins that will display such menus will usually ask for a category or tag name or id.
To do maintenance on categories and tags I use the Simple Tags plugin. It gives me a few more options to more easily access related posts and to update individual posts tags and categories.Simple tags has a new owner and no longer (atpit) provides a related posts widget, but there are others available. I prefer to be not leave this to a plugin but to create my own relationships. I’m getting better at this, but I still have much to learn myself.
Simple Tags has also integrated tags with pages, so you can also tag pages ( categories cannot be integrated, as in pages they are always part of the permalink). This works fine so long as you do not use full width page templates and custom widget areas. If you do, then theme customization is necessary to write some conditional statements so that sidebars don’t appear.
I never use categories in permalinks for posts – for this reason. If I shift posts from one category to another, the actual url is not affected, only the content of a category or tag feed page.
I try not to use more than 5 tags or 4 categories and prefer only 1-3 of each to be more specific. I try hard not to accidentally make three tag feed pages that have all the same posts, but are called by a different keyword. Why bother? I believe each tag or category feed page should be 75% unique. Only a more general article that covers 3 topics should appear in 3 tag feeds if related, while the bulk of articles in that feed is unique and specific to the tag.
Many people do not do this way. They use tagging for seo rather than for categorization. That is a choice you will make. For me, categories and tags are essential for me to keep topic posts bare and specific in order to display relevant related content posts.
Still – who says a tag has to be a word to sort a menu? Should you wish to, tag 5 articles with a 1 and use the tag feed 1 to display this specific tag menu. That way you can do both! But I think I would lose track of what each tag was for, so I’ll stick to words if that’s ok with you…
Plugins I use
List category posts, Blog in Blog, My Page Order, Subpages Extended, Tag Dropdown Widget
I also need to make specific widget areas for specific content to display specific menus in the sidebars with related posts displayed by these widgets and for that I use…
Custom sidebars, Widget Entries
This means that I have more control over menus for navigation and keep my sidebar at a manageable length. If you do use a lot of social network community picture plugins, spread them across in the footer area widget . Then if they take a while to download, the rest of your website is less affected, and they can load while your reader reads a post.
Planning and Organizing a Website
Planning doesn’t stop when the site is published, it is an ongoing task to maintain a good navigational system and an attractive layout.
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