Even if you’ve diligently worked to build your website, chances are you’ve overlooked some of the extra features available when customizing your archive pages and blog post template. These pages of your site are valuable in terms of SEO as well as user experience because they help readers flow through your connected content and drive conversions.
A blog’s structural pages, like the archive page, category archives, and individual blog post templates, are often overlooked compared to “fancier” pages like the homepage or even the about page. However a website’s performance is heavily influenced by how the content is organized, displayed, and navigated. That’s why you can’t overlook designing your archive page, category archives, and blog post templates!
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to put these pages to work for you and what to include on them.
Note: This post is part of a website anatomy series detailing important website elements. If you haven’t read my post about creating the perfect homepage, that’s a great place to start. You’ll also find more website anatomy posts here.
When creating a website, you’ve probably given plenty of attention to the homepage, as well as pages like “about us” and “services,” but the blog itself may have gotten less of your attention. The blog plays a big role in showcasing your expertise. It also enhances your digital presence (hello, SEO!), builds credibility, and fosters connection with your audience.
Ultimately, your blog is an extension of you as a business owner and another way to provide direct value to your audience.
As a teacherpreneur, you can use your blog to:
- Demonstrate innovative teaching strategies
- Share free lesson plans and link them to lead magnets or sales pages
- Review educational tools
- Enhance your organic website SEO
Your blog can also be a source of supplemental income through advertising and/or sponsored posts.
Must-Have Blog Pages
At its core, the blog section of your website consists of three key pages that provide a cohesive, intuitive, and engaging user experience. You should consider these three pages of your blog in your website design:
- Archive Page: This showcases your blog posts in chronological order for users to explore your newest content.
- Category Archive Pages: These pages take your traditional archive page a step further, grouping your posts by specific topics for a more targeted browsing experience, such as “lesson plans for math” or “classroom tools.”
- Single Post Template: The way you design your single posts can make them easier to read and increase engagement.
When carefully designed, these pages can captivate your audience and make them want to come back regularly to check your blog for updates. I’ll go through what to include on each of these pages, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed with DIY then consider one of my custom WordPress packages for help.
A blog archive page is a valuable tool for both website owners and readers, providing easy access to a wealth of informative and engaging content. It serves as the home for your blog posts with the most recent posts first to offer an at-a-glance snapshot of your blog’s content.
The archive page often includes:
- a grid of blog post featured images
- brief excerpts
Here’s what your archive page does for you:
- Reflects your blog’s personality and brand through featured images
- Highlights your expertise based on content you’ve shared
- Allows users to instantly view your most recent content
You can visit my archive page to see one in action.
How To Personalize Your Archive Page
When personalizing your archive page, there is much more to consider than just the visual appeal. While aesthetics are important, the functionality of your archive page holds even greater significance – your strategy matters.
Here are a few tips for your archive page design. Contact me if you need a custom quote for help creating any of your archive pages.
Featured images, or thumbnails, serve as the main image for each post. This is the image that will show on on archive pages, related posts, and search results. You might also use it while linking between posts, like I do below.
Featured images are more than just eye candy to entice readers to click through to the full post. They’re essential to your brand identity, representing your brand’s color palette, typography, and logo. If you’re still working to establish branding, read this post to learn more about your brand colors, fonts, and graphics.
Consistency is key when it comes to utilizing featured images effectively. Opting for “pin-sized” images is a smart choice because it allows you to get the most out of the graphics you create by also using them on Pinterest. Squares are also popular options. You’ll notice my own archive pages use landscape images. If I could go back in time and make a different choice, I would. 😉
This is an example of a featured image template I created for a client to show how consistent images can represent your branding even on your “basic” archive page.
Excerpts are short summaries you often see right under the title and featured images. If you’re deciding whether or not you should include excerpts, here are some pros and cons to consider before making a decision:
Pros of Using Excerpts:
- Improved User Experience: Post summaries provide a quick overview of each blog post, allowing readers to scan and find the content that interests them. It enhances user experience by making it easier to navigate and discover relevant articles.
- Increased Engagement: With post summaries, visitors are more likely to click on individual posts to read the full content. It encourages them to explore multiple articles, increasing engagement and time spent on your website.
- SEO: Excerpts with relevant keywords can increase your blog’s search engine optimization to increase your site’s chances of showing up in organic search results.
Cons of Using Excerpts:
- Limited Content Preview: Excerpts provide only a brief summary of the blog post, which may not be sufficient for readers who prefer to have all the information at once. They might miss out on important details or context provided in the full post.
- Aesthetics: Excerpts may look out of place if your blog uses a simple, minimalistic style. Post summaries can also vary in length, leading to an inconsistent display of summaries, making the overall archive page appear less cohesive.
