In the previous blog exercise, “Blog Exercises: Organize Your Content,” you were to create a giant lists of all the posts you have published in a link list organized by topic.
If you have been blogging for a while, that exercise may have taken some time and work. If you’ve been blogging a short time, it could have also taken a considerable amount of time and work as you poured through your content to categorize it and look for the missing parts and pieces.
In this blog exercise, let’s explore what you can do with that list beyond changing post categories and site structure.
Let’s take that giant list of all your posts, grouped by category, and find ways to make this list work harder for you. All it takes is a little imagination, and if I know one thing about you, you have tons of the stuff!
Bring them together into an article series.
- Create a list of the articles in the series and put them in a link list.
- Edit each post in the series to indicate this is part of an article series.
- At the bottom of each post in the series, publish the link list under a heading with the article series name.
- When all the posts are linked together, publish a new post promoting the article series with the link list.
Related Posts Lists
Publishing a new post that belongs in a specific grouping of posts from your giant link list? Connect the dots for your readers among the related content.
- At the bottom of the post, add a heading titled “Related Posts” or something similar.
- Under the heading write a short sentence recommending the following links for more information on your site.
- Paste the link list for that category of posts.
- When you publish, trackbacks will be automatically generated, connecting those posts with this one for reference.
You may be using a Related Posts WordPress Plugin to do the same thing, but a manual list is personal. You may be including posts vital to the reader related to this post not found by the Plugin.
We love putting together link lists, so why not use this list to create customized link list posts to promote your own content.
- Find a category of posts in your list related to a specific topic or theme.
- Write a blog post about that topic or theme.
- Paste the link list of posts in, highlighting them as is the style and form of your link list posts.
- Trackbacks will be automatically generated when you publish, linking those posts to the new one, adding more reference points.
Link Referral List
I keep a list of all the posts on my site in a giant link list in my text editor. If I’m writing offline or a search doesn’t quickly turn up a post I wish to link to on my site from within an article I’m writing, I’ll go to the great Lorelle on WordPress Table of Contents (the file is called LOW-TOC.txt) and find the link to paste into my article.
This is especially handy when I’m looking for a variety of posts to link to. I will scan down the list and copy any links that look appropriate to add to my article using the same copy and paste to a Paste Board text file described in the last blog exercise.
This makes the composition process fast and easy, and often helps me formulate my thoughts as I reference related posts.
Blasts from the Past
I use mine by scrolling at high speed down the text file, stopping at any point to see what is there. Something catches my eye, that’s the blast of the past post of the moment.
I’ll also search for keywords related to something I’m working on at the moment or thinking about. I’ll look at the post titles with that word in it and choose one for my post from the past promotion.
Write New Articles Connecting Old Ones Together
With an idea of a topic to cover on my site, I will often go through my site looking for related content. This search not only gives me reference links, it also helps me identify what I’ve written about on the subject before so I don’t repeat myself too much.
Going deeper, I find reasons to actually write about a subject because of what I published in the past. In this example, “Exploring Social Media Tools Series,” I shared links to a wide variety of articles I’d written on that site and others on the subject of social media tools, making the article be a story of connected stories and articles, not just a new topic.
This is a great way to encourage your readers to read those past posts, but also to establish your reputation as an expert in the subject, citing what you’ve said about the subject in the past.
The giant post list serves me well to quickly identify such posts and write about writing them.
Add Related Posts to Past Posts
On future posts, it makes sense to add a list of related posts from your past posts collection, but what about your old posts?
Go through your old posts and add related posts from your list to the bottom of them to link these articles together, helping your reader find more information on the subject.
In addition to blasts from the pasts promoting across your social web sharing networkings and communities, I use my giant table of contents post link list to generate automated social media tweets and posts.
There are many tools available today to automatically generate and schedule future tweets and posts to Facebook and other social media channels. Blasts from the past, past article series, topical old posts, there are many reasons to cite your previously published posts through these automated services, saving you time and energy as you turn your attention to focused writing, work, travel, family, etc., as part of your blogging life.
Some of these, such as SocialOomph, includes the ability to upload a text file with multiple links and social posts to release over time. I use this to keep my social sites active with general posts while I’m busy with a huge project.
A site map is a listing of all the posts on your site. The site map may be displayed in chronological or reverse chronological form as one giant list, or broken up by categories.
There are WordPress Plugins that create site maps (two words – one word “sitemap” is a hidden file used for search engines on your site) but few do it well, allowing the post titles to be sorted and grouped by category, date, author, etc. So sometimes a manual list gives you more control.
- Add a Page not post to your site. Title it “Site Map” or “Table of Contents.”
- Paste in the list of all your posts by category, making it easy for the visitor to find related content.
- Consider adding a list of all your WordPress post categories and Pages to the top of the page to give the reader starting reference points as well.
What Will You Do With Your Giant Table of Contents?
This is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to all the ideas and uses for a huge list of all the posts you’ve published on your site.
How will you use your list?