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Archive pages

A WordPress blog archive page, also called an index, is a page that lists all the posts on a website. It’s like a card catalog for your blog.
An image of a WordPress blog archive page pointing out Page Header, Post Index, and Recent Posts. There's also a picture of a cute doggie.

Archive

Noun | ar-chive ‘är-kīv
a repository or collection especially of information

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

An archive page is…

In WordPress speak, your blog archive is a collection of all your posts; when you hit publish on a post it joins your archive. WordPress originated as a blogging platform, so if your blog is just a blog (and not part of a website with pages as well), it designates your archive page as your home page. That page normally consists of a sidebar with metadata and a listing of your posts, which are arranged chronologically. So maybe that’s all you need.

…part of your infrastructure

But if your blog is part of a larger website with pages, an e-commerce store, or other elements, you’ll need an archive page where visitors can peruse and search your posts for the content they want. Think of your blog as a book with each post a page, and the archive page acting as its cover. If you have a blog but no archive page your visitors won’t even know where to look for your posts.

Think of your blog as a book. Each post is a page and the archive pages is the cover and index.

A quick reminder of the difference between a Post and a Page

A page has general information about your business: who you are, what you do, product lists, how to contact you, etc.  A post has more granular information.  It can be a tutorial on how to use your product, an update on your product’s market value, what your employees are up to, or just pictures of your doggie. 

Contents

At the very least, your archive page should have a list of blog titles and a search field. Sometimes it’s helpful if each post shows a date of publication, too. If you want to go all out, posts can appear as cards with their featured image and excerpt. As the number of posts grows, you may want to have cards and an index.

When we create your blog archive page with Elementor, we’ll tailor it to suit your needs. We’ll have a page head, introduction, search field, and any other thing that works for you. Using good practices regarding tags and categories, we can help your visitors find your content in a jiffy.

And this is just confusing

Here’s a little wrench in the works. WordPress uses the word archive in two different ways. An archive (noun) is an index of posts. To archive (verb) is to remove public access to a post. If a post’s content becomes irrelevant or obsolete, you may want to remove it from your site, so you can delete it or archive it. When it’s archived, it’s still in your database, but visitors can’t access it.

WordPress Archive definitions: An archive (noun) is an index of posts. To archive (verb) is to remove public access to a post. This is dumb, yes, but there you have it.

The moral of the story

Finding a post in a blog without an archive page is like trying to find content in a book that has no index.  Ugh, what a nightmare.  With a well-designed page and an organizational system in place, visitors find your content more efficiently, which keeps them on your site, and helps your SEO.  And it always comes back to SEO

Vocabulary

Archive – a collection of posts

Blog – a word derived from “web log”, which was shortened to “blog”.  It’s a modern-day captain’s log, Jim. 

Metadata – information about a post or page i.e., author name, date of publication, etc.

Page – in WordPress, pages contain generic content such as About Us, Services, etc.  This content gets updated when necessary.

Post – in WordPress, a post contains content that is specific to a particular topic.  If your website is about dogs, you might write a post on grooming, or on walking schedules.  Posts often have authors and publication dates, whereas pages generally don’t.

SEO – search engine optimization

Sidebar – a vertical column on a web page that is often found on one side or the other, and lists metadata

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I’ve completed Mailchimp’s Fundamentals training, so you can feel confident about my skills with contact hygiene, templates, customer journeys, and other Mailchimp mysteries.  In coming blog posts I’ll elaborate on various aspects of the marketing platform such as tags, segments, and groups.  I’ll go into depth about customer journeys and why it’s important to design forms such as sign-up and update user preferences.  I’ll talk you through templates and how they can save you time and help reinforce your company branding every time you send a campaign.

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