Every week, we share one of our favorite ‘how-to’ posts about blogging, social media, and the community we LOVE to love. Our desire is you consider HLB a resource in your efforts to blog BETTER – we want to be stronger bloggers ourselves, and we see the desire for stronger posts and cleaner designs. We understand wanting to know the BEST plug-ins, aps, programs, and resources to keep your site in tip top shape. And nothing makes us nerd-out more than getting super meta about all things blog-world. We’re not experts, we’re simply bloggers ourselves – sharing our own experiences, tips and tricks of the trade each Thursday with a BTT post. We welcome your questions, your suggestions for future topics, and your ‘how-to’ post recommendations at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hi-dee-ho, Healthy Living Bloggers! My name is Gretchen, and I blog about weight loss, food, fitness, and my two incredibly cute miniature schnauzers over at Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! I’m here today to extol the virtues of having a Top Posts page on your blog. Thanks for reading!
When I set up my blog back in August of 2010 (relative ages ago, in blog time!), there was a lot that I didn’t know about the blogging world. After all, my experience had thus far been limited to my high school days of Xanga and LiveJournal, as well as a half-hearted WordPress attempt during my junior year of college, and I had no idea what it would take to craft a full, sustainable, interesting website. All I knew is that I wanted to document my efforts at weight loss, hold myself accountable to what few family members and Facebook friends that would be reading, and that I wanted to write. If you had told me back then that in less than two years, my blog would be host to hundreds of posts, thousands of comments, and tens of thousands of pageviews per month, I would have laughed right in your face.
My blog grew slowly, as they should. It has gone through multiple layout changes, has instilled a deep love for photography, and helped me uncover countless opportunities — both within the blogging world itself, and with companies that I have been fortunate enough to work with. As my blog developed, first with a few posts per week, then to a new post every weekday, I found an increasing need to organize my best content into an easy-to-navigate and cohesive order. After a while, it just no longer makes sense to depend on your readers to navigate your blog chronologically. Enter: the Top Posts page.
I created my Top Posts page to showcase not only my best and/or favorite posts, but also the posts that my readers really responded to. I decided to break it down into several categories, so that any potential newcomer could easily scroll down to whatever section they were looking for. Because the focus of my blog quickly expanded beyond being purely a weight loss blog, and now also includes recipes, restaurant recaps, travel posts, and general musings about my life, offering up a sampling of all those various categories became very important.
I settled on pulling selections of posts in all the following categories:
- Best: My best written/most personally significant/most well-received posts
- Milestone Weigh-ins: Self-explanatory
- Favorite Food Posts : My favorite non-recipe, non-restaurant recap food posts
- Restaurant Recaps: Self-explanatory, again
- Travel : A collection of all my posts recapping various trips I’ve taken
- Working Out: My favorite workout-related posts
- Races: My race recaps
- Pups: My favorite dog-centric posts
- Just for Funsies: Posts that highlight just how ridiculous I am
- Vlogs: I’ve created a handful of vlogs and posted them on the blog
- Blogging: My blogging process, tips, etc.
- As Seen In… : Guest posts and articles that I’ve written for other blogs and websites
Now, when someone clicks on the Top Posts link at the top of my blog, they are presented with the option to view any of my best posts within a given category. Of course, this is not an exclusive list, and as my blog continues to develop, I’m sure that the list will grow and be edited down over and over again. An added benefit of having a clear Top Posts page on your blog is that it becomes a sort of de-facto portfolio of your blogging work. Giving companies a place to see your best work collected in one place is a huge boon to those of you who may want to work with advertisers at some point. The way I’ve categorized my posts not only highlights some of the most popular posts on my blog, but also ones that are simply favorites of mine.
A Top Posts page shouldn’t be a place that brags about what an awesome blogger you are, it’s a place to showcase who you are as well, beyond the limits of your “About Me” page. Collect posts that not only showcase the heart and soul of what your blog is about, but that really highlight who you are as a person. In addition to being a successful weight loser (60 lbs gone so far!), a pseudo-runner, and a lover of food, I am also ridiculous, fun-loving, and obsessed with my dogs. It wouldn’t make sense if my page didn’t show all those sides of me, right?
As you can see in the screenshots above, my Top Posts page is punctuated with photos for each category, as well as the links for all the posts, so as to keep it visually interesting. If you’re considering creating a Top Posts page for your own blog, I would recommend you do something similar. I would also advise that if you’re going to word the post links as the original title of the blog post, you should add a short explanation of what that post may be about. I put just one or two words of clarification in parentheses when I feel it might not be clear what that post is about from the title alone.
Ensure that your Top Posts link gets a primo spot in your blog’s navigation bar, and have fun with it! It can be time-consuming to construct a page like this from scratch, especially if you already have dozens of posts under your belt. Don’t feel pressured to complete it all at once — work on it a little at a time, until you’re comfortable with having the page go life. And just remember: once it is up, however, maintenance is really easy!