6 Easy Ways to Feature Older Content

If you have being blogging regularly then you will have an archive of articles that are no longer on the front page of your WordPress blog.  The WordPress.com Top Posts Widget displays your most popular posts as of the last 48 hours. The Top Rated Widget displays which of your pages, posts, and/or comments have the highest ratings. But the posts you may want to call reader attention to may not be among them. What to do if they aren’t?  

Those older posts won’t be getting as many visitors as they could with a little promotion. Here are some ways of drawing attention to older posts on the front page of your WordPress blog to promote a fresh flow of traffic to your older content.

themestrip1. Random post text link or icon

It’s easy to post a link in a text widget in your WordPress blog’s sidebar that when clicked will display a random post found in your blog. You can use anchor text or not.  Simply place the code into a text widget and display it at the top of your blog’s sidebar for reader convenience.  But did you know that the random post URL can be linked to an icon (image) of your choice? Click the section heading above to find the brief tutorial.

2. Specific post text link or image link

It’s equally easy to post a link in a text widget in your WordPress blog’s sidebar that when clicked will display a specific post found in your blog. Once again you can use anchor text or not, and you can link the post to an image or not.

Try a  colored background or bordered box in your text widget to make it stand out.

Have some fun with fonts by changing font colors in text by page using the #4 icon (Select text color – change the text color) in Row 2 the Visual editor. Or change font families, colors and size in text by coding into the HTML editor. Or try ☛ Calling Attention to a Featured post ☚ by using special characters in your text widget.

List specific posts you want to feature neatly by adding scroll bars to your text widget. Try some other  codes useful for text widgets.

Use a draft post you will later delete to create your text widget content.  When it’s al exactly the way you want it in the draft post, copy the code from the HTML editor, paste it into a text widget and display it at the top of your blog’s sidebar.

thumbshot image Vigilance theme3. Sticky posts

You can mark a post as “sticky” by checking the option that says “Stick this post to the front page” in the Publish settings on any post. Sticky posts are best used for short and temporary notices, so consideration you may want to keep in mind is length of the post.  I recommend splitting the content by inserting the Next Page (Pagination)  tag.

  1. Open the post you wish to edit.
  2. Locate the Publish box on the right hand side of the screen
  3. Edit the ‘Visibility’ link to make more options appear
  4. Select ‘Stick this post to the front page’
  5. Click ‘OK’
  6. Click ‘Update Post’.

4. Front page announcement, greeting/notice boxes

A small selection of themes have special features that can be easily used for the purpose of showcasing a link to an older post you want to feature. Click the second link in the section heading above to find the themes with these special features.

rss feed icon5. RSS Widgets

We assign categories and/or tags to posts and WordPress blogs have multiple RSS Feeds including RSS feeds for Categories and Tags.  You can create a special Category or tag for ‘Featured Posts’,  edit the posts in question and assign the Category or Tag to them.  Display your Featured Posts Category RSS Feed in a RSS widget in your sidebar so readers can to subscribe it.

6. Popular Posts Page

Pages don’t usually have a date in the URL like posts do and you can’t assign categories to them. But you create a page and add a list of links to call attention to specific posts. I have included a Popular Posts page in my custom menu, to view it click the section heading above.

Discussion

I’d love to hear what you readers think of these 6 easy ways for drawing attention to older posts on the front page of your WordPress blog to promote a fresh flow of traffic to your older content. I’d be delighted if you shared any additional ideas as well.

39 thoughts on “6 Easy Ways to Feature Older Content

  1. Pingback: Create a Featured Posts Page with the Display Posts Shortcode | one cool site

  2. Pingback: Use the Display Posts Shortcode to Effectively Feature Content | one cool site

  3. Pingback: Blog Exercises: Awesome by Association « Lorelle on WordPress

  4. I tried the Text Widget thing (one of our standard suggestions in the help Forums) and did not like the way it formatted – tried some different ideas but no go – so I used the Links Widget – much better separation of each link – the Links Widget has a little square bullet for each link.

    The Links Widget let me change the title of the Post – I have some titles that work well for the initial Post when you can see the picture and lead in sentence but not so well when you just see the post title – example: “Is this your cleat?” was retitled to “How to Tie a Cleat” and “Mike’s Quick Rope Whipping” was retitled “Quick and Secure Rope Whipping” when I did the Widget – just make a bunch of links in your links section and give them a distinctive new Tag and away you go -

  5. An extremely helpful post. And thanks so much for the links to additional details.

    I’ve been featuring links to 3 “other posts you might enjoy” at the bottom of all my posts. They don’t get a lot of clicks. After reading Margie’s comment, I’m thinking a modest but colorful graphic might help draw attention to these “other posts” links.

