Sneeze Pages Create an Index of your Greatest Content

I’m working on creating a Sneeze Page as part of SITS Girls 31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge.

With as many posts as this blog has it will be a pretty massive job to put them into topical index/ subpages. It’s something I could easily let myself put off indefinitely. But, I’m going to give it a try. First, some research.

ProBlogger: Create a Sneeze Page for your Blog [Day 18 – 31DBBB]

Benefits of Sneeze Pages:
3. It can help create a ‘Sticky’ Blog – I’ve not seen stats on this but it is my suspicion that a person arriving on your blog for the first time increases the chances of coming back to it the more great posts that they view on it. Get someone to read 10 great posts that you’ve written previously instead of 1 and you’ll exponentially increase the likelihood that they’ll subscribe and become a regular reader.

Types of Sneeze Pages

  • Themed Sneeze Pages – these are posts or pages on your blog or site that revolve around a single theme.
  • Time Related Sneeze Pages – these pages are based around a defined period of time. They are usually a ‘best of’ post that highlight your key posts from that period.
  • Retro Sneeze Pages –  shows off a number of posts from your blog from a particular point in its history. The most common way to do this is to do a post highlighting posts from the blog from a year ago.
  • Series Sneeze Pages – many bloggers use the technique of writing a series of blog posts that allow them to explore a topic over a period of time with lots of interlinked posts.

Small Business Trends: Convert New Readers with a Sneeze Page

As you put the page together, don’t just make it a series of links. Instead, you’ll want to create some new content to describe what each link is about and the benefit for the reader should they click through. Writing a few lines of content for each link will increase the page’s usefulness because you’re giving people a sneak peak at what they can find. Once you combine your links with your descriptions, that’s your Sneeze Page.

Steven Sanders: Create Blog Stickiness with Sneeze Pages

Using Sneeze Pages Creatively

Sneeze pages don’t have to be pages. A landing page may be a better method. These are called Social Media Landing Pages.

Don’t re-link old posts one right after the other though. This could cause others to get suspicious or even stop clicking the links, which is utterly ineffective. Take your time. Span a couple of old posts over a 2-3 day time period. I like to call this “sporadic sneezing“.

Next, my own conclusions and plans:

Interlink the posts you use on your Sneeze page, make sure readers can easily travel from one post in the series to the next and then the next. It will be extra work, but they should not have to return to your index page to find the next post in the series (unless that’s how they want to read them).

The most popular Sneeze page I have noticed are the week end round up posts. The blogger looks at other blogs and sites and links back to the posts they most enjoyed, noticed, or found useful. Doing this type of Sneeze post gives your readers an idea of what you read, who you are and the type and quality of resources you can find. It also gives some link love to other bloggers. So pick the blogs you link to with care.

You can have a month end or year end round up of your own posts but this seems a bit time absorbing when we already use tags and categories. Readers should be able to find your topical posts through tags and categories or by using the search feature on your site.

From what I have read and my own discoveries and explorations online I think the best use of a Sneeze page is to promote your niche itself. Think of a question readers are most likely to need answered. You can research how people come to your blog, what were they looking for when they arrived? You can post a reader survey, ask them directly. What were they looking for? What would they like to see more of? Use this information to write new content geared to your readers and set up the information/ posts with their own index page which will become your Sneeze page.

Give it an eye catching graphic with a text description and place it in your blog sidebar. Don’t stop there, spread the link around, as well as the graphic. Grow your own link love using Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, other bloggers, ad networks, link exchanges and web forums. How about adding the link to your business card, make sure it’s a short link (easy to type without mistakes).

A Sneeze page can be a useful index of specific content on your blog, it’s also a way to direct readers to content they might not think to look for as they read your current selection of posts. So give them more to read, show off your best stuff and create yourself as a resource worth coming back for.

See also:

Don’t Let your Blog Tags get you Down

Tags are getting me down. I spent time working on my categories and have them pretty good. Only pretty good.

In the case of tags it is a massive mess. I want/ need something that will auto suggest tags for me. Rather than me trying to weed out a few from the huge list and then missing the very one I would have used, if I hadn’t forgotten it existed.

There may be some people who have perfectly organized and uncluttered tags in their blogs, I’m not one of them. So I am looking at WordPress plugins to help me get the job done. Here are my top four out of 11 which I installed and tested.

Strictly Auto Tags –  Two features which I really appreciate are being able to block common words from being used as tags and the other was being able to automatically delete all tags which are only used once. This was great as I had an excessive amount of these from another plugin I tried tonight. This plugin is one of my top two picks!

Simple Tags – This is the keeper for me. You have a lot of features to work with, including re-tagging old posts, setting up meta keywords, tag cloud and sorting through your tags (merging and deleting them). This is the second of my top two!

WP Tag Generator – Simple and it came up with good choices for the auto generated tags. I’m going to keep it as a back up. Even though it is light on extra features I like this one third best.

Web Ninja Auto Tagging System – I like this one. It lets you go back and tag old posts over again. Though, be warned, you will have a huge, bloated list of tags to deal with afterwards (most will not be tags you will want to keep). Still, this is one of the best plugins I tried, but I didn’t keep it.

Must-Follow Personality?