- Time: Writing engaging summaries for each post can be “one more thing to do” on your post publication checklist. If you’re short on time as a business owner, this is one thing to skip.
Ultimately, the decision to show post summaries on a blog archive page depends on your website’s goals, audience preferences, and the type of content you produce.
More Archive Page Customization Options
Popular Posts: You can introduce new visitors to your best work by highlighting the posts that have generated the most interest. These are easy to update seasonally to feature the most relevant and timely content.
Topic Buttons: Have a handful of popular categories? Make it easier for your readers to access the specific information they’re seeking with topic buttons to help users enhance the time spent on your site and the quality of their experience.
What Is A Category Archive Page?
While an archive page is important to give an overview of your entire content, a category archive page is an important way to organize and display all posts within a topic. Category archive pages are valuable for both website owners and readers, as they provide a structured way to present and access content organized by topics or themes.
Category archive pages allow visitors to easily explore content that aligns with their interests by providing a focused view of related articles. The actual grid content design for category archive pages is similar to main archive page with featured images, titles, dates, categories, and excerpts. However, you can also personalize content on each category page to increase user engagement and conversions.
How To Personalize your Category Archive Page
Your category archive page is the perfect place to display related content because users on that page have already demonstrated an interest in the topic. Take a look at my SEO category page as an example, which I use to promote my SEO mini course. It also includes a short blurb at the top with a link to more SEO services.
Other types of content to consider including on your category archive page:
- popular posts
- related products
- lead magnets
- podcast episodes
Do you need help creating amazing category archive pages on your website? I help with feedback on your copy, design, media, and layout customizations in my custom WordPress Category Archive Page package.
More Category Page Inspiration
Here are other examples well-designed category archive pages that I’ve created. As you can see, each one features more than just recent posts in the category.
This category archive page features a lead magnet, SEO blurb, popular posts, popular resources, and recent posts in the category.
This category archive page features a lead magnet, popular resources, popular posts, and recent posts in the category.
What Are Blog Post Templates?
Blog post templates are premade layouts that can be applied to any post on your site. They’re essentially a blueprint for your blog posts that determine the appearance of individual posts. These blog post templates allow you to create unique and visually appealing designs for specific blog posts, rather than using a uniform template for all posts. With blog post templates, you have the flexibility to apply different layouts, styles, and elements to specific posts, making them stand out and align with the content or purpose of the post.
For example, most of my tutorial blog posts include a:
- Stylized Hook as an introduction to gain interest
- Pin Image to help with reach
- Table of Contents because I write long-form content
You may have different blog post templates depending on the type of posts you write, such as:
- how-to articles
- podcast episodes
How To Personalize your BLog Post Templates
Single blog post customization can include typography, colors, images, and more. Your template enables you to create a cohesive website while also adding variety and visual interest to individual blog posts. Once you land on a layout you like, you can save reusable blocks in WordPress to make the process faster each time.
Here’s an example of a podcast blog post template. It has all the key elements, which can be used over and over as a template for each episode.
Here’s an example of a listicle blog post template. Again, this same template could be used for a variety of list posts.
Importance of The Sidebar Beside Blog Posts
Although the sidebar’s anatomy and importance have been discussed at length in this post, it is worth mentioning that the sidebar also plays a crucial role in your single blog post template because the sidebar displays beside all single posts in most WordPress themes.
Your sidebar will likely include links to important content like top category archive pages, popular posts, bestsellers, etc. to make it easier for visitors to find the content they’re looking for. As a teacherpreneur, your sidebar could highlight your best seasonal posts, products, and lead magnets during the back to school season.
Showcasing featured posts in your sidebar can be an effective strategy for both conversion and engagement. Helping users find these specific posts can:
- Increase visitor engagement
- Highlight older, but still relevant, content
- Promote time-sensitive content or offers
In addition, you can expand your email list by placing signup forms in your blog’s sidebar so your followers won’t miss any latest posts, updates, or offers. To boost subscriptions, it’s helpful to provide an enticing incentive for people to join up, such as a discount or freebie (lead magnet). You can learn more about email marketing in these posts.
Let’s Work Together To Build Your WordPress Website Archive Pages and Blog Post Templates
A blog is a powerful tool, especially for teacherpreneurs like you who want to build their brand and increase trust from their audience. In essence, all the parts of a blog function together to make it a whole that is engaging to its readers and easy to navigate. But creating a well-designed archive page, category archive pages, and single post template is just one piece of the puzzle. You can read the rest of the posts in my website anatomy series here.
I’m here if you need help any step of the way. When you with me, I become your digital marketing business bestie; one point person who helps you get it all done and saves you time with a website that will be beautiful outside and powerful inside. I create logos, design WordPress websites, set up email marketing, and offer virtual assistance for creative entrepreneurs just like you. Let’s tackle your to-do list. Contact me to get started!