    Text that’s not relieved by graphics or generous amounts of white space has a curious way of becoming invisible…

    • “Text that’s not relieved by graphics or generous amounts of white space has a curious way of becoming invisible…”

      That’s so true. I’ll be intested to see the graphic you create because I love your work.

  6. Good ideas!
    I use a widget that features the image of the older post I want to link to. I change that photo and link about once a week or so. Stats wise on my blog, very few people click on that link to read those posts.
    I also link to an older relevant post on the bottom of every post I publish. I include a thumbnail photo. This generates a few views, particularly if the viewer is new to my blog.

    • Hi Margie,
      I have noticed what you do on your blog. Without doubt thumbnail images are eye-catching and I thought using them would be an effective way to draw attention to older content. Too bad so few readers click the link you are updating because lots of your content is timeless. I have been manually adding related links to the end of my posts for years and my stats indicate that there are those who do click-through so I’ll continue doing that. I haven’t been including thumbnails though hmmmm … maybe I’ll do that in the future.

      • I just started adding the thumbnails a few weeks ago. I like the way they add a bit of colour to the bottom of the post.
        My experience with readers who click links is possibly not indicative of what other bloggers would experience. My blog doesn’t have all that many viewers to start with!

    • Hi Patti,
      I have two blogs, one house, and one studio to tackle when it comes to spring cleaning this year. Thanks for letting me know you appreciated this post. Best wishes with your spring cleaning.

      • TiTi,

        Putting a studio blog together is part of my spring cleaning! I love playing around with different themes (agony at times because I want this from that and that from this . . .) while bearing in mind, regardless of theme, it is the content which tells the most. Isn’t it?

        Always, a big thank you to you for your good advice and suggestions!

        • Putting together a new blog is always fun. I love playing with thenes too and do that inmy test blogs. I’ve been so busy helping my hubby for the past 2 months that my personal blog is starving. :(

  7. Thank you timethief for the valuable information. I’m now going to attempt to digest it and would like to implement a few like the RSS widget and random post one.

  8. I hope to try Panos’ tips on background colour text widget, borders, etc. that you mentioned in #2.

    I have 2 blogs. Would it be useful or damaging to any google search ranking, if I reblogged by using WordPress.com’s reblog, for 1 post to my 2nd blog? Or just a straightforward URL link that I manually place into a text widget?

  9. Thanks. This post is very helpful. Will have to try out the “random” post idea. I have noticed a lot of my fellow bloggers use “LinkWithing” plug-in but I understand we can’t do that on the free WordPress site.

  10. This is #1 on my to do list as I’ve finally created enough content that much of the good older stuff is effectively hidden! Right now I have “best of” in the footer (but really who looks there?) and I’m going to add “most popular posts” to my sidebar via text links. I also think I need to step up my menu system to bring good stuff to the fore that way. Like your “popular posts” here.

    Also (while I sadly don’t quite know why) I have one post which is more popular than anything else by almost a factor of TEN. I was looking at it and realized it wasn’t my best work, formatting is strange, and since I wrote it early on, it doesn’t link to any of my newer (better?) stuff. So I’m going to go back and fix that up since it gets such traffic.

    • Hi there,
      I think your idea of reformatting and updating older posts that you want to draw attention to is a sound one. I don’t use the Top Posts Widget and I don’t use ratings on my blog. Like the most popular post on your blog, I find the top posts in my blog aren’t IMO the best posts. My Popular Posts page has links to some of the more popular posts in this blog, as well as some editorial picks based on the questions I answer in the WordPress.com support forums. It’s a very popular page on my blog and that makes me happy.

    • Hi Kathy,
      I’m glad you think this post has useful content. It’s discouraging to note some of what a blogger considers to be very good content in older posts isn’t being read.

  11. Glad our Support forum discussion last month was such an inspiration! Lots of good ideas were shared there and it will be interesting to see if anyone can come up with new ideas as well.

    • Hi Jennifer,
      There have been two support forum threads, one last month and one this month on this subject where we shared ideas for featuring older content. You’re right, they inspired me to blog on this but truth be told, there was nothing suggested in them I wasn’t already aware of. I’m looking forward to hearing new ideas too.

  12. Thanks for the good ideas TT. I’ve been thinking about featuring some of my older stuff. Of, there’s still the matter of deciding which ones… :D

    • Hello there,
      Which older posts to feature is a subject I’m considering now too. When I have a clear “picture” of the criteria I will be blogging on it so as they say, ‘stay tuned’. )

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