Here are the categories for Mashable’s 4th Annual Awards:

Best Location-Based Service
Best Mobile Device
Best Mobile Game
Best Mobile Platform
Best Mobile User Experience
Best Music Discovery Service
Best New Gadget
Best Online Game
Best Social Media Management Tool
Best Social Media Service for Small Business
Best Use of an API
Best Web Video
Best Website User Experience
Breakthrough Website Design
Entrepreneur of the Year
Most Creative Social Good Campaign
Most Creative Social Media Campaign
Most Promising New Company
Must-Follow Brand
Must-Follow Non-Profit
Must-Follow Personality

Do you have anyone that comes to mind for vote for? I’ve got a few people in mind. Send in your votes on the site through your Twitter or Facebook account. (They assume everyone has one or the other).

Are Tags and Categories Too Much Work?

With regularly keeping this blog, moving an old blog onto WordPress from Blogger as well as starting a new blog, I’m finding the biggest amount of work is from tags and categories. Even this blog which is my most established and perfected (not perfect but given the most labour of the labour of my love) has things I could switch around and freshen up with it’s tags and categories. I keep putting off that job.

For one thing, I can’t find a plugin that seems to make the job any simpler. Yes, I am looking to cut corners. This blog started in 2006, wouldn’t you want to find a quick way to sort through that many posts too?

I know Blogger calls them labels but lets make life simple and call them tags and categories for the moment.

The blog I moved from Blogger was started in 2004, it’s not the first blog I started but it’s the oldest of all the blogs I’ve kept going, undeleted. There are a lot of posts in a blog that old. I’ve been trying to find some way to bring categories into that blog. I started by changing all my original labels into tags. Now I am thinking that was a mistake. It seems there are more ways to sort tags than categories (when I look at WordPress plugins and such). So I may change them back for the sorting and then change them back again when the dust clears.

The new blog you would think is the simplest, just type in some tags and categories and start writing posts. Not so. I want to set up the tags and categories so I don’t need to go back and change them in a year or two from now. I want tags and categories that will last. It’s taking planning and fore thinking. I’ve been making lists and checking them twice.

What are your thoughts and experiences in dealing with/ using tags and categories?

Are Blog Archives Too Old Fashioned?

What are reasons to keep an archive on your blog? We have categories and tags. An archive may seem a bit prehistoric or overkill, especially when they aren’t search able and just sit there all static and growing old. Tony Briley started this discussion on the CMF Ads forum.

Reasons for keeping an archive on your blog:

  • Web directories tend to list established blogs only, those which are at least six months old. An archive is where they look to find the age of your blog.
  • Knowing the age of your blog establishes your credentials, your experience, especially if you are posting about web publishing related topics like SEO, blogging and making money online.
  • Some readers prefer to read a blog which has some staying power, has passed the test of time and kept going.
  • If people want to flip to a certain date in your blog they need an archive. For instance, to see what you were posting about a year ago, or what you posted on a holiday, or some other eventful day.
  • An archive shows all the posts from the month on one page. You can do the same with categories but, not by date.
  • Your readers can go back to see how you started. What your thoughts and plans and goals were right from the beginning of your blog project. Who was commenting then? How has your writing style, your way of expressing yourself changed? Also, have you changed the focus of your blog and the topics you cover?
  • You may have undertaken a special project which readers would like to track back and go through the journey day by day, as it happened (through the archives). This is not just something for personal bloggers. If you post a series of posts on a topic they can also be read as an ongoing journey.
  • I also keep an archive for myself. I like to skim back and see where I was, what ideas I had in the past. I don’t look by topic (category or tags) cause that isn’t as random as looking into your past by time machine alone. Often something I posted a couple of years ago inspires me for an update on the same topic or a completely new angle on what I was thinking then.

Reasons to get rid of the archive on your blog:

  • Your blog is very new and you don’t want to broadcast that.
  • You want to cut down on clutter in every way you can and the archive just seems to take up more space than it is worth.

What’s your opinion? Archive or not?

Type Dirty to Me

Type dirty to me… How many words can you come up with to describe male and female anatomy – the so called naughty bits? Don’t cheat and look up a list of words online. Just see what you have right up there in your own dirty little mind.

When you have a list, decide which of those words you would actually use. Sort them into categories for too explicit or rude, too cutsey and those you might actually use. Next time you write a steamy scene pull out your list of words. You’ll have a few to choose from and can avoid the run of the mill and overused words.

Webby Moneymaker Awards

What a scam… I mean great set up. You pay $200 (a mere $100 US for personal sites) for the honour of being included. No wonder the whole thing has become entirely commercial and fricking worthless. With few exceptions the sites that won are nothing special and often high on their own spam content.

Blah! I would equate them with the American oscars too. Full of hot air and bull dung.

An award you pay for is worthless.

Webby Awards

Welcome to the 10th Annual Webby Awards Entry Form. Additional information is located within the links to the left. The personal information collected is used to communicate with you about your Webby Entries; more details can be found in our privacy policy. Please contact us if you have any questions or need assistance in entering your site.

Early Entry Deadline is October 28th, 2005

The discounted early entry deadline fee is $195 USD per site for each category entered.

(Note: to support a vibrant Web community, the fee for entering the Blog-Culture/Personal, Charitable Organizations/Non-Profit, NetArt, Personal Web Site, Student and Weird categories is $95 USD)”

Here are the categories, new and improved.

I’m so disgusted. I don’t think it was always a paying thing. If only sites that pay to win can be judged what is the point? They can call themselves the best site on the web but it’s a worthless title. They’re only being judged in a small pond, full of fat fish. Those of us who have sites up and do not pay to win an award could be better, without the side of spam.

It really annoys me that while people protest and get all paranoid about spam they also go all out to promote it. Too bad there isn’t a real Webby Award, for real sites offering real content, not a load of dung (bought and paid for).